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HOW Company


 The Company "H" which passed in review in Zwickau on the 17th of May was a vastly different company from that which jumped the Sauer under cover of fog, smoke, and darkness en the 17th of February, and in the Siegfried Line relieved "H" Company 417th.  The fallen men were there in memory.  The men who marched were older and wiser in the ways of battle.

During the Siegfried struggle, the mortar platoon was the only one under company control.  The first platoon was attached one section each to Easy and Fox companies, and the second was farmed out to George.  So it is necessarily difficult to write the story of a heavy weapons outfit.  But just ask the doughs of "E", "F", and "G", and you will find out that the heavy weapons men were right in there pitching when the going was tough.

And some of the toughest going came in the attack on Bad Sooden, a former German health resort.  The second section of the second platoon was sent with George company to establish a base of fire, while Fox company supported by the first section of HMG's and 81's made a frontal assault.  All routes of approach to the town were across open fields covered by Kraut small arms fire.  It was a stiff little fight, but elements of George finally got into the town, the rest of the company moving in under the protection of a mortar barrage.  In the mopping up operations, one of the rifle platoons cut off a group of 30 Krauts trying to reach their retreating companies.  Pfc. Richard Davies cut loose with his machine gun and got half of them.  The remaining 15 surrendered.

At dawn of the following day, Sgt. John Pilkington took his squad up into a Church where he could command a good view of the town.  During the day the squad accounted for 10 dead Jerries and an undetermined number wounded.  At 1600 that after, noon German reinforcements were seen moving towards the town, coming nonchalantly down the road, their weapons on their shoulders.  S/Sgt. Den Fairall dropped a 20 round mortar barrage into the middle of them. Enough said.

On the third day of the battle, the 3rd Battalion came down the Weser river and occupied portions of the town on the East bank.  By 1400 everything was under control, and H company settled in Bad Sooden to re-organize.  It had indeed been a "tough one."

Then there was Dachwig, where How Company guns accounted for 22 Krauts in a hot three hour battle with SS troops at ranges of less than 500 yards.  And so it went town to town and across the Fatherland until the latter part of April, when Gera was reached.  Here "H" drew a lucky ten day assignment of MP duty.

The company had its share of heroes. Pfc's Arthur Tolin and Edward Baumgardner won Bronze Stars for assisting in caring for wounded under artillery and mortar fire.  And there were Soldiers Medals for Pfc. Obernoltie and T/Sgt. Rudolph (who later wen a battlefield commission), when a pillbox containing demolition charges, grenades and gasoline caught fire.

Company H was commanded by Capt. Archie Hay.


Capt. Archie F. Hay






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