PASS IN REVIEW

 

Vol. 1 No. 14 PUBLISHED BY THE MEN OF THE 2ND BN 290TH   29 MAY, 1945


STAFF

 

COMBAT DIARY (Part One, continued) 1945

EDITOR: 

Pfc. John B. Storm

ASSOCIATES

Pfc.  Harry Krimsky

Pfc.  Harold Lafleur

T/Sgt  Leo Fitzpatrick

Cpl.  John Kelly Jr.

Pfc. Joseph Lutkus

Pfc. Robert C. Taffae

T/4  Kent S. Freeman

Pfc.  Ben Urgola

T/5  Claire Lamphear


NOTE

A Unit Journal is, of necessity, concerned with activities that affect that particular unit, and does not record in any detail the progress of the other units fighting on the same front.  Therefore F Company, according to our Journal, was in Regimental Reserve during most of our first days in combat;  in actuality, it was attached to the 3rd Bn, and on Christmas day alone, probably suffered more casualties than any other company.

An account of F Co's activities covering the period from December 24, 1944 to January 10, 1945 is appended at the end of this portion of Combat Diary.

 

   

Jan. 1: Wy, Belgium

0005 - The New Year opened up with a bang.  Artillery fired a TOT on Beffe.

0015 - Enemy returns fire.  Wy receives slight shelling. 

1045 - No enemy activity reported throughout the morning.

1515 - Col. Duffner, Regt'l CO, arrived at CP for staff conference.

1545 - S-3 received permission to use illuminating flares under certain conditions.  We must remove any trip flares or booby traps prior to leaving our defensive sector.

1730 - Censorship regulations state we may now mention being in action.  Cannot give location of unit.

1930 - OP's report no enemy activity in sector throughout the day.

2055 - Civilians passing through lines report concentration of German tanks in Magoster.  Also report two American tanks observed there.

Jan. 2:  Wy, Belgium.

0725 - OP's report "All Quiet" during the night.

0915 - Co E OP reports enemy planes flew over lines and dropped several small bombs.  No casualties.

 

 

End Page 1.


Begin page 2.

Jan. 2:  Wy, Belgium

0920 - Town catching hell from enemy 120mm mortars.

0925 - Lt. Murray, 4.2 Chemical Mortar Obs returns fire and ignites German ammo dump.

0935 - Message from Reg't - Replacements will arrive today.

0940 - OP reports enemy anti-aircraft fire at American P38 over Magoster.

1225 - Col. Harris and Capt. Booker to Soy for conference at Regimental CP.

1350 - Lt. Wheeler reports location of parachute bomb.

1415 - Password for next two days received from Regimental S-2.

1620 - Lt. Peterson makes plans for Active patrol to be sent out after 2400 hrs.  Patrol will check roads and terrain for mines.

2300 - Two Lt's from 2nd Armored Division arrived at CP for orientation on situation with our lines.

Jan. 3:  Wy, Belgium

0120 - First patrol reported in.  Entered town of Magoster, observed enemy activity there.  Reported hearing motors, possibly tanks.

0200 - Second patrol reported in.  Entered Magoster.  Reported plenty of enemy activity (unloading), no motors heard.  Contacted small enemy patrol and bypassed same.

0430 - Lt. Wheeler and Engineer Squad reported mines had been lifted.

0800 - Elements of 84th Division and 2nd Armored Division jumped off through our lines this morning.

1055 - Message received re conference Bn Commander and S-3 to Reg't

1150 - Bn to stand by for mop up operation.

Jan. 4:  Wy, Belgium

0830 - Artillery Liaison reports his observers advise three German counter attacks in fight for Magoster.

1000 - Messenger delivers voucher for petroleum delivered to Margam (?) Castle Dec. 6.

1335 - Col. Harris and Capt. Booker to Reg't for conference.

1415 - Staff conference at CP.

1420 - All Co's advised to be ready to move.

1455 - News received of small counter-attack vicinity of Magoster.

(Combat Diary continued - Page 2.a begin)

Jan. 4: Wy, Belgium

1500 - Companies began movement to new positions.  McGraw's "George" Company to take over old 1st Bn positions in Amonines.  "Fox" Co. goes between G and E.  Dillon's E to extend to right and take over old G Co positions.

1725 - Report to Reg't  - Movement to new positions completed.

Jan. 5:  Wy, Belgium

0030 - Capt. Stewart to CP with report on Fox Co which is in position.  Discussed future plans with Col. Harris.

1430 - Each man to be issued clean pair socks.  Dirty socks will be picked up by kitchen trucks tomorrow.

1932 - Report received that enemy troops in snow suits operating behind Magoster.

Jan. 6:  Wy, Belgium

1105 - Reg't reports Infantry and tanks entered Devantave with little opposition.  One man in American uniform, believed to be German, shot this morning in Magoster.

Jan. 7:  Wy, Belgium

0700 - Reg't called re fighting strength for Bn.

1125 - Bn CP received heavy shelling.

1540 - Companies ordered to move to assembly area vicinity of Magoster.

1730 - Bn assembled in new assembly area.

2025 - Bn Commander and S-3 to Reg't to receive attack order and route.

2350 - Co Commanders received orders at Bn CP.

Jan. 8:  Devantave, Belgium

0100 - Bn begins march to Devantave.

0545 - All elements have arrived at new assembly area in Devantave.

0645 - Troops move to forward assembly area.

0825 - Troops fed "C" rations for breakfast.  Ammo and rations distributed.

0900 - Co E crosses Line of Departure on time.  Co F echeloned to right of "Easy" - G in rear.

1005 - Capt. Dillon reports E Company has made no contact with the enemy.

1105 - Co E on line parallel with Laid-Prangeleux.  No enemy contact.  I&R platoon flushing town.

1140 - Contacted elements of 84th Division wearing snow suits.

1145 - Leading elements of Bn have reached check point 9.  No contact.

1215 - Bn progress slow due to thickness of woods.  In contact with L Co on Bn right.

1240 - G Co scouts fired on at edge of woods.  Several prisoners taken.

1255 - Bn reaches its objective.  Col. Harris orders entire Bn to take up perimeter defense of hill.  Prisoners say a German Pioneer Bn located to our left rear.

1305 - Elements of 3rd Bn join in our perimeter defense.

(Combat Diary continued - page 2.b begin)

Jan. 8:  Devantave, Belgium

1310 - New mission received from Reg't - Push forward to high ground along Sambres-La Roche Hwy.  Hold until further orders.

1325 - Message received canceling previous order - Continue present mission.

1505 - Deserters surrendered to E Co.  Say Germans hold high ground to our front.

1830 - Co Jeeps and trailers unable to get through to companies with ammo due to snow and congested roads.  Chow trucks did not arrive.

2310 - Orders received to lay mines across La Roche Highway.

Jan. 9:  Devantave, Belgium

0630 - Chow arrives in Jeeps.

0645 - Heavy mortar shelling on positions.  Several casualties.

1100 - Survey made to obtain Bn fighting strength.  Effective strength of men on hill put at 180.  Many cases of trench foot reported.

1315 - Lt. Dowler reports in that his E Co patrol crossed the La Roche - Sambre Highway.  Enemy positions observed.  Highway had no fresh vehicle tracks.

1630 - All Co positions improved.  All have overhead protection.

Jan. 10:  Devantave, Belgium

0920 - Two patrols sent across highway.  Enemy apparently pulling out of area.

1030 - Adjustment made in defensive plan as 3rd Bn pulls out.  No change in mission.

1310 - Bn alerted to prepare to move out of positions to assembly area in rear of hill.

1700 - Bn entrucked for new destination.  Reg't is to rejoin 75th Division and will move to new area for a rest??

2315 - Bn detrucks after long motor movement through Devantave, Beffe, Trinal, Soy and back to the rear.....after 19 consecutive days of combat.

2330 - Bn starts foot march to Mont, our new rest area.

(Part 1 of Combat Diary will be continued next week.)

 

(End of page 2.b)

Vol. 1. No. 14   Pass In Review - 2nd Battalion  290th   29 May, 1945 Page 2.c

REPORT FROM F COMPANY  FOR DECEMBER 25 TO JANUARY 5.

In the early morning hours of December 25, F Company was put into Regt'l Reserve.  However, before daylight it was learned that the 3rd Bn was in trouble and had been driven off a hill which they had taken that morning.  F Company was committed with the 3rd Bn.

In a frontal assault across an open field swept by machine-gun fire, F Company attacked and took hill 87 despite the enemy's dug-in defenses, therefore by earning the commendation of the CO of a Paratroop unit which arrived shortly after the objective had been attained.

F Company then set up a perimeter defense in which they were relieved by elements of the 3rd Bn the following day.

The Co was called out again the following night to strengthen the 3rd Bn and to assist the Engrs in laying mine fields, part of the time under heavy enemy fire.

December 28, they were asked to outpost the town of Wy.  This was done by the 3rd Platoon ...and also, to bridge a gap on the high ground south of Wy between the 2nd and 3rd Bn positions.  The remaining platoons continued with the 3rd Bn.

The following day, the 1st platoon and MG section took over this position with the 3rd platoon out posting the town and the Mortar Section set up in the town.  The 2nd platoon continued on line with the3rd Bn until approximately January 5th on which day the 2nd Bn moved forward from Wy with F Company once more all together and working with their own Battalion.  T/Sgt Leo Fitzpatrick.


Page 3 Begin

PASS IN REVIEW OFFERS CASH REWARDS FOR THREE BEST SKITS SUITABLE FOR ARMY SHOWS OR RADIO   SOMETHING FOR THE BOYS

Want to be a playwright?  Alright, pick up your Buddy's pencil, borrow some paper from that guy over there and jot down a one act skit suitable for inclusion in an Army show or radio program.

It can be as long or as short as you wish, it may be funny or tragic.....BUT, it must be about ONE of these four topics:  army of Occupation, C.B.I., Fraternization, or the Point System.

An award of fifteen, ten, and five dollars will be given for the three best entries.

Skits will be judged on the basis of their literary merit, original approach to subject matter....and simplicity of production requirements.  In other words, no matter how well written your entry is, if it depends on elaborate sound effects, art lighting, or pretentious sets it cannot be accepted.

PASS IN REVIEW reserves production rights for six months after date of publication of the three winning scripts and also reserves the right to include them, in whole, or in part, in a collection of material originally appearing in those pages, to be published after the termination of hostilities in the Pacific.

Entries should be addressed to PASS IN REVIEW, 2nd Bn, and should be in not later than Sunday, June 4th.  That gives you seven days in which to whip up your masterpiece.  The awards will be made two days after the last entry is submitted....thus eliminating the usual Army procedure of hurry up and wait a few years.  The winners will be announced in P.I.R. Monday, 12 June.

 

The things that make life pleasant are not, as a rule, big things.  More often it is the friendly smile from a stranger, or the unlooked for pat on the back from the guy who works beside you that makes that particular moment of that particular day seem worth remembering.

So...the fact that Bill Klein dug into his own privy purse to purchase the little red souvenir packets of photographs that men of the 2nd Bn who visited the Dechenhole last week received, pleases me.  It was an unimportant gesture, but a very thoughtful one.  THANKS, BILL.

 

SONG OF THE WEEK

When I go for a walk and meet old friends we knew, We sit around and talk, then they ask about you.

What's the good if I say that you and I are through.

I tell them you're okay, when they ask about you.

They wonder where we've been and why we never call, I take it on the chin until the tear drops fall,

They don't mean to be smart but if they only knew, They're stepping on my heart when they ask about you.

 

 

End of page 3


Begin page 4.

2nd Battalion Portrait.....S/Sgt. George F. Putnam.....by Pfc. Ralph W. Duckwall.

"DRINK A BITE TO EAT" at 10, 2, and 4, DR. PEPPER... That's the phrase that S/Sgt George F. Putnam, HQ Co Supply Sgt is hoping to say again in the near future.

It all started back during the 1st World War, George was a war baby, born in 1916, but has done a good job living it down.  He grew up, more or less, and went to school in Cleveland , Mississippi.  He was married some eight years ago.

As a civilian, George was one of the more independent residents of Pensacola, Florida.  He had his own route as a soft drink salesman.  Owning his own truck, George was able to employ help and didn't do much manual labor during his last few years of ecstasy (that's just another word for civilian life).  George is just the type of person you would like to see driving a truckload of cold sparkling beverages, his blonde wavy hair and clear ruddy complexion, accompanied by an ever-present smile of cheer just seem to go with Dr. Pepper.

As a supply sergeant, there is none to surpass him.  He likes his job, and his results show it.  If a man takes an interest in his work, he is bound to get better results....so it is with George.  No one is perfect, but our friend G.F.G. comes pretty close to it.  Honesty, congeniality, and consideration for others are just a few of George's traits.

About his plans for that much talked about POST WAR WORLD, George has this to say, "I'm going to make a career of the Army.  After all, with only 38 points I won't be able to get out for another 28 years."  But seriously, he plans to go back to his old job.  He still owns the truck, and the route is being maintained for him until he returns.

"I'll always remember one incident during our great combat experience, he says, "...it was at Wy.  There were about twelve or fifteen cows holding a bovine 'Moo' session in front of Message Center....a couple of 88's landed plumb in the center of their...discussion.  There were a couple of runners standing nearby.  The shell fragments scattered in all directions, killing one cow instantly, and wounding three others so badly that they had to be shot.  I'm not a superstitious guy, but I've always thought that those darn cows had a purpose in dying...their being hit probably stopped some of the shrapnel that was headed for the two runners.  I'll always feel that those two cows saved two runners lives."

 

TRIVIA ABOUT PASS AND REVIEW   GEORGE COMPANY OPENS "MIKE'S JOINT."

Poem, originally titled "TO A SOLDIER DEAD IN SPRING" and printed in these pages for the first time has been reprinted by the DETROIT NEWS in E.C. Adams' column.  Alvarez, of HQ Co translates P.I.R. into Spanish to send to his wife in Puerto Rico.

 

At 1900 hours, 26 May, the first beer was drawn in G Company's new recreation center which, appropriately enough has been dubbed "MIKE'S JOINT."  S/Sgt Houston Donaldson officiated as bartender...even to wearing the correct costume.  The place boasts a piano, tables, chairs, a mural of Miss Fraternization for 1945..and an outdoor horseshoe court.

End of page 4.


Begin page 5.

THE BELFRY.....CHAPLAIN RICHARD BELL

 

 

"HOWE....'bout that?"....Pfc Robert Taffae

"Whither shall I flee from thy spirit? or, Whither shall I flee from thy presence."  (Psalm 139)

It should be said that as St. Augustine and Monica, his mother, were waiting for a ship for one of their many voyages, he expressed his fear that she would die far from her home land.  Monica, a devout woman, comforted him with the assurance that "No one is ever far from God."  She was expressing in her own way, the words of the Psalmist in the 139th Psalm.

It is a tragedy that men think of God as a policeman, or as a mighty ruler who sits in his chair in the high heavens and rules with an iron hand.  This God cannot be everywhere as our God is.  God is a spirit and he is always near man whether man lives in chaos or in peace, whether he seeks to serve himself or the cause of Christ.  we cannot escape the all loving and ever present spirit of God.  Man can never go where God is not.

~ Prayer~

Our Father, stay near us to comfort us in our sorrows, to strengthen us in our weakness and to lift us up when we are fallen.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

~Thought for the Week~

The presence of God is the light of the World, and only those who walk in his light can see the beauty of his World.

 

Down at our Company this week literally hundreds of flickering little lights can be seen.  At various times in years now past, events occurred that were, in the future, to swell the ranks of H Company...It's a Happy Birthday to Sgt. Griffee, Pfc. Paul Grinager, and Pfc. Verlin Benson.

Pvt. John Cummings wore himself out trying to convince us that he wasn't in need of a rest in Holland.  He'd have us know that he's been complying with non-fraternization in the strictest sense.

A hearty hand is extended to Sgt. Bradshaw, Pvt's McIntosh, Van Ness, and Moore, who have returned to us after brief hospitalization.

Pfc. Bryg (of literary fame) ventured over to Sgt. Rhea's abode the other day.  Out came the chess board and men.  When the smoke finally cleared, it was firmly established that the visitor had won.  However in all fairness we must wait for future scores before presenting any titles.

If the lights went on again in England they are surely out by now, for somewhere in the foggy darkness crawl Sgt. Charlie Lyons and Pfc. Joe Hunt.  (Details will be forthcoming as soon as the boys return...If the 1st Platoon starts getting the breaks, don't wonder fellows.  One of their boys has been warming the Imperial seat of late....AND for the sake of all records and the world in general, will Cpl. Olszewski please do something...(What about O'Shesky?) ....ONE of the MOTOR POOL's most illustrious members dropped by the other day to say, Hello.  Pfc. Steve Sanders, who is now giving F Company their rides, spoke highly of his new employers but said he missed the 3rd platoon and his buddies.

End of page 5.


Begin page 6.

2nd BN SPORT WEEK...Pfc. Ben Urgold

 

HERE AND THERE IN E COMPANY...Pfc Harold Lafleur

Due to bad weather during the week, the boys were forced to spend much of their time in billets, but when the sun DID shine, they made hay...

On Wednesday, 22 May, the softball players took to the field and in spite of a slippery area, F Company showed good fast fielding and timely hitting combined with some excellent pitching by Pfc. Eych, in their game against HQ.  All this together, was more than enough to win...which they did by a score of 3 to 0.

The game was more or less a return match, with F Company seeking revenge for the two games they lost to HQ Company a week ago, and they were right in there with some heads-up ball.  F Co mess Sgt, S/Sgt Sanko made a pep talk and led the vociferous rooting section.  Sanko enjoyed every minute of the game and ribbed 1st Sgt. Piersch of HQ Co unmercifully for being so sure his team would win.

Game was really won in the second inning, when Sgt. Vonier, pitching for HQ Co, had trouble finding the plate.  He walked three batters in succession plus two singles, which tallied for three runs that inning.  In the third inning he repeated the same thing by walking the first three men up.  He was taken out of the game and replaced by Pfc. Jasiewicze, who put out the fire by making the next two batters pop to the infield, and the third ground to second.

From then on, neither team was able to score except in the sixth inning, when F Company tallied for one more run to make sure of winning the game.

On Friday, 24 May, HQ Co and G Co got together for their second game since the softball season opened a couple of weeks ago.  This was a close exciting contest with T/4 Gillian of G Co putting on a one man show.  Not only did he pitch a fine ball game, but also hit a Home Run and made some great fancy fielding plays.  His control was excellent and his speed terrific.  He gave up only three hits, struck out six batters, and didn't walk a single man.  He yielded but one run...in the seventh inning on two singles, a stolen base and a wild pitch.  Final score: 3 to 1, G Company.

Before the rations came through, the cigarette shortage was so acute in the 3rd platoon that the boys were running around sniping butts from the Russians...and the rough part of it was that the Russians once sniped those same butts from the boys.

E Company extends a challenge to all members of the 2nd Bn to excel them in Ping-Pong or Contract Bridge.

E Company Softball:  The 4th platoon won the first series by defeating the 3rd platoon and Co. HQ.  The score of the final game was 7 to 6.

The first game of the second series was played Saturday evening between the third and fourth, with the latter holding the honors again with a score of 6 to 1.

25 May, a group of Officers and men from E Company were invited by the Russian Commander of Vorhalle to a party.  It turned out to be a big success, by big I mean that the next morning everyone's head was twice as big.  During the evening, Truman, Stalin, and Churchill were toasted several times.  The Russians have a custom that you drain your glass when you toast, and reports came back that some of the fellows thought the Russians were trying to drown them...with Schnapps!

End of Volume 1.  No. 14. of  Pass and Review

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