159th ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION
To Whom it May Concern:
When the German counter offensive started 17 December 1944, this battalion was attached to the Fourth Infantry Division. That same day, the unit moved into the line with a sector of responsibility from Scheidgen, Luxembourg to Michelshof, Luxembourg. Battalion C.P. was situated at Consdorf. No supporting artillery was assigned and as a result operation met with considerable opposition.
On 19 December 1944, one battery of the 419th Field Artillery, 10 Armored Division, established their CP in same building as our own. When the Battery C.O. learned we were without Artillery support he immediately assigned a forward observer to the battalion and within twenty (20) minutes he had joined our "C" Company, who attacked Hill "313" 1-1/2 Kilometers North-East of Scheidgen. Using his tank, the observer pushed forward with out troops and placed direct fire where needed. When the objective was secured, the observer placed himself of vantage, bringing artillery fire on observed German positions and troop concentrations, thereby warding off what appeared at the time to be a precarious situation.
The observer remained with the troops until mid-afternoon when attacking enemy troops threatened to surround and cut off the only route of withdrawal. He withdrew only when artillery fire was no longer an ally, and capture of his tank was imminent.
After being overrun, our troops withdrew, reassembled, and assumed a defensive position along road between Scheidgen and Michelshof. The observer rejoined the battalion at Michelshof. For two days in this position devastating enemy artillery fire was directed on the positions causing many casualties. In an effort to locate the enemy guns the observer exposed himself to small arms and artillery fire continuously.
Again fire missions were called and effectively delivered on enemy positions.
On 22 December an attacking formation of enemy troops moved in front of the positions. Fire was held until they were within 100 yards. At that point all automatic weapons opened up. Artillery fire was called upon and laid effectively 200 yards away. German bodies could be seen flying through the air as they were lifted from the ground in front of the positions, and also from the woods from which they came.
When the smoke of battle died away 142 bodies were counted from observer's positions.
A seriously wounded prisoner taken during the engagement related that he was only one alive from his company of 150 men.
The fire missions delivered by the 419th Field Artillery were always completely effective. The cooperation given by the observer and the Battery Commander was outsanding. The efficient teamwork of the 419th Field Artillery was largely responsible for the success this battalion achieved while supporting the Fourth Infantry Division.
Appreciation is hereby expressed.
CERTIFIED TRUE COPY
Lt. Col, 159TH Engr., C. Bn.,
HERBERT D. BENSON
Major, Field Artillery,