THE ROER RIVER
With the "Battle of the Bulge" relegated to the
history files, the Spearhead Division rested and refitted while
the snow melted in the area BARVAUX - EBEZEEHOTTON - MAFFE -
OCQUIER in Belgium. This refitting period continued until 7 February.
On that date the Division started moving back to familiar surroundings.
The new assembly positions were in the STOLBERG - BREINIG - HASTENRATH
- WERTH area in Germany. VII Corps took over a sector of the
ROER front roughly corresponding to the sector that the Corps
held in December when they left to take part in the ARDENNES
Facing VII Corps' ROER front, the enemy had two infantry divisions,
the 353rd and the 363rd. These divisions totaled approximately
10,000 men. The artillery of the 59th, 85th, 272nd, 353rd and
363rd German Infantry Divisions, as well as one GHQ Battalion
were capable of firing into the American VII Corps Zone.
In addition to the ROER trench system, there was another belt
of enemy trenches to be met before reaching the ERFT Canal. This
belt ran from southwest of ELSDORF, west of ETZWEILER, west of
MANHEIM, west of BLATZHEIM, thence down the western bank of the
NEFFEL River. Most of the villages were protected by trench systems
making them potential strong points. MANHEIM and ELSDORF were
especially well protected, and occupied artillery and anti-aircraft
positions existed around MERZENICH and BUIR. A stiff defense
of HAMBACH WOODS was expected.
While the 8th and 104th Infantry Divisions of VII Corps prepared
to force crossings of the ROER in the vicinity of DUREN, the
3rd Armored continued to refit and train reinforcements.
At 0300 on 23 February, the 8th and 104th Divisions made initial
crossings of the ROER, which was subsiding somewhat from recent
flood stage. The 3rd Armored Division was placed on a six hour
alert at 1000 that morning.
The plan for the operation called for the 8th and 104th Divisions
to seize the Corps bridgehead line, shown on the Sketch No. 22.
When crossings were prepared and the bridgehead secure, the 3rd
Armored was to pass through and attack northeast to seize ELSDORF
area and secure a bridgehead across the ERFT CANAL in that vicinity,
at the same time blocking any attempt of the enemy to move troops
north into the ELSDORF area by seizing BLATZHEIM, KERPEN, HEPPENDORF
and SINDORF. Elements of the 8th and 104th Division were to follow
the 3rd Armored Division closely to secure the objective gained,
allowing the armor to continue to advance rapidly.
The 13th Infantry Regiment of the 8th Infantry Division was attached
to the 3rd Armored Division for the operation. Its battalions
were, in turn, attached to the Task Forces of the three Combat
Commands. The three Combat Commands were organized into Task
Forces as shown below.
C COMD. "A" (BRIG. GEN. HICKEY):
32nd Armd. Regt. (- 1st & 3rd Bns.)
1st Bn., 36th Armd. Inf. Regt.
3rd Plat., "A" Co., 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
3rd Plat., "A" Co., 703rd TD Bn.
67th Armd. FA Bn. (Direct Support)
1st Bn., 32nd Armd. Regt.
1st Bn., 13th Inf. Regt.
1st Plat., "A" Co., 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
1st Plat., "A" Co., 703rd TD Bn.
67th Armd. FA Bn. (Direct Support)
C COMD. "B" (BRIG. GEN. BOUDINOT):
33rd Armd. Regt. (-2nd & 3rd Bns.)
2nd Bn., 36th Armd. Inf. Regt.
3rd Plat., "B" Co., 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
2nd Plat., "B" Co., 703rd TD Bn.
3rd Plat., Rcn. Co., 33rd Armd. Regt.
391st Armd. FA Bn. (Direct Support)
2nd Bn., 33rd Armd. Regt.
2nd Bn., 13th Inf. Regt.
3rd Plat., "B" Co., 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
1st Plat., "B" Co., 703rd TD Bn.
2nd Plat., Rcn. Co., 33rd Armd. Regt.
391st Armd. FA Bn. (Direct Support)
C COMD. "R" (COL. HOWZE):
3rd Bn., 33rd Armd. Regt. (- 1st Plat. C Co.)
3rd Bn., 36th Armd. Inf. Regt.
3rd Plat., "C" Co. 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
3rd Plat., "C" Co. 703rd TD Bn.
3rd Bn., 32nd Armd. Regt. (- 3rd Plat. Co. I)
3rd. Bn., 13th Inf. Regt.
1st Plat., "C" Co., 23rd Armd Engr. Bn.
2nd Plat., "C" Co., 703rd TD Bn.
The 83rd Armored Reconnaissance was reinforced by the 1st
Platoon of Company "C", 703rd Tank Destroyer Battalion;
one Bridge section from the 23rd Armored Engineer Battalion;
and the direct support of the 83rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion.
The 54th Armored Field Artillery Battalion was ordered to perform
general support missions for the division until the commitment
of Combat Command "R", at which time the Battalion
was to revert to direct support of Combat Command "R".
The 155mm Self-Propelled guns of the 991st Field Artillery Battalion
were in general support.
The attack was to be made with Combat Command "A" on
the right, in two Task Force columns. Combat Command "B"
on the left in similar formation and the 83rd Reconnaissance
Battalion, reinforced by the direct support of the 83rd Armored
Field Artillery Battalion and a platoon of Tank Destroyers, following
a route between the two Combat Commands. Combat Command "B"
was to move rapidly to the Division objective, while Combat Command
"A" performed the blocking mission on the south flank.
The mission of the Reconnaissance Battalion was to move as rapidly
as possible to the ERFT CANAL, on its assigned route, and seize
a crossing. The Reconnaissance Battalion was ordered to establish
a line along the west bank of the canal, if it were not possible
to seize a crossing.
By 25 February, the DUREN area cleared, and it was apparent that
the Corps bridgehead line, would be secured, almost in its entirety
by the following day. Accordingly, the 3rd Armored Division was
ordered to move into the bridgehead on the day of 25 February
and the night of 25-26 February.
MOVE FROM STOLBERG
Since only four crossings of the ROER were available for the
movement, it was necessary to move the 83rd Armored Reconnaissance
Battalion into an assembly area in DUREN during daylight hours.
Then at midnight 25 February, Combat Commands "A" and
"B" started moving from the STOLBERG area. Combat Command
"B" used the two north crossings; Combat Command "A"
used the two south crossings; Combat Command "R", in
Division Reserve, followed Combat Command "B".
After both leading Combat Commands crossed into the Duren area,
the 13th Infantry Regiment was physically attached and integrated
into the Task Forces. Arrangements for these attachments were
made by commanders concerned several days prior to this time.
The attached Foot-Infantry Battalions were transported on the
tanks of the Task Forces.
At 0600 on 26 February, all five columns of the Spearhead attacked
to break out of the bridgehead. It was a cold day with a drizzle
of rain. The breaking up of the winter thaw and the rains since
had left the secondary roads, over which the routes lay in part,
virtually impassable to heavy traffic. In addition American artillery
and aircraft had made rubble heaps of most of the towns and villages.
This desolation and destruction, probably the worst area in Germany,
continued all the way to the RHINE River.
On the left, Combat Command "B" made good advances
against scattered resistance all day. The enemy did not defend
HAMBACH WOODS as expected. By nightfall, both Task Forces of
the Combat Command were engaged with the enemy's prepared positions
in the vicinity of ELSDORF and BERRENDORF. Neither had found
it necessary to bypass HAMBACH WOODS, but both had experienced
considerable trouble in negotiating the secondary roads and cross
country portion of their routes.
It was on the drive to ELSDORF that the U. S. First Army first
contacted the German Volkssturm (People's Army). A Company of
Volkssturm troops, led by officers of the Wehrmacht, had the
mission of defending the entrances to the town of BERRENDORF.
When our troops were reported approaching the town, the Volkssturm
assembled, and took up their assigned defensive positions. The
Officers made inspections to assure that everything was in order.
Then the Officers disappeared.
The Volkssturm promptly abandoned their positions, assembled,
and waited for our troops to come in. They surrendered en masse.
Thus the first units of the highly publicized people's army,
the strategic reserve so heavily counted on by Adolph Hitler
to sell each German town dearly, had collapsed. During the remainder
of the Campaign there were only isolated cases of the "People's
Army" putting up any sort of resistance.
That evening elements of the 4th Cavalry Group, on the 3rd Armored
Division's left flank, reached the northeast edge of HAMBACH
On the right and in the center, the resistance developed earlier.
The day's operation netted about five and one half miles. All
roads leading into GOLZHEIM were blocked by strong log roadblocks.
The town itself was covered by heavy artillery and mortar fire.
When passage through GOLZHEIM was cleared, Task Force "Doan"
continued toward BLATZHEIM, which was strongly defended by anti-tank
guns and an intricate trench system. In the initial assault,
Doan lost four tanks to enemy anti-tank guns and met such strong
artillery, mortar and small arms fire that a withdrawal had to
be made under the cover of smoke to effect a reorganization.
The second assault proceeded rapidly, and carried into BLATZHEIM;
175 prisoners were taken and four anti-tank guns were destroyed.
Task Force "Kane" met dug-in 88mm anti-tank guns as
they approached BUIR. Enemy artillery and mortar fire covered
the approaches to the town.
While Kane was engaged in BUIR, the 83rd Reconnaissance Battalion
bypassed to the north and attacked MANHEIM. A battle group from
Task Force "Kane" assisted in the attack on MANHEIM
after finishing up BUIR.
On 27 February the 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion attacked
northeast from MAMHEIM and took GROUVEN and ZIEVERICH in quick
succession. The ERFT crossing at ZIEVERICH was blown, and from
the east bank the enemy opposed all attempts to force a crossing
with very heavy mortar and medium caliber artillery fire.
In the meantime, Combat Command "B" was meeting
stubborn house-to-house fighting in clearing out ELSDORF. All
streets were heavily defended by heavy log blocks and suicide
bazooka teams, plus self-propelled anti-tank guns. During the
afternoon, the Germans launched a counter-attack supported by
four Tiger Tanks and two Mark IV's. Task Force "Lovelady",
in excellent position at GIESENDORF to the south and east of
ELSDORF, moved one of the new T26E3 (The General Pershing) tanks
into position and, at a range of approximately one thousand yards,
knocked out two Tigers and one Mark IV. When this counterattack
was broken up, the enemy tanks withdrew to the east. ELSDORF
was buttoned up by 1900, and Task Force "Hogan" was
moving through the eastern portion of ELSDORF in an attack on
Task Force "Kane", in Combat Command "A"'s
sector, moved into HEPPENDORF and SINDORF against moderate resistance.
However, to the south Task Force ''Doan" had beaten off
a counterattack by enemy infantry and tanks in BLATZHEIM and
continued east against BERGERHAUSEN at 0400. In BERGERHAUSEN
enemy infantry defended stubbornly, firing bazookas and small
arms from well-dug-in positions. They were finally routed by
the infantry of Task Force "Doan" using hand grenades
and small arms and closely supported by the direct fire of tanks.
In mid-afternoon the enemy counter-attacked again with an infantry
company and several tanks. Division artillery broke up this attacking
force before it made any gains.
To complete the blocking mission on the south flank, it was essential
that the town of KERPEN be taken. The canal bridge just east
of BERGERHAUSEN was destroyed by the enemy, and the site was
covered with heavy artillery and mortar fire, so the Infantry
of Task Force "Doan" waded across, and the Engineers
constructed a treadway bridge under the continued enemy fire.
By dark the crossing was ready. The attack on KERPEN was made
in conjunction with the 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment,
which attacked from the southwest. Elements of the 8th Panzer
Grenadier Regiment and the 12th German Infantry Division defended
KERPEN. Their anti-tank defenses were well placed, covering the
approaches in Doan's sector. Consequently, it was decided to
move the tanks into the town after dark. It was an exceptionally
dark night, and this maneuver worked well. On the morning of
the 28 February, KERPEN was secured.
THE ERFT CANAL
Early on the morning of 27 February when the attack had reached
the stage just described, General Rose decided to commit the
Division Reserve, Combat Command "R", to force a crossing
of the ERFT Canal. It had become apparent that the enemy was
not to be caught napping there, and a forced crossing was necessary.
Accordingly, Combat Command "R" moved out of their
assembly positions around BIRKESDORF and followed routes one
and two to the ELSDORF area. Here, Task Force "Hogan"
was ordered to pass through Task Force "Welborn" in
ELSDORF and seize a crossing at GLESCH. At the same time, Task
Force "Richardson" was ordered to pass through Task
Force "Lovelady" in the BERRENDORF sector and seize
another crossing at PAFFENDORF. This maneuver was executed on
the afternoon of 27 February.
At GLESCH, Task Force "Hogan" found a bridge that
was not completely destroyed. About four platoons of infantry
scrambled across on the remains to establish the first shallow
bridgehead. Very heavy mortar and artillery fire and considerable
small arms fire pinned this force to the ground.
At PAFFENDORF, Task Force "Richardson" found the existing
bridge completely destroyed. A bridgehead was established by
two companies of infantry who waded across. As at GLESCH, enemy
artillery and mortar fire was very heavy.
During the day of 28 February, infantry elements of the 104th
and 8th Infantry Divisions relieved Combat Command "A".
Task Force "Doan" then assembled in WIDDENDORF and
THORR, while Task Force "Kane" relieved the 83rd Armored
Reconnaissance Battalion in ZIEVERICH. The Reconnaissance Battalion
then assembled in GROUVEN.
Meanwhile, bridging operations at GLESCH were held up because
of direct enemy fire on the site. The small infantry force that
had been able to cross could not advance sufficiently to take
this fire off the site.
Bridging operations at PAFFENDORF were successful in spite of
the heavy mortar and artillery fire that the enemy continued
to throw in. The last treadway dropped neatly into place at 0945,
just in the time to allow the passage of supporting tanks for
the infantry, which was at that time receiving a counter-attack
by a battalion of enemy infantry and two enemy tanks. With strong
artillery and air support, this counter-attack was defeated without
loss of ground. Task Force "Hogan" also moved a tank
company across this bridge to assist in expanding the shallow
GLESCH bridgehead, where the four platoons of infantry were still
confined to the spot they had initially taken and were receiving
continual enemy pressure.
The 395th Regimental Combat Team (99th Infantry Division) and
the 4th Cavalry Group were attached to the 3rd Armored Division
for continuing the bridgehead operation. There was considerable
hard fighting to be done before continuing the attack toward
the RHINE. The enemy still had observation on both bridge sites.
The GLESCH and PAFFENDORF bridgeheads were shallow and not linked
On the night of 28 February, the Luftwaffe made a strong attack
on both bridge sites and supporting artillery positions. The
damage was not serious; however, and four or five of the attacking
planes were destroyed by anti-aircraft fire.
The 395th Regimental Combat Team attacked southeast through forces
of Task Force "Richardson" at 0300 on 1 March. Their
immediate mission was to expand the bridgehead by seizing the
high wooded ground north and east of BERGHEIM and KENTEN, taking
the enemy's observation off PAFFENDORF bridge, and providing
suitable assembly areas for the rest of the division to be brought
over the canal preparatory to continuing the attack to the north
and east. In the hours of darkness, an initial advance of about
one thousand yards was made against very light resistance, but
at daylight resistance stiffened and remained strong. However,
both BERGHEIM and KENTEN were cleared of the enemy.
The 4th Cavalry Group also moved over the PAFFENDORF bridge thence
north, attacking northeast against moderate resistance between
GLESCH and WIEDENFELD. This operation materially assisted in
securing the northern flank of the bridgehead.
The bridge at GLESCH continued to receive heavy mortar and artillery
fire. At noon it collapsed, and repairs were not finished until
midnight. At that time there were three crossings available.
(A third was constructed at ZIEVERICH, which was occupied by
Task Force "Kane".)
After dark, the 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion was moved
east of the ERFT at PAFFENDORF and was attached to Combat Command
"R". This battalion was ordered to attack east, clear
the woods north of BERGHEIM and seize the high slag pile near
Other elements remained in position, prepared to attack east
on 2 March to seize the STOMMELN - SINNERSDORF - PULHEIM - FLIESTEDEN
- SINTHERN area and reach the RHINE River past ROGGENDORF, thereby
securing a suitable line for turning the attack southeast toward
On 2 March the attack was launched, and met stubborn and organized
resistance at every point. Enemy artillery and mortar fire continued
heavy, and tanks were employed in the vicinity of NIEDERAUSSEM.
The gains for the day were good, however, and further expanded
the bridgehead. ·
On the northern flank, Task Force "Hogan" advanced
steadily against enemy mortar, small arms and anti-tank fire
through WIEDENFELD and GARSDORF to AUENHEIM where they secured
their position for the night. Task Force "Welborn"
of Combat Command "B", which was in Division reserve,
moved up close behind Hogan relieving him of securing WIEDENFELD.
By daylight, the 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion had accomplished
the mission started the previous night, allowing Task Force "Richardson"
to pass thru at 0700 and attack NIEDERAUSSEM. The enemy resisted
Richardson's attack strongly with all arms including tanks, but
the Task Force was able to clear NIEDERAUSSEM by night.
The attack of the 395th Regimental Combat Team progressed well.
The FORTUNA Factory area east of BERGHEIM was cleared by 1430.
This enabled the two Task Forces of Combat Command "A"
to attack OBERAUSSEM simultaneously. Task Force "Kane"
crossed at FZIEVERICH and Task Force "Doan" crossed
in the zone of the 104th Infantry Division near ICHENDORF, moving
through QUADRATH and the FORTUNA Factory area. Both these Task
Forces struck at the strongly defended town of OBERAUSSEM at
1615, and in three hours the town was in their hands.
Task Force "Lovelady", the other Task Force of Combat
Command "B", remained in PAFFENDORF. The 395th reverted
to control of the 99th Infantry Division.
TO THE RHINE
From these positions on 3 March, the 3rd Armored launched
one of the most complicated attacks it had ever attempted and
one of the most successful. The maneuver feints and timing had
many of the aspects of an often-rehearsed "Touch-Down-Play"
as executed by exponents of the "Razzle-Dazzle" game
Elements of the Ninth Army had reached the Rhine near NEUSS.
This fact caused remnants of the Wehrmacht that faced that power
drive to move south into the zone of the FIRST ARMY. These remnants,
along with many others, began to appear in the Prisoner of War
cages of the 3rd Armored. It was further established that many
of the small units being encountered were operating under the
newly organized control of the 476th "WESTPHALIA" Division.
Daily, these units were reinforcing the remnants of the 9th Panzer
and 363rd Volksgrenadier Divisions which faced the 3rd Armored
Division's front. These forces defended in the towns and from
prepared field fortifications, delaying to the maximum. Their
remaining armor was used to fire anti-tank and direct fire, then
was withdrawn as rapidly as possible when further delay could
not be effected. Such a defense is costly to the attacker and
hard to disrupt. But it was disrupted to a great degree on 3
March by an armored attack that perfectly exemplifies the speed
and shiftiness of armor.
On the Division right flank, Combat Command "A" attacked
at 0400. Before dawn, Task Force "Kane" was in the
outskirts of BUSDORF, and Task Force "Doan" was entering
FLIESTEDEN. At BUSDORF, heavy fighting developed rapidly. The
enemy, however, had been caught asleep and his casualties were
heavy. By 0830 the town was cleared. At FLIESTEDEN, the surprise
was more complete. Task Force "Doan" did not suffer
a single infantry casualty, and the infantry had led the way
into town. Enemy losses were severe. The town was secured by
0655. Task Force "Doan" then remained in FLIESTEDEN,
allowing Task Force "Kane" to pass through and attack
MASTEDEN. MASTEDEN was taken easily. The forces that would have
withdrawn to there were destroyed at FLIESTEDEN and BUSDORF.
By 1500, Task Force "Doan" had moved up abreast of
Task Force "Kane", and while Kane attacked PULHEIM,
Doan attacked GEYEN and SINTHERN in turn. Both GEYEN and SINTHERN
were seized and secured by 2000 and PULHEIM by 1915 against light
Combat Command "R" attacked at 0700 on the Division
left (north). On the Combat Command left, Task Force "Hogan"
attacked northeast toward RHEIDT. Here the enemy had manned his
delaying positions and supported them with tanks and anti-tank
fire. It was 1545 when, after a sharp engagement, Task Force
"Hogan" cleared RHEIDT and prepared to move on toward
STOMMELN. Task Force "Richardson" also attacked from
NIEDERAUSSEM at 0700. Their attack was directed at INGENDORF.
The movement to attack position was made through BUSDORF where
Task Force "Kane" was still engaged in clearing the
last of the surprised garrison from cellars and houses. With
Task Force "Hogan" pinning down the RHEIDT garrison
and BUSDORF and FLIESTEDEN already taken, INGENDORF proved relatively
easy to seize. At 1145 Richardson reported the town clear and
moved on STOMMELN, which was better defended. A minefield covered
with AT fire guarded the approach directly to Richardson's front.
It can be readily seen that BUSDORF was a focal point in the
entire day's action. As might be expected, traffic control there
was a major problem. When Task Force "Lovelady" was
moved through BUSDORF from BERGHEIM, the situation was further
aggravated; and Task Force "Welborn", following Hogan
through NIEDERAUSSEM, followed Lovelady through BUSDORF. This
maneuver of Combat Command "B" was effected to fill
the gap between Combat Command "R" and Combat Command
"A" that developed when the right Combat Command outdistanced
From FLIESTEDEN, Lovelady moved northeast to an attack position
which afforded an approach on STOMMELN from the southeast. The
Task Force joined in the battle for STOMMELN at 1500.
The enemy in STOMMELN then found his defenses engaged from three
directions by three Task Forces. Before dark, several groups
of P-47's checked into the Division Controller and, in turn,
to the Task Force Controllers. They attacked enemy tanks, self
propelled guns and anti-tank guns with their bombs and strafed
personnel and vehicles with excellent results.
The maneuver of Task Force "Lovelady" succeeded in
outflanking the resistance which had prevented Richardson from
making more than a slight penetration for hours. Task Force "Lovelady"
entered and cleared the eastern part of STOMMELN, while Task
Force "Hogan" and Task Force "Richardson"
fought their way into the western part. The three Task Forces
secured the town for the night.
Meantime, Task Force "Welborn", the other Task Force
of Combat Command "B", had moved into attack positions
near BUSDORF. Task Force "Welborn" had on very short
notice reassembled holding forces in the vicinity of WIEDENFELD,
pulled back to the west of the ERFT Canal, moved south to BERGHEIM
and then northeast to NIEDERAUSSEM, trailing Task Force "Lovelady"
and by 1700 was in position near BUSDORF to launch an attack
on SINNERSDORF. This rapid shifting of forces and smooth handling
of masses of traffic on a limited road net, completely took the
enemy by surprise, and Task Force "Welborn" moved in
on SINNERSDORF against a dazed enemy. Anti-tank fire was intense,
but infantry resistance was moderate. By 2015 the town was cleared.
At 1620, the 83rd Reconnaissance Battalion, the Division's only
uncommitted combat element, was passed through Combat Command
"R" in the vicinity of STOMMELN, launching its attack
toward ROGGENDORF. This attack continued through the night and
strong patrols were sent probing east and north. At 0420 on 4
March, one of these patrols reached the RHINE River north of
WORRINGEN. They found both WORRINGEN and ROGGENDORF to be strongly
defended. There was heavy traffic on the river roads as beaten
elements of the Wehrmacht streamed toward the COLOGNE bridges
and the ferry sites at WORRINGEN. The main force of the Reconnaissance
Battalion attacked north toward HACKHAUSEN. At that little town,
the enemy was again surprised by a night attack, and many prisoners
were taken and much equipment captured. After daylight, a holding
force was left in HACKHAUSEN, while the remainder of the battalion
moved back to SINNERSDORF, and, in conjunction with Task Force
"Lovelady", attacked ROGGENDORF and WORRINGEN. The
enemy counter-attacked at both towns, ROGGENDORF from the north
and WORRINGEN from the south, but by 1845 both towns were secured.
On the left flank, the 4th Cavalry Group cleared the woods west
of HACKENBROICH and HACKHAUSEN.
On the south, elements of the 104th Division relieved Task Force
"Doan" in GEYEN and SINTHERN. Doan then moved into
PULHEIM, and the Division was set for the attack on COLOGNE.
At 0400 all Task Forces attacked in their zones (see sketch
No. 24). Resistance on the Division right was scattered and light.
On the left, resistance was more stubborn, increasing with proximity
to the RHINE River.
Leading elements of Combat Command "A"'s Task Force
"Doan" entered COLOGNE at 0710. House to house fighting
developed, but the enemy defended with little spirit. The sharpest
engagement occurred in the vicinity of the airfield, which was
defended by 16 88mm guns, both anti-tank and dual-purpose weapons.
All these guns were overrun by a tank charge across the flat
terrain executed under smoke cover with infantry riding the tanks
of Task Force "Kane". The factory area along the river
proved more difficult than the rest of the city. Task Force "Lovelady"
encountering massed anti-aircraft dual-purpose 88's and well
dug-in infantry supported by self-propelled assault guns. Artillery
and mortar fire from east of the river covered the withdrawal
of scattered enemy units with heavy fire. In the northern part
of the Division sector (See sketch No. 25), the 4th Cavalry Group
continued to advance steadily against enemy tanks and infantry
strong points, seizing HORREM and DORMAGEN and the IGF TEXTILE
On 6 March, all elements completed dealing the enemy from their
zones with the exception of a small sector in the northeastern
part of COLOGNE, which was cleared the following day.
Defensive sectors were established within the Division boundaries
on 8 March. Patrols covered the entire area, and established
contact on the north with the 4th Cavalry, now operating under
Corps control, and on the south with 104th Infantry Division.
Down to the south, the 1st Infantry Division prepared to take
BONN by a night attack in an attempt to seize a bridge known
to be still intact there.
COMBAT COMMAND "R" (COL. HOWZE)
36th Armd. Inf. Regt. (- 1st & 2nd Bns.)
2nd Bn., 33rd Armd. Regt.
3rd Bn., 32nd Armd. Regt.
3rd Bn., l3th Inf. Regt. (8th Div.)
54th Armd. FA Bn.
Co. C, 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn. (- 3rd Plat.)
Co. C, 703rd TD Bn. (- 3rd Plat.)
1st Plat., Co. B, 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
3rd Plat., Co. B, 703rd TD Bn.
2nd Plat., Rcn. Co., 33rd Armd. Regt.
Co. C, 45th Armd. Med. Bn.
Det. Co. B, Maint. Bn., 3rd Armd. Div.
was attached to the 1st Infantry Division and moved to the
LIBLAR area, prepared to exploit any crossing that might be seized.
They were not committed.
On 17 March the 104th Infantry Division relieved the 3rd Armored
Division in its defensive sector, and the 3rd Armored moved into
assembly areas generally northwest of BONN for regrouping and
On 20 March the expansion of the REMAGEN bridgehead to the north
was in progress against increasing resistance, as American forces
approached the SIEG River. In order to give additional strength
to this attack, Combat Command "R" reconstituted:
36th Armd. Inf. Regt. (- 1st & 2nd Bns.)
3rd Bn., 33rd Armd. Regt.
3rd Bn., 32nd Armd. Regt.
54th Armd. FA Bn.
Co. C, 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
Co. C, 703rd TD Bn.
Co. C, 45th Armd. Med. Bn.
Co. C, Maint. Bn., 3rd Armd. Div.
was attached to the 1st Infantry Division and moved into the
bridgehead. They operated first under control of the 1st Infantry
Division then, on 21 March, under 78th Infantry Division control
in the area generally north and east of BEUEL. Combat Command
"R" returned to control of 3rd Armored Division on
22 March, and assembled in the northern part of the newly assigned
Division area in the vicinity of HONNEF.
Next Chapter: Central Germany