At Ciney, Belgium, ( Ardennes Offensive ) Gen. Collier was in command of CC "A" was ordered by Gen. Harmon to hold Ciney, in this force was 2nd Bn., 41st Armored Inf., 2nd Bn. 66th Armor, and a platoon each from "A" Co. 17th Engineers, and "A" Co. 702d Tank Destroyer Bn.. On November 26, 1944 along with other elements of CC "A", Co. "A" 17th Armored Engineers was ordered to secure Merzenhausen and Barmen to cut off communication lines to the Roer.
August 1944: Seine River Crossing: After pushing a bridgehead force across, Company "A", 17th Engineer Bn., built a thirty-foot treadway bridge. Gen. Collier ordered them across before nightfall.
17th Engineers: A Narrative Report of Company "D", for early August 1944, It goes like this : In assembly area at Notre Dame De Cenilly. 2 August 44: Moved to Percy, 3 August 44: Moved one mile west of Montbray. 4 August 44: Moved from Montbray to one mile south of Montbray where enemy was contacted and company with reconnaissance elements ( 82nd Reconnaissance ) were forced to withdraw. 5 August 44: Moved to one and one-half miles east of St. Sever De Calvados. Removed twenty # 2 and # 4 Teller mines from the roads and booby traps from the hedgerows. 6 August 44: Moved three miles west of St. Sever De Calvados. 7 August 44: Moved to two miles west of LeTeilleul. 8 August 44: Moved to two miles southeast of Lonlay L’Abbaye and at 2300 blew bridge in center of town after having entered earlier in the afternoon and then withdrawing. Also blew up enemy ammunition dump at this town and destroyed four enemy vehicles. All this was done in conjunction with a platoon of the 82nd Recon. Bn.
Hedgerow penetration: The 17th Engineers used a tank with a bulldozer blade to go through hedgerows in France. But then the Germans would wait until the tanks would cross with infantry following on foot then fire on them. In order to counter this, the American forces started through the hedgerows with their main guns loaded with canister and pointed to the rear and to the flanks. As the tanks crashed through the opening , they fired parallel to the hedges, inflicting great casualties. For this the 2nd Armored was given the name of "Roosevelt's Butchers," a name which the division gladly accepted.
17th Engineers: Prior to the 2nd Armored Division entry into the Rhine-Elbe offensive and the drive across the Westphalian plain of Germany through Bruswick and Saxony to the Elbe River. Co.E, 17th Engineer Battalion, ( the division’s organic bridge company ) broke all records in bridge construction by completing an 1152-foot treadway bridge across the Rhine in approximately nine hours.
Dear Mr. Swonger, I found on your 2nd Armd Div website also information about 17th Engineers (see unit list of 2d AD) on 8th April 45 west of Marsum (which is properly Harsum north of the town of Hildesheim). I am looking for any information about the pontoon bridge which was constructed by elements of 17th Engineers to cross the Hildesheim Branch Canal (s. attached files) near Harsum. You call it the Weser Elbe Kanal (in II. WW) what is now the so-called Mittellandkanal with branches leading to Hildesheim and Salzgitter.To get any assistance by your association would be very useful (after action reports - 5th - 8th (9th) April). I am LTC (German Army) and at present with the German Army Office at Cologne. In 1984 when British Forces set up the Exercise Spearpoint / Lionheart 84 I met also elements of Hell on Wheels east of Hildesheim. We made contact for to counterattack the British when heading to the east. You know - the old scenario - before reunification in 1990. I saw them the first time riding the pretty new Abrams tanks. We were on Leopard, also the Dutch and the British on Challenger and Chieftain tanks. It was fantastic to see elements of 2d AD on their way to attack which was extremely perfect to stop the British. And it was in the same area which 2d AD penetrated in April 45. But first of all I would like to confirm the crossing site near Harsum and to get more information (in detail) by reports of 17th Engineers on the certain days. Hope you could help in finding some information.
Sincerely yours Karl-Heinz Heineke, email: Heineke-Karl-Heinz@t-online.de Thank you Karl-Heinz for the information.
24 March 1945: Co. "A" 17th Engr. Bn., attached to XVI Corps, constructed a bridge across the Rhine River south of Wesel, Germany. Co. "A" with Co. "C" 202nd Engineer Combat team attached an 1153 foot M-2 treadway Bridge in support of the XVI Corps assault crossing. The bridge site was four miles south of Wesel, Germany, was secured by the 30th Inf. Div. The assembly of the bridge took place in a woods near Camp Renuck, here bridge floats were prefabricated, it took 25 -2 1/2 tons trucks to transport this unassembled bridge to the site. No direct fire was received on the bridge site while under construction, but artillery was a problem from the Germans. Five days later the whole division unleashed its striking power of tanks, armored artillery and armored infantry to force crossings over the Dortmund-Ems Canal, as well as the Weser, Leine, Innerste, Oker and Elbe Rivers. Useful information from Germany. 4/82001
On 30 March 1945 a patrol from Co. "D", 17th Engr. Bn. attempted to investigate and cross the bridge across the Dortmund-ems canal at Oleen, in the face of small arms fire. The bridge was blown up by the enemy before it could complete it's reconnaissance. On the same day , Co. "A" 17th Armd. Eng. in support of Co. "C", constructed a treadway bridge across the canal near Alvert.
On the 5 April 1945, the 17th Engr. Bn. constructed a 384 treadway across the Weser at Ohr, Germany, permitting CC "A" to cross the river with armor and continue with it's operation.
On 8 April 1945 division engineers constructed a pontoon bridge across the Weser Elbe Canal, west of,Harsum allowing CC"A" to continue it's drive northeast to Braunschweig.
More later about the crossing at the Elbe river near Madgeburg, Germany and the very important part that the 17th Eng. Bn played in this operation.