40th Battalion Movements – Northwest France and Benelux – Nov 1944

The Germans were now being driven back beyond the Moselle in Northwest France.

Twelfth Army Group TAC Headquarters advanced to Verdun and the 40th was moved up to assist in the building of ten circuit open wire lead in the direction of Metz.
The organization was bivouacked for this purpose 4 miles east of Verdun about a mile off the Verdun-Metz road. This build was begun on the 13th of September and completed on the 16th.

American soldiers at the Maginot Line

On the 21st of September the Battalion moved 55 miles north to a bivouac sight of 5 miles West of Longuyon. The woods that we occupied were flanked on either side by pill boxes of the French Maginot Line. While there the line companies constructed a 17 mile lead from about 10 miles north of Verdun to Longwy, which was a portion of the Verdun-Aubange Line. This job was started 20 September and completed 1st October. The build was delayed four days by lack of wire.





A map of the Duchy of Luxembourg

The Duchy of Luxembourg was the next stop for the Battalion. On the 2nd of October, the Battalion moved 25 miles northeast to the village of Capellen, Luxembourg where the companies were billeted in two large mansions and a small caretakers house, formally occupied by the Germans as schools. This billet was also equipped with all the comforts and conveniences of the two mansions.

Linesmen of the 40th in the Benelux region

Linesmen of the 40th in the Benelux region

While here the battalion built an 8 mile 10 circuit lead from Garnich, East to the city of Luxembourg where it was to be terminated into Twelfth Army Group TAG headquarters. This job was started on the 6th of October and finished on the 9th. The next build that was assigned the Battalion was a 27 mile line from South of Arlon, Belgium, North to Bastogne. No suitable bivouac sight could be found, along the line which afforded warmth and protection from the elements, so it was decided to operate from billets already occupied in Capellen.

The line from Arlon to Bastogne, Belgium, was completed without incident on 25 October. The two construction companies devoted the succeeding days to policing up the build and servicing equipment.

A Hotel Restaurant in Cappelen, Luxembourg

A Hotel Restaurant in Cappelen, Luxembourg

On the 5th of November the Battalion moved North, from Capellen to Chenee, Belgium. All companies were billeted in school buildings. The assigned job was a ten circuit double arm lead from Liege, Belgium to Aachen, Germany, a build of about twenty seven (27) miles. The Battalion worked the West end of the line from these billets until the 22d of November.

From these billets Company “B” continued on to the Aachen-Liege build, while Company “A” took over a fourteen mile line from Maastricht, east to Heerlen, Holland. This line was begun by the 459th Signal Construction Battalion but was left uncompleted when they were reassigned to the First Air Force and ordered to abandon the build and join their new command.


Epen Holland – A village of about 760 inhabitants. The 40th connected the communication lines from this village to Germany.

On about the 19th of November, the Germans began to drop Robot bombs into the city of Liege, only three miles away. The tempo of the bombing grew until on the 20th and 21st between forty five and fifty bombs fell on Liege and surrounding towns, including Chenee and Beyne Heusay.
On the 2nd of November, Hq, Hq Co and “B” Co, moved twenty five miles northeast to Epen, Holland, a quiet little town seven miles west of Aachen, Germany.

The 40th Signal Construction has the distinction, by the construction of the Liege-Aachen line, of building the first open wire pole line into Germany by the Allied Forces.

Company “A” remained in Chenee until the 25th, when they moved to Mheer, Holland, twenty seven miles northeast of Chenee.

Company “A” continued work on the Maastricht-Heerlen, Holland line until December 6, when the line was completed and turned ever to Twelfth Army Group.

Company “B” completed the Aachen-Liege build on the 30th of November, but not without incident. On the 27th, while working in the city of Aachen on a side street, a K-43 line construction truck ran onto a German Teller Mine. The right front wheel assembly was completely blown off, with the right front fender, windshield and windows broken, but the driver, Tec 5 Thomas McKinley, was uninjured. On the 27th, a robot bomb hit “A” Companies line near Mickeroux, Belgium, destroying one pole completely and breaking all the wires and losing the sag for about ten spans each way.

Another line successfully rigged.

Another line successfully rigged by the 40th.

The Battalion’s next assignment was the Aachen-Cologne lead, the latter part of which was still in enemy territory. On the 5th of December, Company “B” began surveying around the city of Aachen, beginning from the last pole of the Liege-Aachen lead and circling the city to the North.

On 11 December, Hq and Hq Company moved from Epen, Holland to Aachen, Germany and settled down to what was expected to be about a months stay. Company “A” moved from Valkenburg, Holland to Brand, Germany, southeast of Aachen, on 8th of December and on the 9th of December joined Company “B” on the Aachen-Cologne build.

Companies A and B continued on the line east of Aachen toward Duren, but on the outskirts of the city of Aachen, the battalion began running into mines, and worked was slowed while the Engineers cleared paths for the survey crews.

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Troop Movements
Verdun, France – 13 Sept 44 to 21 Sept 44
Longuyon, France – 21 Sept 44 to 3 Oct 44
Capellen, Luxembourg – 3 Oct 44 to 5 Nov 44
Liege, Belgium – 5 Nov 44 to 22 Nov 44
Epen, Holland – 22 Nov 44 to 11 Dec 44
Aachen, Germany 11 Dec 44 to 19 Dec 44

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