later, it was reported that the assault elements were re-ceiving
withering fire from several enemy tanks which were skillfully
emplaced in a draw so that any tank destroyer attempting to engage
them would come under their fire at a range of twenty five hundred
yards. Fully realizing that the enemy tanks with their 88 millimeter
guns had a tremendous advantage both in fire power and armor, the first
platoon moved out. Three destroyers were lost, but their daring
action successfully forced the enemy to withdraw and eliminated a
serious threat to the assault units. At the same time, the other two
platoons moved out, despite the same disadvantage, to engage four
other Tiger tanks, By brilliant maneuvering and firing, the destroyers
succeeded in closing the range, destroying two and forcing the others
to retreat. The audacity and brilliant tactical skill displayed by
the members of Company C, 771st Tank Destroyer Battalion, are worthy
of emula-tion and reflect the highest traditions of the army.
By 20 November Apweiler and Gereonsweiler had been seized by the 406th
Infantry after 2d Armored Division's heavy slugging in the beet and grain
fields around Immendorf. Colonel Hurless had expected to meet resistance
in this area bat his doughboys were hardly prepared for the furious
curtain of fire which greeted them from pillboxes, machine guns, tanks
and German 88's. Snipers lurked in every cellar, atop church steeples
and on roofs. Bitter house-to-house fighting raged for hours. Topflight
Panzer Grenadier and SS troops taking full advantage of community diggings,
demolished buildings, anything that offered shelter, gave ground foot by
foot. By evening of 21 November, however, the high ground over-looking Merz Brook
was in American hands. Only a single ridge remained before the Roer.
Major General E, N, Harmon, then commanding 2d Armored Division, praised Ozark
troops in a letter to General Keating:
"I wish to commend the 406th Infantry Regiment, commanded by
Colonel Hurless, for the highly efficient manner in which it
per-formed its duties and accomplished its missions while
attached to the 2d Armored Division.”
“The attack and capture of Immendorf by the 2d Battalion, 406th Infantry
Regiment, support-ed by Company H, 67th Armored Regiment in
the face of heavy enemy fire and large numbers of enemy anti-tank and
anti-personnel mines, was accomplished promptly with a dashing and
vigorous fighting spirit."
"The attack and capture of Apweiler and Gereonsweiler by the
406th Infantry Regiment in conjunction with the 67th Armored
Regiment and 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 41st Armored Infantry
Regiment, was executed in spite of strong enemy resistance and
difficult weather conditions."
"The subsequent capture of the regimental objective north of Gereonsweiler,
supported by the 3rd Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, was a splendid
example of timing and coordination of all arms. The holding of this
critical terrain feature in the face of determined enemy counterattack
with tanks and infantry, demonstrated the fighting spirit of our infantry
even after several days of hard fighting and in spite of heavy casualties."
"The fighting quality displayed by the 406th Infantry Regiment is in the
best traditions of the service and has won the respect and
commendation of the 2d Armored Division."
For troops whose previous offensive expe-rience had been limited to mock
battles in the Louisiana swamps, who only a few short weeks before had
enjoyed beer in New York, it was a proud accomplishment. Over a thousand
pri-soners had been taken. Two hundred and four German graves had been
filled with their dead. The push to the Roer was well under way.
On 24 November the Division CP
moved from Robroek, Holland to Ubach, Germany, where it remained in a
schoolhouse cellar during the winter. A new realignment of sectors
placed the troops on a defensive line from just south of Lindern to
Ederen. This was to be the line of departure for the Roer battle,
scheduled to jump off 29 November.