Arthur S. Teague

Commanding Officer 22nd Infantry

4th Infantry Division

February 20, 1946 - Deactivation of 22nd Infantry March 1946

 

 

 

No information for Arthur S. Teague could be found in the Official Army Registers of the period.
From other sources we know that he was a Lieutenant in Company G of the 22nd Infantry in 1940.
By D-Day, June 6, 1944 he had risen in promotion to Lt Colonel, and was in command of
3rd Battalion 22nd Infantry. He led the Battalion ashore on Utah beach on D-Day.

He was wounded in action on November 17, 1944, during the battles of the Hürtgen Forest.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star Medal. He was also
recommended for the British Distinguished Service Order.

Teague took command of the 22nd Infantry just long enough to preside over the de-activation
of the Regiment in 1946. His time of command was approximately one month.

From "Paschendale with Treebursts" by Robert S. Rush, we have a glimpse of what kind of Soldier
Teague was, going in to the Hürtgen Forest battles:

The longest surviving battalion commander of the 4th Division commanded the 3d Battalion.
Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Teague, a native of South Carolina, was called by Lanham "the most competent leader in battle
I have ever known." He had joined the 3d Battalion in 1940 as a 2d Lieutenant and had never left, rising in rank
from platoon leader to battalion commander. Teague had landed with his battalion in the first wave on Utah Beach
and was one of the few officers who had never been wounded. A topographical engineer by profession,
Teague would look at the map from every angle for about fifteen minutes and then issue very precise orders.
Both his executive officer, Major James Kemp, also a native of South Carolina, and Captain Oscar Willingham,
the battalion operations officer, were products of the pre D-Day regiment and ROTC graduates.

 

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Chaplain Bill Boice, in his history of the 22nd in WW2, gives us a picture of what kind of action Teague saw
as Commander of 3rd Battalion, and good insight as to the man himself, in the following passages concerning
the initial landing and movement inland on Utah beach, written by Teague himself:

PERSONAL NARRATIVE -
The Third Battalion. commanded by Lt. Colonel Arthur S. Teague, made the initial assault on Utah Beach,
attached initially to the Eighth Infantry Regiment. The following narration is a verbatim report by Lt. Colonel Teague
on the assault landing of the Third Battalion.

NARRATION - by Lt. Colonel Arthur S. Teague, June 6-8, 1944

"From landing craft we came ashore on LCM's (Landing Craft Mechanized) - three of them - operated by Navy enlisted men.
The enlisted men on our LCM remarked that this was the third landing in which he had participated and that he didn't mind
the initial landing so much as he did the ones afterwards because he would have to keep bringing in supplies.

Just as we were coming in to the shore I saw a shell that was fired from up the beach, and I knew some of us
were going to be hit. I could see the spurts of water coming up. I saw one small landing craft hit, and thinking
the same might happen to us, I told the Navy man to ram the beach as hard as possible. He said he would,
and after holding it wide open for about two hundred yards, we hit the beach and stepped off on dry soil. A couple
of boats behind us - about seventy-five yards back in the water - were hit, and then I saw a number of casualties.
Many were killed and quite a few wounded.

I started up by the sea wall on the sand dunes and stopped for a moment, and it was then that I heard someone call me.
It was General Roosevelt. He called me over and told me we had landed 'way to the left of where we were supposed
to have landed, and that he wanted us to get this part of the beach cleared as soon as possible. He wanted action from
my men immediately after landing, and asked me to get them down the beach as soon as I could. This was about 0930.

At this time we were getting quite a bit of artillery fire from the inland side of the beach. It was not very heavy, but spasmodic.
I went on over and called a couple of officers on the staff and got behind the sea wall and suggested that we figure out
what we had to do. We talked it over and thought about what could happen and decided the best thing to do was to find Captain
Samuels, the Company Commander, and see what troops were already on the beach so that we could take stock of them.

A couple of tanks were on the beach and I yelled to one and crawled up on it. I asked the enlisted men about firing
on the beach on the troops we could see. He stated that he had strict orders to just sit there and protect the troops
coming ashore, and that was all. I told him for God's sake to start fire so we could reduce the troops waiting for us.
He said he had orders to defend until the troops went through.

We started up the beach and I hollered back to everybody and got them dissembled because I saw two men who were lost
on mines. I stayed on the sand dunes to see if I could identify my location on the map. Standing with my back to the water,
looking inland, a little bit to my right front was the little round windmill or silo standing up which I had observed on aerial photographs
and panoramic views of the beach before, which gave me the immediate location of where we were. I tried to get higher
on the sand dunes, but someone yelled at me that snipers were firing and for me to come down.

I started on up the beach wall and ran into more troops and they said Lt. Tolles had been shot. On my way there,
I passed along a number of baby tanks which had electrical wiring and were loaded with TNT. Some troops
wanted to fire into one and I told them to stop that action, and I posted guards on it. I went on around this little firing trench
marked by barbed wire and sandy beach grass. Near this firing trench I went behind a sand dune into an open place
and found Lt. Tolles lying on his side near another wounded man. I asked him what happened and he said he saw a
white flag and he tried to get them to surrender and someone had fired on him. I immediately sent someone back
to notify a doctor to move him out of the place. I went further up and ran into member s of his platoon who had stopped
and were having quite a little rifle fire back and forth. I saw what was happening as they moved along.
My German interpreter was with me. We ran and hollered to them and he yelled to the enemy in German.
I ran on top of the sand dune. There I picked up an M-I rifle and called to our men to get going. We went forward
and suddenly encountered direct fire. I saw two Germans wounded. About seventeen of them raised up
from different places around and started running across the beach. Pvt. Meis yelled at them in German.
I questioned them and asked them where their mines were and about the number of Germans. They said
they didn't know - that they had come only the night before. I told them they did know and that they would go with us.

I then started a skirmish line up the beach. They went about fifty yards. up the beach and yelled. "Mine !"
They started showing paths we could take to get out of there. I had seen Lt. Burton and Sgt. McGee wounded by
mines along the beach. We moved on down the beach and picked up about 40 more Germans. Where they came from
I do not know; evidently troops ran them out. They came with their hands up and ran down the beach. We got
on up a little farther and ran into a steel gate which I thought was a T-7 entrance but now believe it to have been
an entrance to U-5 causeway. I got hold of Lt. Ramano, Engineer Platoon Leader, and told him to open up the gate
and while he was doing it, to have his engineers go up ahead and to lift out any mines.

I had gone up the beach a little farther and heard that my tanks were ashore so I sent someone down there to get ahold
of the tanks and to tell them to come on down the beach. This A Platoon, under command of a lieutenant
from Alabama - I've forgotten his name - came up the beach about this time and we ran across from the little
fortification on the beach wall. The Germans were firing down the beach a little and I could see these shots were hitting in
the water. Some skimmed the tops of our heads and some hit small boats. One of our tanks came up and got fired on
and hit by small caliber guns. It was then that we noticed a small steel turret mounted on top of a pillbox, and was
moving along behind the beach wall. Our tank was about twenty-five yards away, but it immediately elevated its guns
and opened fire, knocking the turret completely off the little fortification. Here we got quite a few more prisoners.

In the meantime, our men were having a pretty good fight inland near an old French fort where they had taken
about a hundred prisoners. As we pushed on up the beach our tanks were firing along the whole time. We found
another steel gate of the Belgian type near the beach. It had been used quite a bit by vehicles before we landed.
I positively identified it myself as being near T-7. I told Lt. Manor to get that out of the way. I had a tank. I pointed
the gates out and he opened that entrance. I waited until he finished the job.

I continued on up the beach right in behind several units of our company and ran into Captain Samuels. Captain Samuels
talked about one of the little tanks which had pushed around the entrance to T-7 and had stopped and been
fired upon about three times by guns. The shots ricochetted off the tank and the Lieutenant fired the first shot, which went
through the pillbox, which was the fortification we were supposed to have landed in front of. About twenty-five
Germans ran across the beach with their hands up. The companies pushed on to the fortification, and there I was with
Captain Samuels, Captain Walker, and almost all the battalion staff. Major Goforth joined us and had I Company
to hold up this point and L Company to attack normal buildings and the entrance to Causeway S-9. The attack was
supplementary. At the time we were getting mortar fire, so we three officers, plus Pvt. Buchavellis, decided we
would dig into the sand dunes on Tare Green Beach. We dug about two feet in the sand and finally I remarked
that that wasn't going to do any good because we weren't getting any of the other fortifications.

We kept noticing the gunfire that was coming down the beach so I took the platoon leader, and he and I crawled down
the beach to see if we could observe where they were firing from. While we were lying there the Germans saw us
and fired two shots. One went over our heads and hit the water. The next one ricochetted off the tank which was close to us.
We called for another tank. Firing continued from the S-9 fortification. causing quite a few casualties.
Our tank fired a few rounds at it and finally destroyed it.

The mortar fire had let up a little by this time, which had been coming down from up the beach. I had just learned
that one of our men with a flame thrower ran about twenty-five Germans out of a pillbox. He had taken two
American paratroopers from that same pillbox.

I started out from this fortification straight across the mine field. I saw a house on fire. Behind me was Captain Walker
and Captain Williams and quite a string of men. As we walked across this area, which had been dry at the time
the mines had been placed in the ground, we could see several places which we knew mines were in, because we could see
where rocks had been prized up. I took out some white engineer's tape which we all carried, and we marked them
as we went. I told them to step in the same tracks that I had made. As we walked I heard one explode behind me.
Captain Williams hit it and he got it through the cheek of the buttocks.

We went on across the mine field and found L Company, Here we met Captain Blazzard, who had machine guns set up
and had been firing. I ordered them to assault the house and the S-9 nest simultaneously. This was a matter of about
thirty minutes. I yelled for Captain Ernest to get him to hold L Company because I wanted to send K Company into attack.

All this time there was a gun still firing up the beach. It later developed that we could see where two or three shots hit
the embrasures, but the Germans had destroyed it themselves.

About this time I told Captain Ernest we could make an attack on the water's edge. We went out on the S-9 fortification
about two hundred yards. The roads seemed to be in excellent shape, showing they had been used. We found a
French civilian in one of the houses, so we asked him where the mines were. He pointed out that the road from S-9
up the beach was mined. In fact, he showed me about eight or ten mines. You could see where the mines had
been put under the rocks. He said that the road hadn't been used for about four months. He said the other road
was being used, and, to the best of his knowledge, was not mined.

We pushed around for a short time and K Company jumped off and made a flank attack. I went with a battalion staff
behind K Company. I started wading in water up to my waist, and in some places, up to my armpits. A long column of men
was wading through the water. A sniper got a man just ahead of me. He lay for most of the whole night
because he couldn't be evacuated.

I followed K Company on up and encountered Lt. Pruzinski. He talked to Captain Ernest and told him that there was
supposed to be a flame thrower behind the house, so I sent the Lieutenant out.

Then we went on up the beach and hit the causeway. We were getting quite a bit of fire and also quite a bit of mortar.
Finally K Company was able to take the approach to the causeway. Lt. Pruzinski had two tanks and he
captured that point.

K Company cleared out the causeway and a few buildings at the end of it, and as it got late at night, I told Captain Ernest
that we couldn't make much more distance, and we made preparations for the night.

There was a house there which we were afraid might be a booby trap. The men began digging into the place, but it was
flooded with water. We were getting machine gun fire from the fortification ahead of us, so I told Captain Ernest
that since we couldn't dig in, we would sleep along the road and I would stay with the group. We lay down sometime
around 12:30 at night, although it was hardly dark. We stayed there for the night. Captain Ernest, Captain Walker
and Major Goforth were with me. 1 told Ernest to tell the men we could sleep there tonight and that we weren't going
to give up an inch of ground.

We put two machine guns on the causeway, and there was water all around us. It was about 1:00 A. M. before all was quiet.
Then we began to make plans for an attack at 4:30. We worked out the plans on the map.

We continued the K Company attack the next day. We had the engineer platoon start moving mines from S-9 along
the beach road. He worked all night. A machine gun kept him from removing them as fast as he could have otherwise.
He had to work on his stomach all the while, but before daylight he got the road pretty well cleared.
After daylight he had all the mines out.

Two 57mm. guns were brought down the road from a house to the front lines to the little embankment which we had
slept behind. All during the night a machine gun had been firing at the embankment, about two feet over our heads.
There were about two hundred and fifty men along that road during the night. We got these 57's up, and I took
Lt. Etta and showed him where the two guns were to go - one on the causeway and on behind the embankment.
I pointed out the fortifications and told him I wanted the guns to be able to fire on them direct. I also got a tank.
The larger guns had been knocked out during the night.

Here we tried to make an attack on them the next morning. We got off about 9:00 A. M. K Company tried to make
a flanking attack sometime during the morning. It went through the water and set up a platoon. They were up
to their necks in water. They were slaughtered in the water by machine gun fire. Captain Ernest said something
had to be done about it. He grabbed a patrol and jumped into the water and yelled at them. He actually took the fire
of machine guns from these men, because the Germans fired on him instead.

I ran down the road toward the 57mm. gun. It had ceased firing. Sgt. Thomas was behind the gun. I stuck one
or two rounds in the 57 and let go with it. As soon as I fired, back came machine gun fire. Then we got some
smoke from 4.2 from Captain Williams and got K Company out of the water - what was left of K Company.

By that time we had cleaned out two or three houses on the beach. It was approximately forty yards of dry beach.
We got two machine guns in the houses. They began firing on the fortification about three hundred yards away.
I sent a tank up the beach wall and got the bridge reinforced. We did everything
possible to get the fortification to surrender, but it did not.

We fought a good part of the day, and in the afternoon when we had practically given up getting it to surrender,
there was a fortification near Ravenoville where the Navy claimed they had seen a couple of white flags. We
got permission from the regiment, left one company, about half of the mortars, and made a flanking attack
with I and L Companies. We went out on the beach and started to Ravenoville.

Coming off this area from the water side from our position there, we had captured about twenty prisoners.
Pvt. Meis, in talking to the German staff sergeant and private, found out that they had come from the fortification,
which was the one we wanted to take. He stated that some men and two officers had been killed and
that they would surrender if we could get to them, provided that one of the officers hadn't taken command.
They further said that when the men wanted to surrender the fortification earlier that day and had tried to put
up white flags, that the officers had fired on them and that they had fired back.

We kept this German Sergeant and private and made the flanking attack about two miles down the road. Going down
the road together were Captain Gatto, Captain Walker, and myself. It was about dusk when we got there. We
decided we would send this German private in. We went further and saw a mob of men and so we dropped
some smoke and he marched in. About eighty enemy surrendered at this fortification. We got them lined up and singled
the one out who knew about mines on the beaches, another who knew about fortifications, and still another who knew
about supplies. We left a medic to take care of the wounded. We marched the other men to the Regimental Command Post.

That night, we had the engineer platoon come in and put in a one span bridge over a bomb crater, which had been blown up
so that water would flow across the road. During the night we got tanks to come down to our place on the beach.
Staying with me that night were Captain Bridgeman, Captain Gatto, Captain Walker, and Captain Huck.

K Company was on the opposite side from us, about a mile away. In between us we had this German fortification from which
we had captured prisoners. but which did not surrender. We slept in a blown-up place on the beach wall.

During the night our C-47's were bringing gliders in. Ack-ack went up from the fortification. We fired mortars and
silenced them from firing the ack-ack, Next morning we were making plans to assault the place from both sides
of the beach. We were ready to begin the assault when I was ordered to report to another place to help ward off an attack.
Arrangements were made that the engineers would blow up the pillboxes and houses full of Germans. There were
about twenty-five houses there, This was off the causeway from Ravenoville. I started out with the company
in formation. I got a few men across the causeway and this fortification opened up with machine guns and fired 20 mm,
ackack also. We had some casualties. Our machine guns fired at them, but we couldn't get it stopped.
I jumped on the side of the platoon sergeant's tank of the 776th Battalion, and told him I was going on the causeway,
and I went and lay down and observed where the machine gun fire was coming from. I told him to come along
beside me in the tank and adjust his firing. He did so and they directed a great deal of fire. It was hit on all sides.
We got off about eight or ten shots from the tank and hit the back door of the fortification. We tried to shoot the entrance.
About fifteen Germans ran out and across the field but were stopped after about fifty yards when the tank fired two rounds at them.

Then a fortification which was so well camouflaged that we hadn't seen it began to fire. We changed positions
and fired at the second fortification. We got off about ten rounds more before they ceased their fire.

I had the tank placed so it could catch any fire, and after I got the men across I jumped on the tank and we got through O. K.
Going out we stopped and fired at pillboxes alongside the road.

 

From: HISTORY OF THE
TWENTY-SECOND UNITED STATES INFANTRY
in World War II
Compiled and edited by
Dr. William Boice

 

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The following is a synopsis of the citation for the Distinguished Service Cross
awarded to Arthur S. Teague:

 

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The following passage is from Bill Boice's History of the 22nd Infantry in WW2, dealing with
Teague's assuming command of the 22nd Infantry in 1946:

 

On the 20th of February, Colonel John F. Ruggles, who had commanded from Sellerich, Germany, took a leave
prior to his assignment to the General Command Staff School at Fort. Leavenworth. This placed the Regiment in the
hands of Lt. Colonel Arthur S. Teague. Great soldier, excellent tactician, leader of men and loyal friend of both his officers
and men, Art Teague was loved and respected by the Twenty-Second Infantry Regiment as were few men.
He had served as an officer with the regiment almost 5 years. Thus, it was fitting that he should inactivate the regiment,
and the men were glad that he was thus honored.

 

 

 

 

 


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