"I" DID IT
A History of Events
355TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
89TH infantry Division WWII
Easter Sunday-----Church Services held in German barroom-Attendance good.
Retreat Inspection at 1600 hours--1800 hours left Hattenheim in trucks, convey passed through Wiesbaden, and eventually on to the Autobahn-In detouring around Blown bridge under blackout conditions, second platoon truck over-turned. Some men slightly injured-Due to the accident the second, fourth, and part of the third platoons were separated from the company forcing them to halt and billet in Frankfort, for the rest of the night.
At 0730 hours, the second, fourth and part of the third platoons resumed journey to rejoin company, which was located in a small town near Kassel.
Leaving at 1600 hours on the fourth, we traveled all night in trucks, arriving at an assembly area on the outskirts of Gotha at 0800 hours on the 5th. -In coordination with the Fourth Armored Div, we attacked a given sector of Gotha-Mission completed at 1700 hours-Billets were selected and hot "C" rations eaten.
At 1030 hours we left Gotha for Hohenkirchen, a small village a few miles south of Gotha, to mop up a few enemy strong points. We left Hohenkirchen of Catterfield with tanks attached. -Upon nearing the village stiff S.S resistance was encountered. -Lt Piegzik, of Hq. Co 3rd Bn., was killed and S/Sgt. Rhode, of the same company, was wounded, as well as Simpson and Cookie (Kent Kucheman-Third platoon medic). -After securing the village our mission was to take Georgenthal. -As darkness approached we neared the outskirts of the town.---Stiff opposition forbade the taking of the town that night, so plans were made to attack the following morning, as we dug in.
When a count had been taken at dawn, it was found that Musto had been killed and Hillman wounded. -After our artillery had given Georgenthal a through barrage we "jumped off" at 0700 hours and met little resistance. -Until 1400 hours we secured the town and cleared the woods of all sides.-It was in this latter mission that Wozniak was killed and McCarthy was seriously wounded.-At 1400 hours a company of tired men began a long trek via Graffenheim and Ohrdruf (of concentration camp "defame") until it reached Bittstadt at 2000 hours.
After a previous night of patrolling and outpost duty we shoved off at 0700 hours with our mission being the taking of Arnstadt.-Arnstadt was a city of 20,000 population, And since we knew there was a garrison stationed in its limits, naturally we expected a fight.-We encountered no opposition until we reached the outskirts and the garrison was in sight, but then we had to hit the ground because of sniper and artillery fire-As the artillery fire from the enemy became more intense, the forward observer was located on the hill to the left and he was chased from the hill by shells from our 81 MM mortar; however it was really too late, because the artillery was already "zeroed in" on us. After the snipers had been taken care of an ultimatum was sent by Lt. Weber to the garrison commander to surrender the city-- When the garrison commander stated that he was going to fight for the city, all eight battalions of artillery, that we had in support, proceeded to, more or less, level the city.-Before the dust from the shell burst had settled we were in the city with a platoon of tanks.-Soon we had accomplished our mission and had security out; however not without casualties, for we suffered several wounded, among them being Lt. Stowell, Boody, Hunter, Poste, Pnovsky, Hays, Arvizu, Edwards, Mangano, Dawson, and Dower.
This day was rather uneventful in that little opposition was encountered; however it will not be forgotten because for this was the day of continual marching from dawn to dusk, when we finally outposted the village of Riecheim.-Mine fields were placed at strategic points and extra precautions were taken as enemy tanks were previously spotted in the near vicinity.
Cloudy and Rain
As in many other cases, when on the offense, we jumped off at dawn and met no opposition until after we had secured a bridgehead and captured a bridge intact over the Ilm river. A reconnaissance patrol of was sent out with S/Sgt. Smith as patrol leader.-It was while on this patrol that his squad captured the Lt. Col. With his 120 men and 33 vehicles.-Next we proceed to Blankenheim; however, as we were nearing our objective a runner came up rear and said that our vehicles and been ambushed behind us.-We immediately returned with the runner to save the situation.-Upon our return we found that two tiger tanks and a platoon of Infantry had knocked out the vehicles.-After we located the position of the tanks they were in turn knocked out by the artillery we had supporting us.-We then proceeded towards Blankenheim and soon after dark we had it secured and the men were billeted for the night.
We were motorized and rode in trucks for about four hours, when we detrucked at Reinstadt.-The items of largest note this day was the arrival of many packages from home and the rest we received which was well deserved at this time.
Cloudy and Rain
Still being motorized, we left at 0900 hours and after passing through Kahla and crossing the Saale river we detrucked at 1200 hours and ate our C ration dinner.-Of course, by this time the C ration had long become very unpopular.-We then left on foot, taking several villages and meeting little or no opposition.-It was the day that we also received some needed and necessary replacements.
We went into the attack at 0730 hours and took several prisoners by firing very few shots; largely due to the Tank Destroyer attached to us, which has a very demoralizing rumble.-The Krauts had a very significant respect for power or anything that resembling power or strength.-We took Durren-Ebersdorf and will anyone forget the clothing factory located there? Everyone began sporting a fur jacket, which proved to be very warm in the early morning and late evening.-After many of us had "hit the sack" we were greeted with the very demoralizing words that we had to "hit the road". We entrucked and at 2300m hours billeted in Gern.
We departed from Gera at 0800 hours and rode in trucks until noon, when we relieved C Company.-We then proceeded on to Langenberdorf, which we took with little opposition.-At 1700 hours our security was placed and proceeded to dig in.-In the meantime a reconnaissance patrol was sent out to see if the bridge was intact over the Pleibe river near Werdau.-After finding it intact a small force with machine guns support was placed to hold it for the night.-That night a patrol of Germans attempted to blow the bridge, but was repulsed with our machine guns and hand grenades.-Sgt. Bulcunas was our only casualty, but when word was received in the company about the incident the few that were lucky enough to be billeted spent a very restless night.
Left Langensberdorf at dawn crossed the Pleibe river and took several villages with little opposition until we came to Crossion near the outskirts of Zwickau.-Our mission was to cross the Mulde River and take Crossion.-We succeeded in getting the entire company across the river even though the bridge was peppered with sniper fire.-A plan of attack was then made for the taking of the town-a plan which called for the protection of the T.D.s by the rifle men.-We rapidly succeeded in clearing Crossion of bazooka men and snipers until the last house was reached.-When the few remaining krauts were located they were rapidly exterminated either through killed or captured, however not without casualties.-We suffered in wounded this day Lt. Barlow, Cathey, Rotherham, Rigsby, Hill and McLardy.-Then proceeded on to Ludenheim which we outposted on all four sides.-There were plenty of straw stacks in the fields and they really came in handy for the foxholes this night.
Windy and Fair
Departed at 0700 hours and headed for St. Mulsen.-Upon arriving there we found that the Krauts had left and the displaced persons were pillaging a garment factory.-After leaving six men to keep the people quiet and under control we jumped on tanks and half-tracks and proceeded to the outskirts of Lichtenstein.-It was at this moment that we received word we were in the 8th Corp of the 1st Army and that we were due for a rest period of an indefinite number of days.-We had reached our Corp limit point and were supposed to advance no further without further orders.-We then proceeded to take and clear Lichtenstein and Hohndorf, which were two adjourning towns, and by 1700 hours had picked the best billet available.-We were now ready to take advantage of that long expected and deserved rest.
April 19 to May 12
This entire period was spent in Hohndorf.-Although we were suppose to have entered a rest period, very few of us received a rest.-The entire time was spent in outpost duty, patrolling, laying out mine fields, and protecting mine fields.-A system of exchange or red and green flares was set up for the Russians however we never received the opportunity to use them.-We had telephone contact with one outpost to the other, and since the wire was often cut we had to place men to protect the wire.-It was while carrying out this duty that Crumrine and Miracle were captured on the 30th of April.-Every day we sent patrols to Olsnitz and Lagau, two villages to the front of Hohndorf.-It was May 3rd that Sgt. Dalton's squad was ambushed upon entering Olsnitz.-As a result of the ensuing fire fight, Sgt. Dalton, Fillburn, and Quick were killed, Ramsey, Ady, and Brennan were injured; and Tuck turned up missing.-In the meantime, while we weren't on outpost or patrol duty, we tried to take advantage of the situation as much as possible.-We spent much of our time washing clothes, resting when possible, enjoying hot meals (with help of some German Eier and Kartoffel), but most important of all, we had the opportunity to listen to the radio (when the electricity was on) and follow the progress of the war, which at this time was becoming verinteresting.-On May 8th , we were ready to jump off into the attack again, when the Captain announced that the war with the Nazis would officially end at 0100 hours the following day.-Since we had been listening to the radio, and following the progress of events, very few of us were emotionally perturbed by this news.-The morning of the 9th the German soldiers and equipment began rolling in.-We more than had our hands full in handling them.
May 13 to May 28
We entrucked for Wolfis and arrived at 1900 hours.-Our duties were mostly occupational and the robbing and killing of Germans by the refugees kept us busy with outpost and patrol duty.-Much time was spent in training, especially in the familiarization of the Jap type of warfare and his equipment.
Entrucked for Georgenthal at 1000 hours and arrived at 1130 hours.-We spent the night bivouacking in the cemetery at Georgenthal waiting to board the train the following day.
May 30 to June 2
Clambered onto the trains at 1300 hours and prepared for a four day journey to Camp Old Gold,--We were surprised that we boarded some of those old dilapidated German coaches instead of the usual forty and eights.-It was long an monotonous ride because we would travel 10 minutes and then stop, travel 10 minutes and then stop, and so forth.-Ate C rations all the way, that is, those who were still able to eat them.
June 3 to June 25
Arrived at 0500 hours and proceeded to operate J-2 Area. Our job was to take care of J-2 block and to process all transit troops in our block.-During our stay in J-2 Area we processed and sent home the 97th, 8th, 2nd and 44th Infantry Divisions.
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