....."Wars may be fought with weapons,
..........but they are won by men."

........................................... ......General George S. Patton

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551st Parachute Infantry Battalion Crest
(above picture)
551st PIB Crest

Distinguished Service Cross(DSC) Recipients
Cpl Robert H Hill
Pfc Milo C Huempfner

551st Parachute Infantry Battalion

Presidential Unit Citation

For Extraordinary Heroism
To The 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion

The citation reads as follows:

The 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion is cited for exceptional heroism in performance of duty in combat against the enemy at the beginning of the American counteroffensive in the Ardennes, Belgium, culminating In its heroic attack and seizure of the critical, heavilly fortified, regimental German position of Rochelinval on the Salm River. A separate battalion attached to the 82nd Airborne Division, the 551st began its grueling days as the Division's spearhead by successfully executing a raid on advanced German positions at Noirfontaine on 27 and 28 December 1944, delivering to XVIII Airborne Corps vital intelligence for the Allied counteroffensive soon to come.

On 3 January 1945, the 551st from the division's line of departure at Basse Bodeux attacked against great odds and secured the imposing ridge of Herispehe. Punished by artillery, mortar and machine gun fire as it moved across open, up slope terain, the battalion lost its forward artillery observers, causing an acute lack of artillery support for its week-long push against two German regiments. On 4 January, the battalion conducted a rare fixed bayonet attack of machine gun nests that killed 64 Germans. On 5 and 6 January, the 551st captured the towns of Dairomont and Quartiers, parrying German counterattacks while often fighting in hand-to-hand combat. At less than half strength, on 7 January the battalion confronted its final critical objective: Rochelinval on the Salm River. Initially repelled into a hailstorm of artillery and machine gun fire toward a high ridge of entrenched enemy, the 551st finally overwhelmed the defenders and captured Rochelinval, shutting off the last bridge of egress to the Germans in a 10 mile sector of the Salm River. The next day, January 8, Hitler ordered the German Army's first pullback from the Battle of the Bulge. In fighting a numerically superior foe with dominant high ground advantage, the 551st lost over four-fifths of its men, including the death of its inspirational commander, Lieutenant Colonel Wood Joerg, as he led the last attack. Disbanded a month later, the battalion accounted for 400 German dead, and took over 300 prisonners. The 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion fought with a tenacity and fervor that was extraordinary. In what United States Army historian Charles MacDonald called "the greatest battle ever fought by the United States Army," the 551st demonstrated the very best of the Army tradition of performance of duty in spite of great sacrifice and against all odds.

R E L A T E D   B O O K S

Ambrose, Stephen E D-DAY June 6,1944: The Climatic Battle of WW II. 6/93, Simon & Shuster ISBN: 0671673343
Badsey , Stephen & Chandler, David G (Editor)  Arnhem 1944: Operation "Market Garden" (Campaign No.24) 1993 96p. ISBN: 1855323028
Breuer, William B Geronimo! American Paratroopers in WWII. New York: St. Martin Press, 1989 621 p. ISBN: 0-312-03350-8
Breuer, William B Operation Dragoon: The Allied Invasion of the South of France. Presidio Press, Sept 1987 261 p. ISBN: 0891413073
D'Este, Carlo  Patton: A Genius for War 1024 pp ISBN: 0060927623
De Trez, Michel  At the Point of No Return : Pictorial History of the American Paratroopers in the Invasion of Normandy 7/98, D-Day Pub, 200 p. ISBN: 2960017617
De Trez, Michel  First Airborne Task Force: Pictorial History of the Allied Paratroopers in the Invasion of Southern France 7/98, D-Day Pub, 500 p. ISBN: 2960017625
Gassend, Jean-Loup Operation Dragoon: Autopsy of a Battle: The Allied Liberation of the French Riviera August-September 1944 Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. (May 28, 2014), 560 p. ISBN: 076434580X
Gavin, James M.  On to Berlin : Battles of an Airborne Commander, 1943-1946 ISBN: 0670525170
Golden, Lewis Echoes From Arnhem Penguin ISBN: 0718305213
Hicks, Anne The Last Fighting General: The Biography of Robert Tryon Frederick Schiffer Pub Ltd, 320pp, ISBN: 0764324306
MacDonald, Charles B  A Time For Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge Wm Morrow & Co (P), 720 p. ISBN: 068151574
McKenzie, John  On Time, On Target Novato, CA: Presidio, May 15,2000. 304 p. ISBN: 089 141 714 1
Morgan, John Daniel The Left Corner of My Heart : The Saga of the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion Alder Enterprise, 1984. 548 p.
Orafalea, Gregory  Messengers of the Lost Battalion : The Heroic 551st and the Turning of the Tide at the Battle of the Bulge Free Press, March 14,1997. 432 p. ISBN: 068 482 804 9
Ryan, Cornelius  A Bridge Too Far 670p. ISBN: 0684803305
van Lunteren, Frank The Battle of Bridges: The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Operation Market Garden Casemate, June 1,2014. 336 p. ISBN: 1612002323
Wildman, John B All Americans 82nd Airborne. Meadowlands Militaria, 6/83 ISBN:091 208 1007
The Center of Military History The War in the Mediterranean: A WWII Pictorial History Brasseys, Inc., 465 p. ISBN:1574881302
Yardley, Doyle R  Home Was Never Like This. Yardley Enterprises, Aug, 2002, 312 p. ISBN:0971743908

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