Breaching the Siegfried Line
117th  Company B
October 2nd, 1944

Combat Interviews......click for first-hand account of the assault.

Letter from Pfc. Richard Lowe Ballou......to parents dated Nov. 4th, 1944. 

  Drawing by Ballou....Then Pvt. Ballou of the weapons platoon, with heavy artillery fire dropping all around him, took out pad and pencil and made an elaborate drawing of how the river, railroad track and pillboxes looked to him from the banks of the river.

  Map Overlay of 1st Battalion Assault.

  Aerial Photo of Oct. 2nd advance.

Grid Map of assault area.

View from B Co's LD, 2 Oct. 1944 showing the haystack where improvised bridges were hidden, the town of Marienberg on the left, slag piles in the background, and the open terrain which B Company initially had to cross.

View across open ground which B Co., 117th crossed initially showing slag piles in distance, Marienberg-Palenberg road on left and town of Marienberg on left.  The pillbox from which the leading elements of B Co. received a few shots about 11:00 on 2 Oct. can be observed to the right of the road on the edge of Marienberg.  The draw down which B Co. advanced to the river may be observed in the gap between the orchard just to the right of the Marienberg-Palenberg road and the clump of woods in the right center (rear) of the photograph.

View just prior to descending draw which B Co. used on Oct. 2nd in advancing to Wurm River.  A Co. started down this same draw and when they received heavy mortar and artillery fire they switched to the right and went through the wooded area shown in photograph.

View toward the northeast showing the draw toward the Wurm river down which B Co. advanced on the 2nd.  The town of Palenberg may be seen to the left of the slag pile.  A Co. started to advance down this same draw and then cut right through the woods at the right of photograph.

View northeast down the draw through which B Co. advanced on Oct. 2, showing the way in which 1st platoon hugged the edge of the woods and 2d platoon went down middle of draw.  This view shows the extent to which this draw was shielded from enemy observation.  A Co. moved through the woods on the right, after being initially subjected to artillery and mortar fire in the draw.

View of territory across which B C. advanced on Oct. 2, showing open ground west of Wurm River, railroad track and ridge along which pillboxes were placed.

View from between Wurm River and railroad track showing the protection afforded by railroad embankment.  Houses on left are in southwest edge of Palenberg.  Pillboxes are on skyline.  1st Platoon of B Co. advanced through the hedge which can be seen bordering the track.  Lt. Robert P. Cushman cut the single strand barbed wire which can be seen strung on the west side of railroad track.

View of territory across which B Co. crossed in breaching the Siegfried Line on Oct. 2.  View taken facing WEST toward ridge and railroad track which B Co. crossed.  Slight opening in woods, upper right of photograph, is the draw down which B Co. advanced.  In line with church steeple on left of photograph is the open area in which C Co. received heavy casualties from enemy artillery fire.  Thick hedge bordering west side of railroad track is where 1st platoon of B Co. crossed the track.  Houses at top of Marienberg hill can be observed in upper right of photograph.  Wurm River is located about 110 yards east of the north-south road which appears in the view.

View from ridge and enemy pillboxes looking WEST toward approaches of 117th showing extent of enemy observations of our movements, and open ground necessary to cross in order to assault pillboxes.  Church on skyline is in Scherpenseek.  Open area on ridge is the area through which C Co. passed and received heavy casualties from enemy mortar and artillery fire.

Two key figures in the 117th IR's assault of the Siegfried Line on Oct. 2nd, 1944.  Pfc. Irving Sinensky (left), rifleman in  support of 1st platoon, B Co., 117th.  Pvt. Brent Youenes, flamethrower from 1st platoon of B Co.  Between the two men rise the ruins of the first pillbox which the 117th took, less than an hour after the jump-off on Oct. 2, and which Pvt. Youenes first attacked with a flamethrower.

Captain Robert C. Spiker, Company Commander, B Co. 117th Infantry Regiment.  In the background over Capt. Spiker's right shoulder are the ruins of a pillbox which his company captured on Oct. 2nd, 1944 and was subsequently blown up by the engineers.

Lt. Col. Robert E. Frankland, CO, 1st Battalion, 117th Infantry Regiment.  Picture taken in front of 1st Battalion CP in Alsdorf, Germany, a few days after initial assault.

Group of "B" Company, 117th Infantry Regiment.
Left to Right:
T/Sgt Howard Wolpert, acting platoon leader, 3rd platoon.
Cpl. Glen Spangler, attached from 105 C Engr. Bn.
T/5 Joseph Mariano, attached from 105 C Engr. Bn.
Pfc. Francis Cashman, light-machine gunner, weapons platoon.
Pvt. Brent Youenes, flame-thrower, 1st platoon.
Pfc. Irving Sinesky, support squad, 1st platoon.
Capt. Robert C. Spiker, CO, B Co.
S/Sgt. George Dail, platoon guide, 2nd platoon.
Lt. Jay Manley, platoon leader, weapons platoon.

  Interior of German pillbox captured by 117th showing how they are equipped with beds, telephone, and kitchen equipment.

Looking WEST today at 117th's area of advance.

Breaching the Siegfried Line
117th, Co. A
Oct. 2nd, 1944

Combat Interviews......left click for PDF files.

Maps....See above for Company B assault.

Pillbox # 5, showing the ground across which A Co. had to cross on Oct. 2, 1944, the placing of the woods on either side of the pillbox and the road between Palenberg and Rimburg.

Lt. Theodore Foote, platoon leader of 3rd plat., A Co. in a characteristic gesture leading his men.

T/Sgt. Francis Banner, platoon Sgt. of 3rd platoon, A Co., who led platoon after wounding of Lt. Foote, Oct. 2nd, 1944.

Pfc. Gus Pantazopoulos, 3rd platoon, A Co. firing the bazooka which aided in the reduction of Pillbox # 5 on Oct. 2nd, 1944

Pfc. Howard E. King, 3rd platoon, A Co., who was instrumental in capturing Pillbox # 5, Oct. 2nd, 1944

Group of 3rd platoon , A Co., which captured Pillbox # 5 on Oct. 2nd.  Pfc. Gus Pantazopoulos, who fired effective bazooka round into the pillbox is third from left.

Company A

Breaching the Siegfried Line
117th, Co. C
Oct. 2nd, 1944

COMBAT INTERVIEWS...Co. C

Misc. Photos:

Church at Marienberg which was mined and destroyed by enemy in E Co., 117th area on Oct. 2nd.

  Palenberg, Germany.