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.
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