134th Infantry Regiment Crest

134th Infantry Regiment

"All Hell Can't Stop Us"

35th Infantry Division emblem

BATTLE at ACHAIN FRANCE

November 13, 1944

Achain France
Combat Action
November 13, 1944

2nd Battalion HQ Company, 134th Regiment
35th Infantry Division


Battle Remembrance and Observation
by Sgt. Carroll H. Crouch

The 2nd Battalion moved along a narrow road that led into a wooded area. Just before reaching a clearing ahead, the unit stopped to pause and take a break. Looking forward out into the clearing there was a village at about a distance of 2000 feet located on a mound that sloped to a good rise. The village appeared to be fortified or walled in with two entrances in our view. It is possible that our command group had paused in the woods to have the village reconnoitered before making an attack.

At some point in time a group of German soldiers who appeared to be prisoners came walking out of the village with a lone guard behind them. The long guard walking the prisoners down the sloped road toward the wooded area where the battalion was paused turned out to be Staff Sergeant Junior J. Spurrier of Bluefield, West Virginia, USA, and G Company, 2nd Battalion, 134th Infantry, 35th Division.

Sgt. Spurrier was instructed by battalion officers to take the prisoners back to a military post position for movement to a prison compound.

It was later revealed to some of us that Sgt. Spurrier had walked away from his G company unit, and entered the right side of the village into a house that had a number of German soldiers inside. He quickly put the Germans out of action and threw grenades in a basement where more Germans were hiding. Having used up his ammunition he then picked up German guns, ammo, and grenades and moved into the street where a tank barrier and machine gun nest was located, and put the Germans and gun out of action.

He went inside the village church located in the center block between the two streets that went through the village, and observed some civilians and soldiers in the church. To me it is unclear if any action took place in the church, no one was in the church shortly after we entered the village.

Sgt. Spurrier then moved to the next street where another tank barrier and a machine gun was located; he put both out of action. Sgt. Spurrier then advanced down the street into the village barn stored with hay.

When some Germans refused to come out of the barn loft, he set the hay on fire. Sgt. Spurrier then advanced down the street and found a German headquarters and took the occupants prisoners. He then returned to the 2nd Battalion with a number of prisoners.

I did not know how many Germans were killed or taken prisoner, but it was clear that Sgt. Spurrier was a one-man army and took the village alone.

When we entered the village there were no German soldiers, or village civilians about.

Staff Sergeant Junior J. Spurrier was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in the Achain Village.

Attached I have tried to draw or illustrate a lay-out of the village. To the best of my memory the village was designed to provide some protection from outside attacks with a wall, or housing built to make a walled village, and access to surrounding fields for cultivation, much like the feudal system in medieval times.

After the village was liberated I found a house where my squad could sleep. The next day a cache of food was discovered in the house; whereas each member did his thing about preparing and cooking a dinner fit for a king. We found some table linens to spread on a large family-sized table and placed all the food stuff just so to resemble a Thanksgiving dinner. I sent each member of my squad to find and invite two people each in for dinner. Lt. Washburn and Lt. Cook attended. Thereafter my squad was called "Mother Crouch" and his cooks.

Sgt. Carroll H. Crouch
Florence, Alabama
Muscle Shoals

Map of Achain France 11/13/1944

 

Thanks to Sgt. Carroll H. Crouch for this map and his account of the battle at Achain France.

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Link a photo of Achain France as it appeared in 2001

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