XIX CORPS COMBAT CHRONOLOGY

 
 

OCTOBER 1944

 

1 October:
While 1st Belgian Brigade and 113th Cavalry Group are holding left flank and attacking north toward Wessem Canal and Roermond, south of the Peel marshes, and elements of the 7th Armored Division attack south from Oploo, 30 miles farther north, main body of XIX Corps prepares for push along broad front north of Aachen, seeking to penetrate Siegfried Line between Aachen and Geilenkirchen, 13 miles north. This section of Line is a belt of pillboxes, approximately 1 1/2 miles in width, paralleling Wurm River on the east.

 

2 October:
XIX Corps effort to penetrate Siegfried Line about 10 miles north of Aachen starts with 30th Infantry Division attack at 1055 hours, following a dive-bombing attack and artillery preparation of target area east of Wurm River between Geilenkirchen and Herzogenrath. Despite strong resistance offered by accurate enemy mortar and artillery fire, 30th Infantry Division elements cross Wurm River and by nightfall are approaching Ubach, 3 miles south of Geilenkirchen. 117th Infantry Regiment advances 1200 yards and takes high ground at Palenberg, 1 mile northwest of Ubach. XIX Corps Engineers bridge Wurm River at Marienberg - Palenberg in afternoon, but equipment mires in mud banks and armor is unable to cross in time to be employed this day, leaving 119th Infantry Regiment stopped along railroad just east of river, where some of its elements surround fortified castle opposite Rimburg. Woods in this vicinity are held by machine gunners and mortarmen who withdraw into pillboxes when artillery is placed on area. Meanwhile, 29th Infantry Division makes diversionary attack northwest of Geilenkirchen and seizes  Hatterath, Birgden, and Kreuzrath -- towns about a mile north of Geilenkirchen - Sittard highway -- against moderate small arms and artillery fire. To the north, on XIX Corps extreme left flank, 7th Armored Division makes little headway toward Overloon, 3 miles northwest of Venray, meeting AT fire and anti-personnel mines. Farther south elements of the 113th Cavalry Group establish bridgehead across stream northeast of Sittard, coming under strong small arms and AT fire.

 

3 October:
CCB, 2nd Armored Division, crosses Wurm River at Marienberg - Palenberg; tank dozers, engineer units, and flame throwers are placed near head of all columns for use in capturing and sealing enemy pillboxes. After fierce house-to-house fighting, 30th Infantry Division's 117th Infantry Regiment is in center of Ubach by noon. Enemy still strong in woods east of Rimburg. TF Quinn organized by 119th Infantry Regiment to outflank this area, comes down on east of woods from north, but Germans continue to hold woods, through surrounded. The fortified castle is reduced and occupied by 1035 hours, however, and at least 8 pillboxes knocked out on slope beyond it. 29th Infantry Division front runs roughly from Teveren, 2 miles SW of Geilenkirchen, to Sittard, along enemy defensive line of field fortifications in front of Siegfried Line, with which they tie in at Geilenkirchen northwest to vicinity of Maaseik on the Meuse, are the 183rd and 176th Infantry Divisions. Royal Netherlands Stoottroepen support the 29th Infantry Division by operating security patrols in rear of Division front line elements.  In the north, CCA of 7th Armored Division beats off two enemy counterattacks from the woods southwest of Overloon. CCR incurs heavy tank casualties in advance toward Overloon from north.

 

4 October:
TF's 1 and 2 of CCB, 2nd Armored Division, thrust east and north, respectively, through Ubach, making gains of about 1 1/2 miles against dug-in tanks, AT guns, mortars, and Panzerfausts. Infantry and tank counterattack from southwest strikes 117th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, at Ubach and is stopped at main line after heavy fighting. Two more enemy attacks are made during the day and are similarly contained, although CCB lost 11 tanks and 1 tank destroyer during these actions. Dawn  counterattack also hits 119th Infantry Regiment positions east of Rimburg woods, near M. Herbach, and is thrown back without serious loss of ground. Arty fire is determining factor in breaking up these counterattacks. South of the breakthrough area, 120th Infantry Regiment attacks east for slight gain, occupying west half of Kerkrade. In 29th Infantry Division sector, enemy successfully resists attempts of 115th Infantry Regiment to penetrate woods north and east Hatterath, 2 miles northwest of Geilenkirchen. Elements of 115th Infantry Regiment occupying Schierwaldenrath, 2 1/2 miles northeast of Gangelt, are overrun by enemy. 8 miles northwest of Geilenkirchen, at Breberen, 175th Infantry Regiment establishes bridgehead across Saeffeler Creek. In Overloon area, 7th Armored Division forces suffer severe battle casualties as fox holes change and rechange hands in the immediate vicinity of the town.

 

5 October:
Intense AT fire from north and east forces withdrawal of elements of CCB, 2nd Armored Division, approaching Waurichen, 2 1/2 miles northeast of Ubach; TF 1 losses 9 tanks and 3 tank destroyers in day's engagement; TF 2, attacking from north edge of Palenberg under severe fire from pillboxes, advances north to within 1 1/2 miles of Geilenkirchen, occupying Frelenberg. Roads in this area are covered by enemy bazooka, AT, and arty fire. CCA crosses Wurm River and, after passing through elements of 30th Infanty Division, advances to a few hundred yards east of Ubach losing two tanks to enemy AT fire. 30th Infantry Division launches tank-infantry attack south from Ubach and reaches high ground east of M. Herbach after gain 1 mile. 120th Infantry Regiment is fighting in Holz, just south of Kerkrade at Netherlands border north of Aachen. Enemy air activity increases and enemy artillery barrages last all day. By nightfall, XIX Corps bulge across Wurm River extends over 2 miles east, with a maximum width of more than 3 miles in area south of Palenberg. 7th Armored Division, fighting in Overloon area, 40 miles to the north, repulses 3 heavy counterattacks.

 

6 October:
Corridor through the West Wall between Geilenkirchen and Aachen is firmly established as last of entrenched Germans are cleared out of woods east of Rimburg. CCB of 2nd Armored Division seizes Waurichen; CCA, supported by Division and Corps artillery barrages and fighter bombers and by-passing enemy strongpoint near crossroads southeast of Ubach, takes Beggendorf, 2 miles east of Ubach. Heavy dawn counterattack causes 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, to lose some ground, but with aid of 117th Infantry Regiment all is regained by nightfall and regiment occupies M. Herbach and area southwest of it. Hostile air activity includes bombing and strafing. 30th Infantry Division turns south with aim of joining with 1st Infantry Division, VII Corps in vicinity of Würselen Forces on right flank capture Merkstein, northeast of Kerkrade. In limited advance toward Teveren, west of Wurm River, 82nd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Armored Division, contends with dug-in enemy infantry with machinegun and bazookas, as well as defended minefields and booby traps.

 

7 October:
Against light resistance, 117th Infantry Regiment elements, 30th Infantry Division, advance almost 2 miles south to edge of Alsdorf while 119th Infantry Regiment makes similar advance farther west. More that 1,200 prisoners captured in XIX Corps zone. 30th Infantry Division, backed up by 2nd Armored Division, continues drive south to link up with 1st Infantry Division, VII Corps, but rest of XIX Corps goes on defensive for remainder of month. CCA captures Baesweiler, 2 1/2 miles northeast of Alsdorf, and, together with 30th Infantry Division, is in outskirts of latter. CCB, 2nd Armored Division, repulses counterattack northeast of Ubach. Early in evening, enemy drops apers and demolition bombs in CCB area. West of Wurm River, armored reconnaissance units resume attack north toward Teveren, before being relieved at 1500 hours by elements of  29th Infantry Division. Elements of 115th Infantry Division clear Schierwaldenrath northeast of Gangelt, taking 99 prisoners of war.

 

8 October:
30th Infantry Division renews attack early in morning, with 120th Infantry Regiment committed in center. Progress slower than day before, as regiments are delayed by resistance from prepared positions and numerous minefields, but Division captures Herzogenrath and nearby hamlets 6 miles north of Aachen, completely occupies Alsdorf, and takes Ofden, directly south. 117th Infantry Regiment is sharply counterattacked after clearing Alsdorf. Northeast of Alsdorf, CCA, 2nd Armored Division, captures Oidtweiler, less than 1 mile south of Baesweiler, in three pronged attack against severe artillery and small arms fire. 7th Armored Division is relieved by British 11th Armored Division in vicinity of  Overloon and with 1st Belgian Brigade is attached to Second British Army, XXI British Army Group.

 

9 October:
Further counterattacks received in 30th Infantry Division sector. 120th Infantry Regiment attacks toward Würselen under cover of ground haze and as latter lifts sustains counterthrusts from Euchen of infantry and tanks supported by heavy artillery fire. To the west, 119th Infantry Regiment, also, is counterattacked after seizing Bardenberg, and enemy reoccupies large part of town. Elements of CCA, 2nd Armored Division, cut Schaufenberg - Bettendorf road, northeast of Alsdorf, and assist 30th Infantry Division units in successful attack on Schaufenberg.

 

10 October:
120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, makes frontal assault to seize ground on northeast outskirts of Würselen, capturing large numbers of prisoners and considerable equipment; Tank Destroyer unit destroys 6 German tanks in afternoon. Battalions of 119th Infantry Regiment withdraw from Bardenberg to permit shelling of enemy troops there. Enemy forces on east flank of 30th Infantry Division are reinforced by 105th Panzer Brigade. 

 

11 October:
30th Infantry Division retakes Bardenberg, 1 mile northwest of Würselen. enemy is bringing up reinforcements to Würselen area where gap separates 30th Infantry Division from 1st Infantry Division forces to the southeast.

 

12 October:
Series of counterattacks hits 30th Infantry Division, forcing it on defensive in 119th and 120th Infantry Regiments sectors. Enemy has committed a combat team from 1st SS Panzer Division "Adolf Hitler" and a battalion of Tiger tanks in the effort to maintain route into Aachen. Tank Destroyer units encounter fierce resistance in area northeast of Würselen and knock out a number of enemy tanks.

 

13 October:
30th Infantry Division has been reinforced by 116th Infantry Regiment ( - 3rd Battalion ), 29th Infantry Division, which attacks south through 119th Infantry Regiment, on a broad front, toward Würselen, encountering stubborn opposition from dug-in and mobile tanks, as well as infantry supported by heavy caliber mortar and artillery fire. Enemy is not yet dislodged from strong emplacements in the built up areas north of Würselen. raids of the 115th Infantry Regiment and the 113th Cavalry Groups against Bauchem, Waldenrath, and Buscherheide, small towns northwest of Geilenkirchen, find the enemy well dug in and defended.

 

14 October:
Attack by 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, makes small gain in built up area north of Würselen. Enemy mortar and artillery fire exceptionally heavy.

 

15 October:
30th Infantry Division has less than a mile to effect junction northeast of Aachen with 1st Infantry Division of VII Corps. Würselen is strongly defended, enemy employing dug-in tanks and concrete emplacements, as well as artillery and mortars.

 

16 October:
Push of 119th Infantry Regiment on west flank of 30th Infantry Division while 116th Infantry Regiment in center results in gains in and around Kohlscheid, northwest of Würselen and 3 1/2 miles north of Aachen, and patrols of 119th Infantry Regiment and of 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, VII Corps, meet on Ravelsberg hill south of Würselen in late afternoon. Resistance from artillery, mortar, tank, machinegun, and small arms fire continues heavy. Diversionary attack by 117th Infantry Regiment  brings punishing artillery and mortar concentrations on Tank Destroyer units northeast of Würselen.

 

17 October:
Region of juncture of 30th Infantry Division with 1st Infantry Division, VII Corps, is continually counterattacked from both inside and outside the perimeter of U.S. forces enveloping Aachen. 30th Infantry Division and 29th Infantry Division mop up in occupied areas and place road blocks on highways northeast of Aachen. 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, seizes and occupies Richterich, 2 1/2 miles northwest of Aachen. XIII Corps Headquarters and special troops are assembling in vicinity of Hasselt, in rear of XIX Corps zone.

 

19 October:
119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, attacks to make firm the junction between 1st and 30th Infantry Divisions, seizing Soers, 1 1/2 miles north of Aachen, and Laurensberg, 2 miles west of Soers. Enemy captures newly established road block on Aachen - Richterich road. enemy counterattacks with tanks are repelled in the 119th and 116th Infantry Regiment sectors.

 

20 October:
Attack of 116th Infantry Regiment elements attached to 30th Infantry Division makes slow progress in house-to-house fighting in Würselen - Kohlscheid area.

 

21 October:
30th Infantry Division continues attacking toward center of Würselen but makes little progress against enemy resistance from infantry in houses, Mark V and Mark VI tanks, and heavy mortar and artillery fire. XIX Corps units mop up northwest of Aachen.

 

22 October:
Twelfth U.S. Army Group regrouping. Ninth U.S. Army Headquarters moved from area between First and Third U.S. Armies to position in north on left flank of First U.S. Army.  XIX Corps ( 30th and 29th Infantry Divisions and 2nd Armored Division ) and attachments, previously with First U.S. Army, pass to Ninth U.S. Army control at noon.

XIX Corps is transferred from First U.S. Army to Ninth U.S. Army, as regrouping and reorganization begins in preparation for future drives into the lower reaches of the Rhineland. At noon, Ninth U.S. Army Headquarters relinquished control of zone on the right ( south ) and takes over zone of XIX Corps on the left ( north ) of First U.S. Army. Previous boundary between VII and XIX Corps becomes now south boundary for Ninth U.S. Army.

 

23 October:
Period of regrouping, rotation of troops, training, and resting starts; defensive positions being improved, and active defense of zone maintained.

 

25 October:
The last of the various units which were withdrawn from other sectors to participate in the battle for Aachen are now withdrawn from line and returned to their own areas or parent units. In order to give newly arrived 102nd Infantry Division ( XVI Corps ) some front line experience and to permit rest periods for units in line, XIX Corps starts attaching elements of the 102nd Infantry Division to 30th and 29th Infantry Divisions and 2nd Armored Divisions.

 

26 October:
Troops of 102nd Infantry Division enter combat for first time, with 406th Infantry Regiment attached to 30th Infantry Division, 405th Infantry Regiment attached to 2nd Armored Division, and 407th Infantry Regiment attached to the 29th Infantry Division.

 

28 October:
In cooperation with XIX Corps, 65 P-47s of XXIX TAC attack Immendorf town, smoke-marked target, with unobserved results; other planned operations in vicinity cancelled as enemy fires smoke shells into friendly lines.

 

30 October:
Two battalions ( 1 from 66th Armored Regiment of 2nd Armored Division and 1 from 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division ) moved to positions southwest of Sittard and south of Eysden as reserve in the event of enemy counterattack against XIX Corps left flank. This move is prompted by strong enemy efforts in Meijel area of Second British Army zone.  XIX Corps Letter of Instruction establishes XIX Corps reserve to consist of 1 Combat Command of 2nd Armored Division and 1 Battalion of 30th Infantry Division.

 
31 October:
CCR assigned to XIX Corps reserve by 2nd Armored Division.
 
 

 

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