Military History/Bastogne, involved units
QUESTION: Mr Patton,
I am researching my father's unit in WW2 and I can provide the following info:
Company A, 20th Armored Infantry Battalion, 10th Armored Division.
Question, I cannot find any references to his company (A) in Bastogne during the seige; Dec. 18 to Dec. 27, 1944. I find only references to Company B and C.
Was he in the Headquarters or reserve unit in Bastigne? He told me that he was in a foxhole on Christmas eve. during a heavy bombardment in or near Bastogne.
He is now deceased, and i am pulling together this information for family members. I am his oldest son
Thank you so much!
At the time the Germans attacked, Patton was orderd to sent CCB (Combat Command B) to Bastogne to shore up its defenses in the face of the developing enemy attack. In all probability he stripped some of the battalions out of the command in order to keep them for his pending attack on Mainz.
I found that at the time they were in Bastogne CCB was comprised thus:
Combat Command B, 10th Armored Division.
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Combat Command B, 10th Armored Division;
3rd Tank Battalion (less Company C);
20th Armored Infantry Battalion (less Company A);
54th Armored Infantry Battalion (less Company A and C);
420th Armored Field Artillery Battalion;
Troop D, 90th Calvary Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized);
Company C, 609th Tank Destroyer Battalion (less 1st Platoon; with 2nd Platoon Reconnaissance Company attached);
Battery B, 796th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion;
Company C, 55th Armored Engineer Battalion ;
Company C, 21st Tank Battalion;
Notice it says less Company A by the 20th Armored Infantry. Combat Commands A and C were given different assignments A
This book might be useful in finding information.
I'll poke around a bit more. Have you requested your father's service record? It will give his Military Occupational specialty. That will go a long way toward helping unravel the puzzle. If he was a Tech rank he might have been assigned to a support company or headquartes company. I took a lot of technical types to keep all the vehicles running. He he did not tell of any tales of him being in a combat squad or platoon he might no have been. Also the service record will tell you if he qualified for the CIB, the combat infantryman's badge. Being in the town of Bastogne was no picnicl It was heavily shelled and a lot of the support troops took a beating. Request the service record, you can do it on line, and it will help a lot.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you Mr. Patton for this response. I know that detailed Army records were destroyed in a fire in MO after the war. I have his DD214 and it lists his specialty as "Typist" (Ardennes and Rhineland campaign.)He had 2 years of college prior to entering the Army in 1942. He was trained at Fort Benning GA until he arived with the 10th AD in Cherbourg Sept. 1944. He told me he was in Bastogne, but I don't know if he meant after the seige or during the seige with the CCB of the 10th.
His service serial no. 11130674 PFC Charles T Clougherty. He is also listed as a POW for which he kept a diary. Stalag 12A, Limburg. Captured on March 4, 1945 and escaped...met buddies from the 9th AD on March 27.
I would appreciate anymore details that you might provide.
Thank you so much!
Steve Clougherty, Sharon MA.
This is to update what is below...I read through the PDF file a the second link below..and low and behold, it says that Colonel Desobry, Commander of the 20th AIB was CAPTURED in the closing stages of the Saar-Moselle Triangle operation described in the PDF doc account. I may be wrong but it might be a safe assumption that you father was captured at the same time, since it probably involved the Headquarters staff.
Charles MacDonalds book: A Time for Trumpets, describes actions fo the 20th AIB and may also detail the capture of Desobry and your father.
I don't know how much more information I could provide, beyond speculation.
Here is a book you might find more answers in.
Based on what you've told me, the Army Apptitute tests probably identified your father as someone to go into G-2 or G-3, Intelligence or Operations. He would have been assigned a staff position as a typist since the army even in the 1940's required a lot of paperwork, daily reports, after action reports, supply requisitions etc. He could have been in Bastogne after the battle, since according to the synopsis of the book, the 10th did not move out again until January. In March they attacked Trier and captured it March 15th. It could be that your father was captured during reconnassiance or a counter attack during that period. The book might shed light on that.
There is one last place you might try and that is the Combined arms Research Library.
I don't know if the after action reports for the 20th AIB were burned in the fire or just personnel records. I found naval after action reports for carrier air groups at the old Navy Yard Navy Historical Records in DC.
Here are few more avenues to pursue.