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ABLE Company


Perhaps the most memorable day for "A" Company was the one on which they took that fabulous Siegfried fortress the "Katzenkopf." It was not, however, the first assignment of the Company, nor the last.

Able's first missions "on the line" were errands of mercy. The first: to hand-carry badly needed supplies to scattered units oft the 417th then clinging tenaciously to the Echternach bridgehead. But the supplies got where needed through rain and through mud and through enemy fire. The second mission: to locate and bring in casualties from the 3rd Battalion 385th and units of the 417th who had not been evacuated because of intense enemy fire in the surrounding areas. The 1st Platoon, under 1st Lt. Carrol W. Brown drew the task, and though not knowing the location of the wounded or those pillboxes still occupied by Jerry, they were able to bring in five men who had been lying in no man's land for five days, suffering from over-exposure, starvation and lack of medical treatment.

On the 9th of February, in the attack on Irrel, Able's objective was high ground to the left of the town. When the company got to it, they found themselves tackling unsuspected pillboxes. In fact, as they later found out, they had drawn a prize. Armed only with small arms, and supported by 60mm mortars, the 1st Platoon attacked, knocking out two turrets with accurate bazooka and BAR fire. In the midst of the advance a slide opened on yet another turret and the ugly muzzle of a mortar showed itself, firing eighty rounds a minute. It too was silenced but only after T/Sgt. George Irvine under intensive fire, crawled up and dropped a hand grenade down the embrasure. Finally the platoon was forced to withdraw and re-organize. But Able went at it again, and by the following day, under the leadership of Capt. Gilbert T. Owren, the fortress was taken. It proved to be one of the most massive of all capable of housing a thousand men, and pierced with elaborate tunnels and railroads running deeply into surrounding hills.

And so it went in those days. Hectic day, night-mare night, and hectic day. At Binsfeld, the whole Company was subjected to a thirteen hour bombardment by screaming meemies. The name apt. There is nothing quite like them. Then later on, there was the day when T/Sgt. "Wild Bill" Murray in one of his happier moments stood up and dared Heinie snipers to snipe at him. They did: 12 rounds, until Bill's buddies dragged him down. And East of the Rhine there was the little town of Bergisdorf. where the Company ran into one of its stiffest fire fights. Able men won't forget that one. And so it went. On to Mittelbach, where the Doughs settled down for the Russians to arrive.

Great and gallant days. Never to be forgotten. "Able" out in front doing more than its share of the dirty work. And only those who were up there "on the line" know what is implied in that word "share." And strangely enough, those men who do know (and know through searing memories,) seldom talk about it. There are many of those men in Company "A".


Capt. Gilbert T. Owren






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