The press corps that was stationed in Europe did their best to keep the American population informed of what their boys were doing overseas. Larry Newman, with the International News Service, who covered the Patton’s Third Army and was embedded with the American troops in Belgium, wrote A Saga of Gallant Men; How Heroic 28th Halted Nazis And Saved Our Armies, on January 6, 1945.

Two Pennsylvania war correspondents, Morley Cassidy with the Philadelphia Sunday Evening Bulletin and Ivan H. (Cy) Peterman from the Philadelphia Inquirer, both followed up with a series of articles in January 1945 that told the heroic stories of the 28th, which usually included references to the 110th and K Company in Hosingen. It was evident to all three of these newspaper reporters and the papers that they wrote for, that the Pennsylvania boys had played an important part at stemming Hitler’s advance to Bastogne early in his final offensive. Although not always identified in the articles, the men in Hosingen were frequently referenced.


Philadelphia Sunday Evening Bulletin articles were written by War Correspondent, Morley Cassidy:

  1. 28th Division Battle a Tale of Incredible Heroism, Jan 17, 1945

  2. Every Man on the 28th Gave All he Had–and more- in Week of a Thousand Battles, Jan 19, 1945

  3. 28th Wipes out Nazi Force After Feigning Retreat, Jan 20, 1945

  4. The PITTSBURGH PRESS, MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 1945–28th Holds off 9 German Divisions, Upsets Offensive; Keystoners Share Glory of Great Feat of U.S. Military History, Jan 17, 1945

Articles written by Ivan H. (Cy) Peterman, Philadelphia Inquirer War Correspondent:

  1. Full Weight of Foe Hit Jinxed 28th Division, Jan 22, 1945 (Delayed) (First of a Series)

  2. Pennsylvanians in Ardennes; 110th Followed Orders, But Cost Was Terrible, Jan 23, 1945 (Delayed) (Second of a Series)

  3. 28th Stood Up Against Big Odds, Jan 25, 1945 (Delayed) (Fourth of a Series)

    Used with permission of Philadelphia Inquirer Copyright© 2015. All rights reserved.


Pennsylvanians in Ardennes

Full Weight of Foe Hit Jinxed 28th Division

By Ivan H. (Cy) Peterman

Inquirer War Correspondent

By Wireless

Copyright 1945, The Philadelphia Inquirer

(First of a Series)


A SLEEPY non-com in the office of the 110th Regimental Command Post at Clervaux picked up a jangling telephone on the morning of Dec. 16 and said, “What’s the matter now?”

“Nothing except there’s a helluva lot of artillery coming into our positions and it seems all along the road.”

The voice was that of a soldier in battalion headquarters near Marnoch and the hour was 5:30 A. M. The non-com made a note, stepped to the door, saw flashes against the low clouds and spoke a word or two to his companions. Presently the telephone rang again.

“The Hunds are coming in against our strongpoints. They are filtering behind the company positions and have overrun our outer liens of resistance. Tell the Old Man it looks serious.”


THIS time the call was from a battalion leader. The non-com immediately relayed the message to the Divisional Command where Major General Norman (Dutch) Cota was trying to reconstruct the shattered 28th (Keystone) Division.

General Cota’s troubles weren’t just beginning on the morning of Dec 16 – they were mounting precipitately. He had troubles with the jinxed 28th since the day he took command, reorganizing and restoring a fighting contingent out of the bewildered and somewhat discourage remnants that had but lately emerged from the bloodiest battleground of the Hürtgen Forest.

Ever since its arrival in France the Pennsylvania 28th, the oldest division historically in the U.S. Army, General George C. Marshall’s own from the First World War and Lieutenant Omar Bradley’s command before he took the Second Corps in Tunisia in this war, had been destined to take the full impact of the Nazi blows.


TWAS thus at Mortain where five spearheading Panzer divisions smote them near Gatheme; the same in the Hürtgen Forest where they raced over crests taking Schmidt, only to be chewed up by overwhelming numbers at Rommerscheid, and now…

“German tank – Mark Fours and Tiger Royals – are moving into the Clervaux area.”

The telephone jingled incessantly as the General, imperturbable, brave as any man in uniform, aware of the thinly strung lines across almost 30 miles in Luxembourg’s “static front,” appraised his position.

His division was smack in the path of Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt’s full counter-offensive. From Ettelbruck it stretched 25 snowy, mountainous and ill-defended miles north of Oudler, curving in and out of hills and ravines and heavily wooded slopes where one could drive 10 miles without encountering a G.I.

Most of the regimental offices were clustered around Ettelbruck, Wiltz and Clervaux. All were busily engaged restoring units, inducting reinforcements and accustoming recruits to the places of those who had been slain, wounded or were missing since the division retired from the Hürtgen nightmare.


THIS process had been going on about two weeks, during which the veteran officers and men had leaves in Paris or Britain, and comfortable existence was resumed in old-fashioned houses requisitioned in Wiltz and surrounding towns, first liberated when the 28th made its original penetrations in the Siegfried Line early in September.

Nobody thought much about the attack or about being overrun. The war seemed far away, although the Germans occasionally pitched shells from the opposite ridges.

Up at the 110th Regiment, where the new commander was trying to stop Huns this particular morning, things were not going well. The artillery barrage lasted until 8 o’clock, then the Wehrmacht swirled behind a couple companies, cutting them off. Around Marnach the positions were isolated and presently the 105-mm. Artillerymen were fighting hand-to-hand for possession of our own guns. All but one battery was lost.


“WE DISCOVERED the enemy hammering all along the line from Weiswanoach through Lieler trying for the main road toward Clervaux,” said Major Glen Roberts, of the 110th. Major Roberts is from Kemmerer, Wyo. He said the attack was a complete surprise to the 28th, which knew the enemy was in opposite pillboxes, but nobody suspected there were tanks.

“All the first day they fought along a straight road toward St. Vith, pushing our infantry back or capturing some, inching toward the Regimental Command Post and moving toward the roadnet by night,” he said.

On the night of Dec. 17 their tanks converged on Clervaux, but not until the bloodiest sort of fight that morning.

(Continued tomorrow).  


 Pennsylvanians in Ardennes

110th Followed Orders, But Cost Was Terrible

(Second of a Series)

By Ivan H. (Cy) Peterman

Inquirer War Correspondent

By Wireless

Copyright 1945, The Philadelphia Inquirer


“OUR fellows murdered them,” a major said.

The battle of the bulge was developing; the Yanks were in action, and the comment was in order.

The Second Battalion on the 110th Infantry was ordered to retake Marnoch and before the daylight on the morning of the 17th they shoved off. Just as they were moving the enemy struck in an attack to the southwest, their green-clad infantry marching directly into F Company’s fire.

The Battalion made good progress after eliminating the Krauts in that local encounter, but nearing Marnoch they met several tanks and anti-tank guns. They didn’t retake the town but were forced back to a hilltop north of Reuler, from which they could see enemy tanks firing into Clervaux. It was not pleasant sitting there unable to assist, because the Germans were everywhere. The enemy was building up fast.


IN Clervaux on the night of the 17th it was hell. The colonel gathered headquarters personnel and formed anti-tank squads, with bazookas and 57 mm guns; he got everyone from a small rest center on the front lines; he manned upper stories of houses with gasoline squads who waited to throw their stuff on tanks to ignite them as they passed. It had been done in other towns.

But Von Rundstedt’s overwhelming numbers pushed ahead as if the 28th wasn’t there. They came rumbling into Clervaux from the southwest, headed by the Second SS Panzers, a spearhead destined to go with three miles of the Meuse River before it could be stopped, and never to move again.

There, at Celles, under General Harmon’s Second American Armored blows, it was utterly destroyed just as now it was destroying the 110th Regiment.

The headquarters boys caught on well. They didn’t know much about the bazooka but had learned a lot in an afternoon. They ducked behind buildings when fired upon, but the Germans blasted the buildings. The 110th was overrun.

Someone saw the colonel with a drawn automatic but everything was beclouded by smoke and noise and nobody answered the telephones. About eight o’clock on the night of the 17th, the 110th Regiment, as such, ceased to operate, and the commander was listed as missing in action.


“THOSE who got out said civilians cowered in cellars during the brief fight,” a major said. “They said their last orders from the General were to hold at all costs. Well, they held – you can’t say they didn’t try.”

It was an eloquent tribute.

On top of Reuler Hill a lieutenant colonel assembled the men who remained from the 110th. It was completely surrounded and was getting heavy artillery fire from three directions. Obviously nobody could remain there long.

The lieutenant colonel ordered everyone to split into small groups to cross the Clerf River and to try and slip through the Nazi lines and recongregate in the vicinity of Donnage, due west along the Bastogne-St. Vith road. By 7 o’clock the next morning a handful of officers and men got through.

“It was a terrible experience, ploughing through snow over hills and through fir trees, getting challenged to be shot.” That’s what Sergeant Joseph Dail, of Easton, Pa., said. He made the trip. Long afterwards we met men who had hidden among the enemy detoured for days, and finally escaped.


“THERE was plenty of opposition, too. Our S2 identified parts of five divisions that were in that area. I thought everything was after us.”

Regrouping tattered, tired men, the lieutenant colonel made reconnaissance; G Company had been rushed from the division headquarters to help hold a road and was waiting when the Germans arrived. They hit at about 7:30 o’clock when the lieutenant colonel, in a jeep with two men, was making patrol.

He faced a German half-track, which fired upon the jeep, hitting two enlisted men. Jumping out of the wrecked vehicle, the lieutenant colonel ran toward our unit just as G Company was forced to retire toward Hamville.

“By this time we had met English-speaking Germans in our tanks. Nobody trusted anyone. There were no communications. Orders and everything was haywire. We fell back to Allenbern – there was no order now.” I remember the time Lieutenant Jim Flynn, of G Company, said, “By God, we’ve got Jerry now. He’s all around us. We can fire in any direction and kill him.”

Private George Nichols, a New York clerk in the rear echelon, escaped ahead of the Panzers with two medics. They trudged all day and night, dodging enemy outposts and eventually found a hayloft in a bar. Climbing a ladder, they fell at once into exhausted slumber.


SERGEANT Daily told it: “At daylight one of the medics looked down and there was a swarm of Germans below, eating breakfast. During the night they had taken the barn for a command post. Well, we couldn’t get out and we couldn’t eat or get water, for someone was always in the barn.”

“Worst of all, Nichols is a notorious snorer – nobody will share quarters because of the noise he makes sleeping. So for the next four days and nights one medic always remained on guard to keep Nichols awake while the other medic slept. Poor Nichols nearly went nuts from fatigue. He said he would watch four times – that’s how the fellows kept track of days before the American 26th Infantry brought relief and chased the Germans. Finally they staggered out of the hayloft.

Town by town, a handful of the 110th retreated, through Houffalize to Bastogne, before that place became an unyielding bastion, down to Neufchateau.


THE other two regiments fared better because the impetus of two Nazi Panzer armies split them like swinging doors. What they did and how Lancaster’s Lieutenant Colonel Dan Strickler helped to defend Wiltz from another chapter of the battered 28th’s history. But for the 110th and its handful of survivors the best summary of the feeling of those who got away was provided by Captain Dana Sperr, Of Oakland, Calif., who is regarded as a sort of lay evangelist before battle.

Addressing stragglers after the escape from Reuler Hill and Clervaux that horrible night, he said: “If I ever hear one of you men say we were lucky last night, or credit our escape to anything but the Will of God, I’ll personally see that you are court martialled.”

Today beside the Meuse the 110th is reassembling as a regiment. They have their old commander, Dan Strickler, back again, and they claim they’ll rise from the wreckage. They have a tradition to carry on.

“The Old Man said to hold at any cost. They held until they were overpowered,” the major said.                                                 


Pennsylvanians in Ardennes

28th Stood Up Against Big Odds 

(Fourth of a Series)

By Ivan H. (Cy) Peterman

Inquirer War Correspondent

By Wireless

Copyright 1945, The Philadelphia Inquirer

WITH THE 28TH INFANTRY DIVISION, Western Front,  Jan 25.

“THE problems of the 112th Infantry Regiment did not materially improve on Dec. 17, the day after the Germans launched their counter-attack into Belgium and Luxembourg. They were the same old problems of weather and war.

All that day they watched tanks approach, but they held their new lines. Later they fell back to Haldange, but from then on it was a dailymove toward ever-receding positions, fighting enroute and all the time at different posts.

The routine was always the same, with this exception: From time to time the regiment was attached to different divisions as it swung into line. By Dec. 20 the troops joined the shattered 106th Infantry, which had also been thrust back by the Nazi rush. They held a position at Beiler, Luxembourg. There, K Company fought off tanks and destroyed an ammunition dump and four houses sheltering Heinies.


THE Yanks, using mortars, suffered no casualties. Then came orders to march to Rogery, northeast to Bouvigny, some 12 miles through snow. They were no more than there when they were set up for another fight, this time attached to the Seventh American Armored Division. They were also engaged in a fierce delaying action.

This time the battalion fought while the Seventh’s tank retired and all vehicles were cleared west of the Salm River. Thereafter the tired Keystone outfit was attached to the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, freshly arrive with the 82nd Airborne Regiment.

Between Vielsalm and Salmchateau they defended positions until ordered out when a terrific artillery barrage struck them while going to an assembly area near Hautebodeaux, 10 miles further along.

The battalion then went over to the Ninth Armored, and later, was attached to the Third Armored and the 75th Infantry Divisions before it drifted back to join other 28th elements along the Meuse.


A COMBAT team under Colonel Nelson was having similar experiences when the Germans drove upon the regimental headquarters at Ouren with elements of two divisions, including the Second Panzers.

Captain Paul A. Troup, of Reading, Pa., led headquarters company, besides C Company of the 103rd Engineers, under Captain Dick Minton of New Canton, Ill., and restored the positions.

Again on Dec. 17 the Huns struck, and were again repelled with heavy losses, but tanks were in the second attack and the 28th also had losses. In this fight the 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion, under Lieutenant Clarence Bryant, of Atlanta, knocked out a bunch of Nazi tanks.

One Dec, 19 the regiment was ordered back behind a river with few losses, and the 229th Field Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John C. Fairchild, of Chesnut Hill, moved with them. Hammering the foe, they held a line in the vicinity of Weiswampach, Luxembourg.


A REAR guard action was begun thereafter through Trois Vierges and Huldange, where another shot at the regimental command point was repulsed.

Meanwhile, the whole outfit was attached to the 106th Division, defending positions near Beiler and Leithum, until Dec. 21, when headquarters directed a move to a defensive line at Vielsalm, in Belgium. Under cover of a snowstorm they retired to the new First Army line, which had been established meanwhile.

While fighting here the Nazis cut off the whole First Battalion, plus its regimental headquarters, and elements of other units, in a sudden thrust toward Salmchateau, which prompted one of the outstanding jobs of leadership by the 28ththis war has produced.


AFTER reconnoitring, Colonel Nelson took personal command of a column of vehicles and footsloggers, leading them first westward then north, slipping through German held territory but always eluding Germans. With loss of few personnel or equipment the outfit escaped back into the American lines. The 112th stands ready to resume against the foe anywhere, its total losses throughout the engagement being slight.

There has been much conjecture at home about the fate of the 28th – as one who passed along its extended Luxembourg line just 48 hours before Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt moved, I admit it seemed impossible how so many escaped.

But aside from the terribly-battered 110th, which was luckiest, perhaps, in the Hürtgen Forest slaughter but certainly hardest hit this time, the 28th Division acquitted itself well and managed to keep its elements together. There was no running, no panic, and no surrender when to stand meant consolidation and preparation.


The boys gave a fine fighting account as they dropped back before the onslaught of three or four divisions of the main spearhead that eventually reached within three miles of Dinant.

It is because some of our so-called “experts” sometimes place blame before knowing the facts, that outfits like the 28th and the 106th must take blame that is not their fault. I will have more to say of this when discussing what happened to these divisions. For the present I save the foregoing chronology just for itself in the case of the 109th, but almost obliterated 110th, 109th and the equally able 112th Infantry Regiment. 

(Continued Tomorrow)