119th Company G

1st Platoon, Co. G, Jan. 5th in the Bulge



Original Scans of "Top" Crawford Journal...a few weeks missing in April...SEE COMPLETE PHOTOCOPY JOURNAL BELOW FOR MISSING DAYS.

from John Nolan.

Battle of Merzenhausen............Nov. 20th-26th, 1944.

Complete Company G ROSTER...compiled by Richard W. Johnson, Auburn, Indiana...Company Clerk.

  Personal Combat history of T/Sgt Mike Pachuta (PDF File)   Photo: Elbe River, April 1945.

Personal Combat history of MSG E-8 Thomas A. Floyd (Ret)  (PDF file)

Sergeant Partridge by John M. Nolan  (PDF file)

The Entrenching Tool by John M. Nolan  (PDF file)

Eygelshoven, The Netherlands...Sept. 19th, 1944  by John M. Nolan  (PDF file)

In the Eygelshoven article above by John Nolan pillbox #84 is the 'haystack' pillbox, shown in map above.  During the attack of Oct. 2nd by the 119th 2nd battalion John's company G was in reserve.  Previous to their advance across the Bailey Bridge just south of the castle, an advance company cleared out pillbox #45 with a thermal gernade.  Nolan, squad leader, and his 8 man 1st platoon, 3rd squad spent the night in this pillbox still smelling of the thermite explosion.  While in this or any pillbox when they were under artillery attack it was as if you were inside a bass drum in a marching band, Nolan explained.  The pillbox had only one embrasure for a MG36 machinegun and 10 bunks for German soldiers to sleep in.  As they advanced the next day towards Herbach several German tanks appeared out of the woods.  Some P47s came and saved their butts.  As they advanced into Herzogenrath there were mines about every 4 or 5 feet.  There was a goat out a head of them...they thought at any moment it would be blown sky high...it survived.  They did have an opportunity to enter the Rimburg Castle.  John remembers Frank O'Leary finding the wine cellar and breaking the tops off bottles and helping himself.  John took a wooden napkin ring from the castle, about the only thing left by the time Co. G got there.

The Plane Riders...Dec. 25th, 1944...the Bulge...by John M. Nolan  (PDF file)


January 13th, 1945....The Battle of the Bulge...by John M. Nolan  (PDF file)

Photograph of site of the January 13th, 1945 action of the First Platoon, Company G, 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division.  It was taken in August 1995 by John M. Nolan when he and his wife visited Company G WWII battle sites in Belgium and Germany.  It has been annotated to indicate exactly where each member of the Third Squad and the Platoon Sergeant was when the German MG 42 opened fire.  The ditch is where the members of the First Platoon Headquarters slept on the ground that night.


  Click on photo to enlarge and read....incredible story!!!

119th Co. G Journal by "Top" Howard Crawford of Elburn, IL.  "Top" Crawford kept a Journal that contains the location of the Company CP with map coordinates for every day.  It also includes personnel changes such as newly assigned personnel, wounded, dead, and sick.  It is believed he used this journal to relay to the Company Clerk in the Regimental Rear the personnel information so that the Company Morning Report could be recorded for the Battalion and Regimental records.   PDF File.

Corporal John M. Nolan letter to his Uncle....July 25th, France....St. Lo bombings.

Article relating the Battle of the Bulge story of John Nolan..."Inside the Bulge".

More stories from John Nolan:

I have experienced a few times when I have fallen asleep while on a march.  However, you can not do this if the road surface is rough  When we were on an attack, or being attacked, the 'kill or be killed' aspect of the situation kept you wide awake.
When we were dug in a defensive position at night it was seldom that you ever got an uninterrupted nights sleep.  When I was a squad leader we took one hour "watches" during the night.  I had a wrist watch that was passed from one man to the next man to wake up for his turn to stay awake for an hour.  The worst hour that was to be avoided was the middle one because the man did not get a very long time to sleep before being awakened.  Our procedure was to rotate the awake hour so each night the hour assigned was different.
However, when we found ourselves in a critical situation we all remained awake all night.  The one time that I can remember this occurring was after we closed the Aachen Gap. This was the 17th or 18th of October 1944.  That day  we were counterattacked by Jerry infantry and tanks, and many of our G Company men were captured.  This was the day that your Dad was listed as being captured, but got lucky and was not.


The longest time that we were on an attack without sleep was 24/25 March 1945 when Company G made its assault Rhine River crossing at 0200 hours on the 24th.  We went 30 hours without stopping to sleep.
You will note in the 119th Regimental history that after the Merzenhausen attack we were detached from the 2d Armored Division and returned to Kohlscheid, Germany for rest, refitting and/or rehabilitation.
Kohlshied was on the border between the Germany and The Netherlands.  Right outside the city was a  Siegfried line “Dragon’s Teeth” tank barrier.  After the attack and encirclement of Aachen by the 30th and 1st Division’s the 119th Regiment moved back to Kohlsheid for the first time.  G Company moved into the German houses that were only occupied by a few women, their children, and some elderly Germans.  Their husbands and sons were in the German Army.
Being inside a house was quite a treat for us.  In addition, we had a chance to get a bath and clean clothes.  You will note in the map of the Kohlscheid area there were coalmines.  You can see the huge slag piles.  We were taken to the coal miners’ bathhouse.  They had a series of pulleys for the miners to put their street clothes on and then pull them up to the top of the building.  They changed into their coalmining clothes before entering the mine.  We used these devices to secure our clothes and “valuables,” before we entered the miners shower room.  It was a real bonus to have the opportunity to wash yourself and afterward be issued clean uniforms and clean underwear.
I believe that we were billeted in Kohlscheid at least three times; after the Aachen encirclement, after Merzenhausen, and in January after the Bulge.  Each time we had a time to get a bath and a change of clothes.  It should be noted that the Quartermaster Corps had bath units.  They had portable shower units; they also washed, and issued clean uniforms to the troops.  G Company had at least one “clean-up” by one of the QM units, but I cannot remember where or when.
Fraternization.  When I thought about writing this reply I remembered the issue of fraternization with the German population and thought that I have not read much about in any WWII history.
Before we made our Siegfried Line attack we were instructed that fraternization with the German civilian population was prohibited.  If a soldier was found to be fraternizing he would be subject to Courts Martial.  This was “beat into our heads,” and enforced to some extent.

Counterattack of Oct. 18th, 1944 found on page 73 of 119th history book:

It was the night of the counterattack that we stayed awake.  After 
the counterattack the 3d squad was the only intact squad in the 
company.  We were dug-in on the right flank of the company and we 
overlooked the valley separating the 30th and the 1st Division.  In 
the middle of the night a Jerry patrol came up the road we were dug-
in beside.  Cline shot one of them, and we threw all the hand 
grenades that we had. Hearing the noise of their footsteps coming up 
the road we estimated there was about half-a- dozen Jerry's in this 
patrol.  They scattered when we all opened fire and threw our hand 
grenades. After this event King and I went back to the Company CP to 
get more grenades.  We found out then how bad Company G was hit that 
day and how many men were captured.  At day break we found about 15 
feet from our fox hole a dead Jerry on his back.  He had a Luger 
pistol in his right hand.  Since Cline shot him the pistol was his.  
However, Cline gave it to me since I did not have a Jerry pistol by 
that time.  This Luger had a 10 inch barrel with sights up to 800 
meters.  It was a 1914 model with the serial number 5750.  We 
believed this Jerry's father carried the pistol in WWI.

I wore this Luger on my belt the rest of the War.  Getting a German 
pistol was always a looked for prize.  I took a Belgique 28 caliber 
pistol from a Jerry officer.  I loaned it to a member of the platoon 
who returned it at the end of the War.  On one of our moves my wife 
put my pistol collection on the bed and told the movers to pack 
them.  This was the last time we saw them.


On the 4th or 5th of April 1945 G Company was attached to Combat 
Command A of the 2d Armored Division. And, were on the backs of the 
leading "point" tanks of the CCA.  We were "going to beat hell" 
trying to surround and out flank the Ruhr Valley factory complex on 
its North side.  I was riding with other members of our 1st Platoon 
on the back of an M24 Light Tank.  This was the newest variety of a 
light tank issued to the 2d Armored.  We traveled 30 miles that 
day.  It reminded me of a "Oater" Western, B Grade movie.  During the 
afternoon a U.S. Army fighter had been shot down and the pilot was 
descending  in his parachute.  About a quarter of a mile on our left 
flank a Jerry dual 20 mm flak gun was firing at the parachutist.

The Tank Commander swung his turret around and with his new 75 mm 
gun fired at the flak gun crew.  The end of the 75 mm gun was about 
ten or twelve feet from the five or six of us huddled on the back of 
the tank.  After we tried to recover from the blast I jumped up on 
the top of the turret pointed my pistol at the Tank Commander and 
told him I felt like killing him.  I didn't.  However, as a result of 
the muzzle blast it was difficult to hear anything for a few days.


The morning of 14 January 1945 when the 1st Platoon "saddled-up" to 
follow the Company over the hill to attack Ligneuville Smitty and I 
were standing side-by-side on the road on the forward slope.  Smitty 
had his left arm elevated and a sniper put a round though his arm 
just below the shoulder.

Smitty was our Acting Platoon Leader with the rank of T/Sgt.  He had 
been "put-in" for a battlefield commission to Second Lieutenant.  
After the Bulge he returned to G Company from the hospital, was 
promoted to 2d Lt., and took command of the Second Platoon of Company 
G.  He finished the rest of the war without getting hit.


Email between John and Gerry Perret dated July 2009:

Dear Mr. Nolan,
Thanks once again for your detailed memory!  You've been able to supply a lot of information on an episode that most of the history books (Regimental included) describe with only a sentence or two.  "The Germans counterattacked along the 119th's front" or something to that effect is usually all you get. But they seem to forget that the "119th's front" was composed of individual GI's, each of whom fought and witnessed a unique part of the battle.
Since my Dad joined your outfit on October 11th, it sounds like he didn't have a lot of time to get acclimated. I'm assuming that his introduction to G company would have been similar to yours, in that you were assigned to a platoon, instructed by the Sergeant what to carry and what to leave behind, and then moved into the line. 


Thanks again




----- Original Message -----
From: "John Nolan" <nolanjm@verizon.net>
To: gerryperrett@comcast.net
Sent: Saturday, July 18, 2009 4:13:02 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: Hello!
This a very belated response to you e-mail, but here goes:
Checked “Top” Crawford’s “Log” and found that G Company CP was at Bardenberg on 11 October 1944.
This is what I remember about that engagement:  Our 1st Platoon was leading the attack down the one street town; searching out each house as we moved forward.  As we moved around a curve in the street we saw a Jerry tank far up the street.
Then “all hell broke loose”  a Jerry artillery barrage came down on us.  Right now I can’t remember being under one so intense.  We retreated, “got the hell out of there” and was deployed some where else outside of the town.  Believe another rifle company in the Second Battalion finally captured Bardenberg.
The Jerry’s were falling back at this time and were contesting every piece of terrain lost.  When we finally got to North Wurselen and dug-in on the high ground above Aachen we had “closed he Aachen Gap” with the 1st Infantry Division.  The next day the Jerry’s counterattacked with tanks and infantry.  One tank came up a road near our squad; he “backed-off” when I fired a rifle grenade at him.  Don’t know whether I hit him or not.  They captured quite a few G Company men. My 3d Squad, 1st Platoon, being on the right flank of G Company was the only full squad remaining in any of the rifle platoons that day.
That night a Jerry patrol came in on us and was about 10 feet away when we opened fire and threw hand grenades.  We evidently surprised them since we got no more action.  I took Ernie King with me back to the Company CP to get resupplied with more hand grenades.  The next morning at daylight we got out of our foxholes and found a dead Jerry on his back with a Luger pistol in his hand.  Bill Cline had shot him so he had the “rights” to become owner of the pistol.  However, Bill had a Jerry P38 from another encounter so he gave the Luger to me.
I carried this Luger the rest of the war and took it home with me.  It had a 10 inch barrel and sights up to 800 meters.  The serial number was 5750 and was manufactured in 1914.  The bore was badly pitted.
If you will read my narration entitled “January 13, 1945” I describe the difficulty trying to walk on snow and icy roads carrying  about half of your weight of weapons and equipment on your back and elsewhere on your body.  There was always a slip, fall, and get up during the “march.”


On Jun 24, 2009, at 5:05 PM, gerryperrett@comcast.net wrote:
Dear Mr. Nolan
I hope this finds you well...It's been a while since I bugged you so I thought I'd better get back in the game!
I was reading the 119th combat history and in the part about Bardenberg (October 44)  all it says in regard to the 119th (after Bardenberg was finally taken)  is that the 119th held a defensive line, and that the Germans counterattacked along it.
Do you have any recollection of what it was like on that line before you finally moved out to North Wurselen?  Do you recall how frequently the Germans attacked?  How heavy the fighting was?
Also, on an unrelated matter, as I was walking the dog one fine February night, trying not to slip and fall on all the packed down snow and ice, it occurred to me that it must have been difficult to walk on such surfaces when thrown off balance by a field pack and 10 plus pound Garand.
Do you recall the experience of marching on icy roads, or the precautions you had to take? Or did a lot of guys just go down, and get back up again?
(I'm assuming that the smooth soled GI shoes, shoe packs and galoshes didn't help provide much traction!)
Thanks again,
Gerry Perrett

Battle of Hollen, Germany...Feb. 25th

Complete List of 119th Infantry Regiment KIA buried overseas...from the American Battle Monument Commission

     American Battle Monuments Commission Netherlands American Cemetery

  Co. G Strength Chart.

Obituary for John Faris, Sr. Company Commander of Co. G.


Final reunion of Co. G, 119th, September 2007 in Gettysburg, PA.

Front Row: William Barnett, Cletus Herrig, Louis Mulvihill, Milton Platcow, Mike Pachuta, Vaughn Carmack.
Back Row: Herb Kinnan, John Nolan, Warren Sprouse, Gerald Rinaca, Jack Mace, Harold Leachman, Earl Montgomery,
                   Louis Houtekier.

More from John Nolan in an email dated September 2013:

Hi John, hope you are doing fine. Its September again. In 1944 during this period the Allied advance thru France and the low countries almost came to an halt. The Germans were able to recover and refit. What do you remember most, when thinking back to this period?




On 6 September 1944 Corporal Nolan joined G Company, 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division at Tournai, Belgium.  He was assigned as the Squad Leader of the Third Squad, First Platoon.  He was given 7 men.  All eight of us were "green," never been in combat.

The next day we were loaded into trucks, and headed East.  Since the gasoline supply line ran back to Omaha Beach our trucks ran out of gas after the first day.  We then began a three day 55 mile walk. At the end of our "hike" I found out that I had worn out my shoes. It took several days before I received a new pair.

We were in The Netherlands close to the German border when our 2nd Battalion set up defensive positions.  My Squad was ordered to conduct a motorized reconnaissance patrol on four Jeep's into the town of Eygelshoven. We were told to remain and set up an outpost in Eygelshoven.  Our outpost was at the home of Mrs. Titine Beckers-Benoodt where we were until our Battalion Siegfried Line attack.

Hi John,
Good to hear from you and thanks for the info. Eygelshoven is just down the road from my place. I am very glad you're still with us. I will keep in touch.

I can never forget the wonderful greeting we received while we made our walking journey through The Netherlands while on our way to Eygelshoven.

People lined the road and cheered us.  Occasionally some one would grab my hand and shake it.    Although I appreciate this gesture it threw me off stride, which an infantryman tries to avoid.

Someone also asked for my autograph.  Since I had to keep moving I was unable to comply with the request.  This was the first and only time, so far, that any one has asked for my autograph.

During this time we finally began to realize that the people lining our march route saw us as their "Liberators."  This for me this was a strange feeling for I could not see myself in such a role.