VIII. Aachen

Two major tasks occupied the attention of the 745th during the month of October- - supporting units of the First Infantry Division in enveloping the city of Aachen from the south and mopping up the city itself.

At the start of the month all platoons were in defensive positions south and southeast of Aachen and extending east through Eilendorf and Stolberg. 0n October 8 the envelopment of Aachen began with the tanks of Company "B" moving out in support of the 18th Combat Team from Eilendorf to Verlautenheide and Haaren while the infantry occupied Verlautenheide, Haaren, Crucifix Hill and Hill 227. It was several days before the envelopment was completed by a unit of the 30th Infantry Division moving down from the north, but the enemy continued its series of counterattacks until the final surrender of the Aachen garrison on October 21. The tanks played a major role in assisting the infantry in repelling these counterattacks, and Lt. Harold Howenstine's second platoon of Company "B" saved the Second Battalion C. P. of the 18th Infantry from being captured after it was surrounded on three sides.

Verlautenheide was the focal point for one of the heaviest artillery barrages that any American troops have seen in this war, and our casualties showed its effect. In spite of the continued pressure as the Germans sought to break through at various points along the line - - Dawson's Ridge, Verlautenheide, Crucifix Hill and Hill 227 - - and relieve the troops in Aachen, our lines held firm and permitted the mopping up of the city to continue without fear of the defenders being reinforced.

On October 10 an ultimatum was sent to the military and civil leaders of Aachen, giving 24 hours for the city to surrender unconditionally or face destruction. It was rejected, so on the following day artillery and air attacks on the city began. Of course, this caused plenty of damage, but after entering the city, it was obvious that the most devastating damage had been done by repeated bombings by our strategic air force.

Company "C", attached to the 26th Infantry Regiment, drew the assignment of taking the city and for the job they were given the added firepower of the assault gun platoon of Headquarters Company. The fighting was from building to building, and from street to street, with the Germans taking advantage of the ruins, the cellars, the rubble and the debris for positions. Many bazookas and antitank guns were encountered, but by close coordination with the infantry, the tanks proved effective in the town fighting. At noon on October 21 the garrison of Aachen, composed of SS troopers, converted Aachen policemen and civilians, surrendered, and the town was clear except for a few snipers.

Meanwhile tanks from Company "B" were assaulting pillboxes daily, firing on them and driving out the occupants or making it possible for the infantry to approach close enough to use pole charges. Where possible tank dozers were used to pile dirt in front of the firing apertures to render the pillbox ineffective.

On October 17 a tank commanded by Sgt. Archie Ross with T/4 Edgar G. Ireland, as driver; Cpl. Alva E. Beck, gunner; Pvt. William J. Sam, assistant gunner, and Pvt. Everett Lloyd, assistant driver, knocked out two enemy tanks

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