Grandmenil monday December 25

After the attack at Trou du Loup, K- company (75th infantry division) is resupplied. For the first time they are going into a fight in Grandmenil, supported by tanks. As they approach Grandmenil, they arrive on the left side, along with the 1st Platoon. The 2nd Platoon is on the right. The 1st Platoon fights its way through the village. When K-company comes under heavy fire, they decide to set up a defensive position into the houses of Grandmenil. Then a German tank begins to shoot on their positions, while the sounds of other impending tanks audible. Machine guns open fire on K-company.
Company K leaves the village as german panthers enter the village from the other side. US Artillery is shelling to ensure that K company can safely leave the village.
As the artillery again begins to shoot, K company with I and L company attack again and occupy the village.

Intersection Manhay – Grandmenil

Harold Lindstrom, 289th infantry regiment, company F; mortar team, 4 th Platoon:
On December 25, the 289 th infantry regiment is ready to attack with three battalions. The 3rd battalion on the left, the 2nd battalion (from Lindstrom) in the center and the 1st battalion on the right. The attack would start at 08.00 hours.
F Company of the 2nd battalion (which is Lindstroms), has to occupythe the hills, about 1500 meters south of the road between Erezée and Grandmenil.

Robert F. Kauffman:
Compagnie D, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 3 rd Armored division:
Early in the morning we approached the wooded edge, overlooking Grandmenil.
The convoy left the road between the trees and began to drive between the trees, while we packed our stuff together and we made ready to get off.
Kauffman has the awareness that he is in a unrealistic world in that half track. It is the hard, ugly reality of the war, with the screaming, the explosions, the yelling and almost staccato sound of the German Schmeisser machine guns.
“With loads of ammunition to our waist, several hand grenades in your pockets and attached some bazooka grenades, you get a moment of feeling that you have everything under control and you need no one. That is just a moment.”

Bob F. Kauffman

The group is waiting for orders, the latest changes. After, what seems endless waiting, the first tanks take positions. Infantry wait to leave. We knew that our 2nd platoon would follow the lead pack, which would be 1st or 3rd. And that would give us some comfort that no more than a few minutes would last.
At the time that signal is given to go forward, the column started to leave the cover of the woods. Before us lay a long descending road and the village Grandmenil. The village lay under an artillerybarrage.
One of the most irritating things of an infantry man, who must cooperate with tanks, especially if the night is approaching and absolute silence is essential for the attack, is the sound of the wheezing Bogeys of the tank.
The sound was so loud and irritating that you thought that every German soldier within a radius of 500 yards heard it and aimed his rifle directly at you. But, on the other hand, the large silhouette of the large steel companion was very comfortable.

06.00 am:
The 1st and 3rd battalion reached their position. F Company has much difficulty to get there. They walked to the north and arrive in the sector where the 3rd battalion must be, right in front of Grandmenil. Company F had to arrive near La Fosse.
Due to poor communications, F company is on the wrong position than where they should be.

Robert F. Kauffman:
On the right side of the road, was a steep wooded slope, to the left was the same slope, but downwards. The right side had the disadvantage that you could not hear artillery fire coming in. At that moment the road was overwhelmed by exploding grenades. Fortunately there was a deep ditch on the right side of the road, where some of us found protection. It was our own artillery which was shooting. The sound was thunderous.

Rue d’Erezée

The first troops were broadside injured and there were so many wounded that this squad could no longer take the lead. You heard tank commanders screaming on their radio’s that they had to stop firing, because they were shooting on their own people. We passed the first column and the bloodbath, caused by the artillery was obvious.
The column went on to the village. The slope on the right side was similar to the level of the road. And further on, the road was slightly higher than the adjacent fields.
Our group, now in leadership and our platoon sergeant, Pop Waters, at the front, gave the order. He had seen that there was an outpost, buried on the side of the slope. When the column stopped, Pop took two men: George Sampson and Aloyisius Kampa. The three ran to the field where a hole was dug in the ground. Two German soldiers were sleeping in the hole with their rifle between the knees. Pop grabbed both guns away, but one of the soldiers responded in a way that Kampa interpreted as violent and he shot the German dead.
The other was captured, the man was in absolute panic.
The column moved the last 200 yards into the village. Our team was on both sides of the front tanks. Now it was really exciting: you never knew what would happen in an occupied village.
The tension was broken by direct gunfire and an explosion: the front tank was hit. The driver put the tank immediately in reverse and those that had survived the explosion ran away from the tank. The unmanned tank rode back and rode directly to Kauffman who tried to escape. “It is frightening to see an uncontrolled monster of 32 tonnes coming after you.”
After the tank run of the road, it burnt out in a pasture, after it had run uncontrolled in circles. On the left side of the tank during the explosion, was a ditch and Charles Craig jumped into it, so he wouldn’t get hurt by the fire. This trench was taken by a German and Craig killed him.

Stuart M5a1 tank with view on Grandmenil

Harold Lindstrom describes a small piece of forest, about 300-400 meters up the hill. Half a mile further down the hill is Grandmenil. Many houses are on fire.
There riveting machine guns and there are tracer bullets hitting the village. The Americans, who are close to the village, are on the same side as Company F, but more to the left.
It is Company K of the 3rd batalion, the company who was attacked the night before near Trou de Loup.
The survivors of K take the village temporarily, but were driven away later on by a German counter-attack with two tanks. Company K pulls back to the edge of the village and there is a firefight.
A little later, F Company comes under fire by a machinegun. Bullets hit one meter above Lindstrom and across the road.
Lindstrom has no cover, but on his right he sees a terrace-shaped part, next to the road with a fence around where he runs to, just before the Germans take his position under fire. He is sure that the Germans can see him with his dark uniform on the white snow.
Lindstrom has a bag with mortars with him and is afraid that it’s getting hit. He crawles back on the hill and leaves the bag behind. Ralph Logan tries to fire a mortar on the Germans but is immediately taken under fire.
Platoon Leader Laverne Ives gives the order to the terrified soldiers to pull back to the small piece of wood on the hill. Behind them they hear that a tank is trying to start the engine, wich did not succeed. However, the tank begins to shoot at company F. The soldiers crawl up on the hill and left a lot of their stuff behind.
Several soldiers are injured during this operation.

Panther V, ausf. G

Early in the morning, the Germans try to attack towards Erezée. On the road to Mormont (Route de Bomal) they try to overwhelm the Americans. But the Americans blocked this road by pulling of some trees. Some elements of the 75th infantery division and a few tanks of the 629th tank battalion tank destroyers are present. They literally block the German attack, supported by Panthers. The American artillery also interfere during this action. The 3rd battalion of the 289th infantry regiment is in position on the hill west of Grandmenil.
In Manhay German troops trying to tear the north direction to Harre/Werbomont.
Their progress is immediately stopped by artillery shelling from Werbomont.

10.00 am:
The group consists of: Company D and F, 36th Infantry Regiment, Company A, 33th regiment of tanks stuart, Company F and I sherman tanks 33th Regiment, 2nd Platoon D Company 23th Battalion genius.

From 13.30 pm:
The Americans have pulled out of Grandmenil and the village is heavily bombed by P38 and p47 aircrafts around14.15 am.

Around 14.15 pm Task Force McGeorge stands between Harre and Mormont-Grandmenil and is ready to attack. At that time, some P38 Lightning aircraft Grandmenil bombard the village. Accidentally they bomb their own troops, killing 3 officers and 26 soldiers. (See also: friendly fire in Grandmenil)

Tankdestroyer in Grandmenil

The 3rd Battalion attacks again. Between 14.45 and 17.00 artillery fires on fleeing German troops. A total of 1997 shells is fired on this day.
By 15.00 pm TF McGeorge reaches the perimeter of Grandmenil with his forces (platoon D and F, 36th Armored Regiment and Company F, 33th Armored Regiment), passing a narrow passage where the river L’Amante flows.
They don’t manage to enter Grandmenil. German Grenadiers and SS Panthers defend the town steadfastly.

Robert F. Kauffman:  The team, now without a tank, ran to the left of the road, about 20/30 yards to the darkest shadows of a hedge. They waited to decide what they were going to do. Major McGeorge came to us and asked us if the team wanted to join the other tanks because they had no infantry troops.
He asked, he did not demand it. He also wanted to reorganize the attack: a tank would be on the left side of the road to attack and two tanks would be on the right side of the road to do the same. The tanks would advance to the first houses of Grandmenil.
The tanks moved very quickly, and openend the fire. The infantry was just behind them. The team of Kauffman was walking between the tanks to the right side of the crossing (Grandrue).
The stone walls of the houses was our first line with on the right a fence. The firing was very intense. Cannons, machine guns and gunfire was mixed with German fire. One of the soldiers made a point of each attack: he hated the Germans. As he approached the enemy close enough, he screamed all execrates, he cursed them. He was a good and reliable soldier. His name was Fred Suedmier.
Suedmier had his night when a group of German soldiers was discovered in the remains of a house just for us.
During the fight, some Germans tried to escape to the rear. Suedmier climbed on a pile of stones, and started screaming that they had come back to fight.
Because of Suedmier we felt sure and strong. This feeling became stronger when the team saatled in for a longer while.
Someone had seen a relatively undamaged house and wondered if that house was already checked. A few men went to it and within a short time they came out with at least ten or twelve German prisoners, who had been in the house for all this time. After this, part of the platoon took position behind a small earthen mound with a fence on the right side of the destroyed houses. When we were there, there was activity behind us. Someone ran along us and disappeared into the dark: it was one of the Germans who had decided to escape.
At the same time a new company of the 75th division arrived. It was a new unit and the fact that there were more troops in the village gave more confidence

Grandmenil, Grandrue

John K. Shelton; company K; 289th regiment;
While Grandmenil was still in German hands, aircraft bombed the village. The planes accidentally hit company K.
The Colonel sends tanks to Grandmenil, but they see little and return. Company K received orders to attack the village and seize it. The company walked about three kilometers to the village. When they reach the edge of the village, machine guns open fire on them. These were quickly brought to silence. Company K enters the village when two German tanks opened fire. The company has nothing to defend against these and there are many victims. Company K withdraws to the outskirts of the village.
The squad leader is hit and Shelton takes the command. With his men h e tries to reach a destroyed house on the other side of a field where the rest of the company already is. Machine guns again open fire and Shelton and his men reaches the house just in time.
Subsequently, K company comes under fire from a tank. The company hopes that its own tanks will try to reach the village ….
Shelton gets five machine guns from tanks that are destroyed. He has to enter a tank to collect one. The driver is still in the tank, but his head is missing. While the German tank is still firing, the men lose more ground. The colonel calls for company L and M and tanks. With the additional support, company K take a large part of the village. A house to house combat follows, where 100 Germans got slained and 200 Germans are being taken. A large proportion of them are young boys.
Na de slag blijven van Sheltons team slechts drie man over: Selka, Benny en Sheehan. After the battle only three men of Sheltons team are left: Selka, Benny and Sheehan.

The church of Grandmenil

Paul Frohmader, Company K, 289th:
16.00 am: Grandmenil is pulverized by artillery fire from the Americans. Frohmader is with his team between the village and artillery. When it was shine almost every house in the village was damaged. A barn was on fire.
Company K, Frohmaders group, was selected to assist in the attack.
The group, which already had 30 victims, went towards the village. At 200 feet they halted. We left our things behind, so we could pick them up again on the way back.
The headquarters had plans to go down the main road with two men who had tommy guns. The First Platoon was to obtain to take the left side of the village street by street, the 2nd Platoon was asigned to take the right side. Then they would dig in at the crossroads on the other side of the village and prepare themselves for a counter attack.
Frohmader and another soldier were chosen for the captain to reconnaissance. They climbed a fence, and went to the barn that was on fire. On the corner of the village stood a house. There were two American tanks that were ready to fire. On another corner was a tank, but it turned out that this was already disabled by a Panzer Faust before the attack on the village even started.

20.00 am:
At 20.00 hours follows an attack follows by Task Force Mc. George. The aim is to take the village and to raise a barrier between Grandmenil and Manhay. This does not work.

Company L of the 289th infantry regiment, led by Lt. Thomas S. Eubank, is added to Task Force mcGeorge at 22.00 hrs. The 289th was in position on the hills west of Grandmenil.
At that time, the village is under heavy artillery shelling.


Task Force McGeorge of Combat Command B, attacks Grandmenil at 22.00 hrs with a tankcompanie and an Armored Infantry Company. He is driven back due to heavy anti-tank artillery and automatic weapons from the village.
Company L is strengthened at the lower road with a squad of 57 mm anti-tank guns of the Regimental anti-tank company. Also, a platoon of tank destroyers of the 703th tank destroyer battalion and Regimental Mines squad brought in extra firepower.

Paul Frohmader: As far as we knew, there were only Snipers left in the village. The attack on Company K began, when a phosphorus grenade from behind a stone wall was thrown at them. Company K discovered that there is still a platoon of the 116th Panzer Grenadiers in the village was and they had no plans to leave.
They even fired from stone outbuildings. They were easy to get: they pushed a door open, threw a handful of grenades inside and locked the door again. The first platoon had some trouble with the left side of the village. But the second platoon ran against serious problems. Company K had support of the 3rd Armored Division, but the part that helped them was in poor condition. Eight of the ten attacking tanks were disabled.

On the right side of the village were the remains of a house with a burning barn in the backyard. In other houses were machine gun nests. One of them appeared to be a buried tank. The group did not succeed to disable it. The tank was buried across the width of the entire block and the soldiers could not pass. Tussen de brandende schuur en het machinegeweer nest waren de meeste mannen die overgebleven waren van de compagnie. Between the burning barn and the machine gun nest, were most of the men of the remaining company. (See also Frohmaders postcard)

Destroyd barn, intersection route de Bomal – route d’erezée