274th Infantry: Docs: Jan 45 AAR (2)
The following document is on file in the National Archives. It was sent to me by Bill Bassak.

Bischweiller, France
1 January 1945

Activity increased in the Regimental sector on New Year's Day 1945, particularly in the Co F area. From enemy pillboxes and fortified positions east of the Rhine more machine gun and automatic fire was heard than heretofore. Many of our 0P's drew enemy fire and German observation of our positions seemed particularly good. Some units, ceasing fire to change position, were pinned down before moving out. Several trucks ran into an enemy village north of Neiderbrum but were able to pull out without loss of personnel or damage to vehicles.

Tactically, the enemy was in a favorable position to cross the Rhine and penetrate our defenses. It was estimated that an armored force, approaching from the northwest in the direction of Neiderbrum, could cut off our unit from the remainder of the Army.

Sabotage and harassing missions were possible from enemy airborne troops which could easily be landed to the rear. Continuing our defense of the west bank of the Rhine several units shifted position and the 753rd Tank Bn was deployed to counter a mechanized threat. The 1st Bn of the Regiment was attached to the 275th Infantry Regiment at 0400 on this date.

Wieterswieller, France
2 to 4 January 1945

From a new CP location at Wieterswieller, France, increased enemy activity was again observed. Because of the movement of German troops and vehicles it was impossible to determine the actual artillery, infantry or armored strength.

Elements of the 2nd Bn, on VOCG, engaged in clearing out the woods west of Wingen where troops of the 275th Infantry were attacking. Two Companies, E and G, left Ruberg at 1510 and completed the mission by 1700. Reorganizing with unusual speed. these units moved into defensive positions north and northwest of Wingen.

The 3rd Bn, Cn Co, AT Co were in defensive positions in the vicinity of the Schneitzwald Forest.

Wieterswieller, France
5 January 1945

In contact with enemy troops, the first prisoners taken were credited to Co L which sent patrols forward in the vicinity north of Rothbaoh. Of the eleven POW's captured, one was walking wounded and all were evacuated through the 313th Inf at Rothbach.

Elements of the 2nd Bn discovered concussion grenades booby trapped in a section of the woods outside of Wingen which were immediately cleared. Through Pow information it was learned that the enemy confronting the 2nd Bn were members of the German SS Mountain Division, previously reported under strength. Their morale was generally believed to be good and their capabilities strong because of positions occupied on mountainous terrain.

The 3rd Bn occupied and prepared for the defense of Rothbach. At noon one platoon of Co I, with a section of light machine guns, was alerted and dispatched to assist the I and R platoon, 45th Division, against an attack of thirty Germans. The attack was dispersed with eleven prisoners and two machine guns captured. Meanwhile, the 2nd Bn maintained defensive positions along the Volksberg-Rosteig line. Co G, however, came into contact with the enemy immediately west of Wingen.

Ingwiller, France
6 January 1945

Consolidation of reports indicated that the units in contact with our Bns included the German 12th SS Mountain Division; 361st Volks Grenadier Division 952nd VG Regiment (5th and 14th Companies); 257th Volks Grenadier Division, 477th VG Regiment (1st and 8th Companies).

An estimate of the situation pointed out, that because of the terrain, the enemy is capable of withdrawing or remaining to the last man. Either capability could be effected immediately. In the village of Wingen the 2nd Bn was in contact with the enemy during the entire day. After making an unsuccessful counterattack the enemy was forced back by the 2nd Bn and withdrew from the town. Snipers and machine gunners were left to cover the withdrawal and the last of the enemy was cleared at 1330. Adding to the success of the mission was the release of 150 American troops taken prisoner by the Germans.

Consolidating positions and reorganizing quickly, the 2nd Bn assembled in mobile reserve and the 3rd Bn maintained defensive positions in their sector.

Neiderbronn, France
7 January 1945

With the current phase of the operations nearing the end, the Regimental CP was set up in Neiderbronn, France. The first real winter weather had arrived with a heavy snowfall blanketing all of Alsace and hampering military operations.

Our 1st Bn reverted to Regimental control and maintained defensive positions in the Philipsbourg area. Meanwhile, the 2nd Bn, having successfully completed operations in Wingen closed into an assembly area as did the 3rd Bn in the vicinity of Lichtenberg. To date, 62 prisoners were taken by our units.

Observation and patrolling uncovered extensive enemy patrolling in all areas although activity was light. German artillery units dropped approximately 60 rounds into Ingwiller and 20 into Neiderbronn but no serious loss or damage was noted.

Interrogation of prisoners taken out of the 458th VG Bn indicated that enemy morale was low. Continuation of their fight was mainly due to German officers forcing their troops to fight. Supply of food and ammunition was critical and transportation increasingly difficult for the enemy because of icy roads and poor communications.

Neiderbronn, France
9 January 1945

The 3rd Bn moved from the assembly area at Zinswiller and began the relief of the 1st Bn, 275th Inf at the right sector of Regimental defense zone. Other units met slight activity in patrolling their sectors but encountered some sniper and artillery action.

Enemy in the sector consisted of the 118th Grenadier Regiment, 36th Inf Division, composed of remnants of three Bns of Volks Grenadiers. Several of the POW's captured were in possession of their Soldbuk (Soldier's Book) with a new page pasted in defining their rights under the Geneva Conference if captured.

Neiderbronn, France
10 January 1945

Relief of the 1st Bn from their positions east of Philipsbourg was accomplished by the 3rd Bn, 275th Inf while our own 3rd Bn moved into the right portion of the Regimental defensive sector vacated by the 1st Bn, 275th Inf. Enemy activity was limited to light patrolling, sniping and artillery fire. The enemy's capabilities were such that his positions could be held with the intention of a series of counterattacks and slow withdrawal to the Siegfried Line.

Neiderbronn, France
11 January 1945

The Regimental reserve, our 2nd Bn, began relief of the 1st Bn, 157th Inf, while remaining units maintained their defensive positions.

The enemy was successful in locating some positions in the vicinity of Philipsbourg and harassing fire by their artillery and mortars was felt in these locations.

Neiderbronn, France
12 January 1945

Sharp patrol clashes on the right flank of the Regimental sector indicated that the enemy was determined to offer strong resistance in the entire area. Co. B was engaged in a strong attack from the north and reported that they were surrounded and required assistance. At the same time, Co A reported two attacks, both of which were successfully repulsed.

Neiderbronn, France
13 January 1945

The position of Co B was under heavy attack during the night and resulted in the loss of 100 yards. An estimated force of 75 to 100 enemy in exceptionally well-dug positions were estimated to be able to overrun Co B and Co C and cut off the balance of the defenses to the city of Neiderbronn. Co L was deployed to drive the enemy from the right the B and C positions.

Neiderbronn, France
14 January 1945

Under heavy pressure from the enemy who had the advantage of commanding terrain, both B and C Cos maintained their defensive positions. Supported by a rolling barrage of artillery, Co A captured a hill north of Philipsbourg controlling observation of a big road net. At the same time Co F attacked on the left flank to clear the enemy from an important position. An enemy counterattack was quickly repulsed.

Some of the processing of prisoners taken during this action disclosed that they were older men, transferred from the Luftwaffe, whose morale was considerably lower than the average.

Neiderbronn, France
15 and 16 January 1945

Early in the morning of the 16th, a superior force of German troops attacked the right flank of Co C and forced the withdrawal from ground won the previous 24 hours. That attack was beaten off with many casualties inflicted on the enemy. Co B and Co C maintained defensive positions in spite of the active pressure.

Co I, after an extremely hazardous march over mountainous trails, reached positions during the hours of darkness to make a frontal attack for the purpose of helping the 1st Bn clear the enemy from their positions. Gaining their objective quickly, organization was immediately effected. Later a strong counterattack was beaten off and enemy wounded numbered more than 120.

Neiderbronn, France
17 January 1945

Little activity, other than Patrol clashes, was noted during the day. Some fire was exchanged in the Co I area and artillery landed in the 1st and 3rd Bn sectors and in the city of Neiderbronn. It was estimated that the enemy could attack Cos A and B during the night or at daybreak with a possible breakthrough.

Neiderbronn, France
18 Jan 1945

All units continued maintaining defensive positions with some exchange of small arms fire. Preparations were made for the relief of Cos B and C with two rifle platoons of Co E. Except for the occasional small arms and mortar fire and intermittent artillery the sector was quiet.

Although it was estimated that the enemy could not attack in force in our sector, the regiment was alerted for retrograde movement to the vicinity of Obersultzbach. Advance elements completed plans immediately and made a reconnaissance for the movement.

To insure the best possible delaying action, one company per Bn was given the mission of remaining as a covering force followed by Engineers ordered to blow bridges and block roads. The movement was carried out with exceptional speed and without the loss of weapons or other equipment.

Neiderbronn, France
20 and 21 January 1945

Now in Division reserve, the movement to Obersultzbach was carried out under the most adverse weather conditions. Late arrivals of promised vehicles were responsible for the issuance of orders to have foot troops march to their new locations.

Higher headquarters advised the Regiment that it was to assist in the preparation of the new MLR and that the 2nd Bn would be detached until further notice.

Obersultzbach, France
22 January 1945

The Regiment was alerted regarding its attachment to the 45th Division and relief from their attachment to the 103rd Division. All Bns and Special Units were immediately notified and reconnaissance groups left immediately for the 179th Inf area in the vicinity of Wingen. The relief was carried out on time and without contact with the enemy.

Wingen, France
23 and 24 January, 1945

The new CP was opened in the town which only several weeks before was the scene of bitter but successful fighting by then 2nd Bn. This time, however, there was no oontact with the enemy although several mine fields and booby traps, previously overlooked; were sighted. Aggressive patrolling by units of the Regiment continued. 

During the afternoon of the 24th, orders were received that the 274th Inf was to be relieved by the 320th Inf. The relief was accompllshed during the night with our troops moving into an assembly area preparatory to occupying defensive positions in the vicinity of Wimmenau.

Wimmenau, France
25, 26, 28, 27 January 1945

Coordination and completion of the movement proved satisfactory in most respects.

During this period all activity was exceptionally light and our patrols made every effort to contact the enemy and secure prisoners which might give a broader picture of the disposition of the enemy in this sector. All positions were improved while the 1st Bn, in Regimental reserve, perfected a series of counterattack plans. It was believed that the enemy could attack in small numbers or infiltrate to the rear areas and disrupt communications.

Wimmenau, France
28 January 1945

Incidental to the regrouping of all units of the 7th Army was the order on this date that the 274th Infantry was to be shifted to the sector occupied by the veteran 36th Division.

Elements of the 180th Inf and 36th Combat Engineers were ordered to take over our positions and relieve the Regiment in this vicinity. The operation was extremely difficult because of heavy snowfall, hampering the visibility and restricting the road. traffic generally.

Durstel, France
29 and 30 January 1945

Attachment to the 35th Division(1) was short-lived since it was but a few hours after the issuance of the initial orders making this change that new orders were received attaching the Regiment to the 100th Division.

Reconnaissance of the new area disclosed that conditions in Montbronn were overcrowded and that the Regiment was not able to move until adjustments were made.

Enemy activity in the entire sector was reported light.

Montbronn, France
31 January 1945

The end of the first month in a combat zone found this organization still maintaining the high standards established in garrison. Morale of the troops was excellent and constant checking of conditions affecting health prevented large numbers of non-battle casualties.

Most of the day was spent in setting up the new CP and making plans for positions to be occupied on bridges and road blocks.

(1)Should be 36th. Editor

Related Items

Awards || Campaign Awards