Campaign in Germany
Campaign in Germany
The experiences of the 33rd Signal Construction Battalion in the campaign of France were relayed as a Battalion history, with added noted on sub-units operating detached. Throughout the Germany Campaign, however, each construction platoon operated as a separate unit. In view of this change in the method of operation, a corresponding change must be made in the style of narrative. In this phase, therefore, each platoon will be treated as a separate unit.
First Platoon, Company A, 33rd Signal Construction Battalion (Operating with Third Army)
At the time of the German breakthrough in Luxembourg and Belgium this platoon was stationed in Basse Yutz, a suburb of Thionville, France. During this period the platoon was engaged in establishing and maintaining locals in that vicinity. A spiral-four cable from Thionville to Luxembourg City was also placed at this time.
On January 20, 1945, construction was begun on a two-arm open wire lead from the vicinity of Angevillers, France to Esch, Luxembourg for Third Army trunking. This line was built in severe cold weather over very rough terrain. The trucks had great difficulty in operating in deep snow, and once again the "weasel" proved its worth. There was considerable danger from sunken mines covered with snow along the line.
Late in February the platoon, assisted by the second platoon, started work on the Battalion's first Rapid Pole Line Job. This was an eight-pin one-arm lead square RPL poles, except on certain corners where heavier round poles were required, and extended from Senningen Luxembourg, to Saarburg, Germany. In spite of the fact that the crews had practically no training in this type of construction, the work progressed very well. The Signal Supply dumps had no transposition brackets on hand at the time, so standard pins were cut and fitted to be used in lieu of the brackets. This proved very satisfactory, and expedited the progress of the work to a great extent.
From the middle of March until VE-day the first platoon was engaged almost exclusively in the maintenance at repeater stations. Teams were detached to various repeater stations to locate and repair trouble on spiral-four cable circuits. Their duties called them out at all hours, day and night, in severe weather. In addition to this work the teams were called upon to install 5-pair and 10-pair cable, spiral four and field wire on suspension strand around the Army Command Posts and wireheads. Their maintenance work sometimes called for rehabilitation of open wire or underground circuits.
Shortly after VE-day the platoon moved to Ingolstadt to join the rest of the Battalion.
Second Platoon, Company A, 33rd Signal Construction Battalion (Operating with III and XX Corps)
During the month of December this platoon had been stationed at Bouzonville, France, working on the construction of the open wire lead from Thionville to Bouzonville. On December 21 they moved to Arlon, Belgium, to operate with III Corps. The immediate objective was to establish communication with the Advance Army CP at Luxembourg. This job was begun on the 22nd and completed the next day, using spiral-four cable. Two civilian open wire circuits were rehabilitated along the same route from Corps to Army to give alternate circuits. I was necessay to place a third alternate around a highway bridge at Steinfort, Luxembourg, because of repeated enemy attempts to bomb this bridge. Work was then started hanging spiral-four cable from suspension strand along the proposed Corps axis toward the town of Redange, Luxembourg. This job was stopped when notification was received that the Corps axis had changed. Rehabilitation was started on an Army open wire lead which had been damaged by tanks and shellfire during the fighting in the Bulge. This line was made good from Arlon to Warnach, Belgium, and turned over to the 43d Signal Construction Battalion for completion from that point. The cable that had been laid toward Redange was extended was extended from Eel to Waterange, Luxembourg, where III Corps expected to move. Cable was placed from Warnach to Waterange (12 miles) to provide an alternate route back to Army. Most of this line was "lance pole" construction, as a little neutral or artificial support was available. This job was completed on January 27.
III Corps Tac was then set up in Martelange, Belgium, and this platoon displaced to Boulaide, Luxembourg. For spiral-four cables were placed on messenger from Stainlex, Luxembourg to the vicinity of Clervaux to provide communications from III and VIII Corps to Lucky Fox at Bastogne and Lucky at Luxembourg; 95 miles of cable was required. A single cable was placed from Martelange to connect into circuit at Rambach, Luxembourg, to provide an alternate circuit back to Army Headquarters. The III Corps axis was extended by placing spiral-four cable on suspension strand from the vicinityof Boulaide to Wiltz. At this time III Corps left Third Army, and the platoon returned to Arlon.
This platoon moved to Arlon on February 27, and immediately started recovering abandoned wire and cable in this area. 78 miles of spiral-four cable and 112 miles of field wire were recovered and returned to the Signal Depot. The local cirsuits that were still operating out of Lucky George were routed through the civilian underground cable system, thus releasing more wire which was recovered.
On March 4 the second platoon moved to Korrig, Germany, to work in conjunction with the first platoon on a Rapid Pole Line from the vicinity of Luxembourg City to Saarburg, Germany. Before this line could be completed it was necessay to place spiral-four from the Moselle River into Saarburg to provide communications to a XX Corps switching central here. This was the first Rapid Pole Line the second platoon had worked on. Upon completion of this line the cable from the Moselle was recovered, and the platoon placed spiral-four cable on suspension strand east from Saarburg to St. Wendel, 32 miles. Lines were also placed in Trier during this time to aid in the establishing of Lucky George Switch. The second platoon was operating with XX Corps from this time on through the German Campaign.
This platoon moved to St. Wendel on March 20, and from this point placed cable to Kaiserlautern (29 miles). XX Corps moved to this locationand remained overnight, displacing the next day to Marnheim. Spiral-four cable to the new location was placed by this platoon and the 69th Signal Battalion. Repeaters were set up at St. Wendel and Kaiserlautern, and crews from the platoon were attached to them to maintain the lines. Four crews from the first platoon joined the second platoon at this time.
After Corps Headquarters was set up at Marnheim, this platoon displaced on March 23rd to Kircheim Bolander. Cable was placed from the Corps CP to Bad Kreuznach (25 miles) to connect with a cable placed by another unit on the Army axis. This cable was connected to Comet Fox switching central in Mainz. Cable was also placed from Comet Fox to the Rhine River in anticipation of future needs for the next Corps move.
On March 31 Corps Headquarters and this platoon displaced to Bad Nauheim. The cable previously laid was extended from the Rhine to this new location, 36 miles.
Corps moved again the next day to Alsfeld. This platoon and the 69th Signal Battalion continued the Corps-Army cable to this point, and the second platoon moved to Alsfeld. Two crews were attached to a repeater station at Bad Nauheim to maintain the cable. Here it was necessary to maintain patrols on the line because of sabotage as well as accidental injury to the cable. The four crews previously detached to repeater stations at St. Wendel and Kaiserlautern returned to their organization at this location. The cable was continued in the direction of Kassel for communications to the proposed Corps CP.
XX Corps moved to Falkenburg (south of Kassel) on April 3, and the cable was extended to this location, a distance of 29 miles. The same day this platoon moved to Gensungen, about 5 miles north of the Corps CP. A repeater station was set up at Alsfeld, and one crew was attached there for maintenance.
On April 5 and 6 the cable was extended to Eschwege, the next proposed Corps CP. Thirty-five miles of cable was placed during these two days, and on the sixth the platoon moved to this location. Due to a change in the Corps axis the second platoon left Eschwege and moved to Mulbach the next day. While at this location the platoon placed cable from Hersfeld (proposed Army CP location) 17 miles to intercept the cable that had been previously constructed to the XX Corps location at Falkenburg.
On April 11 the second platoon displaced to Osterbehringen, and started placing cable from Hersfeld to Eisenach, the new location of the Corps CP. The next day the cable was continued to the next proposed CP at Gotha, 21 miles from Eisenach.
The platoon moved to Ingersleben on the 13th, and the following day moved again to Mellingen. The same day XX Corps moved to Weimar. Spiral-four was placed from Gotha to Weimar (13 miles) on this date. Two crews were detached to maintain lines at repeater stations in Eisenach and Ingersleben.
The second platoon placed 40 miles of cable to Gera on April 15, and moved to that location on the same day. The next day the platoon policed the previous day's work and continued on the proposed Corps axis to the east. A total of 19 miles of cable was placed before notification was received that the Corps axis had changed. This cable was recovered the following day.
On April 18 the platoon displaced from Gera to Bamburg, a distance of 153 miles. The same day XX Corps moved to Pommersfelden. Spiral-four cable was placed from Pommerfelden to Erlangen, proposed Third Army CP, and communications were extended to Reichenschwand, location of the proposed Corps CP.
The platoon displaced to Ruckersdorf on April 22, and XX Corps moved to Reichenschwand. During the next three days the platoon placed 39 miles of cable to Burglengenfeld. Much of this line was "lance pole" construction because of the lack of existing supports.
On April 26 XX Corps displaced to Burglengenfeld and the platoon moved to Diesenbach. Fifteen miles of cable was placed across the Danube to Regensburg. At this point the four crews from the first platoon were released.
The platoon moved to Regensburg on the 28th and started work on cable to Straubling (28 miles). Upon complettion of this job the platoon moved to Straubling and extended the cable to Addledorf, which was the location of the new Corps CP.
May 3 the platoon moved to Mariakirchen, and extended the Corps-Army axis to St. Martin, Austria, with some assitance by the 69th Signal Battalion. When Corps Headquarters moved to this point the platoon continued on to Lambrechten and extended the cable on to Kremsmunster, which was to be Corps Headquarters' next location. After completion of this line the second platoon moved to Lambach. As the end of the war was imminent, only the advance element of Corps Headquarters was moved to Kremsmunster.
This platoon rejoined the battalion at Ingolstadt, Germany, on May 13, leaving one crew at the Corps CP for maintenance work.