HEADQUARTERS DIVISION ARTILLERY
10TH ARMORED DIVISION
APO 260 US ARMY
30 December 1944
SUBJECT: Recommendation for Award of Unit Citation.
TO: Commanding General, 10th Armored Division.
(Attention: Ag, Awards and Decorations)
- It is recommended that the 419 Armored Field Artillery Battalion be cited in War Department General Orders for outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy during the period 20-23 December 1944.
- No previous award has been made to this unit.
- No similar recommendation for this unit has been submitted.
- The officer recommending this award has personal knowledge of the acts upon which this recommendation is based.
- This recommendation is also supported by certificates from the Commanding Officers of the units supported by the 419th Armored Field Artillery Battalion during this period. Supporting papers include:
- Letter from Colonel James S. Luckett, Inf, CO Task Force Luckett.
- Letter from Lt. Col. R.P. Staeffler, CE, CO 159th Engineer Combat Battalion.
- Extract from December 1944 After Action Report, 419th Armored Field Artillery Battalion.
- Letter from Major John W. Gorn, Inf, CO 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry.
- Narrative of events upon which the recommendation is based.
- On 20 December 1944 the 10th Armored Division withdrew its troops from the MULLERTHAL (976333), BERDORF (005369), ECHTERNACH (055357) sector in LUXEMBOURG in order to counter a new threat to the north. Having covered the town of BERDORF with heavy fires to enable the remnants of a crippled task force to evacuate that place without a single additional casualty, the 419th Armored Field Artillery Battalion remained in position and furnished artillery support for the troops of other units attempting to hold that sector. As it became apparent to the Commanding Officer, 419th that inadequate artillery support and that at least one unit to the set-up flank was without artillery, he expanded his liaison and observer set-up until he was covering a 2000 mil sector and was supporting four units: Task Force LUCKETT; 1st and 2nd Battalions 12th Infantry; and 159th Combat Engineer Battalion. His position was the only one from which this support could be rendered. It was initially only 600 yards from known enemy infantry; and when a friendly strong point was surrounded and cut off in front, there were no friendly troops for a gap of 1800 yards to the front of the battalion; this gap included the main road from ECHTERNACH to LUXEMBOURG. Although all other artillery in the sector had withdrawn several thousand yards to the rear, where they could longer mass over the sector, and despite heavy caliber artillery fire falling into the area, as well as the continued threat of infantry and mechanized attacks to the front and flanks, the Commanding Officer of the 419th decided to remain in position to give the support which was so sorely needed. He had been given the opportinity by his Division Artillery Commander of withdrawing to a safer location. From 20-23 December the skeleton Infantry Engineer line in this sector as subject to continuous and strong enemy thrusts; and cannoneers, executives, and fire direction personnel worked without relief for four days and three nights, answering all calls for fire during the period. All personnel at the battery positions were pressed into service as cannoneers and ammunition handlers and worked to the exhaustion point in the heavy mud, handling 6000 rounds of ammunition in three days and shifting the tanks with almost each mission on the wide front. The battalion supplied 12 observer and liaison sections at a time, and provided the only continuous means of lateral contact during the operation. Despite the fluid situation in the observers were always so well placed that they frequently fired to good effect within 100 yards of their own and adjacent units. In this operation it is believed that the 419th Armored Field Artillery Battalion accomplished the following: (1) Made possible the successful evacuation of BERDORF; (2) Killed 1000-1500 enemy outright and wonded many more; (3) Kept its own position from being overrun by holding the enemy at arm's length with well-placed fires; (4) Supported in a manner far above the ordinary call of duty or expectations of one field artillery battalion a skeleton and unconnected front of 2000 miles; (5) Materially aided in saving the city of LUXEMBOURG and in permitting the assembly and deployment of the corps which later cut off the enemy salient west and and north of BASTOGNE. It is considered that these were accomplished by the magnificent teamwork of all concerned, rather than by the efforts of individuals; that these accomplishments indicate the highest attainments of a field artillery battalion; and that the work involved reflect a great credit on the Army of the United States.
- Proposed Citation: During the period 19-25 December 1944 the 419th Armored Field Artillery Battalion volunteered to remain in an exposed and sometimes front-line position in order to render artillery support to four units which otherwise have been either inadequately supported or without support altogether. The prompt and effective fires which this battalion delivered over a 2000 mil front in a series of continuous missions for breaking up the recent enemy counter-offensive in the vicinity of ECHTERNACH (055257), KONSDORF (993315), and BREITWEILER (970318). The 419th killed 1000-1500 enemy outright and secured many additional casualties. Its observers and liaison officers furnished the only means of continuous lateral support, in a fluid situation, to an otherwise unconnected front. It is considered that this battalion played a major part in containing the enemy offensive against the city of LUXEMBOURG and in permitting the massing and deployment of friendly reserves. The magnificent teamwork of all concerned, the prompt and accurate fires delivered, and the results obtained are considered the highest attainments of the field artillery battalion and reflect great credit upon the Army of the United States.
Colonel, Field Artillery