After the Battle of the Bulge

Interview with Colonel Charles W. Billingslea

Commanding officer, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment,

After the Battle of the Bulge.

Interviewer: Major J. F. O’SULLIVAN

Place: Camp SISSONNE, France

Time: 24 March, 1945

In the early morning of 18 December 1944, the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment moved from Camp Sissonne, France, with Bastogne, Belgium, as its destination. When reaching Bastogne, the Regiment was ordered to Werbomont, Belgium, on the orders of General James M. Gavin, Commanding General 82nd Airborne Division. The Regiment took up position around the cross-roads at Werbomont during the night of 18-19 December, except for Company “F”, which was sent out to a cross-road at Barvaux and the 3rd Battalion which accompanied it to the same spot with instructions to set up defense there until the 3rd Armored Division relieved them.

On the orders of General Gavin, the 3rd Battalion returned to Werbomont the next day without making contact with the 3rd Armored Division. “F” Company of the 2nd Battalion took up positions at the road junction north of Manhay at 533902, having control over Manhay and the high ground in the vicinity. The first divisional order which came from General Gavin was that the Regiment should be relieved from its defensive positions at Werbomont and assume a sector of responsibility at the right of the 508th Parachute Regiment, extending from the right flank of the 508th to include Hebronval, 692856 – 661870. In this way the Regiment covered a frontage of approximately 3,000 yards.

The 3rd Battalion occupied from Hebronval to R. J. 641866 (road junction) and was to contact the 3rd Armored Division at R. J. 629856 and establish an OPLR on the high ground south of Huy. The 1st Battalion occupied the left sector from R. J. 641866 to R. J. 661870, where it was to contact the 508th Parachute Regiment. The 2nd Battalion was placed in reserve and was to be committed only on Division order. Colonel Billingslea took “B” Company of the 1st Battalion and made it regimental reserve. The move was made at night by truck and on foot from Werbomont except “F” Company of the 2nd Battalion, which moved due east from its position at Manhay to protect the right flank while the Regiment was moving in. All this had been the result of a conference between General Gavin and General Rose, 3rd Armored Division, at which Colonel Billingslea was present and which took place near Manhay.

By daylight of the 21th, the Regiment was in position overlooking the Hebronval road. As yet there was no contact with the enemy, so Colonel Billingslea ordered each battalion to place outposts in Ottre – Joubieval and Bihain. “I” and “R” patrols were to patrol to a distance of 7 miles and to include Hebronval, Verleumont, Sart and Joubieval. The jeeps went out as far as 3 miles and made no contact either with the enemy or with the 3rd Armored Division on their right. The non-appearance of the 3rd Armored was a source of worry to everyone concerned. By 1200 on the 21th, a 3rd Armored jeep reported at the Regimental C. P. of the 325th Glider Infantry. This was a contact jeep and from the information gleamed from its occupants; they did not know definitely how far advanced the 3rd Armored was on its way from the north. Colonel Billingslea was not in the C.P. when the jeep arrived. In other words, the information was very indefinite.

To protect his right flank further, and this meant the Division right flank, Colonel Billingslea extended his right flank to include the town of Regne, sending there one platoon from the 3rd Battalion with two anti-tank 57’s and two bazookas. It was important that this town be held, because the road from Regne led up to the Division C.P. at Lierneux and Colonel Billingslea and General Gavin were anxious that this entrance be protected. The first contact with the enemy was made by jeep patrol sent out by the 1st Battalion on the morning of the 22nd. The jeep went through Joubieval and headed towards Ottre and just as it left the town of Joubieval, an enemy tank opened fire, knocking out the jeep but not its occupants.

The report of enemy contact reached le Colonel Billingslea through the 1st Battalion. Colonel Billingslea alerted every commanding officer in the 1st Battalion and about the time he had done so, three enemy tanks drove up to Joubieval, causing the outposts to fall back to the north end of the town because of the enemy tank fire. The Battalion CP called for artillery causing the three tanks to leave the town and head for Ottre. The 3rd Battalion at Ottre reported 125 vehicles coming towards the town. The Battalion had trouble getting artillery fire, because at that time elements of the 7th Armored and units trapped in the St Vith pocket were scattered all along the roads. The forward observers said that the column was German and that this was definitely established by the muzzle breaks on the guns. Division G-2 was extremely cautious about the whole affair. Meanwhile the column had bunched up in Ottre and when the Corps artillery came the damage was staggering. Later it was found that amongst the damaged vehicles at Ottre, was a 1941 Dodge Sedan with a brigadier-general star. The car was not in very good condition.

The falling back of the outposts at Joubieval caused Colonel Billingslea to take one platoon of Company “B” which was in reserve, in order to restore the outposts there. Corps artillery was called and under the shelter of the artillery barrage, the platoon moved through the town and set up two outposts farther out than the previous outposts. When the outposts had been established definitely, the platoon from Company “B” returned and took up its position in reserve with its Company.

On that evening serious trouble developed at CR 576853, the cross-roads familiarly known as “Parker’s’ cross-roads. Early in the afternoon, Colonel Billingslea enquired from General Gavin as to the whereabouts and positions of the 3rd Armored Division. General Gavin told him that the 3rd Armored was set up in Manhay and had been driven back from “Parker’s” cross-roads. Colonel Billingslea then went in person to see General Gavin and both went to General Rose, whose C.P. was at Manhay. While there word was received that “Parker’s” cross-roads had been restored, but that the situation there demanded more infantry. Colonel Billingslea then requested General Gavin that the 2nd Battalion be released from Division reserve and General Gavin assented. They then told General Rose that they would like to place the 2nd Battalion in position in the high ground overlooking the cross-roads and that a Company would be sent to re-enforce Major Parker at the cross-roads. General Rose agreed to this and Colonel Billingslea returned and ordered “F” Company into position on the cross-roads. Company “F” reached its new position at the cross-roads in the early morning mists of December 23. This meant that all the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment was committed except Company “B”, whose strength at that moment was approximately 75 men.

The German attack on the cross-roads developed in momentum, putting pressure on the cross-roads themselves and on the 2nd Battalion on the high ground overlooking the cross-roads. The 2nd Battalion had taken up positions just above le little town of Fraiture and when the Battalion Commander saw that the attack was gaining in momentum, he requested Colonel Billingslea’s permission to pull back and set up on the highest ground north of the town. Colonel Billingslea granted this permission. Meanwhile Company “F” was sharing the general fate of those at the cross-roads. They lost all contact with their Battalion and Regiment and Division. The enemy surrounded the cross-roads and cut the road leading to Manhay, which meant that their escape north was blocked.

Colonel Billingslea sent two supply jeeps, but both jeeps were shot up. It is quite evident that there was disorganized command at the cross-roads, because there were elements of the 589th Field Artillery Battalion (106th Infantry Division), an anti-aircraft outfit (203rd AAA), 3rd Armored tanks, a TD outfit, a Company of the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion and a Company of the 325th Glider Infantry. On the afternoon of the 23rd, Captain Woodruff, Company “F” Commander, radioed the Battalion C.P. that the forces at the cross-roads were disintegrating and at the same time he requested permission to withdraw. Colonel Billingslea refused the request on the grounds that he (Colonel Billingslea) would try and get more reinforcements from the 3rd Armored Division. Shortly after, Captain Woodruff radioed again that the position was hopeless and that it had been over-run by enemy “Tiger” tanks (Only Panther’s tanks) and again requested permission to withdraw. Colonel Billingslea granted his request.

Company “F” had strength of 116 men when it set out for the cross-roads, but on the morning of the 24 December when it returned to the 2nd Battalion, 19 men accompanied Captain Woodruff and 25 men straggled in over the next few days. Colonel Billingslea called Division and told them he had granted Captain Woodruff’s request, and as he says himself, “I started singing the Blues about my right flank where the 3rd Armored was supposed to be in strength.” It was then evident that the Germans had lightened their pressure in the Stoumont and Trois-Ponts area and were attacking in strength the right flank of the Division with the hopes of effecting a breakthrough to Aywaille and thus to Liege. In answer to Colonel Billingslea’s plea and because he saw the situation clearly, General Gavin released the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Regiment from its position near Cheneux to go to the aid of Colonel Billingslea.

Late that afternoon, the 2nd Battalion, 325th Glider, reported that Germans were infiltrating around their position, i.e., on the high ground overlooking Fraiture. General Gavin was notified and on his verbal orders, the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Regiment was to go to Fraiture and re-establish the cross-roads. At this stage says Colonel Billingslea, “Everybody began singing the Blues.” Colonel Wellems, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion 504th Regiment, contacted Major Gibson, 2nd Battalion, Commanding Officer, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment and asked Major Gibson for particulars on terrain and the best way to attack the cross-roads. Major Gibson said, “I would not attack the damned place with a Regiment not to mind a Battalion.” The situation was given to General Gavin, who called off the attack because by this time the Germans had taken all positions at the cross-roads.

When the 2nd Battalion of the 325th reported infiltration and heavy shelling, General Gavin by radio recalled the Battalion, putting them in on the right flank of the 3rd Battalion. Even then there was a gap of about 1,000 yards between the 2nd and 3rd Battalion. At the time the Regiment was covering a frontage of about 10,000 yards. Colonel Wellems ran combat patrols between the 2nd and 3rd Battalion. While the 2nd Battalion, 325th Glider, was returning, some of its men got caught in a draw and were forced to call for help. Major Gibson was cut off and in general the battalion was badly split up. The greater portion of the men were with Captain Woodruff, who re-organized the men and was largely responsible for extracting them from their difficult position, but to do so there were about 60 Germans killed.

Before retiring from the high ground at Fraiture, the 2nd Battalion reported a number of enemy tanks ranging from “Parker’s” cross-roads to Regne with a build-up of tanks at Bihain. The O.P.s on the high ground at Fraiture reported armor, coming from Regne and Bihain, which is, coming from the south and west. The units at Regne were under tank and SP fire. Artillery was called for and adjusted, but communications were bad. The only communication left ultimately came from the platoon at Regne. The platoon was finally driven out and the anti-tank men killed. The remainder of the platoon joined the Battalion at Hebronval. The Battalion had a platoon of TDs covering Regne and on knocking out one tank, the other German vehicles pulled back. This stopped the advance, but they were still mounting the build-up at Bihain. Colonel Billingslea ordered 3rd Battalion Commander to be prepared to move a Company for the purpose of retaking Regne. The 3rd Battalion Commander, Lt Colonel Oswald Leahy, did not fully concur in the plan because there was not sufficient time to work out the details of the plan.

Accordingly Colonel Billingslea called Division and requested tanks which would marry with Company “B” in reserve north-west of Grand Sart. General Gavin allowed him a company of medium tanks, 9th Armored Division. The tanks came to Verleumont and married there with Company “B”. The column was to go thru Lierneux, thru the 2nd Battalion of the 504th and attack Regne from the north and re-establish the position at Regne. The march of tanks and infantry took place and the column reached the high ground above Regne. Corps artillery was called for and while doing so the tanks moved into position to fire on the town. With the tanks firing, they entered the town of Regne which they retook. General Gavin, while the attack was on, ordered Colonel Billingslea to appear in person at Division, and there he was given instructions that the Regiment would withdraw 7 miles north and take up positions as Division reserve. The new regimental C.P. was to be at Trou de Bra, 573961. This meant that the defensive positions of the Regiment had to be given up in favor of more solid positions to the north. The losses of the Regiment up to this point had been heavy and Colonel Billingslea is of the opinion that if it had stayed there, its losses would have been heavier.

In the meantime, Colonel Tucker, Commanding Officer 504th Regiment, brought the 3rd Battalion 504th to cover the right of the 325th Glider Infantry during the withdrawal. The right flank was still weak because the 3rd Armored was not sufficiently organized to afford adequate protection on that side. Colonel Billingslea issued a withdrawal order, whereby the Regiment was to withdraw to the vicinity of Monchenoul, 555961, where it was to be in Division reserve. The withdrawal was to begin at 2130 hours that night, 24 December, and the covering force at 0300 hours on the 25th.

The Battalion withdrew in the order of 2, 3, 1, and the covering force pulled out actually at 0400 hours under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Teddy Sandford. The Battalion and the covering force had just reached the assembly area, when Captain Hugh Olson, ADC to General Gavin, burst into the C.P. with the news that the Germans had driven the 3rd Armored out of Tri-le-Cheslaing. Colonel Billingslea immediately ordered the 1st Battalion to this point with orders to re-take the town. After about two hours delay, the Battalion was entrucked and taken to Tri-le-Cheslaing, which was about 7 miles to the south-west. The Battalion took the town without trouble and set up defensive positions there.

General Gavin, instead of leaving the 325th in reserve, gave it the mission of holding the right flank, that is, covering the road north between Manhay and Werbomont. Their positions were mainly roadblocks on this road and dug-in positions on the high ground in the vicinity of Chene-al-Pierre and Au Hetre. The 1st Battalion in Tri-le-Cheslaing was attacked in force on the 25th December by an estimated regiment of SS troops who penetrated as far as the Battalion C.P. The Battalion’s most effective weapon was a Sherman, which in the words of Colonel Billingslea, “Had been swiped from the 7th Armored Division as it struggled thru.” The tank and its crew did good service with the 325th Infantry. The Germans over-ran one heavy machine gun position, but the attack was finally driven off and the position recaptured. The Battalion remained in this position two or three days when they were relieved by the Armored Infantry of the 3rd Armored Division. It must be remembered that Tri-le-Cheslaing was in the 3rd Armored sector.

On the 28th December, the Regiment was brought back into its originally intended reserve position with its C.P. at Trou de Bra. Its status here was with the 3rd Battalion on the line, the 1st Battalion in Regimental reserve and the 2nd Battalion in Division reserve. On the 2nd January 1945, Division Filed Order n°15, contained plans for the attack to restore the Bulge.

The Regiment pulled out of its defensive area and moved to its attack positions on the high ground east of Brux. Here the terrain was on large hill with deep ravines on either side. The 3rd Armored Division was on the Regiment’s right, the 505th Parachute Infantry on its left. The principal features of the terrain were the hill itself and a trail in the hill for use of the 3rd Armored. The plan of manoeuver called for the Battalions to move out in a column of Battalions, 2, 3, 1. They were then to pass thru the 508th Parachute Regiment and go thru the pass between the valleys and on thru Noirfontaine. When opposite the hill, one Company, 2nd Battalion, was to peel off and act as a containing force, while the rest of the Battalion was to go on the rear side of the hill, hit the enemy from the rear, organize and hold the hill, and then attack south and take the town of Hierlot. As soon as the 2nd Battalion began to peel off the right, the 3rd Battalion was to crash thru the gap, go thru Odrimont for the purpose of securing the axis of supply and to organize the high ground in front of Odrimont.

The attack jumped off at approximately 0900 hours from a central point 622954, moved out across the road and reached a point about 1,000 yards short Noirfontaine. The resistance was very light, coming very largely from small arms and a few artillery pieces. The 2nd Battalion organized at this point and went on beyond Noirfontaine, where one Company went up the hill, while the rest of the Battalion began to move around the hill. The path of the 3rd Battalion was not as easy as that of the 2nd, because just as they were crashing thru a hot fire fight developed. It was later found that this was an enemy battalion C.P.

Meanwhile, the 3rd Battalion overcame the enemy resistance, moved up near Amcomont, where it again met heavy fire from tanks and SP guns. A Company of tanks gave support to the 3rd Battalion and at the end of the day; the status of the regiment was as follows: – the 3rd Battalion held Odrimont, while the 2nd Battalion held the hill overlooking Hierlot and was all prepared to move into the town itself. The Regiment had no physical contact with the 3rd Armored on the right, because of the slippery roads and the paucity of roads. The Regiment was very closely tied in with the 505th Regiment on its left.

Colonel Ira Swift, assistant Division C.G. reconnoitered the Division position and ordered Colonel Billingslea to button-up the vicinity of Odrimont and await further contact with the 3rd Armored Division which was lagging to the left rear. The task of buttoning up Odrimont was given to the 3rd Battalion, while the 2nd Battalion was to make a night-attack, capture the town of Hierlot and after by-passing the town, organizes on the high ground beyond it. The first Battalion was to go from regimental reserve and fill in the gap between the 3rd Battalion and the town. But the 3rd Battalion because of an intense heavy artillery barrage had to pull out of Odrimont and retire into the woods immediately west of the town. The 2nd Battalion attacked during the night, took the town of Hierlot and by morning the situation was well in hand.

The Regiment stood fast on the morning of the 4th January, during which time orders were received from Division that the town of Odrimont was to be taken. This was the task of the 3rd Battalion, while the 2nd Battalion was to attack simultaneously to the right and take the high ground 620930. All this time, the 2nd Battalion was holding positions on the high ground south of Hierlot.

At 0800 hours on the morning of the 5th January, the Regiment jumped off for the purpose of taking the high ground on the line overlooking The 1st and 2nd Battalions jumped off at 0800 hours, while the 3rd Battalion was in regimental reserve. The 505th was attacking simultaneously on their left and approximately at right angles. The high ground was taken without difficulty and patrols were sent thru the town. That same day, General Gavin issued verbal orders which were later confirmed in Operation Instructions on the 6th January that the 325th Glider Infantry was to take Brux, La Vaux, La Falise, Gernechamps and Menil and continue on and capture the high ground at Thier-del-Preux and Grand-Sart. The 508th Regiment was to follow the 325th, peel off to the left and take the high ground at Thier-du-Mont. The jump-off began just before daylight.

Thier-du-Mont was taken by the 2nd Battalion, while the 3rd Battalion was going thru the draw and into Grand-Sart. As the 3rd Battalion was going thru the draw, SPs and 88s located in Thier-du-Mont, poured in a terrific volume of fire on them. The majority of the Battalion was on the road in the draw and pulled off to the right and into the woods on to the hill. The draw is in the saddle between Thier-du-Mont and Thier-del-Preux. The mortar platoon and the engineers pulled back to Menil. All the time the enemy artillery firing from Thier-du-Mont and Goronne – as Colonel Billingslea said – “raised holy all-round the place!” The armor, consisting of one company of tanks and a platoon of TDs which were accompanying the 3rd Battalion, pulled back to 653897 because the artillery was too hot.

Colonel Billingslea ordered them to take positions along the road between the two hills, but they retired when three tanks were shot up. Some tanks went into a field on the left side of the road but the field was mined and two tanks were blown up. Colonel Billingslea then told the tank commander to make a personal reconnaissance and find the best way to get up on the hill to the right and there join the 3rd Battalion.

Meanwhile Colonel Mendez, 3rd Battalion’s Commanding Officer, 508th Parachute Regiment, who was going up on the rear of the 325th Glider, attacked across the saddle and got on the hill at Thier-du-Mont. Some 3rd Armored tanks swung around to the right and reached 644897 and from there fired on enemy positions thereby taking the pressure off the 325th Glider. After this the attack progressed rapidly because Thier-du-Mont was the focal point of enemy resistance and once broken, the 3rd Armored and “A” Company of the 1st Battalion moved into Grand-Sart without over much resistance. On the next day, the 7th January, the 508th Regiment passed thru the 325th Glider which remained in reserve until being brought out for a rest on the 11th January, 1945.

The Regiment remained in a rest area at Pepinster, Belgium, until 25th January, at which date it entrucked and went to Born, Belgium. It replaced the 7th Armored Division which was holding defensive position at Meyerode and Medell. The plan of attack called for a movement from Born into the line where they were to attack with the 504th Regiment on the right and the 1st Infantry Division on the left. The plan of manoeuver was that the Regimental would move out of Medell from which the 1st Battalion was to attack at about 0630 hours on the 28th January 1945; the 2nd Battalion was to go to the high ground north of Meyerode (Hill 532) and attack almost north-east and clear the ridge north-east of Meyerode. The 7th Armored Division held the town of Meyerode, but not the dominating terrain to the east. Each battalion had one platoon of tanks. The 3rd Battalion was to follow behind the 1st Battalion. The 1st Battalion was to continue on top of the hill, keeping contact with the 504th Regiment on its right. The 2nd Battalion was to contact the 1st Division at Valender, from which point the 1st Battalion was to shoot on to Wereth.

The attack jumped off on schedule as ordered and met very little resistance. The 2nd Battalion got into a small fire fight in the woods at 905937, where it halted and waited for the 1st Battalion to go thru. As the 1st Battalion approached the stream in the area 917937, it slipped off to its left by mistake and went down the hill. The 2nd Battalion, which was to follow, remained on the high ground, with the result that the Battalions got crossed in position. The 1st Battalion was where the 2nd should be and vice-versa. Seeing the situation, Colonel Billingslea issued verbal orders on the scene and switched the missions, which meant that the 1st Battalion was to go to Valender, where it was to contact the 1st Infantry Division and organize on the high ground there, 923954. The 2nd Battalion was to continue on the high ground and continue on as far as it could and at dark on that evening it had reached a point 932947. The 3rd Battalion was brought up behind the 2nd Battalion.

During the night General Gavin ordered Colonel Billingslea to attack, capture Wereth, take the high ground beyond, at which point the 505th Regiment was to pass thru the 325th Glider and take up positions approximately 4,000 – 5,000 yards beyond the town. The 3rd Battalion attacked and took Wereth and was engaged in a heavy fire fight when the 505th Regiment came along. The 325th Glider then ceased fire, while the 505th Regiment was passing thru, re-inforced with tanks. The 505th Regiment reached RJ 963974.

During the night Colonel Billingslea was again ordered by Division to attack next morning, 29th January 1945. The attack moved from Wereth about 1100 hours and went thru the 505th in columns of Battalions, 2, 3, 1. Practically no resistance was encountered until reaching the vicinity of 969974, at which point they were fired on from all sides, but particularly from three or four SPs dead ahead. The only progress that was made at this point was when the men crawled forward on their hands and knees thru the snow and ice, but even that was halted when the SP guns inflicted heavy casualties on the 2nd Battalion. The men had far outdistanced the tanks which were unable to keep up because of the terrible condition of the roads which were covered by practically a foot of ice and packed snow. Finally the tanks did arrive and chased the SP guns. The plan to attack called for the 2nd Battalion to clear the left sector and take the town of Holzheim, while the 3rd Battalion was to clear the right sector and contact the 508th Regiment. Here something unlooked for happened, when the 2nd Battalion, whose mission was to take the high ground and attack Holzheim, from the west, lost direction in the woods and came right smack into Holzheim from the woods. The 2nd Battalion deployed around the town in a 360 degree radius and attacked the town and took it. Meanwhile the 3rd Battalion peeled off to the right, took the high ground and contacted the 508th Regiment.

The 508th Parachute Regiment passed thru the 325th Glider that night – 29th January – while the 325th moved to the high ground west of the Siegfried Line. Here they took up positions and halted for a few days, while on Division order, every Regiment in the Division sent out a series of reconnaissance patrols to probe for the weak and strong points in the Siegfried Line. During this period, the 325th sent out six reconnaissance patrols, varying in strength from three to twelve men and one combat patrol of platoon strength. The result of the information brought back by the patrols indicated that the line was held lightly on the southern edge of the Division sector. Some pill-boxes showed no signs of life whatsoever. Indications were that the line was held strongly to the north where a series of sentries were posted at vantage points between the pill-boxes. It was also found that there were not strong field fortifications in front of the line and the pill-boxes did not seem to be connected by a trench system.

The 1st Battalion jumped off as scheduled at 0430 hours and at first met only light outpost resistance. Though the fire became heavier as they went along, mostly from small arms with scattered heavy machine guns, “A” Company reported within two hours that it had captured two pill-boxes in Neuhof. Colonel Billingslea wanted the 3rd Battalion to move in immediately after the 1st, but all the radios seemed to have gone out of commission, making it necessary for him to contact the 3rd Battalion physically. This naturally necessitated some delay in the 3rd Battalion’s forward movement. By the time the 3rd Battalion attacked it was daylight and the terrain wide open. The battalion moved up the road and met the ‘Dragon’s Teeth’, where they came under small arm fire, mortar fire and SP fire.

The tanks came immediately behind the 3rd Battalion, blasting everything and anything they saw. When the front tanks ran out of ammunition they pulled off to one side, and those at their immediate rear took their place, so that while one series tanks were firing, the other was re-fitting and re-loading. By about 1,000yards, the 3rd Battalion had gone thru the ‘Dragon’s Teeth’ and approached Neuhof, reached the far end of the town just short of Udenbreth. At this point Colonel Billingslea and the 3rd Battalion called for artillery on Udenbreth, and he took seven tanks from the 2nd Battalion and gave them to the 3rd Battalion. The column then took off for Udenbreth. While this was going on, the 1st Battalion had pushed out east of Neuhof and was buttoning up their positions.

About 1400 hours, the Germans counter-attacked with armor and infantry in two groups. Their armor consisted of two tanks, one of which was a Mark IV, a SP gun and four or six armored vehicles with a estimated company of infantry. The whole were supported by mortar fire. Very shortly they knocked out eight of our tanks and two TDs. The center of the German attack was focused on the 1st Battalion, whose Companies were now at approximately a quarter strength or less, so that they were driven back into the town and the Germans gained possession of the eastern part of Neuhof. Colonel Billingslea then led the 2nd Battalion down the road and into Neuhof, where it reinforced the 1st Battalion.

Lieutenant Colonel Ostberg, Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion, had been killed near Neuhof and his Executive Officer, Major Gibson took over. Colonel Billingslea ordered him into position with the 1st Battalion, from which point he was to attack due east, clear the town and restore the positions held by the 1st Battalion. The attack was successful. At the same time the 3rd Battalion was taking Udenbreth. By 1600 hours the Regimental positions were well consolidated with the 3rd Battalion holding Udenbreth, the 2nd Battalion holding Neuhof and the 1st Battalion pulled out with orders to assemble and reorganize just west of Neuhof and act as regimental reserve. When Neuhof was in our hands, the 3rd Battalion 504th Regiment passed thru it on its mission to the south. The 325th Glider had lost contact with the 1st Division on the left but contact was restored next day. The left was wide open and to cover the gap, Company “B” of the 1st Battalion was brought up and placed in position.

The Regiment did not move from this position until relieved by the 99th Infantry Division. Later the Regiment moved with the Division to position for a crossing of the Roer River, but the crossing did not materialize. On the 18 February 1945, the 325th Glider Regiment returned to Camp Sissonne, France.

Interview with Col George W. BILLINGSLEA

Published on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 8:00 PM