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Ettelbruck, Luxembourg and the 318th Infantry Regiment

Ettelbruck, Luxembourg

and the 318th Infantry Regiment

 
On the morning of 24 December 1944, the 3rd Battalion, 318th Regiment, relieved the 1st Battalion in its mission of containing and if possible capturing Ettelbruck. “I” Company occupied the high ground northwest of the town.
 
Urgent and sudden orders were received after the regiment had virtually gone into division reserve attaching the regiment minus the 3rd Battalion to the 4th Armored Division.  At 1700 hours, 24 December both the 1st and 2nd Battalions and Regimental Headquarters were entrucked and joined the 4th Armored Division that evening.  The 1st Battalion was attached to CCA, detrucking at Ell, while the 2nd Battalion and Regimental Headquarters proceeded to Fauvillers where they joined 4th Armored Division CCB.
 
The mission of the 4th Armored Division with the attached battalions of Combat Team 318 was to drive a wedge into German lines to relieve our troops encircled at Bastogne.  These troops consisted of the 101st Airborne Division, CCB of the 10th Armored Division and miscellaneous engineer and other units as well as stragglers.
 
Both battalions in support of the armor jumped off at 0800 hours, 25 December 1944, the 1st Battalion capturing its objective of Tintange while the 2nd Battalion captured the Town of Chaumont and its objective.  On the 26th of December the 1st Battalion advanced approximately 3,000 yards against heavy opposition through thickly wooded and extremely mountainous terrain.  The 2nd Battalion attacked with the 10th Infantry Battalion capturing the Town of Grandrue and clearing the woods 1,000 yards to the north.
 
On this latter date opposition had considerably stiffened and the enemy was resisting fiercely, our advance.  Enemy opposition to our troops was identified from prisoners as coming from all elements of the German 5th Parachute Division which had been considerably reinforced by attachment of the 408th Artillery Corps (6 battalions of artillery).  The 5th Parachute Division was fifty percent stronger in infantry manpower than any normal German Volksgrenadier Division, which had been encountered during the last few months.  Each of the infantry regiments had three battalions and the personnel consisted mostly of the cream of the draft age Hitler Youth with fanatical morale.
 
Early in the evening of 26 December 1944, tank elements of the 4th Armored Division were able to get into the beleaguered city but unable to return.  First Lieutenant Carr, of Company “E”, led a four man patrol through nearly 4,000 yards of enemy held territory, with the use of red and green flares and made contact with elements of the 26th Engineer Battalion within the city at 0430 hours, 27 December, 1944.  They were escorted to the 101st Airborne Command Post from where Lieutenant Carr and his patrol brought back an overlay of the positions inside the circle and a situation report of the unit.  They arrived at 2nd Battalion Headquarters in time to participate in the morning’s attack.
 
On 27 December, the 1st Battalion took Livarchamp and Honville and cleared the woods south and east of Assenois and advanced to this village.  On the morning of 28 December 1944 the 2nd Battalion jumped off and reached its objective close to Bastogne on the same day, the 2nd Battalion encountered the 2nd Battalion, 104th Regiment, 15th Panzer Grenadier Division in defense of Honville and this battalion had been thrown in as a last ditch defense of the encircling troops to prevent our wedge from becoming a reality.  No other elements of the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division were identified.
 
Casualties suffered by the 1st and 2nd Battalions were heavy, but nevertheless every mission was carried out successfully and every objective was reached.  The limited number of front line personnel available from 26 December on through 28 December (1st Battalion had only 96 riflemen) makes the job done by the two battalions of Combat Team 318 an even better one.  The staff of the 4th Armored Division accordingly was full of praise.
 
The 3rd Battalion Combat Team 318 continued to maintain positions on the high ground northeast of Ettelbruck.  Patrols of the Combat Team 318 entered Ettelbruck and reported it clear of enemy troops.  Additional patrols were sent out to determine the condition of bridges in the area east of the town.  Artillery fire was received in the battalion area the night of 26-27 December 1944.  On 26 December a patrol of 3rd Battalion Combat Team 318 took several prisoners in Ettelbruck and found that all organized resistance had ended.  Thereupon at dawn 27 December, one platoon of Company “I” was sent into the town clearing and capturing 40 prisoners.  In consequence the battalion took up defensive positions on the high ground around Ettelbruck.
 
The 3rd Battalion Combat Team 318 on 28 December continued to outpost the vicinity of Ettelbruck.  At 1745 hours, the battalion was ordered to move one company along with one platoon of heavy machine guns to the high ground north of Ettelbruck and another company to patrol the town.  Roadblocks were set up and maintained on the bridges to the northeast and roads to the north of Ettelbruck.  The positions designated were occupied by 0105 hours for the night.  Battalion patrols were active in the vicinity of Warden and east of Ettelbruck.
 
On the evening of 28 December, the 1st Battalion Combat Team 318 was relieved from attachment the following day the 2nd Battalion was relieved also and rejoined the 80th Infantry Division in its sector.
 
Source:Bulge Bugle, November 2004
Sgt Robert T. MURRELL

"M" Company

318th Infantry Regiment

80th Infantry Division

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium