PRIVATE JOSEPH A. SCHEURICH was born on June 13, 1924. He was the son of Joseph F. and Eva Scheurich. At the time of the April 1930 Federal Census, the family lived at 219 Ridgeway Street in Gloucester City NJ. Joseph F. Scheurich was then working as a laborer in a paper mill. The family later moved to 923 Ridgeway Street in Gloucester City. Joseph A. Scheurich was the oldest of eight children, the others being George, Barbara, Raymond, Ella, Jenny, Eva, and Anna.
Joseph A. Scheurich worked in Camden for the Eavenson and Levering Company before being inducted into the United States Army on October 5, 1943. After basic training he served served stateside within the 2nd Service Command (as noted by the shoulder patch in the picture above) until October 1944, when he was sent overseas as an infantry replacement.
Private Scheurich was sent overseas in October of 1944, as an infantry replacement. Assigned to the 48th Armored Infantry Battalion, a component of the 7th Armored Division, he joined that unit after it had been badly mauled during combat in Holland. The 7th Armored was rushed to Belgium in mid-December in response to the German attack in the Ardennes, and was charged with defending an area near St. Vith, Belgium.
Private Joseph A. Scheurich was killed in action on December 22, 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge at a village in Belgium called Rodt, outside of St. Vith. The action at Rodt is described in the official United States Army history of World War II as follows:
The Final Withdrawal from the St. Vith Sector
The raid made by Remer's infantry past Rodt now paid dividends. Having found a negotiable route for his heavy vehicles, Remer prepared to capture Rodt, cut the main road between that village and Vielsalm, and overrun such of the American batteries as remained in the way. In the midst of a snowstorm, sometime around midnight of the 21st, Remer's tank group and his armored infantry started along the narrow trails winding through the thick woods north of the Rodt-Vielsalm road. By daybreak the Fuehrer Begleit advance guard had arrived at the edge of the forest north of Rodt. This small village, 4,000 yards west of St. Vith, lay on the reverse slope of a ridge line along which extended the north flank of the 7th Armored Division. Here a number of secondary roads entered the St. Vith-Vielsalm highway, one from Recht in the north, others from Hinderhausen and Crombach in the south. As a result of the regrouping under way in the 7th Armored zone, Rodt was the junction point between CCA, still holding the division north flank, and CCB, raising a new line along the low hill chain that extended south of the village. The ground at Rodt, then, overlooked the flank and rear of CCB.
The village itself was garrisoned by the service company of the 48th Armored Infantry Battalion and some drivers belonging to the battalion whose vehicles were parked there. Astride the woods road running north to Recht were small blocking detachments of tanks, engineers, and antitank guns. Between Rodt and the next village to the west, Poteau, two companies of medium tanks patrolled the main road and watched the trails running in from the north. To the northeast the troop from CCB which originally had held the left wing of the St. Vith sector around Hunningen was still in position; as yet it had not sustained any heavy blows.
As light broke, the right battalion of Remer's brigade attacked to cut the main western road close to Poteau. The German assault here was beaten off by the drivers in a vehicle park who used the .50-caliber machine guns on their two-score half-tracks in a withering fusillade. In the east, at Rodt, Remer's left battalion tried to rush the village from the woods but ran straight into artillery fire. Some of the Germans made it to the houses and defended themselves in the cellars, but most of the battalion finally had to pull back. A number of prisoners were later rounded up by the Americans on the Recht road. The second German assault was made in a more methodical manner. First, mortars went to work against houses and foxholes. Then the German tank group, which had been delayed by a mine field, and an infantry company or two swung to the west and rolled down the main road into the village. The Sherman tanks on the Recht road were caught in masked positions from which they could not return the panzer fire coming in from higher ground, and the troops in Rodt could not stand alone against the Panthers. The enemy took the village quickly, and with it many of the half-tracks belonging to the 48th Armored Infantry Battalion.
Private Scheurich initially was reported as missing in action. His body was recovered after American forces retook Rodt and St. Vith. Private Scheurich rests at the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupre, Belgium.
PRIVATE JOSEPH A. SCHEURICH is remembered by Anna Scheurich Hamilton, his sister.
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