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The 808th Tank Destroyer Battalion

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The 808th TD Attached to 76th Infantry

"The 76th Infantry Division’s 417th Infantry Regiment is credited as being the first unit to cross the Luxembourg-German border to secure a foot-hold on the east bank of the Sauer River in the Echternach region." The 808 Tank Destroyer Battalion is credited with making this happen.

Photo: The Sauer RiverThe Division stormed across the Our and Sauer Rivers at Wallendorf, broke through the Siegfried Line, pursued the fleeing enemy to Kaiserlautern, 20 March, and crossed the Rhine, 27-28 March, near Mainz.

They continued to press onward smashing the German resistance every step of the way.

The following information was retrieved some time ago from the website of the 76th Infantry. They no longer maintain the pages I found this info on so I have removed the link to their site but surely the info has not changed so I continue to publish it here.

Between the 19th and 25th of February the 76th continued its studious reduction of enemy defenses, availing itself of the 808th TD Battalion's 90 MM guns whose shock effect on pillbox occupants was so severe that in many cases the by now familiar white flag was hoisted before the infantrymen had to close in for the assault.

The veil of a moderate fog had helped the initial group in their river crossing, but by the time the balance of the 1st Battalion set out to utilize the same bridgehead it ran against very heavy mortar fire. the Germans, however, did not have what it takes. By 0730 (25th), supported by the 808th TD Battalion's accounting of five pillboxes and two observation posts, ... the battalion had reorganized on the east bank.

 The 808th TD Battalion's second platoon of Company B was called up to the west bank of the river overlooking the town to train 90's on buildings housing the snipers. A few cannon rounds, a belt or two of .50 caliber machine gun fire, and the enemy felt differently disposed. As if from nowhere, three German soldiers appeared at the far bank's edge, one waving a white flag. Fire was suspended while the trio swam the river to the west bank. Their aquatic mission, it turned out, was to arrange for the surrender of a fifty-three-man enemy garrison. The three soaked intermediaries were given a boat to ferry some very docile Germans to our lines The 808th provides the 76th with more Germans with white flags

Early on the 27th (February), the 417th moved in a column of battalions through Wolsfeld. ... The 2d Battalion, nucleus of a task force designed to exploit southern advances on division order, was teamed with the following cohorts: Company B, 808th Tank Destroyer Battalion; Company A, 702d Tank Battalion; 76th Reconnaissance Troop minus one platoon; one platoon of Company C, 301st Engineer Battalion; a detachment from Service Company, 417th Infantry; a radio team from 76th Signal Company; and sixteen trucks and proportionate driver complement of the 76th Quartermaster Company.

When taken, the Katzenkopf was found to contain, for instance, 10,000 rounds of mortar ammunition. But the on-target firing of the 808th Tank Destroyer crews zeroed in on the machine gun turrets and quickly sent the Germans out of their subterranean stronghold, thoroughly whipped and thankful to be alive.

808th TD crews zeroed in on the machine gun turrets

On the 6 March
The curtain rose on the real-life drama of blood and guts. A Corps Artillery 155 MM "Long Tom" and two tank destroyers of the 808th Tank Destroyer Battalion were brought into Echternach from where they engaged a few of the pillboxes across the river.

On 13 March
Enemy concentrations in Erden and Losnich suffered the direct fire of an 808th TD Battalion company. The 301st Engineer Battalion swept the north bank roads of mines and sent reconnaissance parties looking for bridging sites. The 76th Division was getting set to cross the Moselle.


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