53rd Armored Infantry Battalion


APO 254, U. S. ARMY

SUBJECT: After Action Report. 1 January 1945

TO: Commanding General, 4th Armored Division, Apo 254, U. S. ARMY.

1. On 1 December, 1944 the battalion under CC "B" was engaged in action against the enemy in the vicinity of Thai, France, enemy contacted here were identified as the 1st Panser Co of the 25th Panser Division. This information was obtained from prisoners captured in the vicinity. At 0925, 2 December 1944, the battalion attacked advancing along the West edge of the woods East of Rimsdorf, continuing North. The objective (Rimsdorf) was taken by 1250 and the companies were given the mission of holding the high ground North of the town until further orders.

2. At 0300, 4 December 1944 the battalion was transferred from CC "B" to CC "A" end given the mission of attacking Domfessel, outposting it while the Engineers build bridges across the railroad and river, then pushing on to their objective, Hill 332, South West of Dehlingen. The attack started at 0930, 4 December 1944, proceeded by a 30 minute artillery preparation on the town. By 1300, the town had been taken and 128 prisoners captured. On 5 December 1944, the battalion attacked Hill 332, South West of Dehlingen. The objective was taken by 1300 and positions consolidated. At 1000, 6 December 1944, the Battalion CP was moved up to Dehlingen, on 7 December 1944, the 12th Armored Division relieved our units in their present positions and the battalion was pulled back to an assembly area in the vicinity of Thai, France. At 1015, 8 December 1944, the battalion moved from Thai to an assembly area at DipinH, France. Distance travelled 17.5 miles. All the troops were billeted in town.

3. During the period 9 to 18 December 1944, the battalion was in a rest period at Bisping, France. New replacements received training in crew drill, extended order drill, also firing of M1 rifle, mortar and carbines. The rest of the personnel were engaged in maintenance of vehicles and weapons. On 14 December 1944, Major General Hugh J. Gaffey visited the battalion CP and presented 9 Bronse Stars, 1 Bronse Oak Leaf Cluster to the Silver Star and 21 Certificates of Merit to personnel of the battalion.

4. at 1150 on 19 December 1944, the battalion moved out from Bisping under CC "A" enroute to Luxembourg. The battalion arrived at Mont St Martin, Luxembourg at 0300, 20 December 1944. Distance travelled 112.1 miles. Remained here until 1510 at which time the battalion moved to Chatillon, Belgium. Arrived in Chatillon at 1600. Distance travelled 9 miles. CP was set up in school house there. The Battalion had the mission of outposting Chatillon, all day of the 21st and reverted from control of CC "A" to Reserve Command at 1800 this date. At 0800 on 22 December 1944, the battalion moved from Chatillon to Loerniok a distance of 5.2 miles. At 1345 the battalion left Loerniok and arrived at Bonnert at 1410. Distance travelled 6.1 miles. On 23 December 1944, the battalion, under Reserve Command had the mission of clearing out the town of Flatsbourhof, thus aiding the advance of CC a by 1230 one company of tanks and one company of infantry had fought their way through Flatsbourhof, tho the high ground North of the town and were ready to begin the attack on Bigonville by 1430. Two infantry companies advanced on Bigonville with two tank companies in support. Company "B" was held in reserve. At 1700 the attacking companies were meeting heavy resistance and due to darkness all units consolidated their present position for the night: ready to continue the attack in the morning. At 0745, 24 December, the battalion, with the 37th Tank Battalion in support began the attack on Bigonville. By 0800, the force had entered the town and was held up by heavy small arms fire from the North side of the town. At 1600 the town was cleared of enemy resistance and the force then reorganized on the high ground North of the town. At 0510 the battalion was alerted by Reserve Comand for movement with the rest of the Division to an assembly area 15 kilometers S of Bastogne, Belgium with the mission of driving through to Bastogne and relieving elements of the 101st Airborne Division cut off by enemy forces there, the battalion left Bigonville at 0500 and arrived at Beroheaux at 0645. The Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel George L. Jaques left immediately to get the plan of attack from Reserve Command. At 0915 the company commanders were called to the CP and given the plan of attack which was as follows. An advance guard consisting of v/S7 and b/53 under command of the S-2/37 was to move on Vaux les Rosieres, sieze and outpost the town of Nives, Cobreville and Remoiville and secure the high ground North of Remoiville. The attack started at 1100 and at 1115 leading elements of the column were passing through Vaux les Rosieres and through Petite Rosieres at 1150 with no opposition in the town but heavy small arms fire coming from the high ground North of the town. At 1233 the head of the column was entering Nives, meeting no enemy opposition there. At 1410 the head of the column was entering Cobreville, meeting heavy resistance. After overcoming the opposition there, the column moved on to Remoiville and by 1630 the town was taken and Co. "C" was given the mission of outposting same. At 2000 the Battalion Commander received orders and the plan of attack for the next day. This plan was as follows.

5. The attack was to start at 0800, the first objective being the high ground North of Remichampagne. C/53 and C/37 were to take the high ground while b/53 and b/37 clean out the town. A/53 and a/37 were to be held in reserve. After the first objective had been taken, the attack was to continue North to Clochimont and thence on to Sibret. At 0930 on 26 December 1944 the attack started supported by air support. By 0955 the first objective had been taken and B/53 was starting to move into Remichampagne. After 2 hour battle for the town, the high ground North of the town had been seised and the column then moved on to Clochimont, succeeding in taking the town with little resistance. Here the companies reorganised and prepared to push on to the next objective which was Sibret. At 1330 the mission was changed and it was decided that Sibret would not be attack, but the high ground East of the town would be seised. At 1515, 26 December 1944 the companies jumped off to take their assigned objective and at 1610 the objective was taken. At 1645, radio contact was made with isolated units in Bastogne and at 1700 physical contact was made, C/53 and C/37 ran into a heavy fire fight North of Assenois, receiving heavy bazooka fire coming from dense woods North of the town. Six half tracks were knocked out in this engagement. At 1930, the Battalion Commander received orders from Reserve Command that the attack would be continued North to Bastogne, with the mission of escorting 50 2 ton trucks and ambulances for relief and evacuation of the wounded there. At 0630, 27 December 1944 the force moved from Remichampagne and arrived in Bastogne at 0730. During the period 28 - 30 December the battalion was in Bastogne with the mission of protecting the supply route leading South from the town. During the period covered by this report the battalion inflicted the following casualties on the enemy: 1376 prisoners, 393 killed or wounded, 1 Mk V and 1 Mk IV Tanks destroyed, 3 half tracks, 2 2f ton trucks, 122 MG's, 1 pillbox, 4 8Own mortars, 23 bazookas, 1 40m XT gun, 5 106mm Howitzers, 4 88mm guns, 2 Rem vehicles, 2 37mm guns destroyed. Our casualties for the period were as follows: 40 killed, 181 wounded, 15 personnel carriers destroyed, 4 peeps, 1 2^ ton truck, 85 M1 Rifles, 18 Carbines, 13 machine Guns, .30 Cal. 3 Machine Guns, .50 Cal. and 1 pistol destroyed.

For the Battalion Commander

3 Incls, 1. journal for period. 2. Messages for period. 3. Overlays for period.

Source: After Action Report, 53rd Armored Infantry Battalion, Fourth Armored Division, July 44 thru May 1945.