AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION
World War II Honor Roll

Charles F. Paulson

Private First Class, U.S. Army

33797404

Company F
168th Infantry Regiment
34th Infantry Division
Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: October 7, 1944
Buried at: 
Awards: Purple Heart

PRIVATE FIRST CLASS CHARLES F. PAULSON had lived at  227 East Washington Street,  Magnolia NJ with his mother Florence. He had worked briefly at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and had registered with the draft board in Philadelphia prior to being inducted into the Army in September of 1943. He was sent overseas in February 1944.

While serving with the 168th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division, Private First Class Paulson was mortally wounded during the fighting in Italy's Sambro Valley in early 1944. Mortally wounded, he died on October 7, 1944 in Italy. He was 19 years old at the time of his death, which was reported in the October 26, 1944 edition of the Camden Courier-Post. He was survived by his mother, Florence Paulson, of Magnolia NJ.


The History of the 168th Infantry Regiment

(From October 1, 1944 to October 31, 1944)

34th Infantry Division Association

The History of the 168th Infantry Regiment
(From October 1, 1944 to October 31, 1944)


Text which has been significantly corrected in, or added to, this document is enclosed in [square brackets].

This narrative for this period, especially 29 through 31 October 1944, is often a threading together of individual battalion and company reports; therefore you may see frequent repetition of content.


[ 1 October 1944 ] 

At the beginning of this period the Regiment was attacking to the north with the mission of gaining control of the Sambro River valley. The enemy, having fought minor delaying actions at the Gambellata River on 26 September and at la Calcinara (775114) the night of 27 September, had disengaged his rear guard elements in the heavy rain of 28 September and had passed them through a prepared line which he was holding in strength approximately along the 18 Northing. The Regiment, attacking on a sixty-five-hundred meter front on 30 September, had failed to breach this line. The 2nd Battalion, with the mission of capturing Mt. del Galletto, had attacked with two companies abreast and, after both assault companies had been stopped by small-arms and mortar fire, had organized an all-around defense on the southern slopes of the mountain, with its most advanced platoon position at the 18.4 Northing. The 1st Battalion had initiated an attack along the ridge which commands the Sambro valley on the west with the objective of taking Hill 747 (771202), by the capture of which the Battalion would gain control of the lateral road to the Setta River valley which encircles the hill on the north. In this attack, elements of Company "B" had made two attempts to reduce an enemy strong point in a house at point 664 (776155) without success. The Battalion had then consolidated its position for the night with Company "A" on Hill 864 (778152), Company "B" in a position which extended from a point on the ridge just to the north of Hill 864 down to the road, where it had established a road block, and Company "C" on Hill 750 (786152). In the plan of attack for 1 October, the Regimental sector was reduced from the sixty-five-hundred meter front of the previous day to a three-thousand meter front by the relief of the 2nd Battalion. This relief would be affected at 0600 hours 1 October, when the 133rd Infantry Regiment was to pass through the 2nd Battalion in an attack on Mt. del Galletto. The mission of the 1st Battalion was unchanged. Supported by the 2nd Platoon, Company "B", 757th Tank Battalion and the 3rd Battalion, which was assembled in the vicinity of Qualto (794161), the Battalion would resume the attack at 0600 hours with Hill 747 as its objective. After this hill had been taken by the 1st Battalion, the 3rd Battalion, leaving one company at Qualto to secure the high ground, was to advance astride the Sambro valley road and occupy S. Benedetto. The 2nd Battalion, initially in reserve, was to pass through the 1st Battalion on the morning of 2 October.

On 1 October the 1st Battalion attacked in a column of companies in the order Company "A", Company "C", and Company "B". Company "A" jumped off in the attack from Hill 864 at 0640 hours and reported at 0915 hours that it was digging in on Hill 785 (777163). Upon receipt of this information, Lt. Col. John E. Golding, Battalion Commander, started Company "C" for Hill 726 (778159) and requested that the 3rd Battalion move forward to exert pressure on the right. Company "C" reached Hill 726 at approximately 1000 hours and sent a platoon to Hill 785 to support Company "A".

Two-hundred yards to the northwest of Company "A"'s position on the wooded crest of Hill 785 was Hill 789, from which the Battalion had received fire on the previous day. In a commanding position on the crest of the hill stood a church [Oratorio M. Armato], which the enemy had chosen to organize as a strong point from which to contest our advance up the ridge. The only covered approach to the church was through the scrub pine on the northwestern slope of the hill. On the south open fields sloped down on each side of a lane, which followed along the top of the ridge from Hill 785 to the church. The field to the east of the lane was approximately one-hundred yards in width, being bounded by the woods which covered Hill 785 and much of the eastern slope of the ridge, while the field to the west of the lane extended for several hundred yards down the western slope of the ridge.. Within thirty yards of the church were two out-buildings, one to the west and one to the southeast, and across an open field one-hundred yards to the north of the church was a house.

At 1115 hours Company "A" launched an attack against this strong point. The 2nd Platoon, twenty men in strength, led by 1st Lt. Arthur H. V. Treo, made the assault, supported by two tanks of the 2nd Platoon, Company "B", 757th Tank Battalion. While the tanks fired into the church from a position just to the south of Montefredente (779149), the Platoon moved through the woods on the eastern slope of the ridge past the church, and then, leaving the edge of the woods, attacked the church in assault waves from the northeast. While crossing the open field, it received small-arms fire from the woods to its rear. The Germans had been driven from the church by the tank fire, and as soon as it was lifted, the Platoon rushed the church, taking possession of it before it could be reoccupied by the enemy. The Platoon held the church for four hours, exchanging small-arms fire with the enemy in the pine woods twenty yards down the reverse slope of the hill. During this period, the other rifle platoon of Company "A", which included the men remaining in the 1st and 3rd Platoons, attempted to reinforce the 2nd Platoon, but it became involved in a fire fight with enemy in the woods on the eastern slope of the ridge and was unable to move. At 1500 hours, with no support in view and the danger of being cut off increasing with approaching darkness and a dwindling ammunition supply, Lt, Treo decided to withdraw his men from the church. The Platoon fell back to Hill 785 without incident, having suffered only two casualties in the entire action. When the Platoon had returned to its original positions, the tanks resumed fire and before the end of the afternoon had fired a total of one-hundred-and-five rounds into the church and out-lying buildings. The Battalion consolidated its positions for the night with Company "A" dug in on Hill 785, Company "C" at point 726, and Company "B" in a reserve position at point 664 (776155).

During the early afternoon the 3rd Battalion built up a line across the Sambro Valley from Hill 785 to point 615 (784160). Company "K" tied in with Company "A" on the southeast slope of Hill 785 (778161), while Company "L" organized a line which tied in with Company "K" on the left and extended across the road to point 615. While organizing this position, the Company received long-range machine-gun and rifle fire from the vicinity of Hill 789. Company "I", in reserve at Qualto, was fired on by machine guns and mortars and by a self-propelled gun in S. Benedetto.

While the 3rd Battalion was assuming these positions, the enemy was holding on a line approximately two-thousand yards to the north, which extended through S. Benedetto. A patrol from Company "I", which returned to the company position in Qualto at 1130 hours, reported having seen Germans in a dugout on Hill 647 (796170) and in the town of S. Benedetto. Observation was good on 1 October, and the enemy holding on this line provided a field day for the artillery. The Regimental Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon, from an observation post on Hill 1036 [(797148)], directed fire on a flak gun, a self-propelled gun, and enemy personnel in S. Benedetto, and scattered enemy personnel who were preparing a bridge at 783184 for demolition. Concentrations were fired on what was believed to be a company of Germans digging in in the vicinity of Campiano (788188). 

[ 2 October 1944 ] 

At 0600 hours the 2nd Battalion reported that elements of the 133rd Infantry were passing through its front line positions. By 0930 the Battalion was assembled in a draw at 806157, where it remained during the hours of daylight, restricting itself to as little movement as possible. Then, under the cover of darkness, the Battalion crossed over the forward slopes of Poggio di Rosa and at 2345 hours closed into an assembly area in the vicinity of Faldo (782138).

According to the plan of attack for 1 October, the 2nd Battalion was to pass through the 1st Battalion and continue the attack up the ridge on the morning of 2 October, but at 1600 hours 1 October this plan was changed. The Regimental Commander, Colonel H. C. Hine, Jr., instructed Lt. Col. Golding at that time that the 1st Battalion would be relieved only after it had taken and out-posted Hill 789. Accordingly Lt. Col. Golding drew up a plan of attack for 0500 hours the following morning by which Company "A", supported by one platoon from Company "B", was to attack Hill 789, while Company "C" attacked on the left with the mission of seizing the houses at point 688 (771167). In support of this attack, the 175th Field Artillery was to fire one battery two rounds per minute on the village of Osteria dei Ruggeri (775170) from 0500 to 0510 hours, and then was to shift one battery two-hundred yards to the left.

At 0440 hours a composite platoon of Company "B", which included all the men remaining in the 2nd and 3rd Platoons, moved to Hill 785 with orders to support Company "A"'s dawn attack. Just at H-hour, when the two under-strength platoons of Company "A" were ready to move forward, the Company's positions were subjected to a heavy concentration of mortar fire which delayed the attack. Company "C", which had already initiated its attack on the left, reached Hill 697 without opposition. When the mortar fire had been lifted from its positions, Company "A" attacked on each side of the lane which led up to the church from the south. A hundred yards from the church the Company came under heavy small-arms and mortar fire which forced it to withdraw, after three men had been killed and four wounded. It became evident in this attack that the enemy had reinforced the position during the night, for he was defending from the house to the north of the church and from the out-buildings to the west and south of it, as well as from the church itself.

After Company "A" had fallen back to its original positions on Hill 785, a coordinated attack supported by tank fire was planned for 1000 hours, to be made by Company "A", with the composite platoon of Company "B" attached, and by Company "C". After the tanks had fired into the church, Company "B"'s platoon was to attack through the woods on the eastern slope of the ridge, while Companies "A" and "C" attacked across the open fields on the western slope, with Company "C" on the left.

In preparation for this attack, Captain Normand E. Yando, Commander of Company "A", led two tanks up the ridge from Montefredente to positions on the forward slope of Hill 785, from which the could fire point-blank into the church from a distance of two-hundred yards. After the tanks had fired twenty rounds into the church, the troops moved forward in the attack. Company "A" had hardly left its positions on Hill 785 when it received small-arms and mortar fire. When Captain Yando called for mortar fire on the enemy positions, the fire fell short into the company and broke up the attack. A runner was then dispatched from Company "A" to recall the platoon of Company "B", which had not yet contacted the enemy in its advance though the woods to the east of the church. Company "C", which had initiated its attack from Hill 697, was out of contact with Company "A" and continued the attack alone. The Company, in the strength of two platoons, which were led by 1st Lt. Edward G. Smith, Company Executive Officer, and 2nd Lt. Joseph W. Leary, advanced in a line of skirmishers. When it came within two-hundred yards of the church, a man on the hilltop took up a kneeling position and fired an M-1 rifle. This caused some confusion in the Company, since it could not be determined through the fog whether the man was German or American. The Company continued its advance, nevertheless, and built up a firing line thirty yards to the west of the church behind the stone facing of a terrace. There the Company engaged in a fire fight with enemy in the church and in the out-buildings to the south and west of it. From the church steeple and through doors and windows the Germans fired on the Company with several automatic weapons and threw a large number of "potato mashers" down on it. Having decided that the church could not be assaulted from the west, Lt. Leary, with his platoon sergeant and runner, made a reconnaissance on the left flank to determine whether the Company could shift to the north and attack the church from the rear through the scrub pine. Before they had gone far, they received machine-pistol fire from the woods and were forced to withdraw. A short time later the men on the left flank of the Company, believing themselves to have been over-run by the enemy, gave way. This necessitated the withdrawal of the rest of the Company, which was effected without casualties, a squad at a time.

With the enemy still resisting stubbornly on Hill 789, Colonel Hines planned in mid-morning to by-pass the enemy position by attacking with three battalions abreast. At 1330 hours the 1st Battalion would make its fourth attack on the church, while the 3rd Battalion attacked on the right astride the road, and the 2nd Battalion attacked on the left on the western slope of the ridge a thousand yards below the church. The 1st Battalion was to be pinched out just north of Hill 789. After establishing itself on the ridge by the capture of Osteria dei Ruggeri (772172), the 2nd Battalion was to pinch out the 3rd Battalion and continue the attack up the ridge. For two hours prior to the attack the artillery was to fire at the rate of twenty rounds per hour on twenty-four targets which were for the most part possible mortar positions, assembly areas, and routes of approach to Hill 789. Time-on-target concentrations were to be fired on le Serucce (762178) and Ripoli (762190).

Shortly after 1330 hours Companies "B" and "C", each having been reduced to the strength of two platoons, formed in the vicinity of point 697 and attacked the church in a line of skirmishers, with Company "C" on the left. Company "C"'s two platoons were led into the attack by 2nd Lt. Joseph W. Leary, and Company "B"'s by 1st Lt. Lawrence A. Gaffney and 1st Lt. Edward S. Everett. After the two tanks on Hill 785 fired a preparation on the church and its out-buildings, they lifted the fire of their 75mm guns and opened fire with their .50 caliber machine guns. With this supporting fire, and with the support of Company "B"'s section of light machine guns, and all the small arms of Company "A", the assault Companies advanced within thirty yards of the church and built up a firing line just below the terrace, where Company "C" had organized a line in the previous attack. In the fire fight which followed, the Companies received heavy small-arms fire, fragmentation and concussion grenades, and sniper fire from the rear and left rear. Lt. Leary, making his second reconnaissance of the day to the left flank to determine whether the enemy position could be flanked, again drew machine-pistol fire. Lt. Gaffney, having determined that his Company could not attack the church from the south, and being unaware of Lt. Leary's reconnaissance, was himself going to make a reconnaissance of the left flank when he was wounded by sniper fire from the rear. Company "C" had had no bazooka in the previous attack, to fire into the buildings, but now a man from Company "B" fired his bazooka into the church until he was wounded, and then his assistant continued to fire until all of the ammunition had been expended. Despite the heavy fire which the Battalion could put on the church, the enemy still held it and its out-buildings in strength. While the fire fight continued, Lt. Leary and Lt. Everett conferred on the advisability of assaulting the church, and since their ammunition was running so low that it was doubtful whether they could hold the position once it had been taken, they decided to withdraw. Moving a squad at a time, the two Companies effected an orderly withdrawal.

When our heavy fire failed to dislodge the enemy from Hill 789, some credence was given to civilian reports that there was a crypt beneath the church, a tunnel which extended from Hill 789 down the eastern slope of the ridge to a reserve position at point 636, and extensive prepared positions on the hilltop. An examination of the hill several days after the enemy had withdrawn to the north showed that there was no tunnel in the vicinity of the church and no crypt beneath it, though there was a vestry room on the north side of the church which had been untouched by our fire. The prepared positions on the hill consisted of a shallow slit trench beside the out-building to the west of the church, a hastily-prepared dug-out on the eastern slope, and a covered fox hole on the reverse slope. Despite the meagerness of these positions, the fact remained that six men of the Battalion had been killed and seventeen wounded in four unsuccessful attacks on the hill. The strength of the enemy defense lay not in field fortifications, but in the lack of covered approaches to the position and in the out-buildings of the church from which the enemy could put crossed fire on our troops from whatever direction they attacked.. The enemy's use of these buildings in his system of defense was the more successful in that the bulk of our tank fire was directed into the church, as evidenced by the destruction of the entire south wall, while the out-buildings remained relatively intact. But whatever the distribution of fire, it required a determined enemy to remain in these building under the 205 rounds of tank fire that were directed into them on 1 and 2 October, and it is significant in this regard that the 36th Regiment of the 16th S.S. Division was identified as the unit opposing our 1st Battalion.

While the 1st Battalion was making its fourth attack on the church, the 3rd Battalion, still holding on a line between Hill 785 and point 615, established a strong out-post at point 636 (782167) on the Sambro Valley road below Hill 789. Under the cover of fog the 1st Platoon of Company "L" occupied the house at that point at approximately 1300 hours. As soon as the enemy detected the presence of the Platoon, it opened fire with small arms from the houses at 182169 and 184170, and began harassing the position with artillery fire. The Platoon called for tank support, and within the hour two tanks pulled up the road and fired into the houses to the north of the Platoon's position, silencing the enemy small-arms fire, but heavy artillery fire continued to fall around the house throughout the afternoon. The 2nd Platoon on Company "K" joined the 1st Platoon of Company "L" at 1500 hours, and together the two Platoons defended the position during the night. One man of Company "L"'s Platoon was killed and three wounded in the day's action.

The 2nd Battalion's attack was not initiated in time to exert pressure on the enemy's left flank while the 1st Battalion was making its fourth attack on Hill 789. Major Benjamin J. Butler had issued the attack order to his Company Commanders at 1100 hours. Companies "E" and "F" were to attack abreast with Company "F" on the right, on the western slope of the ridge, passing a thousand yards to the west of Hill 789. Company "G" was to follow Company "F". When Hill 789 had been by-passed, the assault companies were to swing to the right, Company "F" attacking the village of Osteria dei Ruggeri on top of the ridge. When this ground had been taken, Company "F" was to ride the ridge to the north abreast of Company "E", which would attack one-hundred yards down the western slope of the ridge. Hill 747 (771202) was the Battalion objective. When the attack order had been given, it was still necessary for the Company Commanders to make a reconnaissance of the forward areas, and it was not until 1420 hours that both Companies "E" and "F" cleared the Battalion assembly area in the vicinity of Faldo. In the attack Company "E" received scattered small-arms fire from the left, and Company "F", while advancing along the trail from point 579 (768157) to C. Banzole (768161), drew artillery fire but suffered no casualties from it. At 1810 hours a platoon from Company "E" was at C. Nuova (761165), with the balance of the Company at point 411 (762162), and Company "F" was at C. Banzole, from which it dispatched a platoon combat patrol to C. Piana di Ripoli (766166). This platoon drew machine-gun fire from the house at 767168, but continued to advance to its objective. Company "G", in the meantime, closed up to C. Nuova (771153[?]). In these positions the Battalion spent the night. 

[ 3 October 1944 ] 

At first light the 2nd Battalion sent out patrols to the north preparatory to resuming its advance. The enemy had not yet relinquished Hill 789, as was discovered by a ten-man patrol from Company "B", which at approximately 1030 hours was fired upon while approaching the church. The 2nd Battalion initiated its attack in mid-morning, and at 1340 hours Company "F" was in the village of Osteria dei Ruggeri, patrolling to the north, while Company "E" was at point 438 (762172). It was evident that by this time the enemy had already withdrawn from the church, for Hill 789 had been completely enveloped by the 3rd Battalion on the right and the 2nd Battalion on the left, and an hour-and-a-half later a patrol from Company "G" would find no enemy in the ruined church. During the afternoon the Battalion advanced rapidly, reaching the 19 Northing by dark. The advance had been so head-long that elements of the Battalion had lost contact. Such was the case of two squads of the 1st Platoon, Company "E", which were some distance to the rear, while the third squad was in lead of the Company. After the Platoon Leader, 2nd Lt. George D. Souers, had gone back to look for his two missing squads, Captain Honshell K. Johnston, Company Commander, ordered the lead squad to investigate the shrine on the crest of Hill 747, which he fancied as a C.P. This squad approached the church from the southeast and on the eastern slope of the hill surprised and captured two S.S. troopers who were digging positions with no immediate concern for the advance of hostile troops. After the squad had returned to the Company position with its prisoners, the squad leader, Sergeant Elvin L. Daughtry, went alone to the vicinity where the prisoners had been taken and threw hand grenades at a suspected machine-gun position, which he had observed on the crest of the hill. Having learned that Hill 747 was occupied by the enemy, Company "E" took up position around the houses at 770198, 768198, and 766198, approximately three-hundred-and-fifty yards south of the church. Company "F" organized its position around the houses at 772198, at Ca dei Sarti (774198), and at 773200. An Italian civilian who remained in a house at the first of these positions reported that there were four-hundred Germans in the village of Monteacuto Vallese, which was just over the hill, and that the enemy was occupying houses three-hundred yards to the north, around which he had dug positions. Company "G" took up a reserve position in the vicinity of point 729 (768193), with the mission of protecting the left rear of the Battalion, with special attention to the town of Ripoli, seven-hundred yards distant.

The 3rd Battalion attacked abreast of the 2nd Battalion during the morning and early afternoon. A reconnaissance patrol from Company "I" reported at 1040 hours that the enemy had withdrawn from S. Benedetto. The Battalion went into the attack, Companies "K" and "L" advancing on each side of the valley road, with Company "K" on the left, and Company "I" attacking with the objectives of S. Benedetto and the village at 786178. No resistance was encountered by the Battalion, and by 1330 hours Company "I" had taken its objectives, and Company "K" had entered S. Andrea (780178) and was occupying the high ground to the southwest of the village (775175). The Battalion held on this line during the night with the exception of the 1st Platoon of Company "I", which late in the afternoon was assigned the mission of out-posting the high ground to the north of S. Benedetto. As the Platoon was approaching the houses at point 655 (792184), machine-gun fire from a house at point 665 (791186) killed one man of the Platoon and wounded a second. The Platoon closed rapidly into the houses at point 655 and planned an assault on the enemy position. One squad would provide a base of fire from the houses, while the other two squads assaulted the position from the flanks. Additional supporting fire would be provided by a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a jeep and two .30 caliber machine guns located in S. Benedetto. In the ten minutes that the support elements fired, the assault squads attacked, one along the road to the west of point 655 and the other through the draw to the east of it. When the fire was lifted, they closed with the position, driving the enemy out of the houses.

Having been pinched out by the advance of the 2nd and 3rd Battalion, the 1st Battalion assembled in Montefredente and Faldo, closing in at 1740 hours. 

[ 4 October 1944 ] 

Early in the evening of 3 October the Regiment was instructed that the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron would pass by the 2nd Battalion the following morning. [Note: the 91st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized) was an independent 'battalion', attached by Fifth Army where and as needed; it was not the 91st Reconnaissance Troop of the 91st Infantry Division.] Though the 2nd Battalion had not yet gained control of the lateral road to the Setta Valley, the commitment of the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron had become feasible with the securing of the road junction at 781192. According to the attack order, elements of the Squadron were to pass by the right of the 2nd Battalion at 0600 hours, at which time the platoon of tanks and the platoon of tank destroyers attached to the 2nd Battalion would come under the control of the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron. It was expected that if the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron was successful, the entire Regiment could be relieved on 4 October, but in any event the 1st and 3rd Battalions would have a day of rest, the 1st Battalion at Montefredente and Faldo, and the 3rd Battalion at S. Andrea and S. Benedetto.

Shortly after dawn of 4 October a troop of the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron set out to the north from the road junction at 781192, and a platoon started up the road leading to Monteacuto Vallese. The troop could proceed no further than the blown-out bridge at 781199. The platoon had advanced to within a few hundred yards of Monteacuto when it received small-arms fire from the slopes of Hill 747 and was forced to withdraw. The squadron made no further advances during the day,and would be unable to advance on the right until a by-pass could be prepared around the blown-out bridge, and on the left while the enemy retained control of Hill 747

After the patrol action of the previous night, the enemy evidently were as curious as we to know the strength and disposition of the force opposite it, for at dawn on 4 October, just as Company "E" was preparing to send a reconnaissance patrol to the church, an enemy patrol of eight men approached the Company's position. Both Companies "E" and "F took the patrol under fire, killing three of the enemy and forcing the patrol to withdraw. For several hours afterward Hill 747 was heavily shelled by our mortars and artillery. Then, at 1130 hours, 2nd Lt. Souers, believing the enemy to have been driven off the hill by this fire, took one squad of the 1st Platoon to reconnoiter the hill. The enemy allowed this patrol to reach the top of the hill, and then opened fire from both the left front and right front. Having some defilade from this fire, the squad held its ground and signalled two Germans in a dug-out nearby to come out and surrender, and to a third German in a fighting hole, who seemed to be debating whether or not to give himself up, but these overtures were unsuccessful. The squad's position was particularly insecure in that it was lying in the field of fire of a machine gun, the gunner of which was looking and firing in another direction, and who fortunately never turned his head. In this precarious position, having found the hill still to be held in strength by the enemy, 2nd Lt. Souers ordered his [patrol] to withdraw.

With the enemy occupying the house directly opposite from its position, Company "F" had no freedom of movement in daylight to form for an attack, but in a feigned attack in mid-morning the Company drew heavy small-arms fire from the houses and from positions around them.

The 2nd Battalion area was harassed by mortars and artillery intermittently throughout the day, and, between the hours of 1715 and 1930, the Battalion was subjected to an extremely heavy shelling from mortars and from self-propelled, light, and heavy artillery. Two men of the Battalion were killed and ten wounded in the day's action, most of which casualties were inflicted by shell fire. 

[ 5 October 1944 ] 

On 4 October, the Regiment was instructed early in the evening that, with the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron attached, it would attack the following morning with the mission of seizing Objective Number "3" in the Division attack plan, which lay five-thousand meters to the north. Colonel Hine's plan of attack anticipated the possibility that the enemy would withdraw during the night, since, if visibility were good the next day, his position would be untenable with the 133rd Infantry Regiment holding the dominating heights of Mt. Venere. Therefore, Colonel Hine requested the artillery to harass possible assembly areas and routes of withdrawal throughout the night, and, against the possibility of pursuit, assigned to the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron the sector astride the main highway. He directed the Squadron Commander to send one platoon, with a platoon of tanks attached, against the enemy in Monteacuto, in coordination with the attack of the 2nd Battalion on Hill 747, and to initiate aggressive reconnaissance to the north astride the valley road. In the event that the enemy did not withdraw, the 1st and 3rd Battalions were to be prepared to attack on half-hour's notice, the 1st Battalion at any time after 0700 hours, and the 3rd Battalion after 1100 hours. The 2nd Battalion, after gaining its objective, Hill 747, was to pass into Regimental reserve. In preparation for the attack, the 1st Battalion moved after dark from its rest area in Montefredente to an assembly area in the vicinity of Campiano (778190), closing at 2115 hours.

But the enemy did not withdraw during the night. At 0640 hours Company "E" reported that the Germans were still holding Hill 747, and half an hour later word was received from the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron that one of its platoons had contacted the enemy one-thousand yards to the northeast of Hill 747 (778209). Colonel Hine issued orders for the 2nd Battalion to press its attack against Hill 747 continuing its advance to the north, and for the 1st Battalion to attack along the high ground to the right of and in coordination with the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron.

Major Butler, commanding the 2nd Battalion, studied the terrain to find a way by which the enemy's defenses might be outflanked. The Germans were still holding the houses in front of Company "F" in strength and, from several prepared positions on the gradual eastern slope of the hill, had grazing fire down the hillside to the southeast and south and across the forward slope of the hill. The approaches to the flat, cultivated ground on top of the hill were covered by this flanking fire, as well as rifle and machine-gun fire from two camouflaged positions which had been dug on the hillside itself, fifty yards south of the shrine. The western slope of the hill fell off sharply, defilading an attacking force from fire from the right, but offered no suitable route of approach to the hilltop. Major Butler decided to by-pass Hill 747 to the west , and in the early afternoon he assigned that mission to Captain Raymond C. Stillger, Commander of Company "G". It was planned that the Company would take the western nose of the hill, where it would build up a base of fire to support its attack on Monteacuto Vallese.

In the meantime, Companies "E" and "F" continued to exert pressure on the right. Company "F" registered mortar and artillery fire in on the houses three-hundred yards to its front with good results, while Company "E" directed fire on a heavy machine gun, which had been duelling with Company "H"'s machine guns, and on other enemy positions on the eastern slope of the hill. After a 60mm mortar concentration had fallen around his hole, one German raised a white flag and ran into Company "E"'s positions. He reported that all but one or two of his comrades had fled from the hill under our heavy mortar and artillery fire, but a few minutes later a man of the Company exposed himself and drew heavy machine-gun fire. At noon the 2nd Platoon of Company "E" passed through the 1st Platoon in an attack on the shrine. The enemy allowed the men to advance within a few yards of the flat top of the hill and then lobbed hand grenades down on them, forcing them to withdraw.

Company "G" attacked at 1600 hours. Before the Company could reach the defilade of the steep eastern slope, it received plunging machine-gun fire from the top of the hill and grazing fire from the houses on the western nose of the hill. Unable to advance against this fire, the Company organized a line from point 711 (771199) to the house at 768197.

The platoon of tanks attached to the 2nd Battalion attempted to support the Battalion with direct fire into Monteacuto in the late afternoon. The tanks approached within a few hundred yards of the town, where they received small-arms and mortar fire from the slopes of Hill 747. Unable to fire into the town because they were masked by a cut in the hillside, and since the visibility was closing down, the tanks withdrew to the vicinity of the bridge at 778194, where they spent the night.

Despite the occupation of Mt. Venere by the 133rd Infantry Regiment, the enemy continued to defend the valley road as well as the northwest slopes of Mt. Venere. The two platoons of the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron which attacked initially over the trails to the west of the valley road were engaged in a fire fight early in the morning. Continuing to maneuver on these trails during the day, they received occasional anti-tank fire, but in the late afternoon, succeeded in working a patrol across the Sambro River to C. Bonfiglioli, which was fired upon with mortars and small arms and forced to withdraw behind Hill 442.

Upon learning that the enemy had not withdrawn from in front of the 2nd Battalion and the 91st Reconnaissance Battalion during the night, Colonel Hine ordered the 1st Battalion to attack, according to plan, over the western slopes of Mt. Galletto, a maneuver intended to out-flank the enemy force which was blocking the Regiment's advance through the valley below. At 0830 hours, Lt. Col. Golding met with his staff and Company Commanders in the command post in Campiano and gave them the attack order. At 1000 hours, when Company "C" had already left for Molinelli (799201) and the forward command group was just clearing the Battalion area, forty-nine shells fell in the vicinity of the Battalion C.P., killing five men and wounding eighteen. The operation of the Battalion was disrupted for several hours by the loss of key personnel in this shelling, and the attack was delayed. Company "A" had suffered the heaviest casualties. A shell which had fallen through the roof of the Company C.P. had killed Captain Normand E. Yando, Company Commander, 1st Lt. John A. Bittner, Platoon Leader, Sergeant Charles C. Lee, acting Platoon Leader, and Staff Sergeant Aloysius A. Schulte, acting First Sergeant, and had wounded 1st Lt. Henry L. Harris, Executive Officer. In addition, eight enlisted men of the Company were wounded outside of the C.P. Company "A"'s loss of three officers brought to a climax the Battalion's already critical shortage of officer personnel and necessitated an extensive reorganization before the Battalion could resume the attack. Two officers from Cannon Company, 1st Lt. Lewis H. Bloom and 2nd Lt. Sidney O. Mathis, and 1st Lt. Albert S. Jacobson of Anti-Tank Company, were transferred to Company "A", along with 2nd Lt. Edward S. Everett of Company "B", who took command of the Company. A second officer from Anti-Tank Company, 1st Lt. Robert C. Bowen, was transferred to Company "C". From Company "D" 2nd Lt. John C. Kucwicz and 2nd Lt. Morton E. Haim were transferred to Companies "B" and "C" respectively. With the addition of these officers from Anti-Tank and Cannon Companies and from Company "D", the total officer strength of the three Rifle Companies was increased to ten. At 1330 hours, when the reorganization of the Battalion was well in hand, and Captain Justin J. Foley, Assistant Regimental S-3, had replaced 1st Lt. John C. Grier, who had been wounded, as Battalion Operations Officer, the forward C.P. group left Campiano, followed an hour-and-a-half later by Company "A" in reserve, which by that time had completed its reorganization. The Battalion was then advancing in the order Company "C", Company "B", and Company "A".

Since by noon, the 1st Battalion was still undergoing reorganization, and the Regiment had now received orders to reach the 24 Northing before dawn of the following morning, Colonel Hine directed the 3rd Battalion to slip past the right of the 1st Battalion, taking advantage of security offered on the right by the 133rd Infantry and of such blocking action on the left as, in the meantime, would have been achieved by the 1st Battalion. It was anticipated that the 3rd Battalion, meeting lighter resistance in its sector, would overtake and pass the 1st Battalion. By 1420 hours the 3rd Battalion had cleared S. Benedetto and was advancing toward Molinelli in the order Company "I", Company "L", and Company "K", By 1625 hours the leading elements of the Battalion had arrived abreast of the right elements of the 1st Battalion. Since there was only one trail on the western slope of the mountain in this part of the sector, Colonel Hine ordered the 1st Battalion to allow the 3rd Battalion to pass, and the 3rd Battalion to continue its attack to the north, with Hill 661 (792239) as its objective for the night. Company "I", having no contact with the enemy, made rapid advance in spite of heavy fog, and at 2400 hours occupied Hill 661. Company "L" stopped for the remainder of the night at la Mandria (793238) and out-posted the western nose of Hill 661 with one platoon. Company "K" and the Battalion command group stopped in the vicinity of Gabbiano (794224). Before it had been cleared by the tail of the 3rd Battalion, the 1st Battalion was ordered to stop for the night, and out-post its positions strongly, prepared to resume the attack in the morning. The Battalion was then disposed as follows: one platoon of Company "C" at 790215, with the balance of the Company at 791204, Company "B" at 795211, and Company "A" at 791204. 

[ 6 October 1944 ]

Colonel Hine then directed the 1st and 3rd Battalions to continue their attack at dawn and to seize and out-post the forward slope overlooking the Setta River between the 25 and 26 Northings, from which they could control the Setta Valley road. The 1st Battalion, on the left, was ordered to guard the road and bridges against possible enemy attempts at demolition. Both the 1st and 3rd Battalions were ordered to establish OPs and direct artillery fire on targets of opportunity. The 2nd Battalion was to continue its attack up the ridge on the left of the Regimental sector, patrolling as far as the village of Rioveggio (766248).

When the 2nd Battalion received the order to attack, a four-man patrol from Company "G" had already found the houses on the western nose of Hill 747 to be free of the enemy, and the 1st Platoon of Company "E" had reported that only one German remained in the shrine on Hill 747. At 0830 hours Major Butler issued the attack order. The Battalion was to attack in the order Company "G", Company "F", and Company "E", first taking the town of Monteacuto Vallese, and then continuing the attack over the ridge to the north. Captain Stillger, Commander of Company "G", went into Monteacuto with a four-man patrol and found it to have been evacuated by the enemy. By 1000 hours the balance of the Company had entered the town along with the tanks and elements of the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron. Under cover of fog, the tanks then took the lead, but a thousand yards north of Monteacuto they bogged down. Elements on the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron then led the advance, two jeeps driving into the village of Belvedere (770225), and a patrol continuing on foot to Montorio (771229). At 1330 hours Major Butler was ordered to consolidate his troops in Montorio, and to send a patrol to contact the 1st Battalion, but since Company "G" had already reached la Torre (769236), and Company "F" was following Company "G", he organized his defensive position further to the north. Company "G" remained at la Torre and established an out-post on the knob of the hill at 767238. Company "F" occupied the houses la Ca (770231) and la Casetta (770232) and at point 366 (766234), and Company "E" moved into Montorio and C. Marzolara (766229). The Battalion remained in this position for four days with the mission of protecting the left flank of the Regiment.

At first light the 1st and 3rd Battalions resumed their advance. By 1315 hours both Company "I" and Company "L" were on the objective. At the end of the afternoon, the 3rd Battalion had organized a line with Company "I" at 788257 and 793255 with an out-post at Cosse (791264), Company "L" at 781254 and 784255, and Company "K" and the Battalion C.P. at la Mandria (793238). The 1st Battalion had established its position with Company "B" at Rioveggio (767248), Company "C" at Polverara (775250), and Company "A" and the Battalion C.P. at Brigola (781237). The Regiment's advance during the day had been made under the cover of fog, which had been a material advantage since the northern end of the Sambro Valley and the ridge overlooking it on the west were under observation by enemy in position on the high ground across the Setta River. This advance probably would not have been possible on a clear day, as was evidenced by the enemy's heavy shelling of Rioveggio with self-propelled artillery when he noticed Company "B"'s movement into the village.

In his withdrawal from the Sambro Valley the enemy made such extensive use of demolitions that the valley road could not be opened until 8 October, forcing the 1st and 3rd Battalions to maintain their lines of supply and communication on the trail over the western slopes of Mt. Galletto and Mt. Venere. Since the 1st and 3rd Battalions both used this trail, the problems of the 1st Battalion can be considered to be typical. On October 5 and 6 ten miles of WR 110 wire were laid by hand from the 1st Battalion rear C.P., initially in Campiano, to the Battalion forward C.P. at Brigola. The spools of WR 110 wire were packed by mule, and because of a delay in obtaining sufficient mules, the Battalion forward C.P. did not have wire communication with the Regimental C.P until 0100 hours 7 October. The problem of supply was equally difficult. On the nights of October 6 and 7 rations and ammunition were carried to the Companies both on mules and in peeps, but the trail was so narrow that two peeps and several trailers were lost over the embankment. At 1600 hours, 6 October when a radio message was received at the Battalion rear C.P. at 788183 that the forward C.P. had been established at Brigola, the rear command group set out to join the forward. Ammunition, rations, and wire were loaded on mules, while the peeps traveled empty. When the mule train reached Brigola, rations and ammunition were transferred to peeps, in which they were carried to the Companies on the line. When the valley road was opened by the engineers on 8 October, there was no further necessity for using the difficult trail over the mountainside. The Regimental Communications Section established a forward switch at Molinelli (778232), which greatly decreased the Battalion's difficulties in maintaining its wire lines. With the road open, rations could be carried to the Battalion C.P. at Brigola by 1-1/2 ton trucks and from there to the Companies by peep. The Battalion was fed hot meals throughout the last phase of this operation. 

[ 7-9 October 1944 ] 

During the three days October 7-9, in which the Regiment occupied a defensive position over-looking the Setta River, our troops were comparatively inactive. The 2nd Battalion, which was protecting the left flank of the Regiment, rested in houses on the ridge and completed the issue of its winter equipment. Because of enemy observation from high ground across the river, the Battalion Commander ordered that movement outside of the houses in daylight be kept to a minimum. Company "C" was engaged in a fire fight in mid-morning of 7 October, when an estimated number of ten Germans, who evidently were withdrawing without a knowledge of our positions, walked past the Company C.P. A man in the C.P. observed four of this group of enemy and fired on them with a pistol. Immediately the Germans scattered and took cover. Small arms, heavy machine guns, and mortars were fired on them, but in mid-afternoon they made their withdrawal across the Setta River with only two of their number wounded. On the night of 7-8 October, a patrol from the 3rd Battalion found the bridge at 793268 to be intact and no mines in the stream bed for one hundred yards on each side of it.

While the activity on our lines was negligible during the three-day period when the Regiment was in the defensive position, the enemy provided numerous targets of opportunity for the artillery. The Germans were preparing defenses on the high ground beyond the Setta River, and at first they moved freely on the forward slopes during daylight. Several groups of Italian civilians and Germans digging positions on the forward slopes were fired on. At 1015 hours 7 October, Major Butler fired artillery, with excellent effect, on thirty Germans who marched past the railroad station at 751227 [Stazione di Grizzana], two-thousand yards from the Battalion O.P. in Montorio. In the early afternoon of 7 October, 1st Lt. Kenneth L Bailey, Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon Leader, observed from the Regimental O.P. in Montorio a German in his O.P. in [Molinello] di sotto (750237). The two observers duelled with artillery until they landed volleys close to each other's O.P., and then the duel ceased.

xxx The Regiment continued in position protecting the left flank of the Division until the night of 9-10 October, when its relief by the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron, which had been in progress since the night of 7-8 October, was completed. With the exception of the 81mm Mortar Platoon and the Intelligence Section, the 1st Battalion was completely relieved by 0300 hours 8 October. After spending the night in assembly areas a few thousand yards behind the front lines, the Battalion closed into Montefredente and Borgo at 1955 hours. The 3rd Battalion was relieved by 1730 hours and closed in S. Benedetto at 2210 hours, with the exception of Company "I" which went on to Qualto. The 2nd Battalion withdrew from its positions on the ridge after dark on 9 October and moved to the village of Faldo.


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