Armored Division "Firsts" in World War II
and additional major accomplishments
soldier in WWII.
From Div. archives.
Of Allied ground forces attacking the Third Reich,
the "Spearhead" Division was the:
FIRST - To fire artillery shells into Germany.
FIRST - To invade across the German border.
FIRST - To capture a German town.
FIRST - To breach the Siegfried Line.
FIRST - To advance across the Siegfried Line.
FIRST - To shoot down a German plane with guns emplaced
on German soil.
FIRST - To capture a major German city (Cologne
- Germany's 4th largest).
FIRST - Ground invasion of Germany in force since
Napoleon in 1810 (then Prussia).
and Record Holder - For the longest one-day advance
through enemy territory in the history of mechanized warfare
- 101 miles through central Germany on March 29, 1945.
Above "Firsts" in more detail
Division Commander throughout: Maj. Gen. Maurice
- First artillery
fired into Germany by 991st Field Artillery Bn. on 9/10/44 at
13:00 hrs. in vicinity of Eupen, Belgium, with 155mm M-12 self-propelled
- First to invade
across the German border by Task Force Lovelady under Lt. Col.
William B. Lovelady, east of Eupen and south of Aachen, on 9/12/44
at 14:41 hrs.
- First to capture
a German town, Roetgen, west of Bonn, by Task Force Lovelady,
with first actual entry into the town by 83rd Armored Reconnaissance
- First to breach
the Siegfried Line by Task Force "X" under Lt. Col.
Leander L. Doan in the vicinity of Scheidmuchle, Germany, on
- First to advance
across the Siegfried Line by Combat Command "A" on
9/15/44 under Brig. Gen. Doyle O. Hickey.
- First to shoot
down a German plane [FW-190 fighter-bomber] from German soil
by M-16 halftrack crew from Battery C, 486th AAA Bn on 9/18/44.
T/5 Russ Eick, quad-.50 gunner.
- First to capture
a major German city, Cologne, west side of Rhine River, during
March 5-6, 1945.
- First ground
invasion of Germany by foreign force since 1810, the final year
of Napoloen's expeditions into then Prussia.
- Record Holder:
Longest one-day advance in history by lead elements of the 3AD
in the northward drive toward Paderborn, Germany, 3/29/45, 101
miles, as part of U.S. First Army operation to encircle the Ruhr
Additional Major Accomplishments
by the Spearhead Division
- Played a major role in the decisive breakthrough of German
positions northwest of St. Lo, France -- a crucial series of
battles that would allow the Allies to break out from Normandy.
- In the area of Mortain, France, along with the 4th and 30th
Infantry Divisions, checked and ultimately annihilated a German
force of five divisions attempting to drive a wedge between the
U.S. First and Third Armies.
- In the area of Mons, Belgium, blocked the primary escape
route of a German Corps attempting to move westward into defensive
positions inside Germany. Together with the 1st Infantry Division,
defeated that German Corps in one of the most decisive battles
of the Western Front.
- Played a major part in the severe fighting of the Battle
of the Bulge counteroffensive, first in checking and then in
destroying or forcing the surrender of pockets of sizable German
- Forged nearly half of the ring in the encirclement of the
Ruhr Pocket in Central Germany, which resulted in the largest
single capture of enemy forces in all of WWII (Europe & Pacific)
- 374,000 German Army soldiers.
- By the Division's rapid westward advance into Central Germany,
played the key role in the forced shutdown of Germany's primary
V1 and V2 rocket manufacturing facility outside of Nordhausen,
- Was the first Allied force to liberate a German slave labor
camp (the equivalent of a concentration camp) - Nordhausen, Germany.