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134th Infantry Regiment

"All Hell Can't Stop Us"

35th Infantry Division emblem

Battle Narrative

35th Infantry Division

December 22, 1944 to January 12, 1945 - Ardennes Campaign

Headquarters III U.S. Corps
APO 303, U.S. Army

18 January 1945

Ardennes Campaign
35th Infantry Division
22 December 1944 to 12 January 1945

Transcribed by Roberta V. Russo, Palatine IL, September 5, 2011

The 35th Infantry Division moved on verbal orders from the Lorraine area, and arrived in the Metz area for Christmas day 1944. At that time the Division did not know where or when it was to be committed but it was certain that its destination would be against the German counter-attack of 16 December.

From the 22nd of December the Division was under Third U.S. Army, and at noon of the 24th it was attached to XX U.S. Corps. On the 26th of December it was assigned to III U.S. Coprs. The Corps ordered the Division to move to Arlon, and on the 26th a field order issued by the Corps gave the Division the mission of passing through the 6th Cavalry Group, and attacking to the north of the terrain objective.

The Division moved to a CP in the vicinity of Perle and crossed the Line of Departure (see map) on 27 December. The 137th Infantry Regiment attacked on the left, the 320th Infantry Regiment on the right, and the 134th Infantry Regiment was held in reserve. Later in the campaign the 134th was committed around the left flank - first, the 1st Battalion, then the other two. At the time of commitment of the 1st Battalion, its left flank extended nearly to the Bastogne highway and was well into the adjacent zone to the west by the 29th of December.

The stiffest enemy resistance was met around Lutrebois when the 134th Infantry Regiment on the north and the 137th on the south were driving to the east. The position of these two Regiments was brought about by an interesting occurrence of what the G-3 called "side-slipping".

During the attack to the north, the resistance on the Division's right flank and been so great that the left flank elements had made a comparatively considerable advance. So far ahead had they forged that the 137th Infantry Regiment was practically following the 134th, and was carrying on its own "side-slipping" campaign with its left flank advancing at a much faster rate than its right flank.

During all of the "side-slipping' campaign, light contact was kept with the 320th Infantry Regiment, or what was left of it after two battalions had been shifted around to the Division's left flank to reinforce the 134th for its attack on Lutrebois (Times and dates can be secured from Regimental accounts).

All of the "side-slipping" was very important because at the identical time that the 134th and 137th Infantry Regiments had so swung around as to completely change their direction of attack from north to east, the German counter-attack hit the Bastogne salient with the main force coming from Tarchamps - the tanks to Lutremange and thence up the road to Lutrebois, and the infantry cross country to Lutrebois. (This was not a tactical maneuver on the part of III U.S. Corps, but one of those fortunate circumstances of war that the 35th Infantry Division was prepared to meet the counter-attack and help save the Bastogne highway from being severed.)

After the 137th Infantry Regiment was stopped at Villers La Bonne Eau, and the 134th at Lutrebois, and elements of the 320th at the farm south of Harlange (at P612492), and the whole Division was battered by the enemy for nearly a week, a new order was published which activated Task Force Scott and Task Force Fickett.

The counter-attack came to an end in the early part of January. At this time the 1st Battalion of the 320th Infantry Regiment was drawn out for Division reserve and the other two battalions stayed at the farm south-east of Harlange. The 6th Cavalry Squadron moved to the same position and went into Corps reserve. These units were left in this position in case the counter-attack should again develop.

The attachments to the Division during this period were:

448th AAA Automatice Weapons Battalion (M)
60th Engineer Combat Battalion
654th Tank Destroyer Battalion (SP)
127th Field Artillery Battalion (155-mm howitzer)
161st Field Artillery Battalion (105-mm howitzer)
216th Field Artillery Battalion (105-mm howitzer)
219th Field Artillery Battalion (105-mm howitzer)
179th Field Artillery Battalion (155-mm howitzer)

Colonel Renfroe and Major Munkers agree that during this campaign the best cooperation of many elements was achieved. At Lutrebois the Air Force, Artillery, Tank Destroyers, Armor, and Infantry cooperated so well that a fine example of teamwork resulted among the various branches.

The mission of the 35th Reconnaissance Troop was to maintain contact between the 320th Infantry Regiment and the 26th Infantry Division. At one time when all the principle division forces were committed, the 35th Reconnaissance Troop was organized into a task force with a company of Engineers and a company of Tank Destroyers to serve as a Division reserve.

Sources - Lt. Col. Walter J. Renfroe, G-3; Major John R. Munkers, Asst. G-3; Major Allen, Asst. G-3

Interviewer - 1st. Lt. William J. Dunkerley

Date of Interview - 16 January 1945

Map Reference - GSGS 4040 - Sheets 121, 122, 136, 137; 1:50,000.

 

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