In Honored Glory!

World War II Honor Roll

Samuel J. Leyman

Private, U.S. Army


22nd Infantry Regiment,
4th Infantry Division

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: December 3, 1944
Buried at: Plot C Row 14 Grave 15
Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
Henri-Chapelle, Belgium
Awards: Purple Heart

PRIVATE SAMUEL LEYMAN operated Buddy's Sandwich Shop at 2001 Federal Street in Camden, where he also lived, with his wife Elizabeth and daughters Anne and Patricia. His next door neighbor, at 2003 Federal Street, was popular Camden political figure Bernard J. "Barney" Tracy. Samuel Leyman also worked for the Camden Board of Education. Shortly after the birth of his daughter Patricia, Samuel Leyman was inducted into the United States Army, in May of 1944. 

Private Leyman was sent overseas in October of that year, and assigned as a replacement to the 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. He was 26 years old when he was killed during the Battle for the Hürtgen Forest


St. Joseph's Church
1893-1943 Golden Jubilee Yearbook

2001 Federal Street - December 27, 2003
This has been the home of Eva's Beauty Salon for many years



The 22nd Infantry Regiment's Experience in the Hürtgen Forest

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On 16 November 1944, the 4th Infantry Division attacked into the Hürtgen Forest as one of ten divisions participating in a combined offensive by First and Ninth U.S. Armies to close to the Rhine River.

As one of the infantry regiments of the 4th Division, the 22nd Infantry spent eighteen days in November and early December 1944 in the Hürtgen Forest. In a battle many believed mattered little in the big picture, the 22nd suffered 2773 casualties, or 85 percent of its normal complement of 3257 soldiers to take one village and 6000 yards of forest. Each rifle company went into the action averaging 162 soldiers. Seven days later the rifle companies averaged eighty-seven men, of whom 42 percent were replacements who had arrived during the battle. By the end of the battle, losses in the rifle companies reached an estimated average of 151 percent of their original strength. Although the 22nd Infantry suffered these very heavy casualties, the United States Army's practice of replacing casualties while units were still in combat kept the unit from ever falling below 75 percent strength. Total replacements amounted to 1988 soldiers.

The conditions of the battle negated the impact of American superiority in aviation and armor and made the battle an infantryman's fight from beginning to end. Although massive amounts of artillery fire assisted the forward movement of the regiment, the infantry still had to take the ground.

The 22nd was neither poorly trained nor poorly led. Lieutenant General J. Lawton Collins, the VII Corps Commander and later Chief of Staff of the Army, considered the 22nd one of the premier infantry regiments in the ETO. By all accounts, the regiment's commander, Colonel Charles T. Lanham, and his battalion commanders were effective leaders. They did what they could to influence the battle and their attempts to turn the German flanks reflected tactical sophistication. When possible, they alternated battalions and companies leading the attack.

The 22nd Infantry entered the Hürtgen Forest expecting a low cost success. Instead the regiment fought its way through the woods virtually unsupported in a battle of attrition against three German divisions and elements of two others. Although the 22nd suffered more casualties than any other regiment in the Hürtgen, it lost no ground not immediately recovered. The last days of the battle saw fresh German battalions breaking through decimated companies of the 22nd, only to be cut off, killed or captured by other equally attrited companies rushed into the breach. During the battle the 22nd captured 764 Germans. There are no extant casualty figures for the German units, outside those captured, but it must be assumed the German casualties were at least as high if not higher than those of the 22nd. German companies suffered the same fate as the 22nd's, but they lacked the ability to regenerate and were burned in the flame of the Hürtgen.

Although Colonel Lanham's 22nd Infantry Regiment was above 75% in strength when it emerged from the Hürtgen, he considered it fought out. The combat effectiveness of the regiment crumbled when most of the unit's veterans became casualties. The soldiers of the regiment did not quit, but at the end there was no attack left in them.

The evidence suggests the regiment kept fighting as long as it contained soldiers who had trained together in the United States or who had significant previous combat experience within the regiment. These veterans provided a pool of competent soldiers to replace the junior officers and NCOs when they either became casualties or were promoted to higher positions during the battle. As long as there were veterans around whom the replacement could coalesce, the regiment moved forward. The loss of these small unit leaders quite possibly dealt a more deadly blow to the regiments ability to attack than did the loss of the commanders of every rifle company and battalion.

The backbone of the regiment were the soldiers, officer and enlisted, who had trained together in the United States.


The 22nd Infantry Regiments Experience in the Hürtgen Forest

16 November Attack commences, but falls short of initial objectives. Unit is successful in seizing Rabenheck Ridge. A 1000 meter hand carry of wounded and supplies is necessary because MSR is not opened. Germans opposing 22nd are from the 275th Volksgrenadier Division.

Battle Casualties 4 officers, 69 enlisted.

17 November Attack continues, but heavy artillery strikes disrupt it and the 1st Battalion Commander is killed, and the 3rd Battalion Commander wounded. Light tanks assigned to support the attack are limited to the trail network and are ineffective. Supplies and wounded continue to be hand carried 1000 yards. Both flanks of the regiment are open.

Battle Casualties 9 officers, 129 enlisted. Replacements 148 enlisted.

18 November Attack continues; heavy artillery strikes continue to disrupt the attack. 2nd Battalion Commander is wounded. 1st and 2nd Battalions cross Weisser Weh Road and Stream capturing two intermediate objectives. The hand carry of wounded and supplies extends to 1500 yards. Both flanks of regiment are open and German counterattacks begin.

Battle Casualties 9 officers, 139 enlisted.

19 November Pause in attack called to reorganize, resupply and open MSR. Tanks still unable to get to front lines. Heavy artillery bombardments continue. Regimental command post hit by bypassed Germans but holds until a company arrives to help. The German 344th Volksgrenadier Division replaces the 275th in the line, layering its units on top the 275th's remaining combat formations.

Battle Casualties 14 officers, 72 enlisted, many of whom where killed or wounded previously but not reported.

20 November Attack Continues. 1st Battalion in the north fights forward against heavy opposition and takes high ground to east. German armor supported counterattacks hit the battalion on its northern flank, but the line holds. On the southern flank German counterattacks, again supported by armor, hit 2nd Battalion hard and limit its advance. Companies in 2nd Battalion reduced to about 50 soldiers.

Battle Casualties 5 officers, 126 enlisted. Replacements 1 officer, 206 enlisted.

21 November Pause in attack again called to reorganize, resupply and open MSR. Vital bridge put in so supplies could be brought to within 300 yards of front lines. Some tanks and tank destroyers get forward into 2nd Battalion's area. Bypassed resistance by Regimental Command post finally overcome. Heavy artillery fire is received throughout the day.

Battle Casualties 306, most of who had fallen earlier in the forest and not previously been missed. T5 George Morgan said 'You can't get all the dead because you can't find them, and they stay there to remind the guys advancing as to what might hit them."

22 November Attack Continues. The 3rd Battalion sweeps up a draw north of the 1st Battalion and then back to the southeast, cutting the road leading from the west into the village of Grosshau. The 2nd Battalion is hit by two counterattacks, one in the north and the other in the south, the southern attack being supported by tanks. The American tanks can not get forward through the thick woods and the infantry struggled forward past the road leading into Kleinhau. The open southern flank is so serious a threat that one company from the 1st Battalion is sent to cover it, as well as 100 replacements put in as a group.

Battle Casualties 167 soldiers. Replacements 59 enlisted.

23 November Thanksgiving Day. Pause called in attack to reorganize, resupply, and allow the 12th Infantry to come up on the southern flank. Limited attacks to gain crossroads carried out by 2nd and 3rd Battalions.

Battle Casualties 3 officers, 165 enlisted, again many from previous days. Replacements 6 officers and 136 enlisted. Turkey sandwiches and luke-warm coffee was carried up to the front lines, the only day hot rations were served.

24 November Regiment continues to regroup. The 12th Infantry's advance relieves pressure in south. Engineers clear roads of mines and armor gets forward to the 3rd Battalion. Planning continues for attack on Grosshau on 25 November. Little artillery taken during the night.

Replacements 25 officers, 326 enlisted. Within the regiment, the fighting condition of the battalions varied dramatically. By 24 November every battalion had lost its battalion commander and two of its three rifle company commanders. The 1st Battalion contained about 50 percent replacements; the 2nd Battalion 70 to 80 percent newly arrived replacements, and it remained considerably understrength. The 3rd Battalion's casualties were still relatively few, although a heavy toll in leaders had been taken. This battalion was almost at full strength with only about 20 percent replacements in its ranks.

25 November Attack against Grosshau. For its attack on 25 november, the 22nd is supported by the equivalent of an armor battalion, two battalions of artillery, a chemical mortar company, and an engineer company. The 3rd Battalion again maneuvers north and finds its initial move easy. Problems arise when it takes 3 hours for the tanks to get forward. The German defenders in Grosshau are waiting when the attack finally begins. Six tanks are destroyed and the infantry is driven back into the trees by a tremendous artillery barrage. In the 2nd Battalion area, the tanks do not arrive as scheduled. The infantry advances to the woodline south of Grosshau, but not without heavy losses. A 500 meter gap exists between the 2nd and 3rd Battalions. Major General Barton, CG 4ID, commits to the reduction of Grosshau nine artillery battalions, ranging from 105mm to 240mm. The German 353rd Volksgrenadier Division begins arriving, replacing the 344th and layering on top the remaining 344th VGs combat formations.

Battle Casualties 235, most from the 3rd Battalion. More leaders fall on 25 November than any other day of the battle, 11 officers, and 46 NCOs.

26 November No regimental attack, but one company of 1st Battalion attacks to close gap between 2nd and 3rd Battalions. Attack gets up to copse of trees near Grosshau, but is thrown back by a tank supported infantry attack. All battalions continue to receive very heavy German shelling, to include a railroad gun.

Battle Casualties 6 officers, 132 enlisted. Non battle casualties begin rising.

27 November No regimental attack, but another company of 1st Battalion attacks to close gap between 2nd and 3rd Battalions. Sergeant Marcario Garcia awarded Medal of Honor for his part in attack. One company of 2nd Battalion rushes to its assistance and the two companies are reduced to a total of 70 soldiers, less than two full strength platoons. After finding the road clear, two tanks arrive to support position. 12th Infantry Regiment inserted north of the 22nd when it appears it would be pinched out in the south by the CCA 5th Armored Division and the 8th Infantry Division attacking from the south.

Battle Casualties 152. Replacement 220 enlisted. By 27 November, more than half the soldiers in the regiment had fallen; in fact almost as many replacements (1640) had arrived as there were soldiers in all the rifle companies at full strength (1737)

28 November No attack, Battalions send patrols into and to the north of Grosshau. Hill 90, northeast of Grosshau was taken by elements of 3rd Battalion.

Battle Casualties 117. Replacements 9. Division commander gives authorization to make NCOs officers on the spot.

29 November Attack against Grosshau. Colonel Lanham had planned to bypass and isolate Grosshau to the north. The 3rd Battalion again swings north and cuts the road leading from Grosshau to the town of Gey on the Roer plain. While the 3rd Battalion moves, General Barton orders Grosshau taken by direct assault after CCA, 5th Armored Divison reported taking fire from Grosshau while it cleared the village of Kleinhau to the south. One company of the 2nd Battalion is the only unit in place to make the attack. This company starts its attack but is pinned down in the open for 3 hours until a tank task force from the south appears. The town is then cleared during the night in house to house fighting. Another company arrives to help secure the town during the night. Engineers clear the town of mines to get supplies up to the 3rd Battalion holding the high ground northeast of Grosshau. Elements of 3 regimental-sized units - a combat command of 5th Armored Division in the south, the 22nd in the middle, and the 12th Infantry in the north - are situated within 1500 yards of one another. CCA reports Kleinhau and a hill to its north east taken at the end of the day.

Casualties 162. Replacements 78. The 2nd Battalion stripped its headquarters and weapons companies of soldiers to fill the rifle companies.

30 November The Attack Continues. 46th Armored Infantry Battalion (AIB), 5th Armored Division, is attached to the 22nd to clear the area south of the 2nd Battalion and seize a line of departure for the CCA. This battalion and the 2nd Battalion meet extremely heavy fire from Kleinhau and the hill reported taken earlier. One of the 2nd Battalion's companies advances to within 200 yards of the far woodline but has to pull back because there are not enough men remaining to hold the line. The 46th AIB seizes the hill but at a cost of about 50 percent of the attacking force. The 3rd Battalion attacks with armor and clears the woodline south of Gey. A 500 meter gap develops between the 3rd and 2nd Battalions.

Battle Casualties 178, most from the 2nd Battalion's attack across the open field. Replacements 7. Battalion commanders begin maneuvering their decimated companies like platoons and the remaining veterans lead the replacements from the front, increasing the leaders' risk of being killed or wounded.

1 December The Attack Continues. 46th Armored Infantry Battalion attacks into the woods and advances about 400 yards, but is soon pulled back to more tenable positions. There are so many casualties, most of the unwounded soldiers are used to carry them back, leaving just a small rear guard. The 2nd Battalion attacks into the woods under a tremendous artillery barrage. One of its companies is struck by a counterattack and pushed back to an old German trench line. The reserve company is rushed forward to hold the line. The fighting strength of the 2nd Battalion drops to 124 soldiers in its three rifle companies, 64 percent of a full strength company.

The 1st Battalion attacks between the 2nd and 3rd Battalions and closes up to the eastern woodline facing the Roer Valley. The 3rd Battalion takes a small copse of trees overlooking Gey. Because of the strengths in his battalions, Colonel Lanham organizes a last reserve of headquarters, service and anti-tank company soldiers, which totals about 100.

Battle Casualties 132. Only 11 tanks and 45 tank destroyers remain operational of the 34 tanks and 12 tank destroyers attached to the 22nd. Replacements 89.

2 December German Counterattack. Before the 22nd could continue its attack to close all its units to the edge of the woodline facing the Roer Valley, one of the companies in the 3rd Battalion is struck by a newly committed battalion sized unit of the 353rd Volksgrenadier Division. The company is overrun and some Germans penetrate up to the command posts of the 1st and 3rd Battalions and seize the hill northeast of Grosshau. The 3rd Battalion closes the breach with one of its companies, faces the other company around and with the help of the regimental reserve and a company from the 2nd Battalion wipes out the penetration. General Barton when told of the counterattack, requests that General Collins, the VII Corps Commander, relieve the 22nd Infantry, explaining that,

He felt that with the number of replacements and the condition of the men in the 22nd Infantry that there was no further attack left in the 22nd; that the noncoms and junior leadership had been completely milked out of them over the long period they had been in the fight; they had attacked until there was no attack left in them; replacements are not lacking in 'guts' but they are not trained soldiers as we had before.

The 22nd is notified it would be relieved on 3 December. Later Colonel Lanham notified a German Panzer Division appeared to be heading into his sector. He orders all the roads mined and the positions held.

Casualties 149. Replacements 50.

3 December German Counterattack and Relief of the 22nd. Early in the morning before the relief begins one of the 1st Battalion companies is hit by a newly committed German battalion of the 272nd Volksgrenadier Division. Only 25 Germans penetrate the line, and these are rounded up by headquarters elements of the three rifle companies and the weapons company. The 2nd Battalion is told to be prepared to rush its 100 soldiers south to the hill northeast of Kleinhau if it is captured. The German Luftwaffe sorties and about thirty aircraft strafe and bomb the regiment's positions, but cause few casualties. The relief continues into the night and the regiment pulls out towards its next assignment in Luxembourg on 4 December.

Casualties 76. Another 80 casualties were reported on 4 December after headcounts were made at the new location. After 18 days the battle in the Hürtgen Forest was over for the 22nd. During the battle, every rifle battalion and company commander was lost, with two companies losing four commanders and another six. At the roll call in Luxembourg, each rifle company had fewer than ten soldiers who had begun the battle on 16 November.

The information above is extracted from: Paschendale with Treebursts, a history and analysis of the 22nd Infantry Regiment during the battle of the Hürtgen Forest, 16 November through 03 December 1944.                                   By Robert S. Rush