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Change of Command of 3/119 At Stoumont

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by Doc Sausage, Jul 5, 2015.

  1. Doc Sausage

    Doc Sausage Member

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    Hi Everyone

    I've just finished Michael Reynolds' The Devils Adjutant, loving the detail but as with all his books I'm starting to wonder whether the Ardennes offensive ever took place as he seems to cast doubt on pretty much every other account I've read.

    Either way, I was puzzled by the introduction of Lieutenant Colonel Bision as commander of 3rd Battalion, 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Division for the attack on Stoumont on 21st - 22nd December without any background detail as to what happened to the previous commander, Lieutenant Colonel Roy C. Fitzgerald.

    I can't recall seeing Bision in any account that I've read and the combat journal of the third battalion 119th makes no reference to it within the period leading up to Christmas although Fitzgerald appears to have been relieved by Captain Stewart on January 13th 1945 after an attack on Hedomont but without details as to why

    Google throws up one instance of Bision and 119th but that is in a book published in 2013 possibly using Reynolds as a source (?)

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    There are others here that are far more knowledgeable on the 30th Division and the 119th Infantry. However, I found a few items that may help.

    First, from The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge, Chapter 15 regarding the events of 19 December:

    Then, from the 3d Battalion, 119th Infantry Journal (PDF) on 19 December:

    From the December 1944 Journal of Lt. Knox, Company L, 119th Infantry (PDF):

     
  3. Doc Sausage

    Doc Sausage Member

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    Many thanks TD-Tommy, I've spent the last few days going back to a printed copy of the 119th Journal without seeing the 24:00 entry. now it's standing out like a bulldogs what-nots.

    I'd also looked at the official history and noted the high casualty figures but relieved suggests something different to wounded and replaced.

    Be interested to know what happened particularly as he seems to have been re-instated then relieved a second time a couple of weeks later with Stewart being promoted to Major to see out the war
     
  4. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Normally, if an officer is relieved for reasons related to poor leadership, lack of ability, cowardice, drunkeness, etc. they won't get reinstated to a combat command. A poor leader may be retained past the point where they should have been sacked, but once you relieve them for cause, they're pretty much done. Being relieved on a temporary basis due to physical incapacity, wounding, etc. is another matter. They're usually returned to their command as soon as they are deemed physically capable.
     
  5. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    I also came across the following passage from The Bitter Woods by John S. D. Eisenhower (p. 250):

    Unfortunately, Google Books does not include for preview the pages 265-266 which may indicate what happened to Lt. Col. Fitzgerald. Perhaps someone has the book and will see if there is any indication whether or not Fitzgerald's prediction came true.
     
  6. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    FWIW, the only mention of Bision that I have been able to find is in the Dec 1944 AAR of the 33d Armored Regiment:

    So, sometime between when Capt. Steward took charge late on the 19th and early on the 21st, Bision was put in charge of the 3d Bn.
     
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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  8. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    I did see the Wiki article, but missed the sentence about his son. It refers to him as a Major, though it is the Wiki...
     
  9. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I still have not unpacked my 30th Division library, so I can't give you precise references. Suffice it to say that the battle at Stoumont enraged and embarrassed the leadership of the Division. They weren't used to losing.

    They were actually in a very good position at Stoumont, even having the loan of two 90mm guns with a clear field of fire. They also had batteries of 3" guns. At dawn, they could hear the panzers coming in the fog, but couldn't see anything until they were right in the line. When the action started, flares were requested from the artillery, but for some reason that never happened. Once the AT guns were knocked out, there wasn't much the rifle companies could do but retreat or surrender. Those actually in the town, were surrounded almost from the beginning of the action and those were the ones who surrendered.

    Harrison, the 2nd in Command, went down and personally relieved Fitzgerald. Later, considering the weather (heavy fog) and that they couldn't bring any fire to bear until the Panzers were on top of them, they reinstated him. Yet, I think it was just one of those situations where they had lost trust in the man, and likely his own men had lost trust so the first time he stumbled again, they removed him.
     
  10. Doc Sausage

    Doc Sausage Member

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    Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer, there's a lot of stuff here but I need my beauty sleep so it will have to wait to tomorrow

    best regards
    Doc
     
  11. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I'd say winter 1945-46 ("five months after VJ Day" ) . It suggests he survived the war only to die right after it (wounds , illnness, accident? that's quite a mystery) .
     

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