Details behind Award: Per General Order 21 Dated 12FEB1947
Section III - BATTLE HONORS, - As authorized by Executive Order 9396 (sec. I, WD Bull. 22, 1943), superseding Executive Order 9075(sec. III, WD Bul. 11, 1942), the following units are cited by the War Department under the provisions of section IV, WD Circular 333, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows: The 121st Infantry Regiment and the following attached and reinforcing units: 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment; Company C, 8th Medical Regiment; 12th Engineer Battalion; 56th Field Artillery Battalion; Company B, 86th Chemical Battalion; Company C, 86th Chemical Battalion; 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion (less Company B); 709th Tank Battalion (less Company C), are cited for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action from 21 to 28 November 1944. During this period they made a relentless and determined drive to overcome bitter opposition in the Hurtgen Forest and capture of the town of Hurtgen, Germany. The bloody and bitterly contested advance, which taxed individual fortitude and stamina to the limit, represented the major offensive effort of the 8th Infantry Division and V Corps in effecting a break-through in this heavily defended sector, in order that further offensive action could be undertaken in the clearing of woods and towns west of the Roer River. Throughout the operation, the progress of the regiment was seriously impeded by an unusual combination of inclement weather and difficult terrain, with continuous rain and damp, penetrating cold constantly endangering the health of all personnel. The terrain was characterized by densely forested hills and deep mud, which retarded all movement of troops and vehicles. Fully aware of his defensive advantages, the enemy had prepared an elaborate system of mutually supporting fortifications, with extensive mine fields and well-placed booby traps claiming a heavy toll during the advance. Enemy artillery and mortar fire was made more effective by frequent tree-bursts in the heavily wooded area. Because of narrow muddy roads and other natural obstacles which prevented the effective employment of motorized support, the burden of assaulting fanatically defended fortifications was left to the determined infantrymen. Yet at no time did the regiment fail to advance, nor did it yield a foot in the numerous counterattacks launched by the enemy. Foot by foot and against great odds, the regiment and its attached and reinforcing units drove the enemy from log bunker and pillbox, passing through concentrations of artillery and mortar fire estimated at 3,500 rounds per day at the height of operations, and finally capture the strategically important town of Hurtgen in fierce house-to-house combat. Under some of the most difficult and hazardous combat conditions experienced during the war in Europe and despite its high casualty rate, the 121st Infatnry Regiment and its attached and reinforcing units displayed extremely courageous fighting qualities in attacking a strongly fortified enemy in Hurtgen Forest. This gallant action contributed greatly to the eviction of the enemy from and around the town of Hurtgen, German, and later to the complete annihilation of the Germany Army.
By Order of the Secretary of War:
Official: DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER EDWARD F. WITSELL Chief of Staff Major General The Adjutant General
Last Updated: Jul 18, 2020
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