Dec 31 1944 : the German offensive had been halted short of the Meuse River. The Allied forces seized the initiative, and in a well executed and coordinated attack drove the badly mauled Nazi columns back to their West Wall fortifications. The 2nd Armored Division and the 3rd Armored Division fighting in a Corps team played an effective role in the resumption of the offense. 1st Army assigned VII Corps the mission of attacking southeast and seizing Houffalize to make juncture with Gen Patton’s 3rd Army. The drive on Houffalize was bounded on the southwest by the Ourthe River and on the east by a line Salm-Chateau, Grand-Sart, Hierlot. The principal streams of the area run along the line of the attack, a factor which was of advantage to our forces. The terrain is wooded, contains dense underbrush and is hilly and rough, vehicular movement being thereby confined to the inadequate road net.
The action of Gen Rose’s 3-AD during the same period the 2-AD was gaining the area situated along the highway Vielsalm-Samrée-La Roche up to Houffalize, parallels also quite closely. The division’s mission was to seize Cherain and Bovigny, and the zone of its advance on these objectives was bounded on the west by the road Manhay-Houffalize, inclusive, and on the east by the road Salm-Château – Hierlot. The western boundary was later changed to exclude the Manhay – Houffalize axe.
The background of activities of the 3rd Armored Division is quiet comparative to the one of the 2nd Armored. Both divisions saw many combats in France, in Belgium and even in Germany before being withdraw back to Belgium at the start of the Battle of the Bulge.
The 3rd Armored Division moved from Somerset through Southampton and Weymouth and debarked across Omaha Beach. After collecting itself and organizing into combat commands, it attacked to seize Villiers-Fossard. Villiers-Fossard, strongly defended by the Germans in thick hedgerow terrain, formed a salient into American lines threatening progress towards Saint-Lô. On Jun 29, CCA, reinforced by elements of the 29th Infantry Division, attacked to reduce this salient. The enemy had zeroed artillery in on road intersections and covered gaps in the hedgerows with machine-guns and anti-tank weapons. The Americans did not yet have many dozer tanks, and had not yet fully integrated infantry and armor. They did have infantry and artillery tightly integrated, however, and improvised squad tactics to move forward in the compartmented terrain. By Jun 30 Villiers-Fossard had fallen, and the American tankers hurriedly absorbed lessons learned.
The Battle of the Bulge which started on December 16 1944 at 0530, was terminated on January 16 1945 when the 1-A and the 3-A met at Houffalize, Belgium. This is an account of the initial contact established between the two armies.
Department of the US Armor School – Fort Benning, Georgia
Monograph, Battle Action Report, Maj Michael J. L. Greene
Some women are really amazing. I mean really amazing. What would you say if I tell you that I know one who has done a book about Bomb Disposal, Defusing Airplane bombs and this kind of stuff ? And I am not talking about defusing old rusty bombs excavated today (2015). No ! No way, I am talking about bombs which were dropped, which didn’t explode and which remains laying on the ground when the German airplanes were gone. Bombs made to kill, some being voluntary equipped with delay firing devies, some ticking or even smoking. These beasts were quietly laying on the ground like waiting to be moved by someone to go off. And these devices killed a lot of these Bomb Disposal’s heroes.
I just got a reading copy from Kerin’s book today in the mail from Pen & Sword Books Ltd in the UK. The first thin I have to say is that the name of this Publishing House says it all. Quality of the work is perfect and there is nothing else to say because that an habit at P&S. I have always said that if I should once publish a book in English I will not use my own label – Foxmaster Publishing – but would choice P&S for it (if they accept of course).
Already available on Amazone, The Civilian Bomb Disposing Earl: Jack Howard and Bomb Disposal in WW2 is the kind of book I don’t read but eat because those are real thriller. Having worked into World War Two ammunitions for over two decades, and having also lost a couple of friends who were blown up at home, I know the exact feeling of the peoples who hadn’t the chance to say “no way” and dig the thing deeper in the ground. These men had simply to do the job and either deactivate or destroy them on the spot. Unfortunately, and most of the cases, didn’t allow Bomb Disposal personal to detonate 250 Lbs or 500 Lbs explosive or incendiary devices in the London down town or in the front of Buckingham Palace. These men had to play enter into action knowing this terrible deal : 50/50 way out !
Born in Arequipa, Peru, Joaquin Alberto Vargas y Chávez moved to the USA in 1916 after studying art in Europe in Zurich and Geneva prior to World War I. While he was in Europe he came upon the French magazine La Vie Parisienne, with a cover by Raphael Kirchner, which he said was a great influence on his work. Alberto was the son of noted Peruvian photographer Max T. Vargas.
His early career in New York included work as an artist for the Ziegfeld Follies and for many Hollywood studios. Ziegfeld hung his painting of Olive Thomas at the theater, and she was thought of as one of the earliest Vargas Girls. Vargas’ most famous piece of film work was for the poster of the 1933 film The Sin of Nora Moran, which shows a near-naked Zita Johann in a pose of desperation. The poster is frequently named one of the greatest movie posters ever made. Alberto Vargas became widely noted in the 1940s as the creator of iconic World War II era pin-ups for Esquire magazine known as “Vargas Girls.” The nose art of many American and Allied World War II aircraft was inspired and adapted from these Esquire pin-ups, as well those of George Petty, and other artists.
Tarheel Hal, a P-47 Thunderbolt, taxis down the runway after a practice session at Davis-Monthan AFB, during the recent Heritage Flight Conference. (Source : airportjournals.com)
Major Joe C. Early 0-429505
US Army Air Forces
9th Tactical Air Command
366th Fighter Group
389th Fighter Squadron
Killed in Action on January 13 1945 over Gouvy, Belgium