• Hosingen (Great-Dutchy of Luxembourg), January 29, 1945 : the 193rd GIR fights for the last time

     

    I have made many many research on the 193rd GIR and I'm finishing a book (in french) dedicated to this 17th Airborne's unit. I am currently doing the layout of the Rhineland campaign chapter. On January 28, 1945, the 193rd GIR were located in the little village of Hosingen (Great-Dutchy of Luxembourg) facing the German border and the Siegfried Line (also called Westwall) delimited by the Our river. To better understand the battle, I have made a one day trip in the area and I think it is interesting to share this with you.

    Enjoy,

    TFH

     

    The operation: on January 29, 1945, the 193rd GIR has received the mission to seize the highest ground facing the Our valley to better observed the German border and movements of enemy troops. The offensive starts around 02:00 PM with A Company on left and E Company on right. Under heavy fire, A Company failed to reach its objective while E Company reaches its goal at the cost of numerous losses. The two companies are ordered to withdraw at 05:30 PM. This action will be the last one for the 193rd GIR.

     

     

    Operation of the 193rd GIR on January 29, 1945 (TFH map)

     

    Hosingen before the war & after the battle of the Bulge (from the Archives of Hosingen, available on the web):

     

    The Battlefield today: these pics have been realized on August 12, 2018.

    Hosingen today seen from the left part of the front occupied by the 193rd GIR on January 28 & 29, 1945 :

     

    Both companies leaved the village by the main road to Germany, exactly at this place :

     

    The Our valley today :

      

    The objectives of the January 29, 1945 (still seen from the left flank of the front) :

     

    This pic realized just on the right of the E Company's goal shows very well the very hilly landscape in this area and the incredible difficulties to lead patrols at this place, especially in winter with anti-personnel mines on the ground and enemy fire over your head !

     

    As a testimony of the battle, it is still possible to observe fox-holes. On the first pic, we seen very well a large german collective shelter with wooden roof remains.  On the second one, we can seen individual fox-holes :

     

    Or simply pieces of shrapnel lying on the ground 75 years after the battle ...

     

    Or a commemorative plate in honor of the 17th AB Division :

     

    And finally two other surprises on the way to home ...

    This german 88mm PAK 43/41 anti-tank gun visible on the village of Heinerscheid (Great-Dutchy of Luxembourg) located 10,9 kms north of Hosingen :

     

    And this german 150mm Schwere FH18 visible on the village of Cherain (Belgium) located 10 kms north-east of Houffalize, in the area where the 17th AB has fought during the Bulge. Of interest are the numerous impact of shrapnels visible on this battlefield relic :

     

     


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  • January 04, 1945  The Battle for Cochleval

     

    In its first day of combat, the 1st Battalion of the 513th PIR met heavy resistance on the National 4 road, north west of Bastogne, in a small hamlet called Cochleval. This hamlet does not survived to the battle and/or to the enlargement of the road realized after the war. It no longer exist and I have never found any pic of the place during WWII or before. The only proof I have found from its existence is an aerial pic realized on December 27, 1944.

    As I was in the area this last December 16, 2016 (the date of the 72nd anniversary of the starting of the Battle of the Bulge !) and the weather was clement, I have stopped few minutes in this place where the 1st Bn / 513th PIR fought so heavily and suffered a lot of casualties.

     

     

     Cochleval from the sky on December 27, 1944. 

     

     The red dot is my location on December 16, 2016 and letters correspond of the direction I have made the pic.

     

     A : today, the only building remaining at the place is a recent barn. It is exactly at that place the Company C was nearly annihilated and survivors surrendered in the afternoon of January 04, 1945.

     

     B : this is the view toward Flamierge. It is from this side that German tanks launched their counter-offensive.

     

     C : in the direction of Bastogne. The Company B was approximately located on the right side of the road, at the horizon line.  It is in this area Isadore S JACHMAN, on of the fourth divisional CMH recipient was killed in action. The barn where the First Aid Post was opened was approximately located near my car.

     

    D : the path we can see on the aerial pic is still present and absolutely unchanged since 72 years ! 

     

    Lors de son baptême du feu le 04 janvier 1945, le 1er Bataillon du 513th PIR rencontra une résistance inattendue en arrivant sur la route Nationale, au nord ouest de Bastogne, dans un hameau appelé Cochleval. Les constructions situées à cet endroit n'ont pas survécu à la guerre et/ou à l'élargissement de la route réalisé après-guerre et je n'ai jusqu'à aujourd'hui jamais trouvé de photographie de l'endroit avant ou pendant la guerre. La seule preuve tangible que j'ai de l'existence de ce hameau est une photographie aérienne réalisée par un pilote de l'USAAF le 27 décembre 1944.

    J'ai profité de mon passage dans la région et d'un temps très clément ce 16 décembre dernier (date anniversaire du début de l'offensive des Ardennes) pour m'arrêter quelques instants à l'endroit exact ou combattit si durement au prix de terribles pertes le premier bataillon du 513th PIR.

     

    This article will be later placed in the "Then and Now" chapter.


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  • Somewhere in England ...

     

    This photo was realized in England in September 1944. It shows soldier "CARUSO" of the 224th AB Medical Company. At least two CARUSO served in the 224th AB Med Co : Joseph A and Vincent A ! Unfortunaltely, there is no other info on the pic.

    With the help of Jos BEX (The Netherlands), the place is now identified : it is the staging area of the 17th Airborne Division near Ogbourne St. George. He kindly sends me pictures of the place realized in 2011 (unpublished photo - TFH collection & Jos BEX). Click to enlarge.

     

     

     

     

    Cette photo a été réalisée en Angleterre en septembre 1944. Elle met en scène le soldat CARUSO de la 224ème compagnie médicale. Au moins deux CARUSO ont servit au sein de cette compagnie : Joseph et Vincent mais il n'existe malheureusement aucune autre information au dos de la photo.

    Grâce à Jos BEX (Pays-Bas), l'endroit a pu être identifié. Il s'agit de la plaine d'entraînement située non loin d'Ogbourne-Saint-George comme le montre les photos actuelles de l'endroit (2011) qu'il m'a aimablement envoyé (photos non publiées appartenant à la collection TFH & Jos BEX).


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  •  OFFICERS OF COMPANY B / 193rd GIR - CHISELDON FALL 1944 

    Photos of the 17th Airborne in England are relatively uncommon. This is one of them. It shows men of Company B from the 193rd GIR. From left to right : Captain Francis B Mc ALLISTER (O-387607), 2nd Lieutnant Jackson T ROACH (O-313799), 2nd Lieutnant John R CASKEY (O-1314592), 2nd Lieutnant Edward E A GILLAM (O-512954) and 2nd Lieutnant Ross L PARKS. McALLISTER will be wounded in action and will received the Purple Heart Medal on January 7, 1945, 2nd Lieutnant John R CASKEY will be killed in action several weeks later, on January 7, 1945. He is burried on American cemetery of Ham, Great Dutchy of Luxembourg (with permission of Bill TOM). Click to enlarge.

    I'm fortunate to locate the place with the help of David BAILEY (England), member of the local historical society in Swindon.

     

      

     

    The same place in the 70's (with courtesy of David BAILEY).

     

      

    The same place today ... (with courtesy of David BAILEY)

     

     

    A bridge on the Meuse river ...

    The photos showing men of the 17th Airborne Division during the battle of the Bulge are relatively rare compare with those realized during training, Varsity or German campaign. This one was realized on December 31, 1944 and shows two men of the 139th Airborne Engineer Battalion : Pvt Robert W Bell (left) and PFC Charles W McCall. The scene is located in the little French city of Douzy (south-east of Sedan). The two soldiers are guarding the bridge over the Meuse river (the only one in the city). I am fortunate to locate the place with the help of Google Map and Street View and I share this with you. The little house on the left appears unchanged (click to enlarge) (US Army Signal Corps - TFH collection & Google Map).

     

     

     

     

    Les photos de la 17th Division Aéroportée réalisées en Ardennes sont relativement rares comparativement à celles faites aux Etats-Unis, durant Varsity ou durant la campagne d'Allemagne. Celle-ci a été réalisée le 31 décembre 1944 et met en scène deux hommes du 139° Bataillon de Génie : le soldat Robert W Bell à gauche et le soldat de première classe Charles W McCall. La photo a été réalisée dans le petit village de Douzy situé au sud-est de Sedan. Les deux soldats gardent le seul pont de la cité qui enjambe la Meuse. J'ai pû localiser l'endroit tel qu'il apparaît aujourd'hui grâce à Google Map et le Street View et partage celà avec vous. L'endroit a peu changé, en particulier la petite maison de gauche (cliquez sur la photo pour l'agrandir) (US Army Signal Corps - TFH collection & Google Map).


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  • Souvenir de la bataille des Ardennes ... 

     

    The battle of the Bulge was the last World War two great battle in Belgium and the first military campaign of the 17th Airborne Division. It is indeed during the combats that took place in north west of Bastogne in early Januray 1945 that the men of the 17th Airborne enterred in combat and distinguished themself against a determined and strongly entrenched ennemy. This battle is known today as the battle of "Dead man ridge". It mainly occured between January 02 and January 14 and involved no less than four american divisions : 11th Armored division, 87th Infantry division, 17th Airborne division and 101st Airborne division. Approximately 3000 17th Airborne's men were killed or wounded during this battle.

    When the storm went on and spring arrived, human and material civil losts were also heavy. Numerous belgian villages were completely destroyed and many families had lost everything.

    For example the little village of Chenogne in the vicinity of the Bois des Valets, in the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment area, counted only one intact house in spring 1945 !

    Confronted with this national catastroph, the belgian government decided to built hastily temporary houses to accomodate the more destitute families. These little wood houses had a temporary use and disappeared progressively with the reconstruction of the country. Only one remains today in the Bastogne area. It is located in Chenogne. I have had the chance to meet this spring the owner of this unique Battle of Bastogne memorabilia. He has give me his kind permission to make several pictures I can now share with you.

     

     

    La bataille des Ardennes, plus connue aux Etats-unis sous le nom de bataille du saillant, fût la dernière grande bataille livrée sur le sol belge au cours de la deuxième guerre mondiale et la première campagne militaire livrée par la 17ème division parachutiste américaine. C'est en effet lors des combats livrés au nord ouest de Bastogne au début du mois de janvier 1945 que les hommes de la 17ème division parachutiste vont faire leurs premières armes et s'illustrer face à un ennemi bien décidé à prendre la ville de Bastogne. Ces combats connues sous le nom de bataille de "Dead man ridge" se déroulent essentiellement entre le 02 et le 14 janvier et implique pas moins de quatre divisions alliées : la 11ème division blindée, la 87ème division d'infanterie et les 17ème et 101ème divisions aéroportées. Ils feront près de 3000 tuès et blessés rien que dans les rangs de la 17ème division.

    Lorsque l'orage s'éloigne et que revient le printemps, les pertes humaines et matérielles sont également considérables au sein de la population civile. De nombreux villages sont totalement détruits et de nombreuses familles se retrouvent sans logement.

    Dans le petit village de Chenogne situé au bas du bois des Valets, en plein secteur du 513th PIR, il ne reste par exemple qu'une seule maison intacte au printemps 1945 !

    Face à cette catastrophe nationale, l'état belge fait construire à la hâte des habitations provisoires destinées à accueillir ces familles qui ont tout perdu. Ces petites maisons fabriquées en bois étaient destinées à habriter provisoirement des familles sans abris et elles ont disparu petit à petit au gré de la reconstruction. Dans le pays de Bastogne, il n'en existe plus qu'une aujourd'hui. Elle est située dans le village de Chenogne. J'ai eu l'occasion de rencontré cet été le propriétaire de ce singulier souvenir de la bataille de Bastogne et il m'a aimablement autorisé à réaliser quelques photos que je partage aujourd'hui avec vous.

     

     

     

    Chenogne was also a rear position during all the battle of "Dead man ridge" and numerous american artillery units (up to 18) were located in the vicinity of the village to support the GI's in first line. A 155mm american gun's wheel ("Long Tom" gun) is still put against the old building as it is forget by the time since 1945 ...

     

     

     

     

     

    Chenogne fût aussi une base arrière de la bataille de "Dead man ridge" et de nombreuses unités d'artillerie (jusqu'à dix-huit) se sont installés dans les environs immédiat du village pour soutenir l'effort des unités qui luttaient en première ligne. Oublié là depuis près de 68 ans, une roue d'obusier de 155mm "Long tom" est posée le long de la vieille bâtice, comme oubliée par le temps qui passe ...


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