James Hennessey Interviewed

One of the friends I made on this site was Jim Hennessey. You can view his page here: Memories of James Hennessey. Last night he sent me the news that he was interviewed by an Israeli reporter for the 60th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. We are eagerly awaiting the translation. I'd send you to the site, but unless you can read Hebrew, it won't make much sense! :blink: So as soon as we get it, I'll be most happy to share it with you. In the meantime you can read all about the 87th Div, 345th Regiment and their involvement in the Battle of the Bulge.



The Battle of the Bulge -Taken from the official history of the 345th




Nazi hoards had broken through American defenses along the German-Belgian border between Malmedy, Belgium and Echternach, Luxembourg. Few were aware that the regiment's sudden departure from the Saar Valley was a direct result of the German's fifty-mile salient into the Ardennes Forest.

By 1630 on Christmas day, the entire unit was on the road-destination unknown. With the fall of darkness, the thermometer reached a new low. Everyone's prime consideration became how to keep warm on the tortuous two-hundred mile move.


All night the convoy wound it's way through France, avoiding all large towns and most of the main highways. Security was of the utmost importance. The division was assigned to the XV Corps, Seventh Army, as a further precaution- the whereabouts of the Third Army being a closely guarded secret.


At 1500 on 26 December the regiment closed into a bivouac area less than fifteen kilometers from the Cathedral city of Rheims. Heavy frosts and low temperatures covered the landscape with a blanket of ice. Soon after unloading, the olive drab vehicles were blended with their surroundings under a coating of white.


The division's mission was to provide protection in the event of another German breakthrough to the southwest and at the same time to provide the men with a short rest. Regular convoys rolled into Rheims to give the men showers, clean clothes, and a bit of relaxation. Shortages of men and equipment were made up and the 345th was again at full strength. Christmas mail caught up with the unit. Reassignment to General Patton's Third Army came on 28 December and on 29 December the regiment was again on the road bound for an assembly area in the Luchie Woods 19 kilometers southwest of Moircy, Belgium. The last of the column arrived in the area at 2100.


The regiment was to jump off the next morning, clear Libramont and Recogne and continue east along Highway 26 toward a vital enemy held crossroads at Pironpre, Belgium. The road from Libramont to Moircy was reconnoitered during the night and no enemy was encountered.


On 30 December the attack began at 0800. The First Battalion was in the lead, followed by the Third and then the Second. Company A was in the lead. No opposition was encountered in the first stages of the attack. By 1030 the Battalion Command Post was moved up the highway 10 kilometers to Freux Menil. At 1030 Company A first drew fire from enemy positions. Two German Burp guns opened fire as the leading elements of the company approached strongly fortified Moircy. The advance continued but soon two enemy Tiger tanks, partially hidden by buildings, laid down a murderous fire. Machine guns, emplaced in a nearby field, joined in and caught the unit in a withering crossfire.


At 1400 regiment was notified that elements of First Battalion had entered Moircy itself. By 1600 Company C had pushed on another thousand yards around Moircy to enter Jenneville. At 1700 the Germans launched a violent counterattack. The First Battalion was withdrawn to better defense positions west of Moircy. Elements of the battalion did not receive the order and remained in the village. Others withdrew as squads, sections or platoons, and in some cases, as individuals. The battalion was regrouped and a defensive position on high ground was established overlooking the town.


Meanwhile, the troops that had remained in Moircy were subjected to an intense artillery bombardment from German 88mm gun and occasionally American guns. Shortly after dark it began to snow, and soon everything was covered with a mantle of white.


The Third Battalion was moved into positions just to the rear of the First Battalion. They were subjected to heavy enemy fire which inflicted some casualties. Second Battalion was in Regimental Reserve.


On 31 December, The Second Battalion moved out at 1330 and moved through Remange, cleared it and took the high ground to the north. By 1830 the entire battalion had dug in-its mission accomplished.


On New Year's Eve, the regiment was notified that the 347th would relieve the 345th. The 345th was to revert to Divisional Reserve.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

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