THE HISTORY OF COMPANY “C”
|starts in 1806 when the Fifth Infantry was organized.
Its history has been well recorded in military annals. This addition to
those annals. in an attempt to record the Company achievements in World
On 12th July 1944 a new Company Com-mander took over the
helm, determined to uphold the traditions of the Company and lead it to
At the time the Fifth Infantry as well as the rest of the 71st
Division was training at Fort Benning, Georgia, preparing for the task
that lay ahead. It was a period of hard work and intensive training
resulting in a well trained, well conditioned unit. Many men will re-member
the long hikes over dusty Georgia roads, and long days on the rifle range,
and the combat problems where we learned to work together as a smooth and
The alert was sounded on the 20th of No-vember 1944. Packing
and crating started in earnest. New equipment was requisitioned and new
weapons were issued. The 24 hour work day was established and soon
we were having Corps Tests. However we were suddenly ordered off
the alert and resumed training.
This additional training lasted only a few weeks before
we were re-alerted, this time in all sincerity.
Men were recalled from furloughs, new equipment was again crated and warm
clothing was issued. The “all ready” orders were sounded in January
As the Division band
played “Auld Lang Syne” the Company boarded the train that was to
take them to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, a camp
of the New York Port of Embarcation. Our days of doubt were over.
Kilmer, where only one way tickets are issued, was covered
with ice and snow. Many restrictions were imposed to prevent
the leakage of information which might
be of use to the enemy, postal censorship
was introduced and telephone calls closely watched, yet many men had the
opportunity for a 12hour pass to NewYork or Philly where they took in their
last of American life for some time to come.
then on 24th January we again entrain-ed. This time our
destination was States Island New York, where we boarded the Navy trans-port
U.S.S. General T. H. Bliss for the long voyage across the Atlantic and
to the ad-ventures which lay ahead. The next morning as we weighed
anchor and as the Statue of Liberty faded into
the fog many men felt a lump grow in their throats
as they finally realized that it would be a long, long time before they
would see these shores again.
crossing was uneventful except for a few U-Boat alerts. For
most of the men it was the first time on the ocean and many experienced
the misery of sea sickness. Com-pany “C’s” duty aboard ship was to guard
the various compartments and vital points on deck Every one had a chance
to get well acquainted
with life aboard ship and
all were more than ready to debark when we
reached our destination.
On the morning of 5th Februrary the 52 ship convoy slowly crept
into the harbor of Sout-hampton, England, where we picked up a pilot to
guide us across the Channel to our final port, Le Harve. Here
we had our first relization of the grim reality of war. Huge steel
piers were twisted masses of metal. Ships could be seen beneath the waters
surface with only their spars in the air.
Houses that at one time had been homes, buildings that once
had been fine business establishments were now just piles of crumpled derbis.
This was the aftermath of war, France 1945.
At 0200 on 7th February 1945, we disembark-ed on French soil.
A slow rain was falling and our truck convoy was stopped several
times. At last we arrived at our destination and found it to be on
the outskirts of St. Lau-rent en Caux, a small village with 15 or 20 quaint
houses, an old church and a few places that sold ‘ceeder’,
a drink having an effect not unlike that of “Carter’s Little Liver
Pills”. Our champ was a city of pyramidal tents erected by the Engineers.
It was quickly given the name of “Mudville” after the first hour of slipping
and sliding in the muck of the Com-pany street. Amid constant rains
we trained, marched and lived in the mudhole until the 7th
of March when we received our orders
to entrain for the front.
We boarded our new home at Yerville, France, box cars of
the none to elite French transportation system, the famous 40 & 8’s.
With 36 men to a car we slowly rumbled our way across France to Kerviller,
Loraine pro-vince. From there we entrucked to St. Louis les Bitche
where we relieved the 100th Divison and took their positions on the 7th
Army front. Since Company “C” was in Battalion reserve we lived in an abandoned
glass factory a few hundred meters behind the lines. Here we
first became acquainted with the German 88MM
||gun and 88MM mortar and got our first good look at
the Luftwaffe. Luckily no casual-ties resulted but many men learned the
fine art of hugging the ground.
On the 16th of March the First Platoon was ordered on patrol
duty to the South, while the remainder of the Company was given the mission
of clearing a huge road block which blocked our advance to Lemberg.
As the Company waited shivering for the block to be cleared
and the mined road to be made safe, word was received over the radio
that the Company had suffered its first casualties. Sgt Viadell had
been killed and Lt Johnson had been wounded by the hated German Shu mine
leading the First Platoon through a mine field. We estblished positions
on high ground about 2 miles SE of Lemberg and awaited further orders.
We occupied dugouts left by the retreating Germans. We had a very
new and odd feeling that night as we had no com-munication with our nearest
Battalion element nearly three miles to our rear. On
the 18th, we received orders to continue by motor con-voy to Roperviller.
From here we made our entry into Germany where we established positions
overlooking the Siegfried Line. Dra-gons teeth and Pillboxes dotted
the terrain and German troops could be seen walking around these fortifications
in a very self- assured manner, but a few well placed rounds of Artillery
taught them more caution. All was quiet that and until about 1400 the next
day when German mortar fire began falling in our area. However no
caualties resulted and late that night we were relieved by the 14th Infantry
Regiment of the 71st Division.
The 21st of March was a day of rest and
we were issued clean clothing and had a chance to take a sponge bath.
The next day orders came through for a quick
dash of 74 kilometers to the north, so passing through a break
in the Siegfried Line we were given the mission of taking Landau.
We passed through Landau overcoming enemy resistance
|and continued to Altdor, Schwegenheim, and Rickenbergershif
atop tank destroyers. The Rhine River, our objective, was only a
few kilometers away so the 27th of March we took off in our usual “scalded
dog” manner for Rheingonheim on the Rhine. A brief pause and an explanation
is in order at this point to describe the symbol of the Scalded Dog
First Battalion. From this point until the end of hostilities
in the ETO we moved so fast that we resembled a dog
with a hot teakettle tied to his tail.
Rheingonheim had to be cleared of German Army personnel
that had already donned civil-ian clothes and continued sniping.
We pa-trolled and searched the town. The Third Platoon set up a “Watch
on the Rhine” capturing ten prisoners and keeping the enemy
under constant observation.
We were relieved on the 29th by the 103rd Division and
proceeded to Schifferstadt. The next day we left there and rode in
truck convoy for 128 kilometers to Schmidtweiler. After a few hours
rest we again headed for the Rhine crossing it at 0530 on the 31st
of March and continuing to Neu-Isenberg, six kilometers from Frankfurt.
We were now in General Patton’s Third Army. The next day Easter Sunday,
we marched 34 kilometers to Rockingau for a nights rest.
The next day new tactics were involved, woods searching.
We would form a skirmish line and sweep a large area of woods and country
for miles. The enemy would be found trying infiltrate through our
lines to play havoc with our rear elements. We left Rockin-gau on the 2nd
and moved to Gudingen and went into position on the west side of the village.
On the 3rd of April we made contact with elements of the
6th SS Mountain Division near Breitenbaum. After we reached
there the Company hastily deployed for action. Contact with the enemy
was made at 1145 and our push through the
wooded and hill terrain
began. At 1500 our intra-Company radio an-nounced
that our right flank had been held up by enemy action and that
two men had been killed and one seriously wounded. These men
were: 2nd Lt Muray D Box, Leader of the 2nd Platoon, killed,S Sgt
Stephen Revilock, platoon guide, seriously wounded, and Pfc George R Woodburn,
rifleman, killed. Several days later we learned from our Chaplin
that Sgt Revilock had died of his wounds.
A moment should be dedicated to these men at this time.
Finer soldiers, were never had. Lt Box with all his humor and
grand ways was missed considerably. Sgt Revilock, a very competent platoon
guide, was one of the older members of the unit and in heartfelt manner
we salute him. Pfc Woodburn, a good soldier, feared no one he fought
and died a brave man
Later that day Pfc Schmidenberg was slightly wounded. However
the enemy was driven back and the Company pushed to Wachersacher where
we billeted that night. Salmunster, where we arrived the next day, was
reported as sniper territory. Each house had to be search-ed from
cellar to attic. Company “C” flushed the town and interrogated civillian
captives, some of whom were disguised SS troopers. Orders came
late that day to entruck to Neuborn where we were billeted late that night.
Early the next morning in the pouring rain we pased through Fulda
and relieved the 104th Infantry of the 26th Infantry Division at Dirlos.
Here the Company was on outpost duty until the 7th when we received our
first reinforce-ments and departed on motor convoy for a distance of 63
kilometers to Einhausen. The woods in this area had to
be cleared of enemy troops. We were now in Battalion reserve, but
the Third Platoon was motorized on tanks and formed a patrol
in this sector. The next morning we started for Adelhausen and by
shuttling every obtainable vehicle, finally arived at that destination.
One man was wounded and evacuated to
Our next assignment was to take Coburg, a large
German industrial city, nine miles to our front. Much resistance
was believed to be there so a careful plan had to be executed. We
went into an assembly area about two miles from the town and
formulated plans for a dawn attack. While digging in, two German
observation posts were spotted and delt with properly. Plans were
suddenly changed and we were ordered to take the city
immediately. Like all other towns, Co-burg had to be searched, house
to house, for enemy snipers after its capture. A CP was
set up in a house formerly belonging to Ge-neral Von Arnheim and
check points had to be established on all roads leading into the city and
all bridges. For the first time in many days we bathed, received
clean socks and a very welcome hot meal.
On the 14th of April the First Battalion of the
Fifth Infantry was sent to Heinersreuth to assist the
14th Infantry of the Division in capturing Bayreuth. As we approached
the outskirts of the city our big guns which had been shelling the town,
lifted their fire. Enter-ing the town, Company “A” which was in the
lead was pinned down by small arms fire and Company “C”
was given the mission to outflank the enemy to the west and
knock him out. Finally the enemy was pushed back and climbing over
mammoth road blocks we double-timed through the city. Fearing a counter-attack
we set up a defense on the far side of town along a broad front. That night
the Battalion was visited by some of the few remaining planes of the Luftwaffe.
Luckily Company “C” was not bombed but the men had a real thrill the next
morning when two American fighters shot down a JU 88 that was preparing
to strafe the Company. Pvt Ossio was wounded while on detached service
with Battalion Headquarters. In comparrison with this one casualty
the Company killed 6 Germans and captured 118 on the 14th and 15th
of April. WE were then relieved by the
||14th Infantry which took the credit for Bay-rueth’s
capture, but men who were there know different.
We moved on the 16th to
Oberkonnersreuth, a short distance to the south, and discovered an
enormous, well-camouflaged ammunition dump and captured an additional 38
men and nurses. The 17th and 18th were quiet days and
on the 18th we established positions cut-ing the enemys
main route of supply west of Michelfeld.
The 20th was a day of action. The Com-pany, plus
two Medium Tanks, and 3 Tank Destroyers and an antitank platoon proceeded
in the direction of Krottensee. Woods had to be searched
along the way and the enemy was driven back into the village. Enemy
tanks were seen in the town and 200 Germans were reported massed for defense.
Since Artillery was unavailable from Division, the tanks and antitank guns
were ordered to shell the town. Several hundred rounds were
fired while the Company was manoeuvering for the assault. As the
moving element was in place to assault and the attack began, the enemy
pulled out to a wooded draw south of the town.
We were told that they wanted to surrender and that they were unarmed.
Lt Tuxford, a tank and two squads of riflemen were given the mission of
capturing these Germans. This almost ended disastrously as the group was
fired on by machine pistols and machine guns, but under the cover of friendly
machine guns were able to withdraw to better positions. During this time
one tanker was hurt and the tank withdrew. Another tank was advanced and
was able to lay down a concentrated fire, into their positions. A
concentration of 9 machine guns 8 mortars and 2 Anti-tank guns were brought
to bear on the enemy positions and the result is obvious. Fortunately
we lost only one man killed, but he was greatly missed. Pfc Lester
L Freeman died in a great service to his fellow soldiers.
|From the 20th to the 24th of April the Company moved forward
very rapidly captur-ing 30 odd towns and innumerable pri-soners.
On the 24th, we entered the battered city of Schwandorf.
We had became hardened to most of the sights of
war but in Schwandorf we saw new and unforgettable. On
a railroad siding near the town was the remains of a trainload of political
prisoners. Some were dead, all were starving and many had been badly
mistreated by their SS guards. This spectacle inspired the men with
a determination to push forward so that the men
responsible could be rounded up and punished.
The following day we had a real experience in mountain
climbing.We moved from Teblitz to Regensdorf by motor convoy and
crossing the Regan River established positions on Hill 515. From
here we moved to Sulzbach where we received orders to move into an assembly
area preparatory to crossing the Danube River. Enroute one truck
of the convoy overturned and three men were injured.
At 0700 on the 26th of April the Company crossed the Danube
River in assault boats under German 20MM flakfire. Enemy mortars and 88’s
opened up as the Company went into position behind a levee
about 500meters north of the river. Many men were wounded by shrapnel and
had to be evacuated by the Medics. The Company’s 60MM mortars were put
into action behind the levee and succeeded in stopping the enemy
mortar fire allowing the Company to advance. We attacked imme-diately
and captured their positions at Altack and Eltheim. Although passing under
concent-rations of timed fire no more casualties were suffered and the
Company was relieved the next day as the 13th Armoured Division crossed
the river on an Engineer built bridge. Several more days of hard
||rain and snow brought us to the Austrian border where we
crossed a dam into Milling, leaving Germany behind us on the other side
of the Inn River. Many prisoners were taken in these few days
of pushing forward and many smaller towns captured. Soaking wet, the Company
pushed forward through the rain to Grigzenleub, capturing a
castle containing property belonging to Albert, Crown Prince of Austria
and heir-pretender to the Austrian throne. Again it snowed and grew
very cold leaving the countryside very beautiful,but making life very miserable
for the foot soldier.
On 4 May Company “C” was termed the “Wagon Company”.
We were ordered to proceed to Friesman, Austria, as fast as pos-sible.
On foot this would take a long time, so sending jeeps
forward to reconnoiter the route, the rest of the Company proceeded to
commandeer all the wagons and horses available along our route of advance.
14 wagons of horse drawn Infantry now moved forward, but this method was
still too slow and entering a town full of former French prisoners of war,
new arrangements were made. The French notified us where we could
find some abandoned German vehicles and leaving the wagons and some German
arms for the French, the Company once more took off, this time in former
On 5th May the Company moved forward 90 kilometers,
by passing thousands of Ger-man troops. The 5th Infantry had been
given the mission of capturing Steyr and the entire Regiment moved forward
on all sorts of vehicles through cheering crowds and every one believed
that the war as well as over. However, at Steyr, a few Germans opened up
with 88’s and the Company deployed, searching woods and finaally reaching
the Enns River. Praying that the thousands of Germen troops behind
us would not realize that we were cut off
|from the rest of the Division, the 5th set up positions
on the Enns and waited for the elements in our read to disarm these bypassed
Germans. Luckily, our bluff worked and all enemy troops in the vicinity
surrendered and the prisoner toll mounted to 15,000.
In our positions on the bank of the Enns River we
waited for the Russians to arrive and for the official word that
the war was over. The men of Company “C” breathed a long sigh
of relief as May 8th brought
official surrender and the arrival of the Red Army on the opposite
side of the river.
So now on May the 8th the men of Com-pany “C” could
hold their heads high, realiz-ing that they have come from France, through
Germany and deep into Austria always driving the enemy before them and
whipping him thoroughly wherever he chose to stand and fight. They
had done their part in riding the world of Naziism and they were
tired, yet proud and happy.