Presidential Unit Citation
 

The following was sent by Fred Hallett.

It was almost eight months later when we received word that our unit, the 2nd Battalion of the 274th Infantry Regiment had been singled out for a "Presidential Unit Citation".

War Department, General Order No. 58, dated 19, July, 1945, was issued to our Battalion.

WAR DEPARTMENT

19 JULY, 1945

GENERAL ORDER NO. 58

The 2nd Battalion, 274th Infantry Regiment, is cited for outstanding performance in combat during the period 5 to 7 January, 1945, at Wingen, France:

At 1400, 5 January, the 2nd Battalion, 274th Infantry, received instructions to prepare and occupy a defensive position overlooking the village of Wingen, France. At 2100, on 5 January, this Battalion received orders to recapture Wingen, which had fallen into German hands on 4 January and which since then had withstood the continuous and costly attacks of an adjacent Infantry Regiment. Reconnaissance was limited to the intensive study of maps; the nature of the terrain made supplies available only by hand carry down a treacherous, ice-covered cliff. The anti-tank guns of the Battalion had to be lowered at night by a series of winches over a hazardous mountain trail to accomplish their fire mission; the officers and men of this Battalion had been without rest for over sixty hours; the German forces held dominating terrain overlooking the village of Wingen on the Battalion's exposed left flank; the only method of receiving any artillery support was by requesting it through the SCR 300 radio of an adjacent Battalion.

In spite of these problems, the attack was launched at dawn on 6 January across exposed terrain, against numerically superior and fanatically resisting enemy forces in the form of two Battalions of the elite German 12th SS. Mountain Regiment. The attack continued through out the day against intensive enemy fire, causing a heavy casualty toll in the ranks of the Battalion. The gallant esprit de corps of the 2nd Battalion was such, however, that by late afternoon over half of Wingen was in American hands.

At dusk, the German defenders counter-attacked ferociously and succeeded in splitting and isolating the units of the 2nd Battalion. With unhesitating disregard of personal safety, the officers and men of this Battalion tenaciously hung on to their positions and inflicted such heavy losses on the enemy that the German positions became untenable and an enemy withdrawal was begun during the night. Reorganizing at dawn on 7 January, the Battalion attacked again, destroying the remnants of the enemy forces.

Thus, in two days, the 2nd Battalion, 274th Infantry, operating under almost insurmountable supply, communication, and evacuation problems, in bitter cold, without food or rest, and with the loss of 130 casualties, destroyed two German SS. Battalions, liberating over 250 Americans held prisoner by the German forces, recaptured 32 American vehicles, three anti-tank guns, and hundreds of small arms.

The determined fortitude, courage, and fighting spirit displayed by members of the 2nd Battalion, 274th Infantry, is exemplary of the finest traditions of the American Army and will be inscribed indelibly in the annals of the American Infantry.

BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR

George C. MARSHALL
Chief of Staff