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Operation Nordwind: U.S. Army's 42nd Infantry Division Stood its Ground During World War II

Originally published by World War II magazine. Published Online: August 31, 2006 
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It was bitter cold with a foot of snow on the ground and no moonlight the night of January 24, 1945, as the green GIs of the 42nd 'Rainbow Division's 222nd Infantry Regiment strained to see the enemy. But a low ground fog covering the firebreak between their positions in the Ohlungen Forest and the Haguenau Forest before them made this an almost useless exercise. More chillingly, they could hear sounds from the woods beyond, sounds of tramping feet and loud talking. Water turned to ice in the bottoms of their foxholes. Anxiety built as they waited for the unseen enemy to come swarming out of the woods.

By January 1945, Adolf Hitler's Ardennes offensive was faltering, and in a last-ditch effort to break through Allied lines, the Führer scraped together what forces he could to launch an offensive into Alsace. Earlier German attacks in the area had created two small salients above and below Strasbourg and had forced the U.S. Seventh Army back on an arm that pivoted on Bischwiller, not far from the Rhine River, and extended northwest along the Moder River.

German plans called for a pincer movement to be launched from each of these two salients. It was hoped that this attack would either cut off Haguenau northeast of the Moder, or so seriously threaten it that the Americans in the city would withdraw back to open country, where the panzers could make quick work of them. In order to cut off Haguenau, however, the Germans would have to destroy American positions in the Ohlungen Forest. Poised to strike the 222nd were elements of the 25th Panzergrenadier, 47th Volksgrenadier and 7th Fallschirmjäger divisions.

The 42nd Division had arrived in France only a week before and was just becoming acclimated to combat conditions. Some of the 222nd's companies had fought in a few small engagements, but the bulk of the regiment's men were untried. After withdrawing behind the Moder on January 21, the regiment's commander, Colonel Henry L. Luongo, had spread his men along five defensive positions. From west to east, these were: a series of low hills on the left of the line, the town of Neubourg, the Mill d'Uhrbruck, the edge of the Ohlungen Forest where it formed an arc opposite the Moder's entry point into the Haguenau Forest, and finally, the town of Schweighausen on the right flank of the regimental front. By the evening of the 24th Luongo's men were as ready as they could be.

The Germans made no secret of their preparations as they hollered to each other in tones that to the scared GIs sounded half drunk. This particular portion of the forest stretched in an arc overlooking a suspected German bridging site. The left-flank squad of Company F prepared to give covering fire to its left supporting the 1st Platoon of Company E, which was dug in around the base of the arc.

At 1800, German artillery fire hit Schweighausen, then Neubourg. It eventually spread to the entire length of the regiment's line. At Neubourg and on Company K's front, the Germans threw not only artillery shells but also Nebelwerfer rockets that cut low, flaming trails through the fog. This fire continued relentlessly for an hour and a half, then slackened. Veterans later recalled that the night was filled with periods, often 20 minutes long, of intense artillery barrages. Despite the darkness, the German artillery fire, which had been preregistered on important points along the line, was very effective. Major Donald J. Downard, the 2nd Battalion's commander, moved his command post (CP) to a cellar at 1930, and at 2146 Major Walter J. Fellenz reported to Luongo that his 1st Battalion CP had taken a direct hit. Against this barrage, the 222nd's supporting artillery was unable to respond because darkness and woods prevented observation. During the first hour of the barrage almost all the regiment's phone lines were knocked out and their radios proved to be ineffective in the woods.

At about 2015, the men of Company E heard the Germans advancing toward the firebreak, shouting as they ran. Sergeant Arthur Innes' heavy machine gun on the western end of the arc of woods, and that of Sergeant John Murch on the eastern end, fired at the Germans as they came out of the forest. Sergeant John O'Laughlin poured mortar shells on them, and Sergeant Charles Hunt, with a light machine gun, shot down the few who got as far as the firebreak. Company E's commander, Lieutenant George A. Carroll, quickly moved his supporting platoon up a previously reconnoitered trail to positions below the arc. The reinforcements' firepower, combined with that of the platoon already in position, was overwhelming. A half hour of this punishment was enough for the Germans, and they pulled back to the safety of the Haguenau Forest.

The men of Company E, however, had little time to catch their breath. At 2045 Panzergrenadiers struck with force at the Mill d'Uhrbruck. Swarming past the mill and into the woods, they began to advance up a knoll to the southeast, where Company E had its mortar and machine-gun strongpoint. Although the Company E men killed dozens of Germans, they were quickly overwhelmed. Lieutenant Richard B. Break gathered men from the right, where the pressure had eased up, and led them in a counterattack to save the men at the strongpoint. Break's force was thrown back three times. By this time the Germans had taken control of the mill and the knolls behind it and were pouring into the woods beyond.

Company K's right flank was hit even harder. Lieutenant John Berg, leader of the 2nd Platoon on the company's right, went back through the mounting artillery barrage to report to the company CP. He was never heard from again. Sergeant Chambers, now in charge of the platoon, redistributed what ammunition remained. He was left with only 22 men to defend this important sector. Lieutenant Wilson C. Harper sent over three men from his 3rd Platoon to help Chambers. At the height of the artillery barrage, the desperate sergeant phoned for additional reinforcements and ammunition, saying they could not hold out much longer. Soon after he called, the line went dead.

A full company of Germans who came in under cover of an artillery and mortar barrage attacked the GIs in foxholes near the mill. When the artillery started to lift, the 2nd Platoon was struck first on the flanks and then in the center. The Germans overran several foxholes and the two light machine guns on the right. Noting their silence, Chambers sent a runner back to the company CP with a call for help and then pulled his men back from the woods' edge to the road. There they tried to form a skirmish line but were unsuccessful.

Chambers decided to fall back to the CP, get reinforcements and then counterattack. The few remaining GIs crawled westward in the road ditch. When heavy fire came from their front, they tried to move back eastward but ran into additional fire. They then made a torturous and painfully slow withdrawal through the woods to the southwest, through ever-increasing numbers of Germans. Eventually they made it out of the woods to Uhlweller and then back to the company CP at Neubourg. They left behind 11 men who were either killed or taken prisoner.

Although Chambers' decision to withdraw had left a gap in the line, he had little choice, with only 10 men and almost no ammunition, no mortar or machine-gun support and no communications with his company CP or other friendly units. As Chambers and the 2nd Platoon pulled back, they were unaware that Company K was trying to assist them. Harper knew that the three men he had sent over earlier were inadequate, and soon after the attack started he took six more and headed off in the direction of the 2nd Platoon. The six reinforcements, however, could not find the 2nd Platoon, so they returned to their CP.

After the phone lines went out, Lieutenant Carlyle Woelfer, commander of Company K, went to find out for himself what was happening on his right flank and, if possible, to regain contact with Company E. With Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Towse and Pfc Edmund C. Sheppard, he set out from the CP in a jeep pulling a trailer loaded with ammunition. Shortly after starting, the jeep broke down and their radio set went dead, so the men proceeded on foot.

When they reached the 1st Platoon, they found an intense firefight in progress between GIs and Volksgrenadiers who were threatening to advance from a grove in the middle of the firebreak. Mortar fire from the sand pit and Company M machine-gun fire prevented their advance.

During the heaviest artillery barrage, Lieutenant Otto Yanke, commanding Company M's heavy machine-gun platoon, had gone out into the firebreak to repair and move the phone wires that ran between the two guns covering the grove. Yanke kept control of his platoon throughout the fight with the Germans. He was constantly on the move from one gun to the other giving orders and calming nerves. He kept the easternmost gun in position throughout the night, even when the riflemen to its right had withdrawn. He pulled his third gun from the edge of the woods and placed it where it could fire down the road to the east should the Germans try to move on Neubourg from that direction.

Meanwhile, Woelfer sent a runner back to the battalion CP with the report that Neubourg and Company K's left were still intact. The lieutenant was fortunate enough to find an M8 Greyhound armored car of the 813th Tank Destroyer Battalion on the outskirts of Neubourg. He commandeered it and, along with Towse and Sheppard, started down the road eastward. As they came into the area the 2nd Platoon had abandoned, they ran into a volley of small-arms fire, and replied with machine-gun fire. Then Woelfer called out in German, promising to cease firing. One German, reportedly a company commander, stepped forward and surrendered. He had with him maps that revealed details of the German plan.

When they had gone another 300 yards down the road, they saw a German machine-gun squad crawling up a furrow toward the left side of the road, trying to get into position to fire. Woelfer and Towse shot four. Two others came forward with their hands up.

Moving 200 yards farther down the road they came under fire from another machine-gun nest on the right side of the road. The two prisoners on the M8 began to wave their arms as if signaling to their comrades. Woelfer called out to the Germans in the woods to come out and surrender but received no reply. Then he threw a grenade in front of the machine-gun nest, but its occupants still said nothing, nor did they fire, so Woelfer and Sheppard went in after them, Sheppard going to the left, Woelfer to the right. As Woelfer came up on a little rise behind the gun, lifting his submachine gun to fire, he saw Sheppard suddenly appear in front of the German gun, saw him raise his rifle, heard the report as the Germans fired and saw Sheppard fall–killed instantly. Woelfer then set upon the Germans with his submachine gun, killing the three-man crew.

By now the M8 was out of ammunition and one of its tires was flat. Woelfer and his little group found that the woods where the 2nd Platoon had been were now full of Germans and that there was no hope of getting through to Company E. But from the sound of firing, they knew that fighting was still going on somewhere to the east. Just before midnight, they headed back toward Neubourg to organize a detachment to reinforce the flank they had found so badly battered.

Shortly after their penetration at the Mill d'Uhrbruck, the Germans struck again, this time on the right flank of Company E. Although the tiny American force was able to kill many of them, the company had already shifted much of its strength to meet the counterattack on its left, which weakened the squad holding the company's right flank. The Germans took advantage of this weakness, broke through the firebreak and entered the woods beyond.

Staff Sergeant Arthur Jones, manning the heavy machine gun on the left end of the arc of woods, used up five boxes of ammunition before his gun jammed. As he was attempting to clear it, several Germans attacked his dugout, forcing him and his men to retreat. They eventually were able to fight their way back toward Schweighausen. Sergeant John Munch and his crew on the right end of the arc fired 18 boxes of ammunition before they, too, had to withdraw. Soon afterward, Lieutenant Merrill, commanding the 2nd Platoon, Company F, withdrew those men he could to the outskirts of Schweighausen to regroup for a counterattack on the Ohlungen Forest, which was now full of Germans. The six men of Merrill's left flank squad were overrun and never heard from again.

The middle of the 222nd's line had been broken. Company E was entirely cut off. Company K's right and F's left were badly beaten up, and communications were out. Of the 55 men who had made up the three platoons in the area of the attack only hours before, three had been killed, 25 were missing (either captured or dead) and six were wounded. Sergeant Decaline of Company E, whose arm had been torn by shrapnel, was sent back to Ohlungen.

At about 0230, as the men despaired of ever receiving help, Lieutenant George Carroll decided that holding Company E's present position was hopeless. The Germans seemed to have forgotten about them as they moved on farther into the woods, and Carroll took advantage of this lull to lead his men, about half the original company, back through the woods to the south. In two groups they made their way back to Ohlungen, fighting off Germans as they went. Company E had no further role in the battle.

For the rest of the night, the 222nd fought to contain the breakthrough. The right of the line, at Schweighausen, continued to hold. The strongest pressure on the town came from the west as German paratroopers moved up through the Haguenau Forest and came down through the wedge that had been driven between Companies E and F.

After the 2nd Platoon had been pulled back, Captain Al Truscott of Company H sent 2nd Lt. Klare Moyer, with a heavy weapons platoon, into the neck of the woods to re-establish the line. Twice they pushed 100 yards into the woods, but both times were forced to withdraw. Then Lieutenant Merrill, having reorganized his platoon and gathered all the extra men that Company F could spare, set out to clear part of the neck of woods north of the Neubourg-Schweighausen road. There they ran into heavy fire. Two men were killed, one missing and several wounded. When German artillery zeroed in on them, they withdrew back to the town. It was quiet until daylight, the Germans having been slowed down not only by Lieutenants Moyer's and Merrill's counterattacks, but also by Company G striking from the south.

Sergeant Decaline, sent back earlier to the battalion aid station, had gone first to the battalion CP and reported the news of Company E's plight. Major Downard, seeing how excited Decaline was and the seriousness of his wounds, discounted his report but decided to send Company G, in reserve, to close the gap and re-establish the line. He ordered Captain Jere F. Palmes, Company G commander, to take his men up through the forest, follow the creek that cut across its southeastern corner, cross the creek and attack the Germans to the north.

If Company G had followed this route it might have contacted Company E and helped to check the flow of Germans across the firebreak. But the breakthrough was already too well established, and by the time Company G was on its way many of the Germans who had broken through were already chasing the retreating platoon from Company F eastward toward Schweighausen. Evidently they meant to attack Schweighausen immediately, without waiting for their right flank to be secured by the capture of Uhlweller and the high ground outside Ohlungen. But Company G failed to follow its assigned route, and instead of coming upon that part of the German penetration, which they had been ordered to attack, they encountered one equally if not more threatening. Although they failed to accomplish their original mission, they did a great deal to stem the German advance on Schweighausen.

Soon after 2000, Company G was moving through the woods with its 3rd Platoon on the left, 1st on the right and four scouts leading each platoon. They came to a clearing 150 yards across. As the first scouts reached the edge of the woods on the other side, they touched off a tremendous German volley. Two of the scouts were instantly killed, and the advance platoons were pinned down by four machine guns and a company of riflemen. Mortar fire now zeroed in on them as they lay exposed in the snow in the clearing. Captain Palmes ordered an attack. As Tech. Sgt. Sigman Poskus stood up to lead the 3rd Platoon forward, a mortar shell killed him. Nevertheless, his men moved up. To their right, Tech. Sgt. Mike Walters led his 1st Platoon. They crawled into firing positions and poured flanking fire into the Germans. By moving forward, both platoons helped pull the company out of a hopeless position. After five hours, Palmes ordered a withdrawal to Ohlungen. They brought back with them four dead and 19 wounded. After the battle 67 German dead were found in the area of the engagement.

Meanwhile, at Neubourg, a small group of GIs fought to stop the German assault there. Shortly before midnight, when Woelfer came back from his raid, he met a group of 25 men from the 1st Platoon, Company L. Captain Harold Bugno, the 3rd Battalion's executive officer, led the platoon. Bugno commandeered an armored car and started down the road toward the Mill d'Uhrbruck. The captain led the men on the left side of the car while the platoon sergeant, Staff Sgt. Othal J. Fletcher, led the men on the right. Their mission was to re-establish Company K's right flank and, if possible, get through to Company E.

They proceeded to Sergeant Roger A. Peck's machine-gun position along the Schweighausen-Neubourg road on the left of Company K, where they were told Germans were ahead. Fanning out from either side of the armored car, the patrol moved on but had only gone a little way when they were fired upon. They had stumbled on a platoon of Germans advancing on Neubourg. After an hour and a half of fighting, 16 Germans came out yelling Kamarad! The rest either had been killed or wounded or had retreated.

The prisoners were sent to the rear and the platoon moved on toward a machine gun Sergeant Fletcher could hear firing in the distance–probably in Company E's area. They had gone about 300 yards when they saw a group of Germans dressed in white ahead of them in the woods. For 45 minutes the German force, about 30 men, tried to break through Bugno's American skirmish line.

Private Herman J. Bergeth saw Privates Franklin Van Nest and Joe A. McGraw and one other GI engaged in hand-to-hand combat in a ditch with several Germans. According to Bergeth, Van Nest, a big man, was wielding a knife as large as a Roman short sword. They seemed to have won their struggle when a couple of German grenades were tossed into the ditch, wounding both men.

Germans firing submachine guns came in on the left, threatening to outflank the Americans. Private Robert Owen killed four before Bugno withdrew his men to the site of their earlier fight, where they would be supported by Peck's machine gun. There they managed to stop the German advance.

Although wounded, Van Nest and McGraw refused to retreat and continued to kill the few Germans who tried to advance. When word came from battalion of a possible tank attack from the direction of the Mill d'Uhrbruck, Bugno sent back for bazookas. No tanks came, but German voices were heard. Then, German artillery fire began falling on them. Realizing that they had been zeroed in, Bugno ordered his men to retire.

As they stood up to retreat, artillery rounds killed Bugno, McGraw and Van Nest. The rest fell back, several of them wounded by shrapnel. They could hold out no longer, but they had done their job. They had blunted the German effort toward Neubourg.

Company I, meanwhile, had its own troubles stopping attempts by the 104th Volksgrenadiers to flank Neubourg from the west. Groups of German infantry tried throughout the night to knock out the machine guns of the 1st Platoon, Company M, and to crack the line of foxholes that guarded the open ground beyond the town. At the time of the main attack on the Ohlungen Forest, after the artillery barrage, the Volksgrenadiers opened fire with machine guns from the river, and then, bellowing at each other, started to attack. One of the M8s on the western outskirts of Neubourg added its fire to that of the Company M machine guns and mortars, and after a prolonged hammering broke up the assault.

But even while the Volksgrenadiers were attempting to flank Neubourg from the west and Panzergrenadiers were trying to break through Captain Bugno's men and flank the town from the east, other Germans drove south through the forest toward Uhlweller. Here, as on the other end of the line, the German plan misfired. If the Volksgrenadiers were less than aggressive in their assault, the paratroopers and Panzergrenadiers were foolhardy. The paratroopers attacked Schweighausen before securing their right by taking the high ground near Ohlungen, and as a consequence were held up by Company G. The Panzergrenadiers advanced toward Uhlweller. They were stopped by a company from the 1st Battalion, which, like Company G, failed in its assigned mission but instead accomplished something of greater value.

The reserve 1st Battalion had been alerted at 2050 and prepared to send elements out from Ohlungen to check German attempts to break out of the forest to the south. At midnight, Major Walter Fellenz received orders to send a company to sweep the woods up to the Mill d'Uhrbruck and to plug the gap there. Unsure of exactly what was happening, he believed that the western end of the forest could be cleared and that Company K's sector could be restored–which he ordered Company B to do.

Company B moved out of Ohlungen shortly after midnight on the road toward Uhlweller, but turned off to the right just before reaching the town, taking the road leading up through the woods to the Mill d'Uhrbruck. It moved through the woods, with an advance platoon led by scouts on either side of the road. The scouts came to the edge of the woods and moved in slowly. Suddenly, there was a burst of machine-gun fire, followed by a volley of small-arms fire that grew in intensity as a second machine gun joined the first, pinning down Company B. Because the machine guns were able to fire up the rising fields on either side of the company, the GIs were unable to move into flanking positions. After nearly an hour of exchanging fire, Company B advanced.

Second Lieutenant George A. Jackson took five men from his 2nd Platoon and, under covering fire, moved up into the woods to the west of the road. They found the German machine guns positioned close together on the opposite side of the road. Jackson and his men ran across the road, moved up behind the two machine guns and opened fire from a distance of about 25 yards. Then they charged. A bullet nicked the top of Jackson's head but he kept going until he was on top of the machine-gun nest. Staff Sergeant Darwin C. Freeman ran forward firing his rifle until it jammed. Then he clubbed one German with the rifle butt. All seven Germans manning the machine guns were killed.

The company was now free to fan out and move into the woods. They had lost eight men killed and 15 wounded during the attack. Later they counted 50 dead Germans in the woods. The 222nd Infantry had effectively stopped the German breakthrough, established a line along the German bulge and, in spite of rumors that Neubourg had fallen, retained control of the important crossroads town.

At 1030 on January 25, reinforcements arrived and began to push forward beyond the line that Captain Bugno and the Company L platoon had defended, and which Company K now held with Company B on its right, while Major Fellenz's 1st Battalion held the southern edge of the forest. Shortly after daybreak Fellenz sent part of Company A up to dig in on Company B's right. The line then extended south along the edge of the woods, where Company G had dug in after its fight on the previous night. The rest of the 1st Battalion was deployed with Company D and the balance of Company A defending Ohlungen, while Company C defended the nearby high ground. Although the Germans had forced their way down to the southwest corner of Schweighausen, Companies F and H still held the town.

Early in the morning the commander of the 314th Infantry, which had been ordered to come to the support of the 222nd, arrived at the regiment's headquarters in Keffendorf. He planned to send two companies of his 3rd Battalion, supported by three tanks, along the same route that Company B had taken the night before. These two companies would sweep up from the southwest corner of the forest to re-establish the line around the Mill d'Uhrbruck. He also planned to send elements of his 1st Battalion down the road from Ohlungen to Schweighausen, pass along the western outskirts of the town, move through Company F and re-establish the line's right flank.

Meanwhile, the 68th Armored Infantry Battalion, 14th Armored Division, which had arrived at Ohlungen shortly after daybreak, was to attack the southeast corner of the forest and drive up to the center of the original line. It was hoped that this three-pronged attack would restore the 222nd's positions and halt any further German attempts to outflank Haguenau.

Companies I and K, of the 314th, moved directly to Neubourg, then out to the line Bugno had held, and formed up for an attack. This line bent south from a draw situated halfway between Neubourg and the Mill d'Uhrbruck that cut from the firebreak south into the woods, almost to the road. There, on the east side of a little bridge over the draw, were placed the two Company M machine guns that had been employed throughout the night farther to the east. The guns formed part of a thin defensive line that included a platoon of riflemen drawn from the 3rd Platoon, Company K, and the remains of Captain Bugno's battered Company L platoon.

The veterans of the previous night's action greeted the newcomers with silent gratitude. Company I, off to the north side of the road, and Company K, to the south of the road, looked on as the men of the 314th shoved off into the woods toward the Mill d'Uhrbruck.

About 200 yards from the mill they encountered heavy German fire. After fighting for about an hour and a half the 314th withdrew to a line that ran south from a point midway between the draw and the mill. While not linking up with the 1st Battalion, they hit the Germans near the mill so hard that they prevented them from launching their own attack. The two companies dug in and established new positions around noon, tying in with the 222nd's Company B. The two Company M machine guns and the 3rd Platoon, Company K, which had been forced to pull back when Bugno withdrew, were now able to return to their original positions.

The unit's history summed up the action: We took a mauling, but held our ground. We had proved that the Americans could fight with a cold passion and a fury even without that unlimited supply of material which so many believe is responsible for American success in battle.


This article was written by Allyn Vannoy and originally appeared in the February 2001 issue of World War II magazine. For more great articles subscribe to World War II magazine today!

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67 Responses to “Operation Nordwind: U.S. Army's 42nd Infantry Division Stood its Ground During World War II”


  1. 1

    [...] Operation Norwind For those of you that do not know. The Battle of the Bulge 9The Watch on the Rhine) weas but one of two attacks that Hitler planned. The other Operation norwind took place in early January. They attecked south to Alcase and Strasborg. At first there was some success. But it too faltered. Check out the URL below. HistoryNet ? Operation Nordwind: U.S. Army's 42nd Infantry Division Stood its Ground During Wo… [...]

  2. 2
    David Cornelius says:

    I hit pay dirt! I always heard that my uncle PFc Walter Neef was wounded at the bulge but could never place the 42nd div there. I am grateful and he is still alive!

  3. 3
    Laura Weimar says:

    My father was in the 42nd Infantry, what is the Indianhead symbol??

  4. 4
    W. Kennedy says:

    Ms. Weimar: You may have garbled information. The Indianhead patch (It has an Indian head with warbonnet in profile, on a white star, on a black shield)belongs to the US 2nd Infantry Division, which had the 9th, 23rd & 38th Infantry Regiments. It is a regular army unit and exists today, located in Korea.

  5. 5
    John Curley says:

    This is great. My father served in the 42nd division during WWII
    and to the best of my knowledge was part of Task Force Linden.
    While I have no idea which regiment/company/platoon he was
    in, having this level of detail available for some of the battles
    helps me relive his experiences.

    Thanks

  6. 6
    Louis D. Kramer says:

    I served in Compamy "B" 222nd Infantry, 42nd Rainbow Division in WWII. Some of the information in this account is not quite right. "B" 222nd Inf. moved from Ohlungen to Uhlwiller just after 0100 Hours we moved towards the forest in two columns. Upon reaching the forest we were to form a skirmish line and move thru the Ohlungen Forest. I was the forth man in the right hand column. When the first man was about 25 yards from the trees I had a feeling that things were not right so I hit the ground. In just seconds the night looked like the Fourth of July as three German machine guns opened up. One firing into the field to the right of the roadway. A second firing into the field to the left of the roadway. The third was spraying both sides of the roadway. Had I not been on the ground I might not be writing this. The others had not hit the ground and were either wounded (15) or killed (8) that morning. Much of our story was never told because our Company Commander Capt. William Mueller quarantined every one so his error in forming the skirmish line at the forest line instead of our move out of Uhlwiller. The 222nd Infantry received the "Presidential Unit Citation" for this action. I was awarded the Bronze Star for my part in this operation. The remaining information is factual, Lou Kramer, "B" 222nd Inf. 42nd Rainbow Division.

    • 6.1
      1st. lt salvatore a debenedetto says:

      hello Louis nice to talk to you.
      I was in the 222nd Co K 3rd bat 42nd Rainbow div, I never heard about the Presidential Unit Citation until I read from you, is this something I must apply for.were you at the occupation of Austria in 1945? I also served with the 262nd with the 66th panther div. I served under Gen Collins, Gen Kramer under Patton I was in from 43 to 46. France, Germany, Belgium, Austria. please get back to me, thank you stay well.

      tootie

      • 6.1.1
        David Clark says:

        Lt. Debenedetto,

        The Presidential Unit Citation was awarded posthumously 10 Jan 2001. If you cannot find a copy of the award or other documents pertaining to the citation, simply provide me with an email address and I will forward copies of those documents to you.

      • 6.1.2
        K. Desoto says:

        Hello my grandfather was in the 42nd Rainbow Div. and I was wondering if any of you guys know of how to get any information on him? His name was Roy Prado the only info I could find on him was his discharge papers, which doesn't tell me much. They said most of the service records for WWII vets was burned in a fire back in the 70's. If any of you guys know of any information on him or where I can obtain such information it would be much appreciated. He passed away back in 2010 and when I would ask him about some of his war stories he would mention certain things about Hagenau forest. I still have his Rainbow shoulder patch along with other memorabilia he acquired throughout his service. Thanks for your service guys!

  7. 7
    Craig Wigans says:

    I read Mr. Kramers comments and I wonder If you could recall what artillery battalion supported "b" co. My dad was a forward observer for the 392nd "B " battery. He was attached to the 222nd, but he can't recall which companys they followed. I would be grateful for any information you might have. Thank you.

    • 7.1
      David Clark says:

      Craig,

      Officially the 222nd Infantry Regiment was assigned to the Seventh Army, VI Army Group, VI Corps, 42nd "Rainbow" Infantry Division, 3rd Battalion as of 24 Dec 1944. This assignment is what we now know as "Task Force Linden." That appears to have been the case until it changed to the XXI Corps effective 25 Mar 1945. I found a "Detachment" effective from 2 Apr 1945 to 8 Apr 1945 wherein they were attached to the 12th US Armored Division "The Hellcats." The next record I have shows a change to the XV Corps, effective from 19 Apr 1945 to 21 Apr 1945. Task Force Linden was dissolved, effective 6 Feb 1945. Hopefully this information can help narrow down your efforts to identify the particular Artillery Battalion.

      • 7.1.1
        Craig Wigans says:

        David, Thanks for the info. Dad was in the 392nd FA btn. B batt. He carried the radio and called in fire commands while following a Captain in the 222nd. Unfortunately he can't remember the captain's name or what company/regiment he was in. That's why I was wondering if anyone knew which artillery battalions/ batteries supported which infantry regiment/ companies during this particular time. If I was able to drop some names maybe it would jog his memory. I'm trying to get as much information as I can written down so this history isn't lost. Thanks, Craig

  8. 8
    SCHALCK Cédric says:

    Hello,

    My family lives in the mill Neubourg since the early 1900s. During the war a soldier named Raleigh Rollins of the 42nd Rainbow Division 3nd Battalion 222nd regiment? /? came to my grandmother from the rubble of the mill for the shield. Does anyone know the place and have pictures during the war?
    My father and I restore a Dodge WC52.
    Does the 3nd batalion there were dodges WC52?
    Do you have any details on the fighting that took place on the front of moder?

    Sincerely Cédric

    • 8.1
      David Clark says:

      Cedric, you can go to the website of the 42nd Rainbow Division or simply search "Task Force Linden" and obtain some detailed accounts of the fighting that took place on 24 Jan 1945 through 25 Jan 1945. You will find some very detailed accounts by looking at "Operation Nordwind: U.S. Army's 42nd Infantry Division Stood its Ground During World War II" as well. The article was originally published by World War II magazine. Published Online 31 Aug 2006. The 222nd Infantry Regiment established a front that ran from Neubourg to the town of Schweighausen. Maybe that will help?

  9. 9
    Richard Shold says:

    My Father, Gordon I Shold(deceased 1983)was a "pioneer" for the 22nd inf, first in Co E, and then 3rd btl, hq co.
    "Pioneers" were a PC way of saying you will be no man's land, between the lines, advancing to clerar land mines/boobytraps or setting land mines on a withdrawl. He was awarded the bronze star for setting a road block(land mines)under fire the night of Jan 24, 1945 near Neuborg.
    He was at the liberation of Dachau and was later wounded near Garmish at the end of the war looking for SS in the mountains.
    I have a number of pictures of his service and a pass personally signed by Harold Bugno, mentioned in this article, when they were in Oklahoma for training before shipping out.
    Would like to contact anyone whose father/grandfather/uncle/etc may have served with my Dad then.

    Thanks,
    Dick Shold
    Madison, Wi

    • 9.1
      David Clark says:

      Richard,

      My Uncle was in 'F' Company, 222nd Infantry Regiment. He was KIA on 25 Jan 1945 but I'd definitely like to contact you or any of the men who served during the battle of Alsace. I set up an email address exclusively for this purpose at legallyshafted1@yahoo.com. Thanks.

    • 9.2
      Bruce Bugno says:

      My uncle is the Harold Bugno that you're referring to. I don't know a lot about him other than what I have researched but would love to contact you and possibly get a copy of the signed pass.

  10. 10
    Richard Shold says:

    My e-mail is rshold@charter.net thought it would be printed in my post above, but was not.

  11. 11
    k.r.luckey says:

    This is for Cedric Schalck.
    Sadly, Raleigh Rollins died 2 weeks ago at the age of 87. He was in touch with your family, having brought his family to your mill and home 2 times in the past 25 years. I believe your family has his address in Georgia, or leave your email address here and we will gladly respond.
    Please give your family our regards.

  12. 12
    k.r.luckey says:

    Sadly Raleigh Rollins died 2 weeks ago at the age of 87. His family visited your family home and the mill where that ferocious battle was fought , 2 times in 25 years. If you have any other questions please leave your email address, or write to his address . or leave your address. How is Claudine?
    We hope your family is well

  13. 13
    Paul Brown, Jr. says:

    Thanks for the article. My dad was in Company B of the 222nd. He was awarded the bronze star for taking over and maning a machine gun position. He has never ever talked about that battle or for that matter any of the other battles he took part in. He is now 87 years of age and in ill health.

  14. 14
    SCHALCK Cédric says:

    This is for k.r.luckey

    My Email adress is cedric.schalck@wanadoo.fr

  15. 15
    Anthony Nicosia says:

    My father, Anthony Nicosia, also fought in the 222nd Inf., although I don't recall what Company he was assigned. He passed a number of years ago, however if anyone recalls having served with him or had a family member who did I would enjoy hearing from you. Also my Mom turns 80 years young this year, and if anyone can assist me in how I can obtain a copy of the Presidential Unit Citation I would like to give it to her for her birthday.

  16. 16
    Jim Lacey says:

    TO LOU KRAMER

    This may make an interesting book — can you call me 703 845-2383

    or e-mail jimlacey1@msn.com

  17. 17
    Steve Vines says:

    My father, James Wade Vines (Jay) was in the 42nd division. He rarely spoke of his service but I remember when I was about 10 a war buddy of his came for a visit. Dad told me that the reason that the man's face was scarred was that he was wounded in a battle while crossing a large clearing in the woods. After the battle was over the were checking for wounded comrades and they noticed that this man was alive and they got him back to an aid station.

    Later he would enter into Dachau, but he didn't want to talk about that much. My Grandmother told us of that when we asked later. Dad passed away in 2007 at age 90.

    If anyone has any more articles on the 42nd and it's battles I would appreciate a pointer in that direction.

    Thanks,

    snjvines0109@aol.com

  18. 18
    Steven Skaggs says:

    My father, Thomas Skaggs Jr., was a machine gunner in Company E. He and two others were captured in the wee hours of the 25th having exhausted all machine gun rounds and down to last shot in the 45s. They had held off all night without ever getting order to retreat. He was liberated from Stalag IXB 2-27-45. Dad died in 1987 after a great later life.

    • 18.1
      Tamera Venneman Vestal says:

      Hi Steven,

      My father Charles R. Venneman, from Chillicothe, Missouri was very good friends with a Thomas Skaggs. They were both in the 14th Armored Division, but were separated. Dad was injured on January 13th and shipped to a hospital in England. My Dad has had me do a search for his friend, and I just came across this letter while doing research for my daughter on World War II. Is it possible that your father was my Dad's friend. I just read to him what you wrote and it saddened him.
      I look forward to hearing from you!

      Thanks very much,
      Tamera

  19. 19
    Steven Skaggs says:

    I'm sorry – I meant to say Thomas Skaggs, Jr was liberated from Stalag 9B on April 2nd, not in February. I'd love to hear from anyone who knows how to discover battalion or platoon he was with. He was a heavy machine gunner.

    S.Skaggs(at)louisville.edu

    Thanks!

  20. 20
    P. Naumann says:

    My father, Quentin Naumann, served in the 222nd Company H in the mortar platoon. He led the platoon, and at some point was briefly the Company commander and at times the Company Executive Officer, but maybe that was during the occupation. He passed away in June 2008. He did not speak much about the war, or of Dachau, until recent years when we pressed, and even then not about the grit, blood, fear, horrors, pains. If anybody knew him or if your father served with him, I would like to hear from you.
    Thanks.

  21. 21
    kelvinbush says:

    my uncle sgt leslie parker mccormick was killed 1-12-1945 in alsace france. I never got to meet him but always wondered how he died. any info would be appreciated.

  22. 22
    STEVEN CERVANTES says:

    I had a great uncle in the 222nd infantry 42 division his name was claro cadena and was killed in action 1-24-45. No one in the family knows if this article was the actual fight he was in. I say this is it. thanks

  23. 23
    STEVEN CERVANTES says:

    post note: Claro Cadena I dont know his company…would like any survivors who may have known him get in contact with me
    at fredmorinaga@embarqmail.com

    thank you

  24. 24
    Rod says:

    I've created a 42nd Rainbow ID Facebook page honoring my Grandfather, and those he served with. Please join us:

    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=24962&post=1740428&uid=162748178888#/group.php?gid=162748178888

  25. 25
    Lance Ward says:

    My Grandfather was Company G, Commander, Jere Palmes who was KIA shortly after this action. This is a awesome account of the 222nd's battle history and my Grandfather's unit. Ironically or due to genetics, I ended up getting comissioned as a infantry officer (USA) and spent my duty in Germany / Bosnia / Kosovo. Thanks for the info.
    Sui Sponte

    • 25.1
      Tom Klisz says:

      Dear Lance my father John Klisz served with your grand father during this battle. He always spoke of your grand father as the best soldier he ever new. He was so impressed with your grandpa and his bravery that he named his second son,my brother Gerald after your grandfather .I would lone to hear from you someday.Tom Klisz

    • 25.2
      Travis Reynolds says:

      Lance, my grandfather, Gene Norman, also served in Company G and fought in this action, apparently under the command of your grandfather. Thanks for sharing. Always on the look out for information from other brothers in arms.

  26. 26
    joe padilla says:

    My father "Wimpy" Tom Padilla also served with the 222nd. He passed away in 1992

  27. 27
    Trent Lorrekovich says:

    To P Naumann,
    My father Charles "rocky" Lorrekovich also served in the 222nd Company H in a heavy weapon platoon. He was a Tech. SGT. Don't know if they knew each other. Do you?
    Trent

    • 27.1
      P. Naumann says:

      Just discovered your reply. And I just spoke with David Walker who was part of the same Company H, and the same platoon as my father, Quentin Naumann. David said theirs was the 3 Mortar platoon if I understood correctly. I suppose records exist somewhere with which we could figure out if "Rocky" served alongside Quentin Naumann, David Walker, and I should add, Morris Eisenstein.

  28. 28
    Peter Munsing says:

    My father, Stefan "Steve" Munsing, was with Companies A and C of the 222nd according to the records I've seen. He carried a machine gun. He was wounded in Alsace, so I'm not sure if he was on this action–he was in on the liberation of Dachau, and what he would only describe as some "really rough"fighting against SS units in the mountains approaching Austria. After the war he was in the Occupation forces and then moved on to other government work. He passed on in 1995–I'd be interested if anyone has any records that place what companies he was in.
    Anyone can write me at : quartetwyo@gmail.com

    Like many of you, my dad wouldn't talk much about the war. He liked Clark. He did say of officers in general that most cared only about their own record and didn't care too much about who got killed along the way, so he probably witnessed some of the wrong moves if not at the Hagenau then in the Voges.

    All the best.

  29. 29
    Kim Kirk says:

    My great Uncle, Antonio "Tony" Weber served with the 42nd during their entire European campaign. He earned 3 Bronze Stars during his deplyment. He didn't talk about his war experience. Uncle Tony passed away in his hometown of nevada, MO, last week at the age of 91. He was a great, great man. I'd like to know more about him if anybody out there might remember him. The 42nd, apparently was a true representation of the great generation. KK

  30. 30
    Chris Hill says:

    My grandfather Carley C. White served with the 42nd in WWII. He never talked about it, I am interested in more information on what all he experienced.

  31. 31
    J. Kelly says:

    My great uncle Forest Reynolds was a rifleman in Co. K 222nd Infantry Reg. Any info anyone had about him would be very much appreciated. He died in 1995 in Alabama, where he was from.

    • 31.1
      Al Sumrall says:

      We have the regimental book and the division book somewhere, my Dad recently moved so there is till a lot of stuff in boxes. My dad Eldon A. Sumrall served in Company K, 222nd.
      alsumrall2001@yahoo.com

  32. 32
    Al Sumrall says:

    My father, Eldon A. Sumrall, was in Co. K 222nd, has it on his license plate. Still going strong.

    • 32.1
      Teresa Slack says:

      I am looking for any information about my Uncle. I'm hoping maybe your father can help me.

      His name was Edward M. Kennedy, he was a second Lieutenant in the 42nd Infantry. 222d company K

      When he cam back from Germany he told my mom, his little sister about the liberation of the concentration camp.. To my knowledge it was the only time he spoke of it…my mother remembers few very gruesome details.

      My Uncle died a few years back and took his memories of Germany with him. Neither my mother or his own children ever heard about what happened in Germany outside of a small article regarding his receiving the Silver Star.

      Last week I was visiting my Mom and she handed me a box of jewelry. It was jewelry that my uncle Ed had collected in Germany and he gave it all to her. She in turn passed it on to me and asked me to find out anything I could about it..

      Outside of his actions in Furth, Germany I know little else about my Uncle. I would like to find out anything else that I can about him if possible.

      I appreciate any information you can give me.

      Teresa Slack

  33. 33
    Jean Leslie Baker says:

    My father Ted Baker, now 86 years old, fought in Alsace with the Linden Task Force. I'm currently typing and posting on a blog his writings about his WWII army days. I bumped into your site while verifying some spellings of places around Haguenau. The blog may be of historical interest to some of your readers. Here's the address:
    http://tippecansett.blogspot.com/

    • 33.1
      David Clark says:

      @ Jean Baker,

      Thank you for the link to your Dad's blog. I thoroughly enjoyed it and bookmarked it for future visits. Please pass on my thanks to him for sharing his memories in such a pleasant recollection and for his service!

  34. 34
    herman roberson says:

    My dad was in co. f. He talked non at all about the war until desert storm. Then out of the blue he came to my house and told me several stories. He was a light machine gunner and commaned the platoon on times when the Lt was killed. He told me I was nam

  35. 35
    herman roberson says:

    My dad was in co. f. He talked non at all about the war until desert storm. Then out of the blue he came to my house and told me several stories. He was a light machine gunner and commaned the platoon on times when the Lt was killed. He told me I was named after one of his buddys. If anybody knows of him or some other war details of co. F it would be great to hear some of the stories they might have been told.My dad passed away in 2002,but he is still my hero.

  36. 36
    Glenda Willis-Brayman says:

    My dad is Glenn H. Willis from Magnolia, Arkansas. He was there in Hagenau, Germany on January 24, 1945. He is still living at 89 years old. If anyone knows him or a man named Pt. Vermillion please let me know.

  37. 37
    F. Weiser says:

    looking for anyone who served with Lavern Weiser from the 42nd rainbow division 222.

  38. 38
    1st lt salvatore a DeBenedetto says:

    I was in the 222 reg 42nd Rainbow div at the battle of the bulge in 1945 under Gen. Collins, I would like to get this award before I pass I am 86 years old, if you need more info you can contact me any time. I also served under Gen Kramer with the 262 reg 66th div and Gen. Patton with the Red Ball Express I was a T5 with a field commission to 1st Lt Purple Heart and a the bronze Star and occupation Vienna Austria and others
    thanking you in advance

  39. 39
    1st lt salvatore a DeBenedetto says:

    help me get my award of the presidential unit citation I was in the 222reg 42nd rainbow div. 1945 I served with Gen Collins at the battle of the budge at Alsace, and Ardenness for more info please contact me thanking you

  40. 40
    1st lt salvatore a DeBenedetto says:

    hello David
    i would like to send you my life storey, i need your address

  41. 41
    carolyn mcdonald says:

    My daddy, Henry C. Frame, was in the 222nd in WWII, does anyone remember him or his friend Marvin Barton, they were at Dauchau also. Both of these men are alive and well. Daddy lives in Chapel Hill, TN and Mr. barton lives in Tiff City Mo. I would love to be able to tell my dad that some of his friends are out there.

    my e-mail is briarworn@hotmail.com

  42. 42
    goran runfelt says:

    To whom it may concerne,
    Looking for anyone who served with my father Sergeant George
    Walkers at the 250th Battery, 42nd Inf. Div. in Salzburg 1945/46.
    He returned to the States 6th of February 1946

  43. 43
    Keith says:

    Recently I have had the honor to meet COL (ret) T.R. Mackechnie. I was told he served with the 42nd. I fail to find the words that describe my deep respect for him, and all those who fought then. Thank you.

  44. 44
    Keith says:

    Here is a link to a map that COL Mackechnie drew depicting where the 42nd Inf Rainbow Div served during WWII. Enjoy.
    http://www.mickeymartins.com/JPG/cartographrainbow.jpg

  45. 45
    David Bowler says:

    I just learned from my father that he was wounded during this battle. He had never talked about it until he found this article. Up to now all the stories have been just that… stories. They were the things movies were made of. Knowing my father was there, and reading what was happening has put things in an entirely different light. I am so grateful for the "kids" who sacrificed so much.

  46. 46
    1st. lt. Salvatore DeBenedetto says:

    Hello Dave
    I would like you to resend those documents on the presidential unit citation, I lost them when my computer was hit by over voltage. thanking you in advance
    tootie

  47. 47
    Jennifer says:

    Keith, I have an ORIGINAL copy of that map as well as many pictures, original ribbons, post cards, etc. My grandfather was a member of Company G, 232nd Infantry, 42nd Rainbow Division and was MIA for 31 days from 1/5/45 until 2/8/45 during the battles in what was then called Austria. His service was a duty to him and he lived with nightmares for many years, to me, his service made him a hero in my eyes. He dies in 2002 of lung problems. In his will he left me his photo albums and artifacts from the war, and next to my children and husband it is my most prized possession. I was the only person he ever discussed his experiences.

  48. 48
    Travis Reynolds says:

    Lance, my grandfather, Gene Norman, also served in Company G and fought in this action, apparently under the command of your grandfather. Thanks for sharing. Always on the look out for information from other brothers in arms.

  49. 49
    Joe Machol says:

    Do any of you know PFC Birney T. Chic Havey? He was in the 42nd Division 222nd AT Company. He earned the Silver Star 2Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart. Chic is from St. Louis, Missouri. He has told me all about Task Force Linden.

  50. 50
    Joe Machol says:

    One more bit of Info on Chic Havey A german pilot flew really low and clipped a truck and crashed cut the pilots body in half but was wearing a carabou white coat. Chic took it of the upper torso which had no blood on it and used it the rest of the war as a pillow. His Silver Star Citation refrences PVT Dickey and PVT Crews

  51. 51
    Miles M. Capps III says:

    My Father Miles Mayo Capps JR was a member of the 42 Rainbow Division when they went to Germany in 1945, and he told me of their journey to Dachau concentration camp, although I don't have much true history of the events surrounding the wartime endeavor. I am hoping I can find out what company unit my father served with,and if anyone knows PFC Capps. My father passed away in 1991.



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