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ALDRINGEN. The 3d Battalion, 289th Infantry, assisted in taking and mopping up MALDINGEN. In the entire engagement 49 enemy prisoners were captured and heavy casualties were inflicted.

 

The attack against ALDRINGEN continued through 24 January. Companies F, I, and K of the 291st Infantry attacked the town at 1300. Heavy resistance from the town prevented its capture during daylight, but, under cover of darkness, the 3d Battalion moved into town, and by hard street fighting, sniping, and hand-to-hand combat forced the enemy from the town to the southeast. Other units of the division mopped up and established perimeter defenses in BRAUNLAUF and MALDINGEN. The 290th Infantry remained in division reserve.

 

The capture of ALDRINGEN severed the vital north-south spoke of the ST. VITH road hub. With the ARDENNES salient no longer in being, and the Germans driven back toward the Siegfried Line, the battle of The Bulge was over.

 

On 24 January Major General Ray E. Porter relieved Major General Fay B, Prickett as Division Commander, and Colonel Charles L. Dasher, Jr., relieved Brigadier General A. C. Stanford as Division Artillery Commander.

 

II. THE COLMAR POCKET 1 - 7 FEBRUARY 1945

 

To the people of France, the continued German hold on the COLMAR district of ALSACE was an intolerable threat to national pride and security. The French First Army was accordingly directed to liquidate the pocket. The 75th Infantry Division, battle-hardened by its month in the ARDENNES, was assigned to assist in this mission.

 

The battle of COLMAR was characterized by the peculiarity of the terrain.  The RHINE PLAIN at this point is about seven miles wide, the greater portion lying on the west side of the RHINE. High mountains overlook the plain from both sides of the river and are intervisible. Excellent enemy artillery observation is provided by mountains. Cover in the plain is by deciduous forests and villages. Short range cover is provided by a slight rolling of the ground. The action began with about a foot of snow covering the plain, and one to ten feet lying in the mountains. It was completed in a mid-winter thaw that resulted in severe flooding. After the thaw, tank action was not bogged down because tanks sunk through 8 to 12 inches of topsoil mud to a gravel bed underneath.

 

The mission of the division was to cover the right flank of the 3d Infantry Division in its drive south along the RHINE. The most advanced elements of the 28th Infantry Division were several thousand yards northwest of COLMAR, and the most advanced elements of the 76th Infantry Division several thousand yards southeast of COLMAR. The picture was presented of a division attacking with its left and center, and having its right echeloned to the rear in a line that grew thinner and thinner as the division progressed. Never, until the latter days of the engagement, did the rear elements of the division have more than a few infantrymen between themselves and the enemy, and on one occasion the defense platoon and the reconnaissance troop were nil that lay between the Division Command Post and the enemy across the L'ILL River.

 

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General De Lattre De Tassigny, Commanding General of the First French Army, commended the prowess of troops in the COLMAR battle on 8 February:

 

I do not wish to await the end of this bitter and victorious struggle to tell you my happiness and my gratitude.  For nearly three weeks, I have not allowed you any respite, and night and day have ordered you harshly and endlessly En Avant!

 

This had to be done!

 

No task was more imperative nor more lofty than saving STRASBOURG and finally liberating ALSACE. No task was more fruitful  in military and political consequences. No task was more worthy of your generosity and your sacrifices.

 

You understood this, and covered with mud, numb with cold, exhausted, you found in yourselves the supreme strength necessary to overcome the desperate resistance of the enemy.

 

Thanks, to you, my beloved American comrades, who have brought us your courage and who have spared nothing to help us—neither your arms nor your blood.

 

As for you, my beloved French comrades, you will be able to claim with just pride that you have been the builders of a great national event of which our children will speak with feeling and respect.

 

All the divisions of the army of liberation participated, and each, with its own force and with equal love for France, has gloriously marked its part of the battlefield.

 

The German has been driven from the sacred soil of France. He will never return!

 

Other commendations were received from Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers. Commanding General, Sixth Army Group, on 9 February, and from Major Genernl F. W. Milburn, Commanding General, XXI Corps, on 10 February. The Division Commander on 11 February commended all officers and men for their splendid performance, but warned that, though the battle was won, new and greater efforts would be necessary to win the war.

 

Enemy prisoners of war taken during the period amounted to 515. Our own battle casualties were 105 killed, 439 wounded, and 132 missing, with non battle casualties 591.

 

THE LONG JOURNEY — 25 - 31 JANUARY 1945

 

The division's month of cold and combat in the ARDENNES had earned it a rest, but on 25 January the proposed rest period near LIEGE was cancelled. The entire division was ordered to move to the Seventh United States Army area south of STRASBOURG, France. Rail movement of the infantry and a portion of the rear echelon commenced the afternoon of 26 January from PEPINSTER, BELGIUM, southeast of LIEGE. Those moving by rail were transported to LUNEVILLE, FRANCE, approximately 25 miles southeast of NANCY, and from there by truck to the new assembly area. The move by rail was completed in approximately two days.

 

The motor movement of all the motorized elements of the division, including Division Headquarters, commenced at 0800 on 27 January. Approximately 8,000 men and over 1,400 vehicles moved from BELGIUM to FRANCE. The

 

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move started in VIELSALM and vicinity and proceeded north of TROIS PONTS, BELGIUM, thence south through HOTTON, MARCHE, and ROCHEFORT, BELGIUM, to SEDAN. FRANCE. The trip through France except for the severe cold was extremely interesting. Elements of the Maginot Line as well as such famous World War I battle grounds as VERDUN and ST. MIHIEL were passed enroute.

 

The movement to the new assembly area from ST. MIHIEL commenced at 1600 on 28 January and proceeded through NANCY, LUNEVILLE, ST. DIE and thence across the VOSGES Mountains to the village of RIBEAUVILLE in ALSACE, FRANCE. Most of the journey was completed with strict blackout driving. Continuous and heavy snowfalls made the roads dangerous and slippery, but all the convoys negotiated the journey over the mountains without serious mishap. The Division Command Post opened at RIBEAUVILLE at 0300 on 29 January. That morning at 0500 the enemy placed a few rounds of heavy artillery within 50 yards of its front door.

 

The same day the division was attached to XXI Corps; to French First Army for operations; and to Seventh United States Army for administration and supplies.

 

The XXI Corps consisted of the 3d Infantry Division, 28th Infantry Division, 75th Infantry Division, and 5th French Armored Division. As part of the French First Army's drive to wipe out organized German resistance west of the RHINE in the COLMAR pocket, the corps objective was to seize NEUFBRISACH, block the RHINE, and maintain contact in the VOSGES Mountains. The 75th Infantry Division was ordered to pass through and relieve elements of the 3d Infantry Division, continue the attack to seize the line HORBOURG - ANDOLSHEIM - APPENWIHR - WOLF-GANTZEN, and prevent the enemy from crossing L'ILL River. The 289?!i and 291st Infantry Regiments were to attack, with the 290th Infantry in division reserve. Pursuant to these orders, the 289th Infantry completed movement of the foot elements to the forward assembly area in the woods north of REIDWIHR, closing at approximately 1100 on 29 January. The 290th Infantry, ir. reserve, assembled in the wooded area northeast of OSTHEIM.

 

At 2000 on 80 January the forward echelon of the Division Command Post opened in a wooded area northwest of BISOHWIHR. The 3d Infantry Division, which had launched an attack across the COLMAR Canal on 29 January, seized the towns of JEBSHEIM, BISOHWIHR, MUTZENHEIM, WIHR, and FORTSCHWIHR. Since the town of WIHR-EN-PLAIN had not yet been cleared of the enemy on 31 January, the hour of attack for the 75th Infantry Division was changed from 31 January to 1 February at 0700. Relief of the 3d Infantry Division in the sector was completed prior to 2330 on 31 January.

 

ANDOLSHEIM — 1 FEBRUARY

 

Infantry Regiments abreast. The 3d Infantry Division was on the left flank, with the 28th Infantry Division echeloned to the right rear. The 1st Battalion, 289th Infantry, attacked HORBOURG, previously attacked by the 3d Infantry Division, and completed house-to-house mopping up operations against

 

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stubborn resistance. Snipers installed in the church steeple were cleared by destroying the steeple with a bazooka. By 1500 the town was cleared of all enemy, and 40 prisoners had been captured. The 2d Battalion, 289th Infantry, closed into WIHR-EN-PLAINE at 0300, relieving the 3d Infantry Division there, and at 0700 attacked to the south in conjunction with the 3d Battalion and Combat Command 4 of the French 5th Armored Division. After a heavy artillery preparation, the important cross roads in the town of ANDOLSHEIM was cleared of all enemy by 1400, and the town was garrisoned by the 2d Battalion until relieved by Company C at 2100 that night. When the relief was completed, the 2d Battalion advanced south toward APPENWIHR. The 3d Battalion, after clearing ANDOLSHEIM, moved to an area northeast of the town, reorganized, and moved south abreast the 3d Battalion of the 291st Infantry.

 

The attack of the 291st Infantry was spearheaded by the 2d Battalion.  Initially, this battalion met only slight resistance and advanced rapidly. Resistance gradually increased until 1400 when the enemy counter-attacked with 3 Mark VI Tiger tanks and infantry from the 19th Assault Battalion. By 1730 the battalion had repulsed the counter attack, knocked out one tank, reorganized and continued the advance south toward the ANDOLSHEIM-NEUF-BRISACH road. The enemy stopped the battalion from crossing the road by heavy self propelled gun fire.

 

The 1st Battalion followed the 2d in the initial attack, and then side-slipped to the left, continuing to advance south. Company A ran into several Mark VI tanks, but with the assistance of one platoon of the 709th Tank Battalion overcame the resistance and continued south. When, shortly after. Company A was slowed by heavy enemy machine gun fire. Staff Sergeant Erich Schwarz ordered his men to cover him, seized several hand grenades, and ran across an open field to the vicinity of the enemy strong point. With great skill, he threw the grenades, destroyed the pill box, and killed one of the enemy. This heroic action, for which Schwarz received the Silver Star Medal, enabled his company to continue its advance and take its objective.

 

Later that day the 1st Battalion again encountered enemy tanks, capturing one. The battalion was forced to establish defensive positions prior to continuing the attack south. While the attack on the city of FORTSCHWIHR was in progress. Technical Sergeant Odilo Bonde, together with members of his ammunition and pioneer platoon, were resting momentarily on the side of the road when they were informed by tank men that Germans were believed to be in a nearby woods. Sergeant Bonde, with two of his men, immediately advanced towards the woods and routed a German, who surrendered. Bonde then went again into the woods, from which he emerged a short time later with 23 Germans whom he had induced to surrender. Sergeant Bonde was I awarded the Silver Star Medal for his gallantry.

 

The 3d Battalion, initially in reserve, was committed to drive out suspected self-propelled guns in the woods, thereby assisting the remainder of the regiment and the 289th Infantry.

 

Throughout the day the Division Artillery, supported by the 969th Field Artillery Battalion and 440th Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion, aided the attack with 45 direct support missions and 14 harassing, interdiction, and miscellaneous missions, expending 1,706 rounds of ammunition.

 

Combat Command 4 was relieved from attachment later in the day.  Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers, Commanding General, Sixth Army Group, visited Division Headquarters.

 

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COLMAR FOREST - 2 FEBRUARY

On 2 February, the 3d Infantry Division on the left, continued to attack in the sector between the RHONE-RHINE Canal and the RHINE River. Com-bat Command 4 of the French 5th Armored Division, on the right, captured COLMAR and five villages. The 28th Infantry Division followed up the advance of Combat Command 4.


The 75th Infantry Division met heavy resistance. While the '1st Battalion, 289th Infantry, improved and maintained its previous positions in the vicinity of HORBOURG, the 2d and 3d Battalions attacked the town of APPENWIHR. Overcoming stubborn enemy resistance, the 2d Battalion entered and was clearing the town. At 1055 the enemy launched a counter - attack from the south and southwest, with an estimated 12 tanks and 200 infantry. The counter-attack was preceded by one of the heaviest artillery preparations yet experienced by our troops, and at 1100 the battalion pulled back into the near- by woods to enable friendly artillery fire to fall on the town. The 3d Battalion had the same experience, and both battalions v/ere relieved by the 290th infantry. Upon completion of the relief by the 290th Infantry, Company I of the 289th Infantry prepared to occupy a defensive line to the east of AN- DOLSHEIM and covered mine laying operations of the Division Engineers h the vicinity of SUND HOFFEN.


In the APPENWIHR counter attack against the 2d Battalion, the attached medical personnel of the 289th Infantry were especially heroic. Captain (then First Lieutenant) William T. Leslie and Technician Fifth Grade William I. Sloane were awarded Silver Star Medals for gallantry in action. Lieutenant Leslie had set up his aid station in support of the attack on APPENWIHR. During the counter attack it became necessary to withdraw and casualties were heavy. Lieutenant Leslie, accompanied by Sloane, entered the town during the height of the counter attack to render on-the-spot medical attention and to evacuate the wounded. Organizing the aid men into a mobile aid station, he and his group went from house to house throughout the town, treating casualties and placing the transportable cases on the truck. Enemy artillery landing nearby at this time killing one and seriously wounding another aid man. an attack through a wooded area when it ran into severe machine gun and The truck full of wounded was evacuated, and Lieutenant Leslie and Sloane left the town on foot. In returning to his unit, this gallant officer was seriously wounded by mortar fire.


The 290th Infantry was moved from division reserve in the vicinity of BISCHWIHR, and the 1st and 2nd Battalions relieved the 289th Infantry. The 3d Battalion of the 290th Infantry protected the division's right flank along L'ILL River. The 291st Infantry in its positions gained the previous day, reorganized its defenses and patrolled vigorously to the front. Staff Sergeant Lonnie D. Rister of Company B heroically gave his life on this day. Company B was making an attack through a wooded area when it ran into severe machine gun and direct 88mm tire. Seeing his platoon leader a casualty, Sergeant Rister assum-

 

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ed command of the platoon. Advancing at its head, he charged directly into enemy position. This act cost him his life, but enabled his platoon to clear the way for the rest of the company and thus to hold its advance position until additional help could arrive. His supreme sacrifice has since become a legend in the history of Company B.
The Division Command Post opened at BISCHWIHR at 1200.

In the attack on APPENWIHR, the Division Artillery, with attached units, fired a total of 2,672 rounds of ammunition. There was considerable aerial activity throughout the afternoon including two strafings of the Division Command Post. Battery B of the 440th Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion successfully engaged an ME 262 jet propelled plane at 1430 over the town of RIEDWIHR. This was one of very few recorded destructions of this type of plane.

In the attack on COLMAR by the French, the 75th Infantry Division staged an important screening demonstration along the east bank of L'ILL River, with heavy artillery fire and a feinted bridge operation.

 

WOLFGANTZEN AND APPENWIHR  - 3 FEBRUARY
 

On 3 February the 3d Infantry Division continued its advance on the Fortress City of NEUF-BRISACH on the RHINE River. The 75th Infantry Division made its main effort along its left flank, with the city of WOLFGANTZEN as the objective.

The 289th Infantry spent the day in improving and maintaining its original positions in the vicinity of HORBOURG, and maintained contact with the 28th Infantry Division. The 290th Infantry remained in reserve, dispatching heavy patrols to complete contact with the 289th Infantry on the right and the 291st Infantry on the left. The 3d Battalion attacked, with the 291st Infantry on the left, at 1600, but the advance was halted almost immediately by heavy artillery fire.

The principal effort was made by the 291st Infantry, heavily supported by Division Artillery, which fired a total of 2,831 rounds on the towns of WOLFGANTZEN and APPENWIHR. The 1st Battalion attacked from the woods northwest of WOLFGANTZEN. After advancing 300 yards over open ground, the battalion received heavy mortar and artillery fire. Darkness prohibited further movement by the battalion, but preparations were made to attack at dawn the following day. The 3d Battalion, attacking at the same time, advanced to the WOLFGANTZEN-APPENWIHR road, where further advance was halted by darkness and enemy resistance.

General Le Clerc, French Second Armored Division Commander, visited Division war room at 1415.

 

CONTINUING THE ATTACK - 4 FEBRUARY

 

On 4 February the front lines elements made small gains against heavy resistance.

 

The 291st Infantry, advancing through the woods, encountered strong enemy positions, including dugouts reinforced with concrete.  The advance of the 3rd Battalion toward WOLFGANTZEN was halted by intense artillery, mortar,

 

 

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and small arms fire. A squad of Company I, led by Staff Sergeant Samuel W. Cathcart was given the mission of eliminating certain enemy machine gun nests. Displaying brilliant leadership as he maneuvered his squad to obliterate this strongpoint. Sergeant Cathcart personally rushed the German machine gun and, despite a wounded arm, routed the Germans. After running out of ammunition, he killed the remaining enemy soldier with the butt of his rifle. He then refused to be evacuated and chose to stay with his men.
 

The 289th Infantry remained in position, making reconnaissance and plans for offensive action. The 3d Battalion, 290th Infantry, supported by Companies E and G of the same regiment prepared to attack WECKOLSHEIM The use of aerial photomaps of the town, divided into lettered assault sectors, materially assisted in planning this operation.


 

WOLFGANTZEN AND APPENWIHR FALL - 5 FEBRUARY

 

During 5 February the division succeeded in securing APPENWIHR-WOLFGANTZEN, and HETTENSCHLAG. In the APPENWIHR-HETTEN-SCHLAG area, which was defended by elements of the 305 Volks Grenadier Regiment and the 198th Division, patrols observed enemy activity early that morning. At 0645 attacking elements o:" the 289th Infantry moved south. Lead-ing elements were permitted to reach the outskirts of the village of APPEN-WIHR before the enemy commenced firing with small arms and mortar. In the attack the 1st and 2d Battalions encountered anti-tank and anti-personnel mines and booby traps on all approaches to the town, delaying the advance considerably. The 1st Battalion, supported by Companies B and D of the 709th Tank Battalion, and Company A of the 772d Tank Destroyer Battalion, sec-ured the town at 0950. On being ejected from APPENWIHR, the enemy re-tired to his next delaying position in HETTENSCHLAG, which was taken by the 2d Battalion at 2000. The 289th Infantry's speed and firepower had thus severed all important roads south and southeast of COLMAR.
 

In capturing WOLFGANTZEN from the north, the 29Tst Infantry took the enemy completely by surprise. All enemy defensive positions were pre-pared in the soutli and western edge of the town, where the enemy expected the attack. At 1500 Company C moved rapidly down the canal on the left, hit-ting the town from fie north, while Company A, accompanied by tanks, came in from the west. All resistance ceased by 1730.
 

TO THE RHINE -  6 thru 7 FEBRUARY

 

The important fortified city of NEUF-BRISACH was captured by the 3d Infantry Division at 1400 on 6 February. During the day the division boundaries and objectives -were changed by Corps order, and preparations were made to effect a crossing of the RHONE-RHINE Canal. The 289th Infantry sent patrols to the canal, and encountered considerable small arms fire from the west bank. The 1st Battalion made contact with the 190th Infantry at DESSENHEIM. The 2d Battalion of the 290th Infantry, heavily supported by the tanks, attacked toward WECKOLSHEIM at 1115. Little resistance was met, and Company G rode the tanks into the town, occupied it at 1245, and established defensive positions along the west side of the canal. [The photoed (errors in document)

 

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in division reserve in the vicinity of WOLFGANTZEN, BIESHEIM, and OBERSAASHEIM.] During the day a total of 236 prisoners were taken. maps had again proved a great help in the attack. The 291st Infantry remain-
 

On 7 February the 288th and 290th Infantry Regiments crossed the RHONE-RHINE Canal, and occupied the villages of HETTEN and OBERSAASHEIM without opposition. The 290th Infantry Command Post in the latter town was strafed by several ME 262's, but without casualties. Late in the evening of 7 February, elements of the 3d Battalion, 290th Infantry, reached the line of the RHINE River without encountering any hostile force, and established outposts and roadblocks. The enemy had been driven out of FRANCE Sergeant Clyde L. Dodson, Company I, 290th Infantry, led the first patrol to reach the RHINE River.
 

FROM RHINE TO RHINE - 8 FEBRUARY THRU 10 MARCH

 

On 8 February, the division was relieved along the RHINE by elements of the 28th Infantry Division. Prior to relief, heavy artillery fire was received from the east bank. Communications were damaged, but injury to personnel was slight. Eleven ME 262 enemy aircraft attacked in the afternoon without inflicting appreciable damage. Movement to the rest area in LUNEVILLE was completed by 12 February. Here the division rested until 15 February. The division reached PANNINGEN, HOLLAND, on 20 February. Here under command of the VIII Corps of the British Second Army, the division went into a defensive position along the west bank of the MAAS River. Successful patrols across the MAAS River were operated every night. On 4 March the division moved to an area about VENLO, HOLLAND, and on 10 March relieved other units of the XVI Corps along the RHINE. After nearly a month's absence, the division had returned to the RHINE River, this time on German soil.

 

III. BATTLE FOR THE RUHR

31 MARCH - 15 APRIL


In the battle of Germany, no single portion bulks larger than the drive to neutralize the RUHR. The RUHR Valley is the most highly concentrated industrial area in Europe. With a pre-war population of more than four million, it produced eighty percent of Germany's coal, iron, and steel, and most of its chemicals and synthetic rubber. Its loss would prevent the Reich from long continuing the war.
 

The task of eliminating the RUHR fell to the Ninth Army's XVI Corps. Carrying out the Corps plan, the 76th Infantry Division, during the period 31 March - 15 April, advanced east from the RHINE past the DORTMUND-EMS Canal, then swung south and reached the RUHR River, isolating DORTMUND and contributing to the obliteration of the RUHR pocket.
 

The operation was carried out against formidable obstacles. The gravelly plateau on which the Division fought has numerous heavy forests, limiting fields of fire. It is interlaced by a system of canals averaging 10 feet in depth

 

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and industrial plants, all capable of conversion into strong points, and furnishing cover for snipers. It bristled with antiaircraft weapons capable of use against ground targets. Finally, first class troops of the 116th Panzer I80th, 190th and 2d Para Division were deployed in the area.

To accomplish the division's mission called for the highest exertions of all arms. Basically, the job of seizing and holding was one for the infantry. But both close and general support was constantly supplied by the artillery, augmented by additional battalions from Corps; by the tanks and tank destroyers; and by the air support, which contributed numerous strikes. The engineers had to prepare canal crossings to make up for the more than 50 bridges blown by the retreating Germans. Because of the relative absence of any enemy air activity, the antiaircraft battalion's normal mission was denied it; but it served, when needed, in the line as infantry.

Enemy losses were severe. 3,664 enemy prisoners of war passed through the division's cage during the period 31 March - 15 April, and dead and wounded well exceeded this figure. Furthermore, many of the 14,173 prisoners of war taken through 16 April - 21 May, during the division's occupational phase, had had the starch taken out of them in the RUHR campaign. Enemy losses in materiel, particularly flak guns, anti-tank guns, tanks, self-propelled weapons, artillery, machine guns, mortars, trains and vehicles were equally costly.

By contrast the division's losses were light. During the period, casualties of 150 killed, 871 wounded, and 32 missing, for a total of 1053, were incurred by the division and attached units. Battle losses of materiel included one 20 ton semi-trailer; one 6 ton truck; four M136 motor carriages (90mm TD); one medium tank; one 105mm assault gun; 6 tanks damaged; and two SCR 536 radios.

The non-military aspects of the campaign were so conducted as to let the troops go unimpeded on their way. G-5 set up military government in the wake of battle, and no civilian disturbances were encountered once an area had been seized. As of 16 April, 2132 liberated Allied prisoners of war were under division control — 874 French, 6 Belgian, 5 Polish, and 1247 Russian. For hundreds of Catholic prisoners at a camp in ICKERN, Lieutenant Colonel John D. Duggan, Division Chaplain, 11 April said the first mass they had at-tended in three years. Uncounted thousands of displaced persons of all nationalities were uncovered by the division's advance.

The Supreme Commander on 20 April issued this order of the day:

To every member of the AEF: The battle of the Ruhr has ended with complete success. Following hard upon the final destruction of the German forces west of the Rhine, the Twenty-first Army Group thrust powerfully across that river with the US Ninth Army under its command. Simultaneously, rapid drives across the Rhine and from the Remagen bridgehead by Twelfth and Sixth Army Groups provided the southern arm of a great double envelopment which completely encircled the entire German Army Group B and two Corps of Army Group H, whose mobility was rendered almost zero by our magnificent and tireless air forces. Thereafter, in the pocket thus created the Twelfth Army Group eliminated twenty-one enemy divi-

 

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sions, including three Panzer, one Panzer Grenadier and three Parachute divisions. Over three hundred seventeen thousand prisoners of war were captured including twenty-tour Generals and one Admiral. Many tanks and more than seven hundred fifty guns were destroyed or taken. Booty is immense and still being counted. The enemy's total loss in killed and wounded will never be accurately known.

The rapidity and determination with which this brilliant action was executed tore asunder the divisions of Field Marshal Model, and enabled all army groups without pause to continue their drive eastward into the heart of Germany.

This victory of allied arms is a fitting prelude to the final battle to crush the ragged remnants of Hitler's armies of the west, now tottering on the threshold of defeat. (Signed) Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Major General John B. Anderson, XVI Corps Commander, on 16 April commended the 75th Infantry Division's Commanding General as follows:


1. Upon the completion of your mission of driving the enemy south of the Ruhr River I wish to extend to you, and through you, to all your officers and men, my commendation and appreciation of the success achieved by the 75th Infantry Division in the missions that have been assigned to them during the period of its attachment to the XVI Corps.
2. The successful crossing of the Rhine by this Corps was, in no small measure, due to the effective screening by your division of the movements of troops and supplies in the rear areas of the Corps prior to D-Day. In addition, aggressive patrolling, constant observation, and the activities of your intelligence agencies contributed a mass of information regarding the enemy situation and installations that was of inestimable value to the assault divisions. After the crossing, your division was given a multitude of missions which from your point of view, may have been considered unimportant and unspectacular. However, all these missions again contributed in a high degree to the success of the Corps by assisting in the rapid expansion of its bridgehead east of the Rhine.
3. As the advance of the Corps lost some of its initial impetus, your division was given a combat mission to continue the attack to the east and southeast to assist in enlarging the bridgehead and in clearing the enemy from the Ruhr industrial area north of the Ruhr River. The enemy chose to resist the attack of your division with the bulk of the best troops available to him in this area. In spite of this fact, plus a series of extremely difficult obstacles, your division advanced rapidly and consistently in your zone of action and by its aggressiveness and determination completed a mission which it had been estimated would require a much longer period of time.
4. I am proud of the accomplishments of your division and feel that I have been fortunate in having had its services available to me during the operations that have now been completed. I wish you and every member of your division every success in the missions that may be assigned to you in the future.

 

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