Sauer Crossing - Echternach

Discussions on all aspects of the United States of America during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Carl Schwamberger.
Jeroen
Member
Posts: 19
Joined: 15 Nov 2002 17:09
Location: Netherlands

Sauer Crossing - Echternach

Post by Jeroen » 15 Nov 2002 20:33

Could somebody tell me more about the Sauer-crossing by Echternach, made by the 417th Infantry Regiment, 76th Infantry Division. Are there any internesites about this crossing?
I've received an email from a veteran, who had participate in this crossing and he claims that "this was the greatest manpour loss in one day ever suffered by any two inf. company's during the war" Any comments?

Greetings,
Jeroen
Unit histories

User avatar
Dwight Pruitt
Member
Posts: 425
Joined: 26 Aug 2002 05:53
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Post by Dwight Pruitt » 17 Nov 2002 07:16

Jeroen,

The volume titled "The Last Offensive" by Charles Mac Donald of the US Army In World War II series (Green Books) details the assault crossing of the Sauer River on pgs 101-105. If you don't have access to it, I can type it up and send it to you via email.

It seems the 417th had a tough time crossing the Sauer, but had it better than the 5th Division on its' left flank.

I have the Purple Heart Medal of a GI killed during this operation, but he was a member the 319th Infantry-80th Division. He was KIA further south at Wallendorf.

http://www.lorwings.net/PurpleHearts/stephenlecoy.shtml

Jeroen
Member
Posts: 19
Joined: 15 Nov 2002 17:09
Location: Netherlands

Post by Jeroen » 17 Nov 2002 11:22

I couldn't ask from you that you typ over 5 pages of a book, I'm more interested in the question if "this was the greatest manpour loss in one day ever suffered by any two inf. company's during the war", what the veteran is claiming. Could you give me a date of the crossing? because the 417th Inf.Reg. was attached to the 5th Inf.Div. from the 3rd of febraury to the 11th february 1945.

Greetings,
Jeroen
Unit histories

User avatar
Dwight Pruitt
Member
Posts: 425
Joined: 26 Aug 2002 05:53
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Post by Dwight Pruitt » 17 Nov 2002 17:27

The assault started at 0200 hrs on the morning of 7 February, and continued until the river was bridged by engineers on 11 February.

The work doesn't agree with your veteran's claims-it says twice that the 417th had a comparatively easier time (if anything during an assault river crossing could be considered easy) than the two regiments of the 5th Division. Those two regiments, the 10th and 11th Infantry, each succeeded in getting only 8 men apiece across the river on 7 February. On the other hand, Company A of the 417th got 59 men across, Company B had 54 and Company C got across virtually intact. No more crossings were made again until nightfall.

I'll do some more checking on total casualties for this operation, but I'd take his claims with a grain of salt. From what I've read about it however, I can see how he could feel that way. Those men had guts aplenty.

Jeroen
Member
Posts: 19
Joined: 15 Nov 2002 17:09
Location: Netherlands

Post by Jeroen » 17 Nov 2002 19:16

Thanks. In the mean time I've found some interesting sites:

http://www.7thengineers.org/WW2DiaryFeb45.htm
http://www.battleofthebulge.org/fact/fact_sheet_of_the_76th_infantry.html

The more I read, the more interested I get, the veteran (BTW a medic) called it "this was a fouled up operation from the start", I think he was right...

Jeroen

Luukkeetels
New member
Posts: 1
Joined: 15 Oct 2017 08:43
Location: The netherlands

Re:

Post by Luukkeetels » 15 Oct 2017 08:49

Dwight Pruitt wrote:Jeroen,

The volume titled "The Last Offensive" by Charles Mac Donald of the US Army In World War II series (Green Books) details the assault crossing of the Sauer River on pgs 101-105. If you don't have access to it, I can type it up and send it to you via email.

It seems the 417th had a tough time crossing the Sauer, but had it better than the 5th Division on its' left flank.

I have the Purple Heart Medal of a GI killed during this operation, but he was a member the 319th Infantry-80th Division. He was KIA further south at Wallendorf.

http://www.lorwings.net/PurpleHearts/stephenlecoy.shtml
Dear dwight pruit,
Do you want to share photos of the purple heart of the GI killed in wallendorf, i really would apriciete it! (Sorry for the bad english)
Thanks in advance!

291shadow@gmail.com
New member
Posts: 1
Joined: 24 Mar 2019 22:03
Location: Maine, USA

Re: Sauer Crossing - Echternach

Post by 291shadow@gmail.com » 24 Mar 2019 22:09

would like to contact jeroen
regarding crossing the Sauer River

AlanJohnson
New member
Posts: 1
Joined: 11 Nov 2019 15:53
Location: Brooklyn NY

Re: Sauer Crossing - Echternach

Post by AlanJohnson » 11 Nov 2019 16:02

I've just found this thread (it's Veteran's Day in the U.S.) My father was in Company C, 417 Regiment, 76th Infantry Division. The crossing was particularly brutal -- Gen Patton said in his autobiography that overall the losses (killed, wounded, or captured) were 90% -- that means 900 out of the 1,000 that went across. The specific numbers cited by the other poster, if derived from after-action reports, are probably reliable. Social media posts I've read seem to differ a lot and depart from my own research, which was done 1997 - 1999. For my father, Feb 6 through Feb 13 were the hardest days of the war -- the closest thing to a Normandy-type invasion, with similar losses. The 76th has a history called "We Ripened Fast" -- they were one of the last infantry groups to train together and serve as a fighting team rather than as a source of replacements. Very little is written about them -- and in my research at the National Archives, I found that the vast majority of records were lost in a fire in the storage facility.

helaine.cohen@gmail.com
New member
Posts: 1
Joined: 27 Jan 2021 22:08
Location: Boston

Re: Sauer Crossing - Echternach

Post by helaine.cohen@gmail.com » 27 Jan 2021 23:09

Mr. Johnson:

My father was also in C Company of the 417th Regiment. I think your father and my father were friends.

I have done a lot of research on the crossing of the Sauer River. After crossing the river, my father was captured by the Germans and spent the rest of the war as a POW. When he was returned to the Americans at the end of the European war, he was told that about 1100 men tried to cross on the first day and very few survived the crossing. I have been trying to confirm the figures. The struggle to cross the river during flood conditions with swift-currents was brutal for the XII Corps. And the Germans had stations (pillboxes and artillery) on the hills above the river crossing and continued to fire on the boats trying to cross. It took several days to establish a bridgehead and build the bridges that the Germans had destroyed. It was a costly operation, but the troops persevered. Farther north of Echternach, the 5th and 80th Divisions also struggled to cross, but but did not have the loss of life that the 417th Regiment did. By February 11th, all three divisions had established bridgeheads and were engaged in demolishing pillboxes and enlarging bridgeheads. The 417th Regiment won the Presidential Unit Citation for their efforts.

Helaine Hartman Cohen

Return to “USA 1919-1945”