The first real action that the
whole Battalion was committed on was helping take the city of Nancy, France.
The Battalion joined Task Force Seabrea at 0600, 15th of
September 1944, on the outskirts of Toul.
The road leading to Nancy was heavily mined in many places and there were
a few snipers. The First
Battalion vehicles entered Nancy at 1145.
The Battalion was released from Task Force Seabrea at 1700 and attached
to the 80th Infantry Division in the vicinity of Dieulouard.
On the 18th
of September the Battalion was released from attachment to the 80th
Inf. Div. and assembled in the vicinity of Nancy.
The Battalion less Company "C" moved from Nancy to the vicinity
of Luneville, during the night of the 18th and arrived 5 miles west
of Luneville at 0630, 19th September after an all night blackout road
march. While in this location
the Battalion was under heavy shellfire for the first time, and suffered its
first casualties. The Battalion was supporting the 2nd Cavalry
Group and 44th Armored Infantry Regiment. During the night of September 20th the
battalion CP was harassed by small arms and machine gun fire near Luneville when
a German patrol entered the bivouac.
On the 22nd of September the Battalion was released from
attachment to the 2nd Cav Group and placed under XII corps control.
The Battalion moved to the vicinity of Maxie. Wile in this location indirect fire was placed on
On the 27th of September, Company "A", Company "B", and the two Reconnaissance Platoons were put in direct support of the 4th Armored Division helping hold the high ground west of Reichacourt; in many cases with only an outpost between the gun crews and the Germans. Here the Battalion suffered its heaviest losses.
On the 22nd of October the 26th Infantry Division relieved the 4th Armored, but the 691st remained in their foxholes with no relief in sight. The Battalion continued to help the Infantry hold their lines, but got some relief from mortar fire by pulling one Company back at time for indirect fire. In this period the Battalion got its first tank, a Mark VI, knocked out by Company "C". The gun companies stayed in the same general area until the 8th of November when the big drive started. The Battalion supported the 26th Infantry Division in their advance and helped take many towns, among them Benestroff and Sarre Union.
On December 6th
the Battalion was released from the 26th Infantry Division and
attached to the 6th Armored Division, which was at that time holding a line
On the 18th of December the Battalion was relieved from attachment to the 6th Armored Division and moved south into the 7th Army sector, and attached to the 87th Infantry Division. The Battalion supported the 87th Infantry Division. The 691st TD Battalion remained in their positions and was attached to the 44th. Late in the afternoon of the 24th of December the Battalion got orders to withdraw and prepare to move north to Reims, France. On the 27th of December the Battalion assembled in Bernie, France near Reims in support of the 17th Airborne Division. On the 29th of December the Battalion was attached to the 87th Infantry Division and moved to the vicinity of Bertrix, Belgium to help in the "Battle of the Bulge". Company "A" helped the Infantry take the town of St Hubert. In this area the Battalion got its first chance to fight with tanks in any numbers. Company "B" knocked out 3 tanks and "C" 2 tanks. On the 15th of January the Battalion moved to Contern, Luxembourg, and on the 17th to Mensdorf and vicinity to help the 87th Infantry Division maintain a defensive line west of the Sauer River. On the 25th of January the Battalion was released from attachment to the 87th Infantry Division but remained in position. On January 26th the Battalion was attached to the 76th Infantry Division which had relieved the 87th Division. When the 76th division made its attack and crossed the Sauer River at Echternach, the 691st TD Battalion supported them with direct and indirect fire at enemy pill boxes and fortifications. Many hits were made and several pill boxes knocked out. Part of Company "B" crossed the river and moved into Germany with the Infantrymen. A few days after the crossing was made the 691st was relieved by the 808th TD Battalion which had new M-36' s that were more maneuverable and mounted a more powerful gun. We said good-bye to the 76th and joined the 2nd Cav Group on the 24th of February. On the 3rd of March the Battalion was released from attachment to the 2nd Cav Group and ordered to move to Saarbourg, Germany and Join the 94th Infantry Division. After arriving in Saarbourg, and positions for the gun Companies had been chosen, orders were received stating that the Battalion was release from attachment to the 94th Division and attached to the 65th Infantry Division in the vicinity of Boulay, France. On March the 8th, after joining the 65th Division, the gun Companies and Reconnaissance platoons moved into positions in the vicinity of Saarlautern. Here they supported the Infantry with direct and indirect fire.
On the 16th of March the Infantry began their attack and from
then until the 21st, when the whole German front in the Saar Valley
collapsed, it was a race to see who could catch up with the Germans first.
On the 22nd of March Company "B" was attached to the
5th Infantry Division to protect the 5th Division ridge
site on the Rhine River at Oppenheim, Germany.
On the 30th and 31st
of March the battalion crossed the Rhine River at Mainz and started on a rapid
drive to catch up with the Germans or reach Berlin.
On the 6th of April the Battalion, while in Sontra, was
released from the 65th Division and attached to the 76th
The 691st TD Battalion had most of the same men that had fought with the 76th at Echternach, but they were now armed with a superior weapon. New M-36s. These new Destroyers made the Infantrymen's job much easier in many instances, by knocking out machine gun nests and strong points, and destroying buildings that were being used by snipers. Company "A" was the first to knockout a tank with the new M-36 at Langensalza, Germany. From the 6th of April until V-E Day the Battalion moved forward with the 76th and helped them take many towns and hundreds of prisoners. On V-E Day the Battalion was in the same position it had been for sometime, in the vicinity of Chemnitz, waiting for the Russians to arrive.
Lt. Joe Bullock