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November 2017
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US Army

Incident at Marcouray, Task Force Hogan

Incident at Marcouray,

Task Force Hogan.

 
When the 54th Armored Field Artillery Battalion was split into units of one battery with each Task Force, I attached one M-15A1 and one M-16 to each battery.  I had planned to shift from one force to another as the action progressed and started out with Battery “C” of the 54th.  We moved south on back roads to La Roche (P-4678) where we ran into heavy resistance on the east side of the town.  At this time, one of my half-tracks was second in the column and the other was about eight.  We moved back into the town of La Roche and spent the night of the 19th of December there. 
 
The next morning we got word that we were cut off and moved over to Marcouray (P-4482) to await developments.  My vehicles were deployed in support of the other vehicles of the Task Force and, though we saw German fighters on a couple of occasions, we didn’t fire on them for fear of disclosing our position.  I didn’t use the M-15A1 or the M-16 much for local defense as most of the action could be handled with small arms.  We did clean out some hedge-rows during the first day, firing about 400 rounds of Caliber .50.  My men shot a lot of Germans with small arms – I know of at least ten. 
 
On the night of the 23rd of December we heard that help was on the way and again on Christmas Eve, but nothing ever came.  The supplies that were supposed to be dropped from the air landed several miles north of us.  We lived on the food that we had picked up from an abandoned dump in La Roche.  These supplies lasted until the morning of the 25th December. 
 
In the afternoon of the25th of December we got orders to destroy all equipment except small arms and prepare to move out on foot.  We took the crystals out of the radios and smashed them.  The transmitters and receivers got the same treatment.  Since we were in a position where fire and noise were not practical, we had to use other methods in destroying the vehicles.  We chopped the tires and tracks with an axe, drained the oil out of the transmission and the anti-freeze from the radiator and filled both with water, smashed the distributor, and tore out all the wiring.  About all we could do to the 37mm tube and the Caliber.50 barrels was to damage the threads.  All of the remaining gasoline was poured out on the ground.  The ammunition was buried in an old well in the village. 
 
We left the town on the night of the 25th of December in small patrols of about twenty-three men and one officer.  I had all of my men plus six from the 54th Armored Field Artillery Battalion.  All of us got through except one of my sergeants who was wounded by artillery fire shortly after we left town.  The aid men must have taken him back for we have heard nothing from him as yet.  My platoon sergeant was also slightly wounded but managed to make the trip with some assistance.  One of the men carried that two hundred and twenty-five pound sergeant a good deal of the way. 
 
We walked for fourteen hours and covered about twenty-three miles in the darkness, encountering friendly troops at Soy (P-4290) at daylight.  We went right through a German artillery battery – could hear the battery executive giving firing orders.  The march was about as tough as some we took back in the States while training. 
 
The worst part of the whole thing was the mental strain of watching and waiting.  The men stood up excellently physically, but were very tired before reaching our lines.  Moral was very high during the entire period and discipline was superior all the time. 
 
We lost one M-15A1, one M-16, one ¼ ton truck, and all equipment on them. 
 
Source: N.A.R.A.
By 1st Lt Robert A. WEATHERFORD

 

 

Commanding 2nd Platoon

 

 Battery “B”

 

486th AAA AW Bn

 

3rd Armored Division

 

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium