On December 25th, the Germans attacked in pressure in Hemroulle and it led to an incredible battle involving skirmish strains built up of artillerymen, cooks and other individuals.
This photo goes alongside with the next tale I picked off the net. This is the space to the east of the street from Champs to Hemroulle. Tank destroyers of the 705th arrived in from this space and these woods to the proper to sign up for C Company of the 502nd which was off to the proper . A Company was perfectly off to the still left
Below is a tale I pulled off the net
Just as the first gentle of Christmas morning broke, the S-2 of the 1st Battalion, To start with Lieutenant Samuel B. Nickels, Jr., arrived at a lifeless run into the château exactly where the Headquarters, 502d, was. “There are 7 enemy tanks and lots of infantry coming above the hill on your still left,” he mentioned.16 He experienced first sighted them shifting alongside parallel to the ridge southwest of Hemroulle. (Plate 36.) They had been placing toward the ground exactly where the 502d and 327th joined arms.seventeen
The Rolle Château was emptied practically in advance of Lieutenant Nickels experienced concluded speaking. Cooks, clerks, radio guys and the chaplains collected underneath Captain James C. Stone, the 502d headquarters commandant, and rushed west to the up coming hill.eighteen From the château gate at Rolle, the street dips down by means of a deep swale then rises onto the ridge exactly where it joins the major street into Hemroulle, about two miles northwest of Bastogne. The street line is on significant ground all the way until finally just in advance of it reaches Hemroulle exactly where it drops down once again to the village.19 Captain Stone’s scratch headquarters pressure ran across the swale and took up firing positions close to the street and struggling with westward.20 In a number of minutes they had been joined by the guys of the regiment’s wounded who had been able to walk. Main Douglas T. Davidson, the regimental surgeon of the 502d, experienced run to the chateau stable that was serving as a short term medical center, rallied his patients, handed them rifles and then led them out from the tanks.21
They could see the tanks coming on toward them now. From the archway of Rolle Château it was about 600 yards to the first line of German armor. (Plate 38.) Colonels Chappuis and Cassidy and the radio operator looked westward from the archway and could see just the define of the enemy motion in the dim gentle. They had been now the only guys at the headquarters.22
Colonel Cassidy termed Main Hanlon and instructed him to depart Company B exactly where it was but to get the business ready to secure its personal rear and then attempt to get Company C confronted to the west to meet up with the German tanks as they arrived on.23
The 327th Glider Infantry was now engaged. At 0500 Colonel Harper experienced listened to by mobile phone from Company A of his 3d Battalion that eighteen enemy tanks had been fashioned for assault just east of Mande-St.-Étienne.24 At 0710 the German armor supported by infantry of the 77th Grenadier Regiment smashed by means of the positions held by Firms A and B.twenty five In coming by means of the providers, the tanks fired all their guns and the German infantrymen using the tanks blazed away with their rifles. The spearpoint of the German armor experienced now broken very clear by means of to the battalion command submit.26 At the 327th regimental headquarters Colonel Harper listened to by telephone of the breakthrough, and on the heels of that message arrived phrase from Lieut. Colonel Cooper that his 463d Parachute Discipline Artillery Battalion now experienced the German tanks underneath fireplace.27 At 0715 Colonel Allen, the 3d Battalion (327th) commander, termed and mentioned that the tanks had been proper on him.
Harper asked, “How close?”
“Right below!” answered Allen. “They are firing stage-blank at me from 150 yards range. My models are however in situation but I have acquired to run.” But Colonel Allen’s battalion experienced not been wholly taken by shock. “Tanks are coming toward you!” Captain Preston E. Towns, commanding Company C, experienced telephoned to Allen.
“Wherever?” Allen experienced asked.
“If you seem out your window now,” mentioned Captain Towns, “you can expect to be seeking proper down the muzzle of an 88.”28
Christmas Day was just then breaking. Colonel Allen stayed at his 3d Battalion, 327th, command submit only prolonged sufficient to seem out of his window, and prove what Towns experienced instructed him, and to call Colonel Harper and convey to him he was getting out. Then he ran as rapid as he could go and the German tanker fired at him as he sprinted toward the woods. He could see the muzzle blasts above his shoulder in the semidarkness. But all of the photographs had been major him. The Germans had been providing him credit for additional pace than his legs possessed.
Two members of Allen’s personnel adopted him. As they all arrived out of the other finish of the woods, guys of Colonel Chappuis’ 502d Parachute Infantry alongside the ridge street saw them and instantly
pinned them down with weighty rifle fireplace. The three then crawled again to the woods, circled south by means of a very little valley and returned to Hemroulle.
As they arrived out of the woods the 2nd time, they had been fired on by artillerymen of Colonel Cooper’s 463d Parachute Discipline Artillery Battalion who experienced fashioned a skirmish line in circumstance the enemy broke by means of the infantry. But Colonel Allen was getting exhausted of all this and he waved his handkerchief vigorously until finally eventually the gunners reduced their rifles and enable the party appear in.
Colonel Harper, on getting the mobile phone call built by Allen just in advance of Allen experienced to dash from his headquarters, recognized that there was now no control above the 3d Battalion, 327th. So he despatched his personal S-3, Main Jones, with his radio to Colonel Cooper’s artillery command submit and Jones acquired there just as Allen did, and he acquired by means of at the moment to the providers with the radio.29
In the meantime the ahead line experienced held (Map 21, website page 163), partly due to the fact of the quick imagining of Captain McDonald of Company B. He experienced listened to Colonel Allen’s urgent report to Colonel Harper above his personal telephone and he at the moment termed Firms A and C by radio. “The battalion commander has experienced to get out,” he mentioned to them. “I can see you from exactly where I am. Your ideal guess is to continue to be exactly where you are. Keep limited to your positions and battle again at them.”30
That was what they did. The major physique of the German armor rolled straight by means of Company A’s lines—18 white-camouflaged tanks shifting in column. The guys of Company A, 327th (To start with Lieutenant Howard G. Bowles was the performing commanding officer), stayed in their foxholes and took it, replying with their rifles and whatsoever other weapons had been at hand. Following the tide of German steel experienced handed above and by means of them, 4 guys of the business had been lifeless and 5 lay wounded. But the sixty eight survivors had been up and fighting, and in the up coming spherical of the fight they captured ninety two German prisoners.31
Acquiring crashed by means of Colonel Harper’s 327th entrance, the German armor split as it arrived on toward the ridge and half of it swung north toward Rolle exactly where Lieutenant Nickels saw it and
warned Colonel Chappuis, commander of the 502d Parachute Infantry, in time for him to make his previous-minute preparation. Firms B and C, 502d, had been even then in column of twos shifting up the street toward Champs.32
As a result significantly Colonel Templeton’s 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion experienced performed only a minor part in the defense of the sector, but their ideal moments had been approaching. Two of the tank destroyers experienced been of some aid to Captain Swanson (Company A, 502d) in his battle for Champs. They had been now in situation there when the German assault acquired underneath way, one particular destroyer in the heart of Champs and a further somewhat to the west of it so placed that it could go over the street to the southwest and the ridge to the
north and northwest. On environment up, the tank destroyer crews manned four device guns on the ground about their centrally situated guns. This situation held when the German infantry shut on Champs and the tank destroyer pressure even spared a number of of its guys to go ahead and aid the paratroopers root the enemy out of the residences.33
Much too, the weighty guns had been employed for close-up interdiction fireplace to maintain the enemy from shifting any deeper into the village. In this do the job, the 37mm. guns, firing canister, had been particularly helpful. Captain Swanson acquired one particular of the tank destroyers, underneath Sergeant Lawrence Valletta, to go ahead and blast a household exactly where about 30 Germans experienced taken go over. Sergeant Valletta moved proper in up coming to the making, skilled his significant gun on the doors and home windows and blew the place apart. He then shelled two additional residences and returned to his unique situation. Just about dawn, he built a 2nd sortie of the exact variety.34
To the southward of Champs exactly where the crisis of the Christmas action was swiftly maturing, the tank destroyers acquired away to a terrible start but then staged a swift restoration.35 Two of them from Company B, 705th Battalion, experienced been in the 327th Glider Infantry space and had been out alongside the street which operates from Rolle toward Grandes-Fanges, a mile to the southwest (this place them to the southward of Company C, 502d Parachute Infantry), when the German assault arrived above the hill.36 The crews experienced at first place their tank destroyers into concealment powering a haystack and from there experienced engaged the enemy armor at a length, knocking out two or three tanks.37 Yet as the power of the German armor grew to become additional evident, they made the decision to withdraw.38 That was how it occurred that they had been shifting again toward Rolle and had been instantly in line with the German tank fireplace when Company C of the 502d Parachute Infantry confronted toward the enemy.39
Both tank destroyers had been knocked out practically immediately.forty The guys of Company C saw them reel and prevent from the enemy fireplace and recognized that the loss of the tank destroyers experienced served spare them the worst part of the blow.forty one
The come upon experienced experienced one particular other strong effect—two tank destroyers from Company C, 705th, had been ready in the woods
powering Colonel Chappuis’ 502d infantrymen. The German armor, self-assured that it was now in total command of the subject, arrived on boldly from the infantry line.forty two Colonel Cassidy (executive of the 502d) experienced despatched a runner sprinting toward the woods to notify the two concealed tank destroyers. The runner experienced been instructed to run from the guns on to Captain George R. Cody’s Company C, 502d, situation and convey to him that the tank destroyers would be backing him up. But he failed to get there in time.forty three
The guns of the 7 Mark IVs had been now firing into Company C. About 15 to 20 German infantrymen had been using on the outside of each individual tank, some firing their rifles. But the ground fog was terrible and their fireplace was erratic. Captain Cody turned his guys about and instructed them to slide again to the edge of the forest. Without having any part of its line breaking into a common dash for the rear, Company C fell again to the shelter of the trees and there took up positions and opened fireplace on the tanks with device guns, bazookas, and rifles. Inspite of the shock of the German assault, this motion was carried out with very little loss and no dysfunction.forty four
Then swiftly, there was a full turning of the predicament as Company C’s first volleys from its new situation took toll of the German infantry clinging to the tanks. Lifeless and wounded pitched from the cars into the snow. As if with the intent of saving their infantry, the tanks veered still left toward Champs and the situation held by Company B, 502d.45
Right up until this instant the two tank destroyers in the woods powering Company C experienced not fired a spherical.46 But as the tank line pivoted and started to go northward alongside the major of the ridge, the flank the German armor grew to become entirely exposed and the two tank destroyers went into action.47 So did Company B, which was now firing at the enemy entrance. 3 of the Mark IVs had been strike and knocked out by the tank destroyer fireplace in advance of they done their turning motion. A single was stopped by a bazooka spherical from Company C. A fifth tank was strike and stopped by a rocket from Captain Stone’s scratch team from Headquarters, 502d.forty eight The infantry using on the tanks had been slash to items by bullet fireplace. As Company C s part of the fight ended there had been
67 German lifeless and 35 prisoners, many of them wounded, in the space about the ruined tanks.forty nine
A single tank did crack by means of Company B and demand on into Champs. Company A, 502d, fired bazookas at it and it was also shelled by a 57mm. gun which experienced taken situation in the village. The tank was strike by the two kinds of fireplace but which weapon built the destroy is uncertain.fifty
Captain James J. Hatch, S-3 of the 502d, experienced long gone ahead to reconnoiter Company A’s predicament and was in the Company A command submit at the time. He listened to the battle likely on outside, grabbed his pistol and opened the doorway. He was seeking straight into the mouth of the tank’s 75mm. gun at a range of 15 yards.
Hatch shut the doorway and mentioned to the other individuals, “This is no place for my pistol.”fifty one
The seventh tank in the German group—it was afterwards identified that this was the exact tank that experienced knocked out the two tank destroyers—was captured intact at Hemroulle.52 By 0900, December twenty five, the action was cleared up about Rolle. Headquarters of the 502d Parachute Infantry experienced termed 101st Division Headquarters and asked about the predicament of 327th Glider Infantry above on its still left. Colonel Kinnard (101st Airborne Division G-3) noted that the 327th’s strains had been typically intact and the predicament there perfectly in hand.fifty three
In the 327th’s sector there experienced been four tank destroyers powering Captain McDonald’s Company B and four powering Lieutenant Bowles’ Company A. Captain Towns’ Company C was unsupported by tank destroyers but Colonel Harper experienced despatched him two Sherman tanks on hearing that the German assault was coming.fifty four
These guns, the bazooka fireplace of the 327th Glider Infantry outfits and the barrage fireplace of Colonel Cooper’s 463d Parachute Discipline Artillery Battalion experienced dealt in detail with that part of the German armor that experimented with to ride on by means of toward Hemroulle soon after breaking Harper’s entrance.fifty five The German tanks had been fired at from so many directions and with these a mixture of fireplace that it was not doable to see or say how each individual tank fulfilled its doom.56 A single battery from the 463d stopped two tanks at a range of 600
yards and then some guys ran out from the battery situation and captured the crews. Eighteen German tanks experienced been observed on that part of the 327th Glider Infantry’s entrance that morning. Eighteen tanks experienced pushed on by means of the infantry. But not one particular acquired away. When the fighting died at previous there had been eighteen disabled German tanks, many of them with fireplace-blackened hulls, scattered out by means of the American positions alongside the ridges working from Hemroulle to Champs.57
In the 502d Parachute Infantry space, the wire maintenance guys experienced saved on functioning proper by means of the fireplace battle and by 0900 the strains had been once again in sound.fifty eight None of the German infantry experienced managed an escape.59
The number of survivors, upon recoiling, had been rounded up by the members of Colonel Allen’s overrun 3d Battalion, 327th. The German tankers died inside their tanks.
Although Company C, 502d, experienced been compelled to engage with out artillery aid due to the fact of the closeness of the action, its losses had been negligible. It was place in situation alongside the significant ground west of the scene of the skirmish. At about the exact time the Company C battle ended, Company A, 502d, was getting Champs underneath control and was doing the previous of its rat looking by means of the village residences. Company B was place above to the eastward of Company A to fill out the line as significantly as the 3d Battalion. In getting to this situation, Company B, 502d, took weighty losses from enemy artillery when shifting across the significant ground north
of Champs, but by 1500 the situation was full (Map 22, rage 167). Company A counted ninety eight Germans killed and seventy nine enlisted guys and 2 officers captured in the Champs action.60
About 0800 on Christmas, 101st Division moved Power Cherry out by means of Hemroulle to a situation on the significant ground alongside the edge of the woods to the southward of the 502d Parachute Infantry. Colonel Cherry stayed there until finally soon after dim to go over the restoration of the 1st Battalion, 327th, situation. He then pulled again to Hemroulle.sixty one A German subject get captured for the duration of the morning battle showed that the German tank and infantry mission that arrived to grief alongside the ridge south and west of Rolle experienced been tried by the one hundred and fifteenth Panzergrenadier Regiment of the fifteenth Panzergrenadier Division (Map 23, website page 168). Two battalions of the 77th Panzergrenadier Regiment, supported by the division artillery of the 26th Volksgrenadier Division, experienced carried out the assault from Champs and to the southward which preceded the Panzer advance.
Christmas working day shut with Colonel Chappuis and Colonel Cassidy of the 502d sitting down down to a desk spread with a can of sardines and a box of crackers.
To all enthusiasts, my reserve, “From Toccoa to the Eagle’s Nest: Discoveries in the Boosteps of the Band of Brothers” is now offered on Amazon, Booksurge and Alibris Many thanks Dalton
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