» The 106th Infantry Intro
» 'Ambush' The story of John M. (Jack) Roberts "C" Battery, 592nd FAB
» 'Robert L. Geist' re-discover of some personal belongings of Robert L. Geist, member of "H" Coy 423 Rgt. (this page is not yet ready)
» Action at Schnee Eifel, written by John Kline (part of his personall wardiary).
» Guerilla fight in the deep misty woods of the Schnee Eiffel, Action of Eric Fisher Wood.
» Account of Jack Sulser, squad leader in the 106th Infantry Division's Company, F, 423rd Inf.
» Back to the introduction page

When I found the photograph of an American weapons carrier while visiting the German War Archives in Koblenz, Germany, I immediately became rather curious as the weapons carrier was disabled and sitting on the side of a road with the rear wheels in a ditch and its front wheels on the edge of the road. I then noticed that there were markings on the rear bumper clearly visible reading on left side 592 and C5 on the right side. On the ground lay a dead American soldier.

(pic.: c5 Weapon Carrier of the 592nd Field Art. BN / 106TH ID. In front lays the body of CPL. HOWARD HOFFMEYER. Ambushed on the road from Auw towards Roth. In the background German horsedrawn artillery moves in the direction of Auw and Laudesfeld (Prop. 18th Volksgrenadier Division)
I never dreamed at that time that this photograph would eventually bring together a soldier and the exact spot where he and other members of an artillery unit were ambushed and captured by the Germans on 16 December 1944 while on their way to a forward observation outpost at Roth, Germany.

The photograph was taken by a German PK-Berichter (News Reporter), showing the destruction of U.S. equipment. On the back of the photograph was a notation which stated that the photograph was taken about noon on 16 December 1944. Since the vehicle in the photograph was American I decided to send the photograph to John Kline, Editor of THE CUB magazine of the 106th Infantry Division Association telling him of my findings. John Kline decided to see if any member of the 106th Division Association could identify the vehicle. The photograph then appeared in the OCT-NOV-DEC issue of THE CUB.

When the magazine arrived at the home of John M. (Jack) Roberts he gasped in surprise because he recognized the vehicle as the second vehicle behind a jeep that he was riding in when the forward observer party was ambushed about 0830 on the morning of 16 December 1944. Jack immediately sent off a chilling letter to Mr. Kline telling him in detail what happened on that morning of 16 December 1944 to cause the C5 weapons carrier, as well as the jeep, to become disabled. He explained that his party was ambushed with crossfire from small arms from both sides of the road as the vehicles approached the village of Roth. He also identified the dead soldier lying on the ground in the ditch at the rear of the C5 weapons carrier.

Jack Roberts' letter to John Kline was then published in the JAN-FEB-MAR 1997 issue of THE CUB. In his letter he stated that of the 10 enlisted men and one officer in the two vehicles, two men were killed and seven were severely wounded. Jack and one other soldier were unscathed. Fortunately, through a chain of events as described in his letter, Jack and the others were able to escape their captors after being marched deeper into German held territory. Jack tells of falling through the ice while crossing the frozen Tennenbach Creek while carrying his severely wounded buddy Larry Loudon, the driver of the jeep he was in when the two vehicles were ambushed.

After Jack Roberts' letter appeared in THE CUB we began to correspond by telephone, regular mail and e-mail. I asked Jack if he had any further detailed information about the ambush that was not in his letter. He told me that he had written his autobiography and had several chapters about his war years and volunteered to send more detailed information about the 16 December ambush.
(pic: APRIL 1997. 53 YEARS AFTER THE AMBUSH I RETURN TO THE SAME SPOT; ON THE ROAD TO ROTH. JUST THE SNOW IS MISSING, EVERYTHING ELSE LOOKS THE SAME, EVEN THE TREES STILL STAND IN LINE AS THEY DID 53 YEARS AGO).

With his detailed account of the ambush along with an enlarged photograph of the C-5 weapons carrier, I drove from my home on April 3rd, 1997 to Roth to begin to look for the exact location of the ambush. In due time I was able to match the picture and the detailed write-up with the present terrain. I took photographs of the area and sent them to Jack and asked him if he recognized the ambush site. He sent me a message stating that he was almost positive that I had found the spot and expressed a desire to revisit that site someday in the future. I could tell by the tone his message that he was determined to make that happen. I promised Jack that when he returned to Germany I would personally take him to the exact spot where he and his comrades were ambushed.

When John Kline arranged for the RETURN TO THE ARDENNES 1999 Jack signed up to take the trip with the other group members. Jack sent me a message telling me that he was returning to Germany in May 1999 and we agreed that on 18 May I would drive to Pruem and take him to the ambush spot. I could read the excitement in his message. This was the visit that he had dreamed about for 55 years and was about to become a reality.

On may 18th 1999 the 'Ambush-spot' was revisited by me, this time accompanied by Jack Roberts himself.