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1: November-December, 1942

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November 1st to 7th at sea. Aboard ship L-10 enroute to French Algeria.

Nov. 8th - Les-Andalouses, French Algeria. Tactical landing on White Beach at 0130; initial combat operation for the battalion. Initial elements of the battalion fired on at 0745; but continued advance with slight resistance uphill to Djebel Murdjadjo was only slightly opposed. Reached initial objective (Djebel Murdjadjo) about 0830. Remainder of days action consisted of automatic weapons and 81mm fire used by Company "M". Enemy patrols active at night.

Nov. 9th - Heavy artillery fire on position on Djebel Murdjadjo, about 0700, casualties reported. Throughout the day artillery fired intermittently on our position probably enemy mortar fire as well. Company "M" mortars and machine gun section active throughout the day. Enemy patrols active at night. Between 8th and 9th there was no available communication by radio. Foo party (British) had contact thru ships at sea with our regiment - our only communication with any of our regiment.

Nov. 10th - Throughout the morning enemy artillery fire and mortar fire kept intermittent activity against Djebel Murdjadjo. Our artillery neutralized enemy positions to a great extent. Enemy surrendered approximately 1230 this date. Battalion moved to heights west of Oran at 1500 and went into tactical bivouac.

Nov. 11th - 12th - Remained in tactical bivouac west of Oran until 0900 the morning of the 12th when the battalion moved to La-Senia Airport with the tactical mission of guarding the base against enemy ground attack. Distance traveled 11 ½ miles by foot.

Nov. 13th thru 19th - Usual guard duties.

Nov. 20th - Company "I" and Anti-Tank platoon of Hq & Hq Company 3rd Battalion left at 0930 for Tafaroui Airport to leave on secret mission. Destination unknown.

Nov. 21st - 23rd - Usual guard duties.

Nov. 23rd - Company "L" and Anti-Tank platoon of 2d Battalion accompanied by Major Corley, Lt. Dreier, and Pvt DeFelice of Hq 3rd Battalion, left La-Senia Airport for Tafaroui Airport at 0820 to leave by plane destination unknown.

Nov. 24th - 25th - Normal guard duties.

Nov. 26th - Lt Col Bowen, Staff Sgt Pokorny, Pvt Harris left on secret mission to Algiers. Capt Walter H. Grant assumed command in absence of Lt Col Bowen.

Nov. 27th - Normal guard duties.

Nov. 28th - Bn alerted and prepared to move to new base. Lt Col Bowen and party returned to La-Senia Airport.

Nov. 29th - Left La-Senia Air base by motor for Tafaroui Air Base, (Distance 7 miles) Were flown from Tafaroui air base to Bleida, leaving at 1115. Arrived at Bleida at 1315 and took up tactical bivouac. Transported by 60th and 62nd Transport Service in C-47's. Distance 300 miles.

Nov. 30th - Left Bleida at 0950 by air in same planes for Youks-Les-Bains. Arrived at destination at 1115, took up a tactical bivouac for the night. (Distance travelled 400 miles).

Dec. 1st - Travelled over road approximately 55 miles to Feriana to await orders issued by Col Edson D. Raff. Left for objective by motor reached objective at 2000. Route Feriana, Thelepte, Sidi-Bou-Zid, Djebel, Bon Dzei, detrucked approximately 5 miles from objective advanced to attack with Bn Hq Section Ammunition and Pioneer Section of Hq & Hq Company; Company "M", and Company "I" less one rifle platoon. Troops involved with this battalion were Company "B" 701st TD Bn and one French Rifle Company. Reached the minor hills in vicinity of Djebel-Bou-Dzer action stabilized until 1600, when German positions were attacked. Lts Hersey and Stanton wounded. Attack repulsed by well entrenched machine gun fire.

Dec. 2nd - Action stabilized most of the day.

Dec. 3rd - Enemy positions in Faid shelled by French artillery from 1300 to 1500. Company "E", 503rd Parachute Battalion moved in rear as a reserve unit. Successful attack launched at 1700; at which time 120 German prisoners were taken. Units in attack were Company "I", Ammunition and Pioneer Platoon of Hq and Hq Company, one French Rifle Company, 503rd Parachute Company.

Dec. 4th - Moved to Faid. (1300) Remained in bivouac until 2030 Dec. 5th. Moved to Sidi-Bou-Zid at 1930 by truck distance (12 miles). Companies bivouacked tactically surrounding the town. C.P. established in town at 2230. Bn C.O. remained at Faid.

Dec. 6th - Faid attacked by enemy bombers at 0730 and again at 0945. Five vehicles destroyed and one casualty result of first attack - no damage from second. Bn S-6 and S-5 in CP outside of Sidi-Bou-Zid at 1530. S-5 in CP overnight. S-6 and S-5 called to conference at Col Raff's Headquarters at 1800. 3rd Bn S-3 held meeting for company officers in CP at 1830. Radio contact established with O.P. at pass near Faid, at 1630. Telephone communications established with half tracks, CP in Sidi-Bou-Zid, and civilian switchboard at 1700.

Dec. 7th - Enemy air attack in vicinity of Faid at 0730. Enemy planes over camp area at 1000. Friendly planes patrolling area all day. Enemy planes attacked at 1820. AT Platoon 2nd Battalion, 26th Inf, joined us at 2130. Company "I" patrol on special mission. Pioneer and Ammunition Platoon Hq & Hq Company, 3rd Bn, out on several missions daily - mine laying, blasting, booby traps, etc.

Dec. 8th - Enemy planes attacked at 0720. Battalion Commander called a meeting of all company commanders at 1130 today in the CP and to meet at same time and place daily. Battalion moved into billets in town at 1830 for the night (rain).

Dec. 9th - Battalion moved to bivouac area from overnight billet at 0545. Enemy planes attacked at 1240 and again at 1325. Battalion moved at 1430 to overnight billets. Battalion alerted for possible move. Billeting detail left at 1800 (Lt Murphy and S/Sgt Pokorny).

Dec. 10th - Battalion returned to bivouac area from overnight billets at 0530. Enemy planes bombed Sidi-Bou-Zid and vicinity at 1110. Day spent in preparation for move. Battalion, Company "M", Hq Company and part of Company "K" (44) entrucked at 1830, crossed IP at 1930 arrived at billets near Feriana, Tunisia at 0330 Dec 11th, 1942.

Dec. 11th - CP established in Feriana and at billets, day spent in arranging billets, routine guard, etc. Remainder of battalion (less one platoon and Lt Weeks, Maj Corley, remained at Sidi-Bou-Zid area as guard and police detail) left Sidi-Bou-Zid at 2230 arrived at Feriana 0630. (Distance 82 miles).

Dec. 12th - Remainder of battalion arrived at billets at Feriana at 0635. Company "I" continued on to Youks-Les-Bains to replace Company"L" as airport guards. Company "L" moved up to billets at Feriana at 1450. Intelligence section left Feriana at 1430 under Lt Dreier and Cpl Larkin, on special mission to Gafsa. Convoys of supplies, equipment, barracks bags, etc., arrived during the night. Maj Corley, Lt Weeks, S/Sgt LeCates arrived with the remainder of Company "K".

Dec. 13th - Church services by Chaplain Chase 1000. Bn S-6 to meeting at Col Raff's office 1330. 3rd Bn Anti-tank Platoon returned from Gafsa at 1330. Capt Hughes and Mr. Lundstrom (AP) left CP at 1445 for Algiers on a special mission. Strength is as follows with attached units: Hq Co 6 officers and 112 EM, 6 officers and 40 EM attached, Co"K", 5 officers and 171 EM, Co "L", 3 officers and 124 EM, Co "M", 5 officers and 165 EM, 105th C.A. 1 officer and 46 EM, 53rd Signal, 1 officer and 10 EM, 503rd Parachute, 4 officer and 81 EM, Tank Destroyer 6 officers and 192 EM. Lt Woods Co "L", lead patrol thru Maknassy to Manousa after dark. Green flares were shot in air at each end of his column of 3 jeeps. Patrol returned without encountering any enemy.

Dec. 14th - Bn S-6 called a company commanders meeting for 0800, Chaplain Chase and Cpl Nuber left Feriana for Algiers by plane at 1030. Lt Col Bowen and Pvt Heffernan left CP at 1130 for Gafsa returned at 1600. Bn S-6 and S-5 to Col Raff's Hq at 1830. Lt Smith, 2nd Bn, Anti-Tank Platoon, lead patrol to farm about 1 mile west of Maknassy. Learned of presence of Italians in Maknassy and returned.

Dec. 15th - Company commanders meeting scheduled for 1300 daily by S-6. Usual camp duties by personnel. Intelligence information: (100 Italians in Maknassy, 40 Germans 3 miles from Maknassy on road to Sidi-Bou-Zid, Faid at bridge. One or two trains (supply) leave Tunis for Gabes nightly). Contact patrol of Lt Woods, Co "L", a French soldier and an American soldier strafed by JU-88 on way to La-Senia no casualties. Returning to Gafsa jeep overturned, wrecking the jeep and causing head injuries to French soldier. Patrol lead by Lt Smith, 2nd Bn Anti-Tank platoon entered Maknassy and learned that about 150 Italians were asleep in and near the railroad station. Observed (5) unmanned Anti-Tank guns along the road toward Gafsa.

Dec. 16th - Usual camp duties by personnel. Bn S-6 and Pvt Harris left by jeep for Gafsa at 1230. Bn S-3 and Pvt Usner left by jeep for Gafsa at 1320. Two platoons (Lt Magrail and Lt Falconeri) with Capt Morrissey left for Gafsa on a special mission at 1510. Enemy plane flew over the area at 2104. Reconnaissance patrol in force (two platoons, rifle, Co "L" mentioned above) with Bn Commander. Capt Morrissey and Capt Fryman travelling by 4 2½ ton trucks, one jeep and one ambulance left for Gafsa for Maknassy at 1800. Detrucked about five miles west of Maknassy and attacked Italian positions in the town from the south and east. Opposed energetically by fire from Anti-Tank guns (5) and machine guns. Captured 21 Italian prisoners and withdrew along road to the west toward Gafsa at 0400 Dec.17th. See attached Intelligence Reports: (Intelligence Information: 30 Italians at Megnona, 100 Italians at Maknassy with Anti-Tank and machine guns, 40 Germans at bridge 3 miles north of Maknassy, German patrol sent to Maigila pass and return, about 45 enemy at Reghleb, sent light vehicle with six men to Metleg pass, Maximum of 150 enemy at Kiechem.)

Dec. 17th - Usual camp duties by personnel. Raiding patrol returned with 21 Italian prisoners at about 1400.

Dec. 18th - Usual camp duties by personnel. German plane flew over camp area at 0630, dropped two bombs near Feriana and later several more on airfields at Thelepte. Enemy plane was chased away by our own P-40's. German flew over camp area at 1230 - no bombs were dropped.

Dec 19th - Usual camp duties by personnel. Bn S-3 and 1 Platoon of Company "L" under Lt Buttolph and Lt Billings, and Pvt Usner left for Gafsa at 1010. Air alarm at 1125. Meeting of all Bn officers and Plt Sgts at 1315 at Bn S-6 quarters (Critique on Co "L" raid.)

Dec. 20th - Usual camp duties by personnel. Air alarm at 0645, mail call at 1545. Bn S-1 and Capt Rainey returned from mission (Algiers) at 1750. Bn Intelligence section returned from mission at Gafsa at 2130 - also a platoon of Co "L".

Dec. 21st - Usual camp duties by personnel. One squad of Ammunition and Pioneer platoon left camp at 1415 - mission mine laying. Enemy activity reported at Kebeis. Ammunition and Pioneer Squad under Cpl Halko to work under Bn S-3 at Gafsa. Chaplain Chase returned from D. S. Algiers at 2045, convoy of mail supplies and equipment arrived at 2045.

Dec. 22nd - Usual camp duties by personnel. Air alarm at 0625 and at 0640, Bn S-5 to Youks Les Bains at 1340. Practice alert in case of enemy air and ground attack at 1600 companies to their dispersal areas.

Dec. 23rd - Usual camp duties by personnel. Air alarm at 1000, Bn S-6 and Pvt Harris to Gafsa at 1300, convoy of replacements arrived at 1903. Unassigned

Dec. 24th - Usual camp duties by personnel. Anti-Tank platoon, Bn S-1 to Gafsa on special mission at 1930, church services at 2330. Replacements assigned to companies.

Dec. 25th - Special mission to Gafsa returned to Feriana at 0730, Bn S-1 returned at 0830 after reporting results at French Hq at Gafsa. On reaching Gafsa on the night of the 24th at 1900, the mission consisting of Capt Hughes, Lt Honecker, 2nd section of the 3rd Bn Anti-Tank platoon, and one section of Ammunition and Pioneer Platoon proceeded to Sened where they were met by Lt Buttolph and 12 men of Company "M". The mission of the Anti-Tank section was to proceed along the road, Gafsa, Sened, Maknassy, to utilize the closest possible range of the town of Maknassy, and open fire south 2 Anti-Tank guns, on the town, firing for approximately 5 minutes, and then withdrawing as quickly as possible to Gafsa. Lt Buttolph and his patrol were to secure the route mentioned above and also provide local security for the Anti-Tank guns. Both patrols left Sened at 2230, at 20 minute intervals, over very muddy, and rough roads. The advance patrol detrucked at a point 5 miles west of Maknassy and proceeded on foot, followed by the Bn Anti-Tank section. The patrol moved forward to a point 1 mile west of Maknassy, where gun positions were selected. At the moment the guns advanced from rear of column to their positions, all enemy guns, both anti-tank and automatic weapons opened fire on all roads leading from the town. This enemy fire lasted for about 5 minutes. Because of unsuitable terrain, and a lack of cover for anti-tank guns our guns did not fire. (Our mission was solely to create confusion in the town: this was done without firing a shot). Our route of approach to the town was under heavy enemy anti-tank gun fire, so the mission withdrew immediately. Mission successful without expenditure of men, vehicles or ammunition. The same night a patrol lead by Lt Megrail consisting of 3 men from Co "L" and 4 Pioneer men with a mission of laying mines and cutting enemy telephone wires, at El Hafey southeast of El Guettar, attempted to accomplish their mission. They were fired on by 2 anti-tank guns, 4 machine guns, and approximately 70 riflemen, that were occupying an outlying outpost. Throughout the evening, our patrols succeeded in harassing and exciting the enemy outposts with no damage to themselves. Otherwise Christmas day was enjoyed by all.

Dec. 26th - Usual camp duties by personnel. Outpost at Gafsa relieved by Lt Shaw and one cal .30 section from Co "M", adding one 81 mm squad, Lt Falconiere and one rifle platoon from Co "L". Patrol lead by Lt Megrail, composed of 2 men Co "M", 4 men Co "L", Lt Anderson and 2 men Hq Co travelled in vicinity of El Hafey to cut phone wires. Enroute a German patrol of 1 officer, 1 Sgt, and 3 men mounted on a large motorcycle, with sidecar, was encountered and captured. Two Germans were wounded one of whom was the officer, who later died in the hospital in Gafsa. Prisoners were escorted to Feriana where they were interrogated by Bn Intelligence section, (Copy of results attached), and later turned over to French authorities for internment.

Dec. 27th - Usual camp duties at Feriana. Chaplain Chase left on DS at 1400 for Constantine to visit hospital and obtain PX supplies. Activity in vicinity of Gafsa outpost. French and American troops in Gafsa were harassed by ME 109s twice during the day, doing no damage to American troops. At 1000 hrs our outlying outpost in the vicinity of El Hafey sighted a German column of 1 armored car and 7 motorcycles moving west towards our positions. Waiting till the column was in range of 200 yards our outpost opened fire, knocking out 1 armored car, and two motorcycles, and killing at least 10 men. The remainder of the German troops, after dismounting and fighting on foot for a few minutes, retreated in the face of vigorous assault put up by Lt Falconiere's outpost. Our outpost held its position until later it sighted a column of 4 German tanks and several motorcycles. Realizing that only riflemen could not combat tanks, the outpost fell back to a demolition trap, on the road from El Guettar to Gabbes. The Bn Anti-Tank platoon was moved to El Guettar to lay in waiting for the tank column, which never appeared. Night patrols were sent out, and have definitely located the enemy positions. Night patrols also made reconnaissance for prospective positions.

Dec. 28th - Usual camp duties at Feriana. Thelepte airport bombed at 0830 by one JU-88, that dropped two bombs; no ostensible damage. Bn S-6 to Col Raff's office at 1400 to confer with American General. Enemy reinforcements reported by Bn S-3 beyond Gafsa at 1???. Murphy on reconnaissance at 1300 returned at 1800.

Dec. 29th - Air alarm at 0450, two patrols sent out 0930 to investigate Arab village and look for two enemy gliders that were reported in vicinity.

Dec. 30th - Patrols at outpost east of Gafsa met enemy and withdrew at 1300. Ammunition and Pioneer section headquarters returned from Gafsa at 1530. Enemy parachutists reported in vicinity at 1830.

Dec. 31st - Usual camp duties by personnel. Bn S-1 left for Algiers at 0900 Co "I", arrived at Feriana by motor convoy at 1430.

Title Page || 2: January-March, 1943 >>