Troop "D", 87th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron
Incidents in Memoirs of Men of the 589th Field Artillery Battalion
(106th Infantry Division)
Battle at Baraque de Fraiture, Belgium
("Parker's Crossroads")
December 20-23, 1944

Bookmark this page as
Last updated: December 10, 2012 - What's New?
Stuck in someone's frames? Click here to break out.
Click here to return to the main 7th Armd Div at Baraque de Fraiture page.

7AD Patch 106ID Patch
Hatlem Photo:  Baraque de Fraiture
Click on the photo for a larger image.

On The Job Training: The Battle of Parker's Crossroads

The veterans of the 589th Field Artillery Battalion who were at the crossroads combined their written memoirs into a book that is a must for anyone who is researching the battle. While the book is by 589 FAB men, their accounts include important details of the actions and placement of all of the other units who were at the crossroads. The book is titled On the Job Training - The Battle of Parker's Crossroads. Click here to see the complete book on the Internet. To obtain a copy, send a $25 check, payable to:

Elliott Goldstein
14th Floor, One Atlantic Center
1201 W. Peachtree Street, N. W.
Atlanta, GA 30309
Then-Major Elliott Goldstein was the 589th FAB Executive Officer during the battle at the crossroads.

The following quotations are from that book. But there is much more in the book about the general activity, and even if it does not mention D/87 specifically, they were there and experienced it. So anyone seriously interested in what D/87 experien87ed should buy this excellent book.

Contents of this Web Page

20 December 1944: D/87 Joins the Defense
Memoir of Elliott Goldstein (p. 40)

Two tanks from the 7th Armored Division came into our area, in addition to the observer who adjusted fire on Samree. We were also joined by four vehicles from the 203rd Armored Anti-Aircraft Battalion, three of which were armed with four 50-caliber machine guns and one which was a self-propelled 37-millimeter gun. This group had been driven out of position south of the crossroads. We asked that they join us, and they agreed.

[Wesley Johnston note: I have not yet determined what element of 7th Armored Division these two tanks belonged to. The only identifying fact mentioned is that they had been driven out of a position south of the crossroads. D/87 had attempted to continue on to Samree from Baraque de Fraiture and met German resistance that stopped them after going only half a mile. The 8 Jan 1945 interview of D/87 Lt. Arthur A. Olson includes this: "Meanwhile Lt. Olson did two things: first he sent the supply trucks, kitchen trucks, half tracks, and assault guns back to the main road intersection at 577852 where a block was beginning to form from the assorted units which came by the intersection. In command was a Captain from the 106th division (name unknown)". It is possible that it was to this force that Elliott Goldstein was referring in his comments, possibly calling the assault guns tanks. But D/87 had no assault guns of its own, and Lt. Olson does not refer to them in the interview until this point. So it is not clear what unit the assault guns belonged to, but they were clearly with D/87, so that this reference by Elliott Goldstein could very well be to D/87.]]]]]]]]]

Memoir of John R. Schaffner (p. 42)

We were joined by some AAA people with a towed trailer mounted with four 50-caliber machine guns and a 37-millimeter cannon. I thought at the time I'd hate to be in front of that thing when it went off. (I only saw the one unit then, but the books reporting the action mention that there were four of these units there from the 203rd AAA, 7th Armored Division.) This weapon was positioned to fire directly down the road to Houffalize. Frank Aspinwall also reports that we were joined by a platoon of the 87th Recon Squadron.

Memoir of Elliott Goldstein (p. 47)

To complete the story of the unusual fire mission on Samree, we were aided by an officer from the 87th Reconnaissance Troop of the 7th Armored Division. He had first observed the Germans in Samree and had radioed the information back. The information was passed to Major Parker. The first round fired was reported by the observer to be range correct, deflection correct, and height of burst correct. Two volleys were tehn fired after which the observer reported, "Mission accomplished."

Memoir of Randolph C. Pierson (p. 47)

... Major Parker had persuaded stragglers to stand and fight with us. They were: one light tank and crew from the 87th Recon Squadron; four 3-inch, high-velocity anti-tank guns and crews from the 643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, and four anti-aircraft half-tracks from the 203rd AA Battalion, three mounting Quad-Fiftys, one mounting a 37-millimeter AA gun.

[Wesley Johnston note: This is an explicit reference to a single D/87 light tank, which might actually have been an armored car.]

21 December 1944
Memoir of Randolph C. Pierson (p. 50)

About 0800 hours, Major Parker dispatched the light reconnaissance tank to find and neutralize the mortar position. In a short time the tank returned to the command post. The non-commissioned tank commander reported to the major that the mortar had been neutralized. He then produced five German "Soldier Books" to identify the enemy unit attacking as and as proof of his kill.

[Wesley Johnston note: This is an explicit reference to a single D/87 light tank, which might actually have been an armored car.]

Memoir of Elliott Goldstein (pp. 54-55)

(p. 54) The 87th Reconnaissance TRoop was ordered to hold the crossroads, but Major Parker did not want to leave until they had received reinforcements. Reinforcements did arrivein the form of two tank platoons.

(pp. 54-55) To us our position seemed more like a way station than a defensive post, as reinforcements seemed to come and go. We did not know how long Task Force Jones was staying with us, nor did we know whether we would get other reinforcements. We therefore pulled in our perimeter. All vehicles were moved inside the perimeter, and two-man emplacements were dug at five-yard intervals around part of the perimeter. The perimeter was much smaller than it had been since we'd had a number of casualties during the afternoon. Even with this reduced perimeter, we were only able to cover the east and south of the perimeter and had to rely on the anti-aircraft guns and the vehicles of the reconnaissance group to cover the remainder of the perimeter.

Click here for information about contacting me.

Click here to return to the main 7th Armd Div at Baraque de Fraiture page.

Click here for an active overview of all pages at the 7th Armored Division web site