11th Armored Division, Combat Command A, 1944-1945

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After Action Report, Headquarters CCA, 11th Armored Division
The following report is submitted of the action of CCA against the enemy for the period 23 December 44 thru 31 January 45, as required by AR 345-105, C3

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December 23-1944
On December 23-1944 the 11th Armored Division was still engaged in movement from Barneville on the Cherbourg Peninsula to a concentration area in the vicinity of Soissons. The bulk of Hq & Hq Co, CCA was on the road, but the CG, accompanied by S-2, S-3 and aide, had preceded the column and arrived in Rheims at 1900 on December 23. Division having received the mission of defense of the Meuse River line, a combat command and staff was hastily constituted from units available and placed under the command of CG CCA. So as to accomplish this mission, during the night of December 23-24 a CCA staff was organized at Sissonne, and issued FO #5 0430 24 December. The CC was composed of the following troops, divided as indicated, into two task forces :

[restrict]


Task Force BLUE (Brady)

    – 63 AIB (-1 Rif Co)
    – Det Hq CCA
    – 492 AFA (-1 Firing Btry)
    – 41 Cav Rcn Sq (-D Tr)
    – 2 M Cos 42 Tk Bn
    – C Btry (-) 575 AAA AW Bn
    – Plat A Co 56 Engrs
    – A Co 81 Med Bn
    – Plat C Btry 575 AAAW BN SP

Task Force WHITE (Ahee)

    – Co 63 AIBn
    – Btry 492 AFA Bn
    – A Co (-) 56 Armd Engr Bn
    – Plat C Btry 575 AAA AW Bn SP
    – 42 Tk Bn (-)

December 24-1944
In compliance with CC A FO #5, TF BLUE moved 0730 24 December with CC Serv Elms by way of Sissonne – Laon – Brunchamel – Auvillers – Rocroi – Fumay, to Vic Vireux – Malhain 08569 prepared for action against enemy on order. The 41st Cav Rcn Sq (Mecz) (-) preceded main movement with the dual mission of securing liaison with British forces to the N and establishing contact with enemy NE of the Meuse River. TF WHITE moved 1200 to area Sedan – Charleville – Pussemange to secure bridges at Sedan and Charleville. TFs closed in respective areas by 1700 24 December and CP of CCA was established at O-813405. During the day 41st Cav Rcn Sq established Rcn with British at Givet, but no enemy contact was reported. Troops were disposed to curtail enemy infiltration and prepare for movement on order.

December 25-1944
41st Cav Rcn Sq was ordered to restrict operations to movement W of line Beauraing P1042 – Bieure P0552 and CP P1042. Patrols contacted personnel of 9th Armored Division in this area. Balance of CC conducted route reconnaissance and prepared for future action. CP CCA moved to Fumay O815405 at 1800, and at 0100 26 December FO #6 was issued, ordering movement of CC to concentration area SW Fumay. 492 AFA Bn (-), A Co 63 Armd Inf Bn, Plat C Btry 575 AAA AW Bn SP remained in position to secure the bridge at Virheux – Malhain.

December 26-1944
The balance of the CC moved by daylight 26 December and closed in new concentration area SW Fumay by 1400. Positions were improved that night. Elms of CC left to hold bridge were relieved by units of 17th A/B Division and returned to unit areas by nightfall. Liaison was maintained with British at Givert by CG and staff while units conducted maintenance and rested.

December 27-28-1944
Enemy planes were reported over Biv area night of 26-27 December but no action took place. Troops continued maintenance and training activities, and quiet period persisted until the evening of December 28.

December 28-30-1944
At 2100 December 28 orders were received to move all units CCA to vicinity Charleville by 0500 December 29, prepared for march to an unknown concentration area. A verbal warning order and march order were issued at once, and the first Elm of the march column crossed the IP at 0145 December 29. A long forced march was made that night over roads covered with snow and ice in the teeth of a driving snow storm. Route : Biv 0-745555 – Rocroi (06952) – Rimogne (0-7043) – Charleville (0-8334) – Sedan (0-9926) – Carignan – Florenville – Sux, Hosseuse – Montplainchamps – Neufchateau (P3440) – Molinfaing (P3944) – Respelle (P3745) approximately 70 miles. En route written orders for the move were received from Div Hq CCA closed in Biv at P 375455, near Respelle, Belgium, at 1030 December 29, and all units were closed by 1400. During afternoon and evening of December 29 positions were improved. Limited reconnaissance was undertaken and personnel rested.

December 30-1944
At 0130 December 30, orders were received from Div on the basis of which CCA issued FO #7 at 0330. Mission of the command was to initiate attack to the NE in direction of Houffalize, destroy enemy in Z and seize or blow bridges on Div left flank. Composition of the Command for attack was as follows :

A Tr 41 Cav Rcn Sq (Mecz)

TASK FORCE BLUE (Ahee)

    – 42 Tk Bn (-1 Med Co)
    – Rif Co 63 AIB
    – Plat A Co 56 Armd Engr Bn
    – B Co (-) 602 TD Bn SP

TASK FORCE WHILE (Brady)

    – 63 AIB (-1 Rif Co)
    – 1 Med Co 42 Tk Bn
    – Plat Co B 602 TD Bn SP
    – Plat A Co 56 Armd Engr Bn
    – Plat C Btry 575 AAA AW Bn SP
    – 490 AFA Bn
    – C Btry (-) 575 AAA AW Bn SP
    – Co (-) 56 Armd Engr Bn
    – Hq CC A

Combat Command TNS (Gray)

    – A Co 81 Med Bn
    – C Co 133 Ord Maint Bn
    – Unit B Tns

December 31-1944
At 0745 TF WHITE crossed LD and advanced during the morning to vicinity Coord P 4054, S of Remagne, where strong enemy AW and AT fire was encountered. TF WHITE was pinned down in place due to strong defensive nature of the terrain and excellent siting of enemy AT weapons. TF BLUE was not committed on either flank. Heavy artillery fire was delivered on enemy positions and two air strikes were made during the course of the day. At dusk both task forces dug in, in partial defilade on VOCG (Verbal Order Commanding General) and improved their positions. After dark troops were withdrawn to full defilade to consolidate under cover of darkness. At 2300 – brought verbal instructions for immediate movement of the CC to an attack position Vic Morhet, Belgium, (P4558). Leaving the 41 Cav Rcn Sq Mecz (-) to contain the enemy along the ridge line S of Remagne until relieved in place by the 87th Infantry Division, the command started on the road at 0100 31 December. Route : Vaux-les-Rosières (P4442) – Petite Rosière (P4543) – Morhet (P4558) – Magerotte (P4555). Due to heavy traffic, snow, and icy roads, column was repeatedly held up and did not close until 1130. CP CCA was established at Morhet Halt. At 1210 December 31, verbal attack order was issued to assembled unit commanders. Mission of the command was to attack N between CCR and CCB to capture objective vicinity Troine P470625. TFs for the attack were constituted as follows :

Morhet-Belgium-1944

Belgium, Morhet, January 1945

TASK FORCE BLUE (Ahee)

    – 42 Tk Bn (-A Co)
    – A Co 63 AIB
    – B Co (-) 602 TD Bn
    – Plat A Co 56 Armd Engr Bn
    – Plat B Btry 575 AAA AW Bn

TASK FORCE WHITE (Brady)

    – 63 AIB (-A Co)
    – A Co 42 Tk Bn
    – A Co 56 Armd Engr Bn (-)
    – Plat B Btry 602 TD Bn
    – Plat B Btry 575 AAA Bn

SUPPORT TROOPS

    – Hq CC A
    – 490 AFA Bn
    – B Btry (-) 575 AAA Bn
    – CC A Tns

At 1400 CCA attacked in Z, TF Blue leading, TF White following at 1000 yards. Encountering only moderate resistance, the CC surmounted difficult terrain and reached a position just S of Rechrival by 1600 December 31. During the hours of darkness 1800 December 31 1944 until 0700 January 1 1945, Task Forces comprising CCA dug in and held positions Vic Rechrival P450590. During the night constant enemy mortar, AW and artillery fire harassed our troops. Despite constant incidence of casualties, the command organized defensive positions and waited through the night protected by close in defensive artillery fires.

January 1-1945
After daylight January 1 1945, a coordinated attack was organized together with CCR on the left and CCB on the right. Due to the relative positions of the CC’s, CCA could not attack until late in the day since it was necessary that the flanks of CCA be protected, and the position was considerably north of the other two commands. The attack jumped off at 1200 on VOCG to capture the group of small towns immediately N of Rechrival. TF BLUE led and made some initial progress, which was shortly slowed by a heavy German counterattack from the NE involving Inf and armor. Prompt and well coordinated action of air support, plus artillery and tank action stopped the counterattack with heavy losses to the enemy but necessitated reorganization of our troops. At 1500 another coordinated attack was launched due N in the direction of Hubermont, Millomont, and Rechimont. Preparation was afforded by artillery fire and aerial bombardment. The attack reached the edge of the town of Hubermont P450590 just before dark. On VOCG the CC withdrew from its forward positions to consolidate S of Rechrival in the positions previously held due to difficulty of night defense of the advance area occupied. At 1700 C Tr 41 Cav reverted to CCA and was sent forward to aid in setting up defensive sectors for the night. During the hours of darkness the command again dug in. Constant enemy fire from mortars, artillery and AW weapons was delivered on position. Two single plan raids at 1950 and 1955 were made by the enemy but caused practically no damage.

January 2 1945
FO #8 was issued at 0200 January 2. No change in TF’s was involved. Units were ordered to hold ground gained at daylight. Tank elements were withdrawn from forward position to mobile reserve and infantry was employed to defend assigned sector along CC front. CP CCA moved to Morhet. Warning O’s were received to the effect that the CC would be relieved by elements of the 17 A/B Division in place. During the night artillery laid down planned defensive fires.

January 3 1945
Patrols from 63 AIB and C Tr 41 Cav maintained contact with the enemy until relief was accomplished, 17 A/B being in position by 1500. Initially orders were received to move the CC to a rear concentration area but they were remanded before execution and units were held in mobile reserve immediately behind the front in the event of enemy counterattack.

January 4 1945
At 1000 January 4 telephone orders were received from Division to move to concentration area vicinity Sibret P4954. A verbal order was issued through liaison officers and the forward elements moved at 1230. Route : Lavaselle P5656, Poisson Moulin P4855, Sibret. CP CCA established Sibret 1530, all units being closed by 1600. Troops maintained semi-alert status prepared to support either 17th Airborne Division to N and NW, or 101st Airborne Division to N and NE.

January 5-7 1945
Entire command remained in place performing maintenance and personal hygiene. Routes and areas for possible future use were reconnoitered by CC staff and officers from units. At 1715 January 7 orders were received from 11th Armored Division placing CCA on alert status, prepared to reinforce NE sector of 17 A/B Div on 11 Div O. Medical detachment of 42 Tk Bn performed evacuation functions for elements 17 A/B Div after their facilities were destroyed by fire. All units of CCA were alerted and remained on alert status during the night.

January 8 1945
At 1000 B Co 602nd Tank Destroyer Battalion was attached to 42 Tk Bn which unit was ordered to dispose TD’s to N edge of woods at Coord P4759-4959. 63 AIB was ordered to reinforce B Co 602 TD Bn with 2 Platoons 57 mm AT guns and 2 squads of Inf. FO #9 was issued at 2100 placing CC on alert status prepared to support 17 A/B Div on order.

January 9 1945
42 Tk Bn ordered to move platoon of 76 mm tanks to vicinity of Chenogne. 42 Tk Bn (reinf by Plat A Co 56 Engrs) moved to vicinity Villeroux P508553, and closed at 1645. Purpose of move was to facilitate counterattack if required. 41 Cav Rcn Sq troops maintained patrols from Niviers du Pape to Monty between 2 elements of 17 A/B.

January 10-11 1944
On January 10 engineers checked routes and trails for mines. Located minefield P509565, gapped and marked west end of field so as to facilitate passage of our troops to N and NE. All elements continued reconnaissance of routes and areas to the N. Units commenced painting vehicles white in accordance with Div O. On January 11 C Co 42 Tk Bn was moved to P506588 to be prepared for immediate movement. A Co 56 Engr Bn cleared roads Vic 42 Tk Bn, reconnoitered for German arms and equipment. Liaison was established with 193, 513, and 507 Inf Regts of 17 A/B Div. Aslt gun platoon of 42 Tk Bn moved into position jointly with 490 AFA to act as additional battery in G/S. Counterattack plans were formulated and discussed with commanders.

January 12 1945
At 1100 January 12 order was received from Div to assemble in area S Longchamps – to attack on O. O of march was given as 63 AIB, 490 AFA, Div Arty, CC A Hq, C Brty, 575 AAA, 42 Tk Bn, 56 Engr, 41 Cav. Route : Villeroux (P5055), Bastogne (P5558), Longchamps (P5363). Movement was interdicted by Div Arty, which had priority on the road. All troops closed in new concentration areas by 2100. During movement, reconnaissance was conducted by CG, Ex O and subordinate commanders. Div FO #8 required relief of 101st A/B elms in place, and contact was made by unit and Co commanders with the commanders of 101st units during daylight hours, while troops were on the road. CC A CP closed Rolle P530619, and all troops had closed in concentration area by 2100. Relief of 101 A/B Elms was completed by 2200. At 2200 CCA FO #10 was issued calling for CCA to attack N, reduce enemy salients, and capture Objs in Z. Troops were as follows :

    – Tr C 41 Cav Rcn Sq (Mecz)
    – Hq and Hq Co CCA
    – 63 Armd Inf Bn
    – 42 Tk Bn Atchd :
    — Co C 811 TD Bn SP
    — 1 Plat A Co 56 Armd Engr Bn
    – Btry C 575 AAA AW Bn (-)
    – Co C 133 Ord Maint Bn
    – Co A 81 Med Bn

– C Tr 41 Cav Rcn Sq (Mecz) sent out patrols to ascertain enemy strength, positions and movements.

January 13 1945
Arty preparation commenced 0940 and attack jumped off at 1000 with 63 AIB leading. Atk proceeded, encountering moderate resistance. At 1155 Res Comd was attached to CCA, adding the following troops :

    – Hq Res Comd
    – 55 Armd Inf Bn Atchd 1st Plat Co C 56 Engr Bn
    – 22 Tk Bn (-B Co)
    – 3rd Plat Tr A 41 Dav Rcn Sq, (Mecz)
    – Co C 81 Med Bn

Res Comd had initially moved on left flank of CCA, and then moved in behind the combat elements of CC. At 1355 42 Tk Bn, having passed through 63 AIB on VOCG, reported elements on objective at Bertogne, and consolidating positions. CP CCA moved from Rolle P536610 and closed Longchamps P5363 at 1600. At 1540 units reported town of Bertogne surrounded and CR SW of town occupied, thus accomplishing mission of cutting main road to Houffalize P6172. At dark the Elms, N, W, and E of Bertogne were withdrawn to N edge of the woods to the SE, in a position to dominate the Obj by fire. At 2200 D Troop of 41 Cav was attached to CCA to be utilized on call through Div CG.

January 14 1945
At 0300 14 January, CCA FO #11 was issued calling for the CC to turn E in direction of high ground S of Houffalize, seizing intermediate Objs in Z. Troops in this operation were :

    – Hq & Hq Co CCA (Atchd Btry C(-) 575 AAA Bn and Hq Res Comd)
    – 42 Tk Bn (Atchd 1st Plat A Co 56 Armd Engr Bn)
    – 41 Cav Rcn Sq Mcz (-)
    – 63 AIB
    – A Co 56 Engr Bn (-)
    – Co C 811 TD Bn (SP)
    – 55 Armd Inf Bn (Atchd 1st Plat Co C 56 Engr Bn)
    – 22 Tk Bn (- Co B)
    – D Tr 41 Cav Rcn Sq (Mecz) (Atchd on call)

In place (Champs) and proceeded to join command, traveling on foot. B Co 602 TD was attached vicinity Longchamps and ordered to join 42 Tk Bn as soon as possible.
The attack advanced slowly throughout the day through heavy woods in the face of concentrated enemy small arms and mortar fire, together with some artillery. At 1500 55 AIB reported on the initial objective and 41 Cav on their right reached their objective at 1730. All elements then prepared to defend in place awaiting orders for next movement. FO #12, issued 2300, divided the CC into two major task forces with troops as follows :

TROOPS

    – Hq & Hq Co CC A
    – Res Comd
    – C Btry (-) 575 AAA AW Bn SP

TASK FORCE STUBBS

    – 193 (Glider-?) Inf Regt (- Bn White)
    – 41 Cav Rcn Sq Mcz (-)
    – 55 Armd Inf Bn
    – Plat C Co 56 Engr Bn
    – Med Co 42 Tk Bn
    – Med Co 22 Tk Bn
    – Co C 811 TD Bn SP (- 1 Plat)

TASK FORCE BELL

    – 63 Armd Inf Bn
    – 42 Tk Bn (-)
    – White Bn 193 Inf Regt
    – B Co 602 TD Bn Sp
    – A Co 56 Armd Engr Bn

CC RESERVE

    – 22 Tk Bn (- Cos B & C)
    – Plat Co C 811 TD Bn

CC TNS

    – Cos A & C 81 Med Bn
    – Co C 133 Ord Maint Bn
    – Plat 224 Med Co

January 15 1945
Attack commenced 1000 15 January. TF Stubbs met little or no opposition and seized their first close-in objective at 1100. TF Bell, following intensive artillery and air bombardment, seized the first major objective Pied du Mont P5467 at 1130. Rcn was initiated and attack reorganized at once. Driving E in a coordinated Tank-Infantry attack, TF Bell overran Compogne P5567 and Rastadt by 1500. TF Stubbs initially assisted attack of TF Bell by fire, and then started a flanking movement on Compogne from the S and SE. Attack of TF Bell was continued to Villeroux P5568, but after reaching outskirts of town by dusk, enemy counterattack consisting of tanks and infantry necessitated withdrawal to defilade west of town. Enemy tanks after counterattack retired to woods NE Villeroux. Jointly, at 1630, 41 Cav Rcn SQ, under orders from CCA, sent one platoon N to contact American forces of First Army at Diseu-Orvient, and Tr D, plus Cos E and F under Sq Ex O, to move forward by night and reach western edge of CC A Obj – high ground S of Houffalize. TF’s Bell and Stubbs organized defensively for the night. At 2300 FO #13 was issued continuing TF’s Stubbs and Bell, with the following complement of troops :

TF STUBBS

    – 193 Inf Regt (- Bn White)
    – 55 Armd Inf Bn
    – Plat Co C 56 Armd Engr Bn
    – 22 Tk Bn
    – C Co 811 TD Bn SP (- 1 Plat)

TF BELL

    – 63 Armd Inf Bn
    – 42 Tk Bn
    – White Bn 193 Inf Regt
    – B Co 602 TD Bn SP
    – A Co 56 Engr Bn

CC RES

    – 1 Plat Co C 811 TD Bn

CC TNS

    – Cos A & C 81 Med Bn
    – Co C 133 Ord Maint Bn
    – Plat 224 Med Co

Mission of the CC was to continue attack to E.

January 16 1945
At 0300 report from 41 Cav placed them NE of Rastadt at coord P5571. During the night, TF’s reconnoitered crossings of Vaux River in Z. At 0820 Plat of A Tr reported 1 Km S of objective. At 0930 Plat A Tr 41 Cav Rcn Sq Mecz reached objective on Ourthe River. At 0800 TF Stubbs attacked and captured initial objective at 0930. Simultaneously TF Bell moved out and captured the town of Villeroux at 0900 by means of a coordinated tank-infantry attack. Moving on to the E, Mabompre (P5768) was attacked and captured at 1100. Thereafter the action became a pursuit, and was held up only by road blocks and mines, enemy resistance having become a minimum. TF Stubbs, after capturing its initial objective, turned E and followed TF Bell echeloned to the right. Coordination was achieved with 101 A/B Div and CCB, both of which were attacking NE, and nearing a junction with CCA. Attack continued until elements of 42 Tk Bn under TF Bell reached their objective at 1320. Remainder of daylight hours were utilized to close balance of TF on objective, organize defensive positions, and establish contact with friendly elements coming up on S flank. CP CCA moved from Longchamps, closed Compogne (P5567) 1500.
At 2030 FO #15 was issued, calling for a reorganization of troops as follows :

    – Hq & Hq Co CC A
    – C Btry 575 AAA AW Bn SP (-)
    – 41 Cav Rcn Sq (Mecz)

TF STUBBS

    – 193 Inf Regt (- Bn White)
    – Plat C Co 56 Engr Bn
    – 22 Tk Bn
    – C Co 811 TD Bn SP (- 1 Plat)

TF BELL

    – Res Comd
    – White Bn 193 Inf Regt
    – 42 Tk Bn Atchd Plat A Co 56 Armd Engr
    – Co B 602 TD Bn SP
    – A Co (-) 56 Armd Engr Bn

CC RES

    – 55 Armd Inf Bn
    – 63 Armd Inf Bn
    – Plat C Co 811 TD Bn

CC TNS

    – Cos A & C 81 Med Bn
    – Co C 133 Ord Maint Bn

Mission of the CC was to organize N part of Div sector for defense, establish an OPLR E of creek line between Houffalize and Cowan (P6269). At 2300, additional orders were received from Div Hq by Ln O, calling for movement of CC back to Longchamps area on 17 January, and relief in place by 17 A/B. Transfer of command of the entire sector to Col Stubbs, CO 193 Glider Regt of 17 A/B Div was effected by 0130. Troops of 193 Inf were utilized for MLR thus making possible the easy withdrawal of CCA. In accordance with Div directive, B Co 602 TD Bn, and Plat C Co 56 Engr were withdrawn from forward Elms, and relinquished from CCA control. D Tr of 41 Cav was notified of the relief at 0030 and given instructions to proceed to Noville (P5864), as directed by Div.

January 17 1945
During the night, 18 prisoners were taken in southern sector of CCA zone, and patrols located enemy troops in Cowan. Morning of 17 January units maintained positions reinforcing front line elements under control of Col Stubbs. CCR components of CCA reverted to CCR control and moved early to new locations to the S. Warning orders were disseminated to all units to prepare for move to rear area. 63 AIB, Co A 56 Engrs moved out 1400 on VOCG to billets in Longchamps.

January 18-19 1945
Div FO #9 received 18 January confirmed movement of all troops. At 1000 42 Tk Bn moved to Longchamps, 22 Tk Bn to Monaville (P5768). C Tr 41 Cav Sq moved under control 41 Cav Sq to Sq bivouac at Villeroux (P5155). CP CC A moved from Compogne 1200, closed P540621 at 1315. Commenced maintenance and refitting, continued throughout 19 January. CP moved to Rolle P530618, closed 1615.

January 20-21 1945
At 1430 20 January CCA commenced movement on Div order to concentration area vicinity Noville. Route : Longchamps – Recogne (P5763) – Cobru (P5864) – Noville (P5864) – Rachamps (P6067). Movement was made under very difficult road conditions, and proceeded slowly. CP established Rachamps P615667, and all units closed 1900. Tr C 41 Cav ordered to reinforce Tr D patrols on line Wande-Bourcy (P6468) – Boeur (P6467). A Co 56 Engr Bn plus Div Engrs cleared mines in path of Adv. Div O called for seizure of Buret (P6668), and plans were formulated for this objective. Scheme of maneuver originally set was abandoned due to patrol reports that the enemy had withdrawn from the Div front. L/D was moved to NE edge of wood opposite Boeur, and 63 AIB left Div area at 0730 closely followed by 42 Tk Bn and one Btry of 490 AFA Bn. TF SHEELY, composed of one Tk and one Inf Co jumped off at 0900 to take Boeur. No resistance was encountered, and the town was occupied without incident, except the location of numerous hasty minefields enroute. Blown bridge at Boeur retarded movement of vehicles, but during repair by A Co 56 Engr, dismounted infantry and cavalry forded the stream and proceeded toward Buret. Objective was occupied at 1200 by leading elements, and entire command closed in the town by 1800. All troops were ordered into billets for the night. Cavalry patrols from C Tr 41 Cav continued advance to the end of the Div sector, contracting Elms of 17 A/B on N and 6th Armored Division on S.

January 22 1945
By morning of 22 January, cavalry patrols had reached the end of the Div sector and encountered no enemy resistance. D Tr 41 Cav relieved C troop in sector, and continued patrol action. B Co 602 TD Bn and A Co 22 Tk Bn reverted to Bn control and moved out of CCA sector.

January 23-25 1945
Troops rested, performed maintenance and conducted road reconnaissance. Contact was maintained with flank elements, liaison established with 17 A/B on N and command liaison accomplished by CG with all neighboring divisions. Engineers removed mines, cleared roads and improved bridges at Hardigny and Tavigny.

January 26-27 1945
Liaison maintained with 87th Infantry Division.

January 28-31 1945
CC relieved by Div of responsibility for direct liaison with flank elements. Reconnaissance of routes continued by staff and battalion commanders. Training program for combined infantry-tank tactics put into effect covering removal of minefields, Tank-Inf communications, patrolling, attack of fortified position, tank-borne infantry, and mounted infantry attack. The period 23 December to 31 January covered by this After Action Report saw CCA engaged in its first actual combat missions. Troops assigned to the command varied with the nature of the operation as evidenced by troop lists found in the report. It is therefore not practicable to compare the personnel at the start of the period with those remaining for duty at the end since the strength of the command was so varied. During the period from 22 January to 31 January 45, the problem of reorganization of the armored infantry battalion under this command was taken up. Orders received from CG Third Army stated that 57mm AT guns organic to T/O of the armored infantry battalion should be turned in and replaced as may be suitable.

The month of February 1945 proved to be most inactive for Combat Command A, 11th Armored Division. As the period opened, the Command Post of CCA-11-AD was located in Buret, the headquarters being closely surrounded by troops under its control.

BOB-11257

buret-BE

The composition of the combat command was as follows :

    – Hq CCA
    – 42-TB
    – 63-AIB
    – A Co, 56-AEB
    – 490-AFAB
    – D Tr, 41-Cav-Rcn-Sq (Mecz)
    – C Btry, 575-AAAB (SP)
    – A Co, 81-AMedB
    – A Co, 133-OMB

February 2-3 1945
During the last few days of January CCA had initiated training, especially of its tank and infantry elements, based on experience accumulated during combat in the preceding period. From Feb 1 thru Feb 2 this program was continued. On Feb 3, 63-AIB was detached from the Command and moved to concentration area vicinity P8876 under control of CCR.

February 4 1945
On Feb 4, during the absence of CC staff, which was engaged in P/R of front line area, CG CCA was given verbal instructions at Division Hq warning that the command was to go into Corps reserve in an area of St Vith (BE) with the following troops :

    – 42-TB
    – C Btry, 575-AAAB (SP)
    – A Co, 56-AEB
    – Det, 133-OMB

A verbal order was issued to assembled unit commanders designating route of March and IP time.

February 5 1945
On Feb 5, orders were changed inasmuch as road clearance could not be obtained for the movement. Billeting parties were sent to the proposed concentration area vicinity Schlierbach (BE) while CG performed P/R in that area and CC Staff reconnoitered routes. At noon Division issued telephone instructions to the effect that a different area had been assigned to the command in vicinity Krombach (BE), and at 1430 Division FO #11 was received confirming this new assignment.

February 6 1945
On Feb 6 billeting party under CCA S-2 left for the new assembly area and upon receipt of telephone instructions from the Ex O at 1330 the S-3 issued orders to the command to move. The first element crossed IP in Buret (BE) at 1330 and all units closed in vicinity of Krombach (BE) by 1915. Route of march was :

    Buret (BE)
    Tavigny (BE)
    Cetturu (BE)
    Limerlé (BE)
    Gouvy (BE)
    Beho (BE)
    Maldingen (BE)
    Braunlauf (BE)
    Crombach (BE)

Order of march :

    – D Tr, 41-CRS
    – A CO, 56-AEB
    – 42-TB + Hq & Hq CCA
    – C Btry, 575-AAAB
    – A Co, 81-MBA
    – A Co, 133-OMB

63-AIB, moving under oral instructions from Ex O CCA, rejoined the command and billeted at Thommen (BE) at 1630. At 2155 CW message was received from Division relieving D Tr, 41-CRS from assignment to CCA and attaching them to CCR at Burg Reuland (BE). Orders were issued to effect this movement which took place at daybreak Feb 7.

February 7-8-9 1945
On Feb 7-8 troops improved billets and commenced work on roads in vicinity of the concentration area which were almost impassable due to heavy mud. At 2025 Feb 8 orders were received from Division by telephone releasing 63-AIB from attachment to CCA and transferred them to CCR on Feb 9. Warning orders were issued to 63-AIB which moved 0800 Feb 9 by infiltration to vicinity Burg Reuland (BE) to come under CCR control.

February 10-22 1945
From Feb 10 to Feb 22, the command was completely inactive from a tactical standpoint, remaining in billets in the vicinity of Crombach (BE), engaged in daily training of reinforcements, maintenance of roads in the Combat Command area and work on the Corps MSR.

February 23-24 1945
On Feb 23, G-3 alerted the command with a telephone message stating that a probable movement to the vicinity of Hermespand (GER) was contemplated. Route reconnaissance was immediately undertaken by members of CC staff and Bn staffs and warning orders issued to the troops. On Feb 24 route reconnaissance was continued and command liaison established with 87th Infantry Division. At 1800 February 24 letter of instruction was received from Division based on VIII Corps FO #12. CCA was to be attached for operational control to the 87th Infantry Division for a defensive mission or to repel possible counterattack against 87 Inf positions. A Co 705 TD Bn was to be attached. Attachment of CC A to 87 Inf Div was confirmed as of 1300 February 24. At 0130 February 25 memorandum was issued to all units concerning details of the march to 87 Inf Div area. Under Division letter of instruction 24 February new composition of CC A was as follows :

    – 42 Tk Bn
    – 63 AIB
    – 490 AFA Bn
    – A Co 56 Armd Engrs
    – 41 Cav Rcn Sq (- B Tr)
    – A Co 705 TD Bn
    – C Btry 575 AAA Bn
    – A Co 81 Med Bn
    – Det 133 Ord Bn

February 24-28 1945
63 AIB, 490 AFA Bn and 41 Cav (-) moved separately from rest of command from vicinity Leidenborn (Germany) P9173 via Bleialf – Schoenberg – Vic Manderfeld. Balance of CC moved from concentration area Vic Krombach via Hinderhausen – Sart Lez St Vith – St Vith – Schoenberg – Manderfeld. All elements had closed west of Manderfeld by 1900 February 25. Attachment of B Btry 174 FA Bn (155mm guns) and 161 Smoke Generating Co was confirmed February 25 and units proceeded to join the command from their previous location. Troops were assembled west of Mandferfeld on arrival in that vicinity, and under cover of darkness February 25-26 relief of elements of 347 Inf Regt was accomplished by 41 Cav Rcn Sq (-) and 63 AIB. Relief was completed by 1200 February 26. A Co 705 TD relieved elements 607 TD Bn in 347 Inf sector in place and completed relief 0130. CC A CP was established at Manderfeld. On February 26, CC A, having occupied its share of the 87 Inf Div line (from L0397 to L0592), prepared plans to hold that position and to counterattack if necessary while infantry elements of the 87 Inf Div cleared the pillboxes of the Siegfried Line to their direct front. At 1300 Commanders of CC A units were assembled at CP and issued FO #15, confirmed in writing at 1600. Under provisions of this order CC A supported by fire the attack of the 87 Inf Div, thus diverting the attention of the enemy in its sector while the 87th attacked the Siegfried installations from the south. Two companies of the 42 Tk Bn and B Co 174 FA Bn were attached to 490 AFA Bn to deliver indirect H & I fires under 490 AFA Bn control. One gun of B Btry 174 FA Bn was moved to a forward position to fire directly at enemy pillboxes. During the hours of February 26-27 patrols were sent forward from the 41 Cav and 63 AIB to reconnoiter areas to the east of their positions and establish contact with the enemy. At 1100 February 27 161 Smoke Gen Co was released from control CC A. Plans were made covering the contingency that CC A’s mission might be changed to an attack on the enemy positions to the direct front with the mission of capturing the town of Scheid. During the day one German deserter was picked up and on the night of February 27-28 he was taken on a night patrol and utilized to capture 5 other PWs whose outpost position was known to him. H & I fires were continued by organic artillery and tanks under their control throughout the night and following day.

February 28 1945
On February 28 warning orders were received from 11th Armd Div preparing CC for release from 87 Inf Div control within the following 36 hours. Liaison was re-established with 11th Armd Div pending more definite instructions. During the day reconnaissance was instituted by air and from forward Ops by CC A and Bn staffs to study the terrain in CC A sector of the 87 Div zone with a view to locating routes of access for tanks to support infantry in the attack on Siegfried defenses in zone, should it be ordered. The month of February closed with the command having seen little action. On the final day of February troops were still under control of 87 Inf Div but were awaiting release to return to the 11th Armored Division for future employment.

Illustration-photos-001

The month of March opened with the command still under operational control of 87th Infantry Division in the vicinity of Manderfeld, Belgium. The sector occupied was directly opposite a portion of the German Siegfried Line, and plans under which CCA operated called for aid by fire to be given to elements of the 87 Inf Div then engaged in clearing that portion of the line by an enveloping movement from the south.

March 1-3 1945
Routine patrolling of the zone continued actively both night and day and staff members continued front line reconnaissance. At 2230 March 3, word was received from 87 Inf Div that tentative objectives of CCA had been taken by 347th Infantry Regiment and that mission was now to continue defense in place until relieved by elements of the 87th.

347-IR_Crossing_the_Siegfried_Line

March 4 1945
The 11th Armored Division was immediately informed of our change in status and at 1250 March 4 orders were received returning the command to Division control and requiring movement at once to a new assembly area vicinity (L0584), leaving
– 1 medium Co 42 Tk Bn
– 1 Co 63 Armd Inf Bn
– 1 Tr 41 Cav Sq
to hold sector until relieved by elements 87 Inf Div. 41 Cac (- A Tr) was to revert to Division control on arrival in new assembly area. All units were alerted at once and the first unit crossed IP at Manderfeld at 1500. Order of march :

    – 490 AFA Bn
    – 42 Tk Bn (-B Co)
    – A Co 56 Armd Engr Bn
    – A Co 705 TD Bn
    – 41 Cav Sq (-A, B, C)
    – C Btry 575 AAA Bn
    – Tr A 41 Cav
    – B Btry 174 FA Bn
    – Hq Co CCA
    – A Co 81 Med Bn
    – 63 Armd Inf Bn (-B Co)
    – Det 133 Ord Maint Bn

At 1530 orders were received providing 490 AFA Bn revert to Division Arty en route and would be met along axis of advance and diverted to proper area. B Btry 174 FA Bn was contacted by Ln from 174 FA Gp and diverted while en route to another location leaving CCA control. Route of march of principal elements of column was :

    Manderfeld
    Schoenberg
    Andler
    Bleialf
    Sellerich
    Nidermelan

thence assembly area vicinity Wascheid. Extreme darkness and poor road conditions retarded the march but all units had closed 0015 March 5.

Illustration-Pix-0001

March 5 1945
At 0100, March 5, written memorandum was received from 11th AD ordering movement of command to new concentration area in vicinity Budesheim L1680 – Wallersheim L1478. Movement was to be initiated by 1200 March 5. Route reconnaissance was immediately undertaken early morning March 5 by CG and other officers. At 1200, March 5, CC initiated movement to new concentration area. Order of March :

    – 42 Tk Bn
    – 63 Armd Inf Bn
    – A Co 56 Engr
    – Hq Co CCA
    – C Btry 575 AAA Bn
    – Tr A 41 Cav Sq
    – A Co 705 TD Bn
    – Det 133 Ord Maint Bn
    – Co A 81 Med Bn

Despite unfavorable road conditions and priorities of other units on the roads, all units were closed in new area by 1830. Route followed :

    Wascheid
    Willerath (L0984)
    Gondelsheim (L1282)
    Wallersheim (L1378)

A Co 81 Med Bn moved via :

    Prüm
    Fleringen (L1679)
    Wallersheim

and was the last unit to close. The march was made without incident except that in swerving to pass a vehicle just out of Wascheid, a medium tank of Hq Co CCA struck a mine which induced sympathetic detonation of nearby stack of mines, thus demolishing the tank and instantly killing the crew of five. During the evening of 5 March occasional artillery concentrations were received in the general area of the assembled troops but no casualties were incurred. At 2000, March 5, orders were received from Division requiring reconnaissance of routes and attack positions in area of 4th Infantry Division commencing daylight March 6. In compliance, CG, Executive Officer and members of battalion staffs left on forward reconnaissance promptly at daylight.

Illustration-Pix-0002

March 6 1945
At 0830, March 6, Division FO #16 was received indicating possibility of movement through 90th Infantry Division sector as well as the 4th Infantry Division sector. Additional reconnaissance was immediately instigated in this direction. While staffs reconnoitered routes vicinity Lissingen (L218802), reconnaissance was continued during the afternoon by cavalry elements for other crossings in area to the south. At 1700 General Ernst of the 90th Inf Div visited CCA CP and discussed the possibility of crossing the Kyll River during the night of March 6-7. At 1945 all units CCA were placed on a two-hour alert for this contingency. At 2100 a meeting of unit commanders was held to discuss plans for crossing of the Kyll River and a breakthrough to the east. At 2300 a platoon of A Tr 41 Cav was dispatched to vicinity of bridge site to ford the river and reconnoiter routes from the bridge site east until enemy contact was established.

March 7 1945
At 0530, March 7, report from this patrol stated that the road was being repaired by friendly infantry but that enemy still held positions east of Gerolstein (L2381). No demolitions of the type to impede motor movement were found. No bypasses leading east from the bridge site were found, however, and the river was considered to be unsuitable for fording by a column. It was therefore necessary to wait completion of a suitable bridge. At 2400 CCA engineer reported that the 90th Infantry Division engineers were constructing a Bailey bridge which would be completed during the morning of March 7. The estimated time for this completion was 0900. At 0700, March 7, unit commanders were given verbal order disposing troops in order of march as follows :

    – Tr A 41 Cav
    – Task Force AHEE
    – 42 Tk Bn (-1 Med Co)
    – 2 Rif Cos 63 AI Bn
    – A Co 56 Engr (-)
    – Hq CCA, C/575 (-)
    – 490 FA Bn
    – Task Force BRADY
    – Med Co 42 Tk Bn
    – 63 AI Bn (-)
    – Plat A 56 Engr
    – A Co 705 TD
    – 333 FA Gp
    – CC Tns

A/41 Cav moved 0730 March 7. At 0830 Ln officer from 333 FA Gp arrived with message that the Gp has been detached from CC command and that the 58 FA Bn Armd would remain. Contact was established with 58 FA Bn informing them to take the place of 333 Gp in the column. At 1000 elements of Force AHEE began to cross the bridge at Lissingen. CP CCA cleared Wallersheim at 1030. The command passed rapidly through the lines of the 90 Inf Div moving along axis Lissingen (L2180), Gerolstein (L2381), Pelm (L2582). At Pelm Force AHEE changed the originally planned route of advance due to a roadblock. An alternate route was taken through Kirchweiller and Hinterweiller (L301824) where light resistance was immediately overcome and the column proceeded rapidly to the east. Contact with the enemy was first established at 1300 two miles east of Pelm. Force AHEE met first stiff resistance at Dockweiller (L319841). One Mark VI and one Mark IV Tank were destroyed and numerous infantry killed after which Force AHEE again moved on to take the towns of Dreis (L328855) and Boxberg (L418880) against light to moderate resistance. Remainder of CCA column followed the same axis of advance immediately behind the leading task force.

Illustration-Pix-0003

At 1705 orders were received from Division to proceed as far as possible and if necessary to continue marching all night. Heavy enemy resistance was encountered in vicinity of Kelberg (L418880) which was neutralized by 1820. Resistance consisted of nebelwerfer, mortar, AW and some AT fire. While leading elements of the column were conducting operations at Kelberg an enemy AT gun strategically located on the flank of the column knocked out several engineer vehicles, two light tanks, a medium tank and a halftrack of the second Task Force. Fire was immediately brought down on the suspected location of the gun and it was neutralized. 490 FA Bn was rapidly moved into position to support Force AHEE in its operation. Darkness ended active combat in the vicinity of Kelberg. At 2045 orders were received from Division to suspend attack and maintain defensive positions for the night, resuming the attack at 0600 March 8.

kelberg-Germany-1945-001

March 8 1945
Defense was organized and the town of Kelberg outposted. B Co 63 AI Bn was sent forward a mile of Hunnerbach (L438883) to establish a line of departure for the next day’s operations and seize the stream crossings between Kelberg and Hunnerbach. All crossings were captured intact. Remainder of Force AHEE defended Kelberg night of 7-8 March making preparation for continuation of mission, while elements in the rear set up perimeter defense in their own sector. During the night task forces were reconstituted while A trains came forward under most difficult circumstances to re-supply the column. H and I fires were continued by FA Bns. New task forces were composed as follows (in order of march) :

    A Tr 41 Cav

Brady

    – 63 AI (- Rif Co)
    – Cos A & C 42 Tk Bn
    – Plat A Co 56 Engr
    – A Co 705 TD Bn (-1 Plat)

Pickett

    – 42 Tk Bn (-)
    – RIF Co 63 AI Bn
    – Plat A/56 Engr
    – Plat A/705 TD

A/41 Cav moved at daylight March 8 to lead the column followed by Force Brady. Cavalry advanced to vicinity Birkborn (L456872) where enemy resistance was encountered. Resistance was contained while Force Brady bypassed and continued to the east. The cavalry then proceeded to flank the column on routes north and south of the general axis of advance. Leading elements of Force Brady reached Mayen (L635923) by 1325, March 8. PWs were taken all along the route in increasing numbers. A viaduct at the west end of Mayen had been blown, blocking entrance to the town. TF Brady succeeded in bypassing by a cross country route and while this was being accomplished A Co 56 Engrs rapidly installed a treadway bridge for balance of the command. Contact was established with elements of 4th Armored Division 6.6 kilometers E of Mayen. At 1815 forward elements of Force Brady were at Ochtendung (L735945) where CP of CCB 4th Armored Division was located. To assure coordination, CG moved to head of the column to discuss operations with commander of CCB 4 Armored Division. In the absence of other orders, temporary boundaries were established between CCB 4th Armored Division and CCA of 13th Armored Division and arrangements made to billet CCA in vicinity Plaidt (L7599). CCA CP opened Plaidt 0150 March 9 and all elements were closed by 0230.

Illustration-Pix-0005

March 9 1945
During the night patrols were sent out to contact friendly units thought to be operating to the north. The town of Andernach directly east on the Rhine River was still in German hands and infantry patrols were dispatched to determine the nature of enemy resistance. During the rest of the night Comd endeavored to refit and prepare for operations against the final objective Andernach after 0600 the following day. Gasoline supply was critical. At 0930, March 9, patrols returned from the town of Andernach with information that defense was apparently not highly organized and that the town was comparatively quiet. Civilian reports stated there were large numbers of stragglers passing through the town. In the morning March 9, task forces were reconstituted and patrols sent out as follows : 1 Cav patrol to the north to contact friendly elements, 1 cavalry patrol along south boundary established with 4 Armd Div, 3 Inf patrols east to Andernach on principal routes of advance to determine nature of resistance. No surrender was offered and some resistance was encountered so plans were immediately made for an attack on the town. The command was divided into TF Brady and a reserve. TF Brady consisted initially of :

    – 63 Armd Inf Bn
    – Cos A & C 42 Tk Bn
    – Plat A/56 Armd Engrs
    – A/705 TD (-1 Plat)

The attack jumped off at 1330 and by 1541 leading elements had passed through the town and reached the Rhine River. Resistance was not organized but existed in all quarters of the town and along the river bank consisting principally of small arms and light AW fire. Snipers operated from every possible vantage point. Some mortar and artillery fire was received from positions NW of Andernach and from the east bank of the Rhine. The attack continued and by evening troops had been through all portions of the city.

Mayen-Coblenz-and-around

Andernach-Germany-11AD

March 10 1945
At daybreak March 10, operations were resumed and resistance was still found to exist. Civilians and SS troops dressed in civilian clothes accounted for a large portion of the action. During early morning a number of enemy attempted to escape across the Rhine in barges, several of which were destroyed by direct fire from tanks resulting in several hundred enemy dead. Force Brady was augmented by B Co 55 Armd Inf Bn and later by D Co 42 Tk Bn in order to speed reduction of the town. PWs were sent back in increasing numbers throughout the morning. Cavalry operating on the north also returned large numbers of PWs principally from the town of Eich. At 1500 D/42 Tk and B/55 AI were returned to CC reserve as resistance in Andernach had been reduced to a minimum.

Wittlich-1945

March 11 1945
On March 11, instructions were received from Div assigning a sector to be cleared by the CC in addition to the town of Aandernach. While Force Brady as originally constituted completed the mopping up of Andernach, Force Ahee, organized into three small forces and a reserve, continued mopping up operations in the smaller towns and wooded areas in the CC sector.

March 12 1945
By 1200, March 12, the entire CC area had been cleared. CP CCA was moved from Plaidt to Kruft (L7198) at 1430 12 March. At 2230 Division operations Memo No. 33 was received ordering CC to move to a new assembly area upon relief by 6th Cav Group. Reconnaissance was immediately undertaken in the new area. Routine patrols were maintained until instructions were received from Division to execute proposed movement to new concentration area.

March 13-15 1945
63 Armd Inf Bn moved to Thur (L6795) afternoon March 14 and remainder of CC completed movement morning of March 15 commencing at 0600. CP CCA cleared Kruft (0900), closed Obermendig 1000. At 1030, March 15 all troops were in their new locations which were as follows :

    – Hq CCA, C/575, A/81 Obermendig (L6597)
    – A/705 TD Bell (L6498)
    – 42 Tk, A/56 Ettringen (L6395)
    – A/41 Cav St Johan (L6194)
    – 63 AI Bn Thur (L6795)

March 15-16 1945
On March 15 and 16 the command rested, performed maintenance and improved billets. Enemy aircraft was active in the area but no casualties were incurred. Division Operations Memorandum #34 provided a new troop list for CC A as follows :

    – 42 Tk Bn
    – 63 Armd Inf Bn
    – A/41 Cav
    – A/56 Engr
    – A/705 TD
    – C/575 AA
    – C/81 Med
    – A/133 Ord

On March 16, CC staff was actively reconnoitering routes from Obermendig to the Mosel River line. CG 11 Armd Div visited CCA GP 1200, March 16, and at that time communicated with CG VIII Corps and as a result of conversation placed Division on a 4-hour alert. CCA troops were informed of the alert and at 1330 were told to be ready to move by 1700. Brief telephone orders from Division gave destination of the command as Lutzerath (P7469). Control of the Division had been passed from VIII to III Corps. Verbal orders received by phone added A90 AFA Bn in D/8 and B Tr 41 Cav Sq to the previous list. Verbal order of march was given to assembled Ln officers with the IP at Niedermendig. Order of march :

    – 63 AI
    – Hq CCA
    – C/575 AA
    – A/705 TD
    – 42 Tk
    – A/56 Engr
    – A/41 Cav
    – 490 AFA
    – A/133 Ord
    – C/81 Med
    – B/41 Cav

As the march was initiated 42 Tk was strafed by enemy aircraft while forming column. No casualties were suffered. The IP was crossed on time and the march proceeded.

Moselle-River-Crossing-1945-2

March 17 1945
By 0130, March 17, all elements of the command had closed in vicinity Driesch (L4870). CP CCA opened at Driesch 2105 March 17. Route of march : Niedermendig, Kaisereesch, Driesch. The march was made under extremely difficult conditions due to the poor road surface and extreme darkness. Difficulty of march was increased by the fact that vehicles coming the other way were employing lights since part of the route was behind the Corps no light line. Another incident of the march was destruction of one half track when the road gave way and the vehicle plunged 25 feet down a steep embankment. No casualties were suffered. At 0245 March 17 Division Operations Memorandum #36 was received assigning routes of advance to the east including mission for CCA of advancing along a given route clearing En in Z, protecting L flank of Division and attempting to seize bridges across the Rhine River upon arrival. 33 FA Brig was to follow CCA. 355 Inf Bn also was to use this route. On the basis of these orders CCA FO #16 was issued at 0900 listing troops in order of march as follows :

    – A/41 Cav Sq
    – 490 AFA Bn (-)

Task Force Ahee

    – Co/42 Tk Bn
    – Co/63 AI
    – Btry 490 AFA Bn
    – 42 Tk Bn (-)
    – A/56 Engr Bn
    – Plat 705 TD Bn

HQ Group

    – Hq CCA
    – C/575 AAA AW Bn
    – Plat 705 TD Bn
    – Hq 33 FA Brig (-)
    – B/41 Cav Sq
    – Co/63 AIB

Task Force Brady

    – Co 42 Tk Bn
    – Btry 58 FA Bn
    – 63 AI (-)
    – A/285 Engr
    – Plat 705 TD Bn
    – 58 FA Bn (-)
    – Bat Hq 33 FA Brig
    – 775 FA Bn
    – Tdwy Br Elms A/56 Engr
    – “A” Tps
    – Gas Trucks
    – Ammo Trucks
    – Water Trucks
    – “B” Tps
    – Kitchens
    – C/81 Med Bn
    – Gas & Ammo
    – A/133 Ord Maint Bn

Request was made to Div to have A/41 Cav cross the Mosel as an integral part of CCB in order to establish En contact along CCA route and gain information of the route of advance. Request was granted and at 1200 movement of A/41 Cav was initiated. At 1430 XII Corps order was relayed to CCA restricting movement east of Nahe River except for the establishment of the bridgehead. At 1440, in accordance with FO #16, forward elements of CCA comprising Force Ahee started to move. Rapidity of movement was restricted only by the crossing at Bullay and enemy contact was not established until A/41 Cav at the head of the force approached Kirchberg (L764164). Gp Ahee was deployed to meet and eliminate resistance which consisted of road block and enemy infantry in woods 2 Km N of Kirchberg. Resistance was eliminated and at nightfall security was established and patrols sent into Kirchberg. Kludenbach on the W flank of the Clm was secured and the woods to the E were patrolled during the night. Remainder of Gp closed rapidly behind leading Elms and CP CCA was established at Kappel (L7355) at 1930. B/41 Cav following the Clm reached Kappel and was sent forward to aid in patrolling vicinity Kludenbach at 2055.

Kirchberg-Germany-11AD-1945

March 18 1945
At 0300, March 18, message from C-3 released B/41 Cav to Sq control in place at 2200 March 17. Information was communicated to B/41 Cav. By VOCG A/41 Cav was reinforced by Plat Lt tanks D Co 42 Tk Bn and moved out 0600 to protect both flanks of road S of Kirchberg, which passed through a marked defile, and endeavored to seize crossings of the Nahe River. Leading elements followed closely behind the Cav. Resistance was first encountered on the road beyond Dickenscheid (L7744) where intense mortar fire was received leading elements. Forward artillery took mortar under direct fire and secured good effect. Bridges at Gemunden (L8144) and Gehlweiler (L8042) were reported out so a bypass at Gemunden was established and the advance continued to Gehlweiler where direct fire from two 150-MM guns, Nebelwerfers, mortar and S/A was encountered. Infantry was dismounted and rapidly cleared the town while tanks took heavy weapons under fire. After bypassing the destroyed bridge, advance was continued to Konigsau (L8239) where road block and mortar fire was encountered. Tank dozer was brought up to reduce the block and the mortar taken under fire enabling the advance to continue until another roadblock consisting of a dynamited mountain side was encountered in vicinity Daun (L8335). This block was cleared by 1600. Advance was continued until a similar block was met one mile N of SIMMERN L8434. Dismounted infantry advanced into SIMMERN and secured the town by 1945 while other infantry elements cleared high ground dominating the town by 2000.

easter-eggs

March 19 1945
By 0300, March 19, the road block was cleared and treadway put in by the Engrs enabling TF to move into Simmern for the balance of the night. Combat patrols were sent out to secure bridge at Martinstein (L8634) but were driven back by En fire. During the period that the leading elements were advancing upon Simmern the rear of column was closing upon Dickenscheid where CP CCA was established at 1930. Efforts had been made all during the day to secure bridging material to span the various blown bridges encountered by forward elements, but no Bailey bridge was available. All installations were made with treadway. In order to protect main route of advance, cavalry patrols had been used on the W flank of the column in the Vic of Schlierscheid (L7942) and Rohrbach (L7743). These patrols encountered heavy resistance in the form of dug in positions and AT fire. During late afternoon of March 18 a small force was constituted from units under command of Lt Col Brady consisting of an Inf Plat and a Tk Plat and given the mission of attempting to work their way to the bank of the Nahe River by secondary roads to the W of the main route of advance. On reaching Rohrbach (L7743), heavy resistance was encountered and casualties were incurred and the advance was held up. During late afternoon and evening heavy artillery fire was brought down on Schlierscheid and Rohrbach. In order to secure the flank of the main route of advance, additional infantry was required and a request was sent back by Ln O to Div Hq at Kirchberg for the attachment of some portion of the 355 Inf. At this point the command was informed that the 355 CT was attached to CC A and was available for immediate use. A Reinf Co plus Arty support was brought in position during late evening and early morning relieving the cavalry E of Schlierscheid to free them for additional Rcn missions to the S. Their mission was to secure the W flank of the road until the entire column had passed. At night on March 19, leading elements resumed the advance. An attempt was made to rush the bridge at Martinstein but it was blown by the enemy as the lead ¼-ton of the Rcn Plat of 42 Tk Bn was making the crossing. A Reinf Tk Co was rushed to Sobernheim (L9431) but this bridge was also blown before it could be secured and intense mortar and S/A fire encountered at the crossing. Sobernheim was cleared by Inf and the Engrs immediately reconnoitered for possible crossings from Simmern to Sobernheim. A Reinf Tk Co forded the stream at Martinstein and resumed the advance under heavy mortar fire. Artillery neutralized the mortar and infantry was enabled to make the crossing mounted on tanks and continued the advance. At Meisenheim (L9523) direct fire from AT guns and heavy S/A and AW were encountered. Tanks and infantry were deployed and the town secured allowing the continued rapid advance of the TF until leading elements contacted elements of CCB and Res Comd 1 Km N of Meisenheim. The location of these elements on our route was not know to the command. Meanwhile the rear elements had resumed the advance at 0700 after clearing artillery support for the Inf Co of 355 CT holding Schlierscheid. The column closed rapidly on the tail forward elements in the vicinity of Simmern and went into position at that location awaiting completion of bridge at Martinstein to complete the crossing. Full-track Vehs forded the stream during the afternoon and continued along the axis of advance securing the towns in the rear of the leading elements. At 2115 bridge was completed enabling the crossing of the balance of CC halftracks and general purpose vehicles, including A Trains. Crossing was continued throughout the night until all elements had cleared Nahe River with the exception of 914 FA, 775 FA and B Tns which followed early 20 March.

Niedermendig-Germany-March-1945-11AD

March 20 1945
In endeavoring to close on forward elements, 490 FA Bn encountered heavy enemy mortar fire at the exit of a defile which impeded their advance. Inf elements were brought up from the 355 CT and 63 AI Bn to flank the position dismounted and permit passage of the main body. CP CCA during the night was established at Meddersheim (0200). Msg from C-3 had been received ordering continued advance via new route which was communicated to the forward elements. Leading elements advanced at 0645 March 20 along the new route unimpeded until heavy enemy resistance was encountered at Dannenfels (M1514). Rear elements initiated movement at the same time endeavoring to close on the forward positions, and had succeeded in closing column by the time this resistance was encountered. AT guns, road block and Inf made up enemy defense and was neutralized by TF Arty, tank fire and infantry.

Illustration-Pix-0004

While the fight was going on at Dannenfels 355 CT coiled off road awaiting movement and engaged in a fire fight with enemy positions along the high ground above the route of advance along which armored elements had passed. This resistance was quickly reduced enabling a portion of the battalion to be brought forward to clear the towns of Jakobsweiler (M1512) and Steinbach (M1511) and secure flanks of axis in advance. Resistance having been reduced at Dannenfels, Fwd Elms continued until contact was made with CCB at Dreisen (M1911). From this point advance was again rapidly continued to Marnheim and Albisheim M2516 where small arms and mortar fire were encountered and rapidly reduced by tank fire. A blown bridge at Harxheim (M2815) prevented following the assigned route and TF deployed along trail paralleling stream to Monsheim where another blown bridge was encountered. Monsheim was cleared and secured by the leading Elms, while Engrs spanned the stream enabling leading elements to clear stream by 2230. Liaison was established with 4 Armd Div and movement curtailed by VOCG inasmuch as the final objective had been secured by this unit. In the interim forces to the read of the leading Elms occupied the towns of Marnheim and Aldisheim. Local security was posted in all locations. Troops rested awaiting further orders. CCA CP was established at Marnheim at 2130.

Marnheim-Bridge-1945

March 21 1945
At 0030 March 21, messages was sent to Division requesting orders for the following period and all units were placed on an alert commencing 0600 March 21. Early morning March 21 enemy planes overhead were fired on by our troops. Zone of responsibility for clearance was requested from Division and alert status of all units changed to two hours. Mission was assigned to 355 Inf and 63 Inf to clear towns of enemy in their vicinity while awaiting further instructions. At 1115 Ln officer returned with Division order showing boundaries and mission. Command proceeded to clear all towns in sector. 1st Bn 355 Inf reverted to 89th Infantry Division in place at 1200. A/285 Engr Bn left CCA control 1200. 33 FA Gp acting under Corps order ceased support of CCA 1400. At 1620 CP CCA cleared Marnheim; opened Molsheim 1715 March 21. During afternoon organic troops of the command enlarged their billets and moved CP locations.

March 22 1945
Mission of clearing Z was continued early 22 March. A/41 Cav was assigned river Z and 63 AI Z in the west end of the sector and operations to eliminate all enemy personnel from the area continued. A/41 Cav set up CP in Abenheim (M3919) dispatched platoons to patrol river bank and continue clearing the area. By 1500 March 22 all towns within the assigned sector of CCA were cleared of enemy. A critique of previous operations was held at CC Hq during the afternoon and was attended by all unit commanders. At 1000 Ln O arrived with verbal instructions indicating an immediate move to NW to a new concentration area. Troops were placed on a 2-hour alert for movement and a message was sent to Division requesting particulars on the probability of the move. At 2400 answer was received indicating that movement would not occur on the 22nd and troops were released from alert until following morning. At 1400 an overlay was received from Division showing routes and concentration area proposed for the command. (This information was disseminated at meeting held 1500 March 22.) At 2400 March 22 Ln O arrived with Opns Memo No. 41 confirming overlay previously received. Verbal instructions carried by Ln O, however, contradicted the written memo by assigning to CCA new mission of protecting W bank of Rhine in sector from Oppenheim to Worms exclusive of both towns.

Worms-March-23-1945

March 23 1945
At daybreak March 23 Ln O was sent to 4th Armored Division to secure locations of their installations to the N of our positions for the purpose of relief by 41 Cav, to be assigned to the command. At 1000 March 23 G-3 visited CP confirmed verbal instructions assigning 41 Cav to CCA and advising that movement would be initiated to a point in CC sector designated by CG as Alsheim from which operations along river bank could be established. At 1100 Ln O arrived from Div advising that 705 TD Bn (-) had been attached to CCA and would be utilized for direct fire along W bank of Rhine. Concentration area of 705 TD Bn was assigned Guntersblum (M4433) and attached TD Co Comdr given mission of leading Bn to that area. At 1120 Ln O arrived from 4 Armd Div with dispositions and information that 4 Armd Div was currently awaiting relief by this command. Confirmation of attachment of 705 TD Bn (-) was received from Div at 1125 March 23. The Bn had already been started toward concentration area vicinity Guntersblum to assist 41 Cav Sq (-) in that sector on mission of patrolling W bank of Rhine and destroying all floating objects on the river. At 1335 A/41 Cav reverted to Squadron control. Two platoons of 76-MM Tks from 42 Tk Bn were attached to 41 Cav to assist in its mission of maintaining defensive positions. At 1542 March 23 boundaries were received from Div on sector to be defended. At 1900 disposition of CCA units on W bank of Rhine was completed. 120 Cav Gp XV Corps Seventh Army contacted our Elms in 41 Cav sector and claimed to have a defense mission in same sector.

March 24 1945
At 2155 March 23 a memorandum was issued to all units giving routes, order of march and march times for movement 24 March to new concentration area vicinity Wintersheim (M3932). During the night, in compliance with Div order, patrols maintained contact with elements of CCB at 4-hour intervals. Contact was maintained with both flanks during the period. At 1000 March 24 CCA initiated movement to new concentration area vicinity Wintersheim. CP CCA opened Wintersheim 1100. All units had closed in new positions by 1530, 63 AI Bn, C/81 Med Bn and A/133 Ord being the last to close. A 24-hour maintenance period started at 1200 24 March in compliance with a message from Div.

March 25-27 1945
During the period from March 25 through March 27 troops rested, improved billets, and maintained normal patrol activities.

March 27 1945
On March 27 CC remained in vicinity Wintersheim. Pending further action, maintenance period was extended to 1200 March 28. At 1430 March 27, on Div order, Cavalry Command was released to Division control. At 2030 A Co 705 TD Bn was released to 3d Cav effective as of 2400. Division Operations Memorandum No. 45 received at 2230 reassigned troops to the CC as follows :

    – 63 AI Bn
    – 42 Tk Bn
    – A/56 Engr
    – A/81 Med
    – C/575 AA
    – A/41 Cav
    – A 245 Engr
    – 490 FA DS
    – 193 FA Gp GS (Composed of 274 FA and 176 FA)

On receipt of the memorandum all elements of the command were placed on a 1-hour alert status as of noon March 28.

Illustration-photo-007

March 28 1945
Commanders were assembled at 0845 March and issued verbal order for movement, later confirmed by FO #17. An urgent telephone message from G-3 moved the alert time to 1100 and provided that the CC would cross the center bridge at Oppenheim in XII Corps zone. The 261 Regtl (- 1 Inf Bn) CT was to support operations of CCA and move behind the command as available. On crossing the RHINE CCA would move north to cross the Main River and continue the attack. At 1130 A Tr 41 Cav initiated movement as the first element of the CC. At 1215 Commander of the 261 CT visited the CP and arrangements were made to coordinate communications and utilize his force when it became available. At 1230 first elements of Force Ahee moved out and all units followed by liaison. FO #17 governing the movement divided the troops on the following basis :

    – A 41 Cav

CO Ahee

    – Co 42 Tk
    – Co 63 AI
    – Btry 490 FA
    – A/56 Engr (-1 Plat)
    – Plat C/245 Engr
    – 42 Tk Bn
    – Plat A/705 TD
    – 490 AFA (-)
    – Btry 176 FA
    – Hq CCA
    – C/575 (-)
    – Plat 705 TD
    – Hq 193 FA Gp (-)

CO Brady

    – Co 42 Tk
    – Co 63 AI
    – Btry 274 FA
    – 63 AI (-)
    – Plat A/56 (-)
    – A/245 (-1 Plat)
    – Plat A/705 TD
    – 274 FA (-)
    – Bat 193 FA Hq
    – 176 FA
    – A Trns
    – B Trns

CP CCA cleared Wintersheim at 1305. En route at 1330 orders were received for trains to remain between the Rhine and Main crossings for the night. Immediately thereafter at 1345 further information received to the effect that the bridge north of Bischofsheim was not ready for use and that the column should be coiled off the road South of that point. At 1455 orders were received to proceed as far north of the Main River as possible as soon as the bridge became available and that the entire division would follow on that route. At 1600 column began to coil. Elements of A/41 Cav were ferried across the Main River to reconnoiter projected route. At 1720 Division messenger informed CG CCA that XX Corps had ordered command to remain in place awaiting instructions. All units were closed in vicinity and CP CCA was established at RJ (M486514). At 2020 message from G-3 stated that 261 CT, which had not left is original bivouac, reverted to 65th Infantry Division and that the entire 11 Armd Div was assigned to XII Corps. Warning order was issued to all units to be prepared to move at 0530 March 29 or earlier. Command was alerted for early movement. At 2205 message was received from CG stating that CC should be prepared to march on Hanau immediately and closely following receipt of message, G-3 arrived in the CP with a route sketch. G-3 informed Command that 193 FA Gp reverted to XX Corps and that support would be established by 183 FA Gp which would join CCA column on the road prior to morning. All units were alerted immediately and at 0015 March 29 Force Ahee was moving.

March 29 1945
All elements of the command followed closely behind marching by blackout and closing 0500 vicinity CR (M821640). Mission as assigned by G-3 verbally was to leave assembly area at daylight, cross Main River, pass through 26th Infantry Division vicinity of Hanau and advance rapidly along the route clearing enemy on axis of advance. At 0600 leading elements passed through the 26 Inf Div and crossed LD at 0705. At 0715 Force Ahee encountered a roadblock NE of Hanau which was mined and defended by infantry and bazooka team. Roadblock and defenses were neutralized by 0750 and force continued while engineer elements removed block. At 0820 in Ruckingen, heavy resistance was encountered consisting of bazooka, AT, AW and S/A fire. A flanking and enveloping assault was launched upon the town, Force Ahee being divided into two smaller elements and attacking simultaneously from the SE and E. At 0900 support weapons and AT fire were lifted from the town and leading elements moved in. Fanatic enemy resistance necessitated street and house-to-house fighting. In order to clear bridge at Hanau for the simultaneous advance of CCB and to cross rear elements of the command, Force Brady on VOCG at 1100 bypassed the column on the North returning to the main route at Langenselbold. Force Brady advanced rapidly on the northern route until it encountered enemy AT, mortar, and AW fire prior to entering Langenselbold. Resistance was reduced and the destroyed bridge at Langenselbold repaired so that the town was occupied and cleared by 1500. Meanwhile, Force Ahee completed clearing Ruckingen by 1400 and continued advance bypassing a destroyed bridge SW of Langenselbold and entering the town. Force Brady continued advance to Rothenbergen where heavy resistance was encountered consisting of three enemy tanks plus infantry armed with AW and bazookas. By 1800 town was clear and defensive positions organized for the night. Force Ahee closed in Langenselbold at 1600 and organized the town. CP CCA moved to Langenselbold and closed by 1830. All other elements followed closely and established bivouac locations in the town prior to 2130.

March 30 1945
At 0800 March A Co 42 Tk Bn was moved to vicinity Rothenbergen to support Force Brady. Attack has been resumed by Brady in that town at 0615 utilizing dismounted infantry. Attachments of additional infantry had been requested from Division. A Co of 63 AI attached to Force Ahee was placed under Brady control and A Co 42 Tk had been alerted for possible movement to support Brady. Resistance was encountered immediately both in Rothenbergen and to the south by Cavalry elements. Rothenbergen was cleared of enemy by 0810 and advance confirmed to Lieblos against little resistance. At 1120 notification was received that 55 Inf would be attached to the command for the operation. At 1135 CO 55 AI Bn visited GP and was ordered forward to operate in conjunction with Brady. The advance of command continued to vicinity of Gelnhausen (N0479) where stiff resistance was immediately encountered. No opportunity was afforded to utilize armor due to the nature of the terrain and all available artillery was therefore brought down upon the town. 55 Inf Bn upon arrival was given the mission of advancing of dismounted through the woods to the north of Gelnhausen and outflanking it. This movement was well under way when darkness curtailed further operations. CP CCA was moved to Lieblos closing at 1900, while the remainder of combat elements, were concentrated in Roth behind the advance elements of Force Brady. During the evening information was received from Division that positions held by Force Brady in the outskirts of Gelnhausen and directly SW thereof would be taken over by elements of 26 Inf Division. Route of command was therefore changed to bypass Gelnhausen and proceed generally paralleling the axis of CCB. Forces reverted to original composition for the new advance.

March 31 1945
At 0530 March 31 cavalry moved out on the new axis followed one hour later by leading elements of Force Ahee. Route followed initially was the axis covered previously by the 41 Cav Sq (-). The Comd proceeded rapidly passing through friendly elements at Breitenborn until at 0730 road blocks and small arms fire were met at Wittengenborn. The road block was cleared and resistance neutralized by 0820. Advance was continued at once through Spielberg and Streitburg until moderate resistance was met in the form of AT, mortar, AW and SA fire at Hellstein at 1015. By 1115 the town had been cleared and the advance renewed through Udenhain. At 1145 AT and mortar fire were met at Katholeschwillenroth. The town was cleared by 1230 and the advance again continued through Eckardaroth, Romsthal, Kerbersdorf and Sarrod. Next resistance was met at Ulmbach at 1400 and reduced by 1445. The advance again continued through Kressenbach and Breitenbach. En route leading tanks quickly took under fire and destroyed an enemy tank and SP gun at 1510. AT, mortar, SA fire and two enemy tanks were encountered at Wallroth and Muldorf. Numerous enemy infantry in town and sniper fire from woods necessitated street and house-to-house fighting. With the aid of direct support and artillery fire the towns were cleared by 1600. At 1615 a force was detached from Task Force Ahee and sent to Intersteinau for NW flank protection. Meanwhile the balance of the CC closed rapidly behind Force Ahee concentrating at Breitenbach (245983) where CP CCA was opened at 1850. Plans were made for the continuance of the advance on the following day. At the end of March 1945 the CC was in the midst of an active operation exploiting disorganization of enemy in zone.

Crews of US light tanks stand by awaiting call to clean out scattered Nazi machine gun nests in Coburg, Germany. April 25, 1945

Crews of one US light tanks stand by awaiting call to clean out scattered
Nazi machine gun nests in Coburg, Germany. April 25, 1945

On April 1 1945 CCA was located in the vicinity of Breitenbach, Germany. Mission of the command was to continue the advance to the east as an integral part of the XII Corps attack towards Arnstadt. The seizure of Arnstadt itself was assigned to this command. Composition of CCA was as follows :

Force Ahee

    – A & B Cos 42 Tk Bn
    – A & B Cos 63 AI
    – Btry 490 FA Bn
    – A/56 Engr (-1 Plat)
    – Plat A/133 Engr
    – 42 Tk Bn (-)
    – Plat A/705 TD Bn
    – 490 AFA Bn (-)
    – Hq Gp (Hq CCA, C/575 (-) AA Bn
    – 58 FA Bn

Force Brady

    – 63 AI Bn (-)
    – Plat A/56 Engr
    – A/133 Engr (-)
    – 58 FA
    – 183 Gp
    – 945 FA
    – A Tns
    – B Tns

Movement of the command commenced at 0815 April 1 when A/41 Cav cleared its bivouac. The balance of the command followed at 0915. In accordance with Division Operations Memo March 31, initial movement was made behind Reserve Command. The greater part of the day there was no enemy contact inasmuch as both CCB and CCR were preceding the head of CCA column. At 1237 service elements were attacked by infantry in the vicinity of Wallroth (250010). Troops from 41 Cav Rcn Sq following were dispatched to their assistance and the enemy attack neutralized. At 1747 advance elements reached Hilders (603215) at which point the route diverged from that of CCB and CCR. From this point on the advance continued rapidly against light and scattered resistance through eight towns, until darkness. By 2130 all troops were assembled in the towns of Reichenhausen, Erbenhausen and Frankenheim with CCA CP in Frankenheim. During the day total distance traveled was 64 miles, the last 14 of which were made against scattered resistance. Troops were informed that the advance would continue the following morning with all compositions unchanged.

April 2 1945
At 0745 a message was received from CG 11 Armd Div restraining advance east of vertical grid line 86 and assigning the mission of seizing and holding high ground west of the Werra River. The advance continued through the towns of Schafausen, Gerthausen, Helmershausen, Wohlmuthausen, Bettenhausen, Gielmerhausen and Ritschenhausen against very light resistance. At Obermassfeld scattered enemy infantry, AW, and small arms fire were met. Bridges across the Werra River were secured and the high ground seized, completing the assigned mission at 1115. Untermassfeld was cleared and organized by 1330. Both Untermassfeld and Obermassfeld received heavy nebelwerfer fire throughout the afternoon. In these two towns, two Allied PW camps were found and approximately 700 Allied PWs were liberated. At 1535 message was received from Division ordering the continuation of CC advance to Suhl immediately. Reorganization for movement was commenced but at 1708 change of orders was received calling for continuance of advance early 3 April. Troops were relieved from alert for movement and a reinforced infantry company was sent to Vachdorf with the mission of seizing and holding the bridge at that location to insure the success of the following day’s operation. This mission was completed successfully at 2015. 21 miles were gained during the day. At 2000 FO #18 was issued covering the attack and seizure of Suhl.

Illustration-photos-001

April 3 1945
At 0600 the cavalry moved forward followed an hour later by the advance task force. The towns of Belrieth, Vachdorf, Marisfelds, Obstadt, Grub, Eichenberg, Bischofred, Buhler and Neundorf were all cleared of enemy by 0920. Emerging from the heavy woods south of Suhl, the attack on the town itself consisted of three coordinated columns which had to be funneled into only two axes due to the limited road net and the unfavorable terrain. Initial resistance was heavy but progressed from moderate to light by late afternoon. Originally the leading elements were attacked with some AT and considerable artillery, bazooka, AW and small arms fire. The enemy opposition was more enthusiastic than well organized since the force consisted largely of Volksturm augmented by a few regular army personnel mostly on leave or convalescent. The town proved considerably larger than map reconnaissance had indicated and some house-to-house fighting was required all through the town. By 1630 the southern half of the town had been cleared and organized so that the entire command could move by the heavy woods and enter the town for the night. Forces were reorganized to give control of the street fighting to the infantry commander the following day by the reassignment of A and C Cos of 42 Tk Bn and A and C Cos of 63 Armd Inf Bn to Task Force Brady. The attack on Suhl was noteworthy for the first extensive contact of the command with the Volksturm and the discovery of numerous small arm factories. CP CCA closed in the city by 1930 and the entire command was assembled by 2130.

Kelberg-March-11-1945

April 4 1945
During the night extensive local security was maintained and at 0600 4 April clearing of the town was continued and maintained throughout the balance of the day. A total of 9 small arms factories were located in and around Suhl and guards set up on the installations. At 1000 a small task force consisting of Co B 63 AI Bn, Co B 42 Tk Bn, 1 Plat 41 Cav Rcn Sq under command of Major Shealy was sent forward to clear route from Suhl to Elgersberg. Enemy was encountered 1000 meters SE of Lauter consisting of SA, AW, snipers and dug-in infantry. Flanking action was initiated and the resistance eliminated by 1500. By 1700 mission was completed and the task force recalled. During the day CG CCA flew to Division Hq to confer with CG 11 Armd Div regarding disposition of civilian population in Suhl and continuation of further operations to the east. As a result of this conference and Division Operations Memo No. 50, CCA was assigned a new mission of seizing and securing Stutzerbach, patrolling to the east after clearing enemy in zone and protecting south flank of the division. Oral orders were issued at 2050 establishing two small forces under the commands of Major Pickett and Major Shealy and a reserve force under the command of Lt Col Brady. Major Pickett’s force was given the mission of taking Schmiederfeld and Major Shealy’s Stutzerbach while the balance of the command continued the organization and guarding of installations in Suhl. Due to the limited road net, it was necessary for both forces to proceed initially on same route.

Illustration-photos-002

April 5 1945
At 0700, Task Force Pickett leading moved out through Lauter and Goldlauter until contact was established at a roadblock 1000 M E of Goldlauter. Roadblock was heavily defended by dug-in infantry, mortars, nebelwerfer and small arms fire. Task Force Shealy was forced by terrain to halt in position behind TF Pickett. Resistance proved extremely well organized and it was necessary to coordinate the element of both task forces which could be dismounted in order to outflank the enemy defenses. Action proceeded slowly against a succession of roadblocks and well held machine gun positions all under a steady rain of nebelwerfer fire. By VOCG a small containing force was left opposing the enemy in zone and the bulk of both task forces returned to Suhl.

April 6 1945
During April 4, 5, and 6 1945, the Cavalry Command, under control of CCA, had been active on the mission of securing the Division’s south flank. Operating south of the heavy woods in the vicinity of Suhl, a line had been established from the outskirts of Themar through Bischofred to Schleusingen which was occupied at 1810 April 6 by a Rcn Tr, A Tk Plat, and a TD Plat. A change in troops occurred at 1645 April 6 when 58 FA Bn of 183 FA Gp reverted to Corps control. Coincidentally with this information a Ln O from Division visited the CP with a warning order calling for an attack by CCA on the town of Hildburghausen to commence 0700 April 7. At 1900 Division Operations Memorandum No. 51 arrived under the provisions of which Cavalry Command minus 1 reconnaissance troop reverted to Division control in place. CCA, besides attacking Hildburghausen, was to maintain contact with 26th Infantry Division on the north flank while remaining elements of the division passed behind CCA to take up positions to the south and advance parallel to the direction of our advance. A meeting of commanders was held at which troops for the projected operation were established on the following basis; three forces under the commands of Lt Col Ahee, Maj Shealy, and Lt Col Brady were to conduct the operation coordinated by the CG. Composition of these forces was as follows :

Task Force Ahee

    – A/63 AI Bn
    – A/42 Tk Bn
    – Plat A/41 Cav
    – Plat A/56 Engr
    – Support Wpns Hq 42 Tk Bn
    – A Btry 490 FA Bn

Task Force Shealy

    – B/42 Tk Bn
    – B/63 AI Bn
    – Plat A/41 Cav
    – Plat A/56 Engr
    – Support Wpns Hq 63 AI Bn

Task Force Brady

    – Plat 41 Cav
    – C/63 AI Bn
    – C/42 Tk Bn
    – Plat 56 Engr Bn
    – Plat 705 TD Bn
    – 490 FA Bn (-)

The remainder of the artillery was directly under 183 Gp control. Plan of operations was for the three forces to operate on separate routes, TF Ahee to proceed initially to capture Themar on the right flank, TF Shealy to capture Schleusingen on the left flank, and TF Brady to use a central route of advance followed by all other elements of the command in a direct attack on Hildburghausen.

Hildburghausen-11-AD-Bridge-gave-way.

April 7 1945
Guards on installations in Suhl were relieved by elements of 26 Inf Div prior to initiating movement. Cavalry elements moved out at 0700 April 7 followed 30 minutes later by the balance of the command on the separate routes assigned. At 0715 information was received from CO 41 Cav Rcn Sq to the effect that an entire platoon of B Troop Cav was ambushed and captured during the night while guarding bridge at Schleusingen. Information was relayed to TF Shealy so that every effort could be made to recapture personnel. By 0930 TF Ahee on the right had reached and was attacking Themar, TF Shealy on the left was attacking Schleusingen and the central force under Brady was within 4 miles of Hildburghausen. All forces were opposed. Opposition in Themar and Schleusingen consisted principally of S/A and bazooka fire from infantry in the cellars and houses of the town. On the route to Hildburghausen some AT fire, considerable artillery fire and various types of booby traps and mines were encountered. The bridge at Ebenhards had been destroyed by the enemy and necessitated installation of tread way which was completed by 1630. Fighter bomber support was used extensively throughout the day, especially on the approaches to the main objective of Hildburghausen. Schleusingen having been cleared by 1630, TF Shealy was ordered to move west to the central route utilized by the task force in the attack on Hildburghausen and assisted this attack. Resistance in Themar proved more stubborn and TF Ahee was therefore ordered to complete clearing of the town and outpost it for the night in preparation for the arrival of Division Hq the following day. Hildburghausen itself was entered at 1700 and clearing of the town proceeded rapidly. Operations continued beyond the usual hour for daylight but were facilitated by illumination afforded by the brightly burning buildings in the western part of the town. By 2200 all units of the command had closed and the CP of CCA was set up in Hildburhausen. Force Ahee remained in Themar and B Tr 41 Cav protected the south flank at Tethies. During the day the command succeeded in clearing Themar, Kiast, Vessra, Ehrenburg, Siegritz, Ebenhards, Masselrich, Hildburghausen and Schleusingen. TF Shealy in its attack on Schleusingen had recaptured all personnel of Plat of B/41 Cav which had been taken the previous day by the enemy.

11-AD-1945-Virgil-Haener-Sundown-Kenny-Moore

April 8 1945
On April 8 a systematic clearance of the balance of Hildburhausen was renewed and the elements of the command located in Themar were moved to Hildburghausen. At 1201 orders were received from C-3 to establish contact with elements of 26 Inf Div at Rappelsdorf and a few minutes later additional orders were received to occupy the town of Gerhardts Gereuth. A force was constituted consisting of C/42 Tk, C/63 AI, 1st Plat A/56 Engr, 1st Plat B/41 Cav under command of Major Pickett which moved out on its mission at 1400. No enemy resistance was encountered and the mission of occupying Gerhardts Gereuth was completed at 1800 and contact established with 101 Regt 26 Inf Div on the north at Rappelsdorf by 1940. Patrols were established to Reserve Command position west of CCA CP and contact established with CCB on the south.

Zerbat-Germany-April-28-1945

April 9 1945
On 9 April patrols were continued, maintenance initiated and guards maintained on important installations in Hildburghausen. Warning orders were received from Division covering a continuation of the advance to the E and SE on order with troops reconstituted so that 22 Tk Bn and 55 AI Bn would be assigned to CCA command. At 1900 previous instructions for continuation of maintenance were canceled and all units prepared for movement early April 10. At 2100 assembled unit commanders were issued FO #19. Due to the rapid change in instructions from higher headquarters, constitution of the CC as regards major elements was left unchanged. Composition of troops under provisions of FO #19 were as follows :

    – A/41 Cav
    – 490 FA Bn (-)
    – Plat A/56 Engrs
    – 183 FA Gp

Task Force Brady

    – Plat D/42
    – 945 FA Bn
    – A & B Cos 42 Tk Bn
    – 63 AI Bn (-C Co)
    – D/42 Tk (-)
    – A/56 (-1 Plat)
    – Btry 276 AFA Bn
    – Hq Co CCA
    – Plat A/705 TD Bn
    – C/575 AA Bn (-)
    – 276 FA (-)
    – Plat A/705 TD Bn
    – 42 Tk Bn (-)
    – C/63 AI
    – A Tns
    – Btry 490 FA
    – Plat A/705 TD Bn
    – Hq Gp CCA

At 0605, April 10, A/41 Cav Reinf moved out as scheduled followed an hour later by Force Brady. No opposition was met until advance elements encountered dug-in infantry approximately 1000 M E of Oberlauter. At Vellsdorf a bridge had collapsed from being overloaded (see photo above) but the column proceeded without delay over a by-pass. An undefended roadblock had been removed in Oberlauter. Rcn elements were relieved by Force Brady at 1100 and the advance continued. At Wohlbach A/41 reinf bypassed a blown bridge and found an extensive abates and a defended roadblock. Further reconnaissance uncovered dug-in infantry to the south and southeast and Force Ahee was brought forward to engage the enemy. A/41 reinf continued its advance and by 1330 had cleared three small settlements in the area east of Wohlbach. In order to accomplish CCA mission of establishing a block across main road at 365944, A/41 had been reinforced by 1 Plat A/705 TD and 1 Plat of D/42 Tk. Engineer elements were left at site of blown bridge at Wohlsbach and had completed installation of a treadway by 1445. By 1550 two elements of A/41 Reinf completed roadblocks as ordered. At 1730 Force Ahee was given mission of seizing and occupying Unterlauter. By 1800 the town was occupied, cleared and outposted for defense. One Plat C/42 Tk and 1 Plat C/63 were left at Oberlauter to secure and protect positions of 490 FA Bn. All units had closed in vicinity Wohlbach, Oberlautern, and Unterlautern by 2015 with CP CCA at Oberlauter. Defensive positions were organized and roadblocks were maintained.

April 10 1945
The command had marched approximately 19 miles during the day. Planes were utilized whenever suitable targets were available, strikes being made at Unterlautern, Neustadt, and Coburg. At 2100 10 April emissaries from Coburg Castle arrived with a request to evacuate 300 women and children refugees said to be resident there. The incident was reported to Division and permission granted to permit the evacuation on the morning of April 11.

Coburg-Vereinshaus-1945

Coburg-Marktplatz-April-1945

April 11 1945
At 0900, April 11, the surrender of Coburg and Coburg Castle was proffered by two emissaries. Fire of both combat commands was immediately ordered to cease and planes were withdrawn from attack pending final arrangements. By 1030 the town and castle had surrendered and civilians were proceeding to remove roadblocks. Clearing of small towns in the area continued during the morning. By 1115 towns at 345930, 325930, and 325920 were cleared. Two bridges were found intact at 345930 and secured. At 1220 a telephone message was received from C-3 notifying command that 55 Armd Inf Bn and 22 Tk Bn would replace normal CCA troops. Arrangements were made to move these units and both had closed at 1600. Division liaison officer brought Operations Memo #53. Unit commanders were immediately assembled and at 1730 were issued FO #20 which organized troops in order of march as follows :

Weinand

    – A/41 Cav
    – Plat A/56 Engr
    – Plat D/22 Tk Bn
    – 2 Med Cos 22 Tk
    – 55 AI Bn (-1 Rif Co)
    – A/56 Engr (-1 Plat)
    – Adv Btry 276 FA Bn
    – Plat A/705 TD Bn

Wingard

    – 22 Tk Bn (-)
    – Rif Co 55 AI Bn
    – Adv Btry 490 FA Bn
    – Plat A/705 TD Bn
    – Hq Gp CCA
    – 490 FA (-)
    – 183 FA Gp
    – 945 FA Bn

Hearn

    – D/22 Tk (-)
    – Hq Co CCA (-)
    – C/575 AA Bn (-)
    – Plat A/705 TD
    – A Tns
    – C/133 Engr
    – As available in support – 276 FA (-)
    (Note : I am not sure about this roster)

April 12 1945
At 0615, April 12, Force Weinand moved out followed an hour later by Force Hearn. Resistance was light, consisting of scattered enemy infantry and one enemy tank destroyed at 433886.
At 1300 Force Weinand was reducing a defended roadblock at the north entrance to Kups, part of CCA objective for the day, while Force Hearn cleared woods 3000 M to north and Force Wingard cleared towns and woods along the route of advance behind the leading force. Force Hearn continued its attack toward Kronach, CCA objective for the day, and occupied and cleared the town by 1500. The bridge in this town was captured intact. While the town was being cleared G-3 transmitted an order to CG CCA to seize and secure high ground SE of town in preparation for operations April 13. A small force was left to complete the clearing of Kronach while main body of force Hearn advanced toward Weissenbrunn. By 1815 mission had been completed and troops were closing in vicinity. Division had ordered one element of 42 Tk Bn and one element of 63 Armd Inf Bn to relieve elements of force Hearn and Kronach. This relief was accomplished by 2015. CP CCA was established in Theisenort. During the night Division Liaison Officer brought Operations Memo No. 54 which designated a new route and final objective in the vicinity of Hof instead of Bayreuth. Troop B 41 Cav Rcn Sq was attached as of 0600 April 13 and plans were made to utilize this troop plus one platoon A/705 TD to protect the south flank of the main force during the following day’s operations. Except for addition of this troop of cavalry composition of forces remained the same.

Bayreuth-Germany-3rd-Army-April-1945

April 13 1945
Force Weinand and Hearn moved out as scheduled April 13. Resistance was light and scattered by progress was impeded by occasional undefended roadblocks and a weak road net. Advance elements of Force Hearn had reached Kulmbach by 1140 and were later assisted by B Troop 41 Cav in clearing the town. Meanwhile Force Weinand was reconnoitering routes north and northeast of Unter Steinach while Force Wingard cleared Stadtsteinach. Two platoons of A/56 Engr, part of Force Hearn at Kulmbach, were sent to Unter Steinach to reinforce Weinand. CP CCA was opened at 1607 at Stadtsteinach. During the day enemy air shot down artillery observation plane of 183 FA Gp killing two men. Plans were made to continue the attack April 14 but at 2230 a message was received from division ordering command to remain in place and concentrate on maintenance. All units were informed and maintenance activity commenced early April 14.

April 14/17 1945
During the period of April 14-17 command performed maintenance and guarded captured military installations in the area. As of 0800 April 17 490 FA Bn was relieved from DS CCA and reverted to control of Reserve Command. B/41 Cav reverted to parent unit in place 0700 April 17. New orders were received from Division and a memorandum was issued units giving order of march to concentration area vicinity Neudrossenfeld as follows :

    – A/41 Cav
    – A/56 Engr
    – 22 Tk Force (Wingard)
    – A/705 TD (-)
    – C/575 AA (-)
    – 183 FA Gp
    – 945 FA Bn
    – A/81 Med Bn
    – A Tns (-)
    – 55 AI Force (Hearn)
    – 276 FA

April 18 1945
Movement was to take place early April 18 but initiation of movement was delayed because of road priorities to other units moving in the same general direction. Notification was received from G-3 that movement of the command was also contingent upon relief of guard being maintained in Stadsteinach, Uunter Steinach, and Kulmbach. At 1015 April 18 Division Operations Memorandum 55 was received which gave CCA mission of advancing along Axis “A” as soon as after daylight April 19 as practicable to seize objectives in zone. This memorandum also attached 41 Cav (- Tr D) in place as of 0600 April 19 with mission of protecting the north flank of the division and maintaining contact with 26 Inf Division. At 1300 CO of 27 AA Bn arrived in CCA CP at Stadtsteinach to discuss details concerning relief of guards on various installations in the area for which the command had been responsible. Relief at Stadtsteinach was completed at 1500 and at Kulmbach by 1800. Movement of the command to the new concentration area in vicinity Altdrossenfeld started at 1300. During the movement a message was received from Division ordering the command to use what had been designated as Red Axis “A” to seize Grafenwohr April 19. CP CCA opened at Altdrossenfeld and at 1800 assembled commanders were issued FO #21 which organized forces in order of march as follows :

Force Weinand

    – A/41 Cav
    – Plat A/56 Engr
    – Plat A/705 TD
    – 276 FA

Force Hearn

    – 55 AI
    – A/22 Tk
    – Plat A/705 TD
    – Hq Gp CCA
    – Adv Btry

Force Foy

    – 41 Cav (-A, B Trs)
    – 276 FA (-) Bn

Force Wingard

    – 22 Tk Bn (-A Co)
    – 183 FA Gp
    – B, C 55 AI Bn
    – A/56 Engr (-1 Plat)
    – 945 FA Bn
    – Adv Btry 490 FA
    – D/22 Tk (-)
    – 490 AFA Bn (-)
    – Hq Co CCA
    – C/575 AA (-)
    – Plat A/705 TD
    – A Tns
    – C/133 Engr

41 Cav (-) was to protect N flank and rear of the command and maintain contact with 26 Inf Div.

At 0600 A/41 Reinf (Weinand) moved out of its bivouac area. Progress was rapid until a blown bridge was encountered at Neunkirchen. A suitable bypass was found over another bridge 1 mile West of Seulbite and the advance continued meeting only light resistance at Irresau (9052) and at Kirchenlaibach where Force Wingard closed behind Force Weinand. At 1200 advance elements of Force Wingard were entering and rapidly clearing the town. During this period 41 Cav (-) was moving along the north flank of the command and at 1200 established contact with elements of 26 Inf Div 2000 M E of Deps (7962). Beyond Kirchenlaibach little opposition was encountered by Force Wingard and at 1550 Advance elements were entering Grafenwohr against little SA fire.

Grafenwohr-Germany-April-1945

April 19 1945
Contact was immediately made with the former police chief to induce the entire town to surrender. Light resistance continued and mopping up operations were coordinated with CCB. While this operation was in progress Force Hearn worked in the rear areas and completed clearing of Pressath. 41 Cav (-) worked its way toward Pressath where a CP was established. CP CCA closed at Grafenwohr and all units were closed in Pressath or Grafenwohr by 2040. At 2238 a message was received from Division ordering command to consolidate positions and not to continue advance until April 20.

April 20 1945
Early April 20, 2 Inf Cos from Force Hearn cleared woods between Pressath and Grafenwohr while elements of Force Wingard rechecked houses at Grafenwohr. A/41 Cav was given mission of reconnoitering routes to the south, and 41 Cav (-) was given mission to reconnoiter area to the N and E of CCA proposed route. Routine reconnaissance and maintenance occupied the command the remainder of the day and early April 21.

April 21 1945
At 1100, April 21, orders were received for command to clear an area 5000 M north and east and 5000 M north and west of Grafenwohr. Elements of the 55 AI Bn were dispatched on this mission at 1300. Instructions also were received regarding continuation of attack on April 22. In order to secure favorable positions for early movement the following day, 41 Cav (-) with 276 FA attached was ordered to move out by 1500 to seize Parkstein, and to reconnoiter and mark routes from Pressath to Parkstein. By 1640 forward elements of 41 Cav (-) had passed Parkstein, where friendly troops had been reported, and were moving on toward Neustadt. No resistance was met and by 1940 Neustadt was occupied. The road from Parkstein to Neustadt was reported as being suitable for elements of the command. FO #22 was issued covering operations April 22. Composition of forces remained unchanged. Mission of the command was to attack east and then south early April 22 to seize successfully Neustadt, Weiden, and Nabburg, the first named objective having been taken by 41 Cav (-).

Weiden-Germany-SS-captured-by-american-soldiers

April 22 1945
Force Wingard was moving toward IP at Grafenwohr at 0630 April 22 while 41 (-) moved from its bivouac area at Neustadt. From Neustadt to Luhe. A/41 reinf and 41 Cav (-) marched on parallel routes. Force Weinand (A/41 Cav reinf) reduced two road blocks at 183325 and one at 187339. 41 Cav (-), protecting left flank of the command, reduced two road blocks at Weiden and by 0830 was moving into the town, at which time Force Wingard passed through cavalry screen. Resistance at Weiden was light although a major problem was encountered in the handling of over 1600 liberated Allied PWs. Force Wingard reduced another roadblock at the S edge of Weiden at 0940. During the advance 41 Cav (-) contacted elements of the 90th Infantry Division 2000 M West of Neustadt. At 1005 A/41 Cav reinf, reconnoitering main axis of advance, encountered a defended road block at the center of Rothenstadt (P1273) and an air OP reported another road block at the south edge of town. By 1125 the town was cleared. While A/41 reinf was reconnoitering the main route of advance Force Wingard and Hearn cleared resistance in Weiden. Orders were received from Division at 1240 to continue mission immediately and disregard situation in Weiden; that elements of the 26 Inf Div would effect relief as rapidly as possible. A token force consisting of 1 Platoon of tanks and 1 Platoon of infantry remained at Weiden until relief was completed. A/41 Cav Reinf seized bridges intact at Luhe where Force Wingard bypassed cavalry elements and continued south, passing through Wernberg by 1510. Force Hearn mopped up behind Force Wingard. Resistance consisted of scattered SA and sniper fire. Advance elements of Force Wingard were at Pfreimd at 1630. Abutments to the bridge at Pfreimd were blown and weakened so that only light loads could be carried and arrangements were made to install a Bailey. At 1745 an emissary from Nabburg advanced toward our leading elements south of Pfreimd bearing a white flag. The town surrendered. CCA CP closed for the night at Pfreimd. Troops were organized for the night in vicinity Nabburg and Pfreimd, all units being closed by 0150 April 23. The command had marched approximately 36 miles, seizing assigned objectives. At 2345 April 22 a message was received from Division ordering continuation of the advance to the fourth objective, Cham, as soon after daylight as practicable April 23. There was no change in organization of forces.

Weiden-SS-soldiers-captued-by-american-soldiers-002

April 23 1945
Force Weinand moved out along axis of advance at 0615 and by 0645 was at Wilhof having captured 154 PWs. No resistance was met. Reconnaissance disclosed that the proposed route east of Pertolzhofen was unsuitable for following elements and a new route was reconnoitered to the north and east through Nieder Murach and then back to the original route. Progress was hindered by the necessity for controlling the large number of Allied PWs liberated in the area Nieder Murach – Winklarn – Haag. At 1210 A/41 Cav reinf met slight resistance from a small fleeing column at U4796, at which point Force Wingard passed through the cavalry screen. In the meaintime 41 Cav (-) was covering the left flank of the command and at 1400 was 2000 M NE of Winklarn. At the same time A/41 Cav reinf was 2000 M NW of Pempling, again leading Force Wingard. By 1450 Force Weinand was reducing a defended roadblock at the north edge of Cham, CCA joint objective for the day. At 1658 an order was received from G-3 to attempt seizure of the bridge at Miltach U6674 with cavalry elements. Force Weinand was dispatched on this mission immediately but found that a main road marked on the map did not exist on the ground. A route S of Cham was then reconnoitered and the mission completed by 2330. A route south of Cham was then reconnoitered and the mission completed by 2330. CP CCA closed Cham at 1805. During the day progress toward the objective had been hindered chiefly by the need for organizing the thousands of Allied PWs liberated along the axis of advance and the setting up of PW cages. Guard details were disposed as follows :

    – Light Tank Plat and Inf Plat at Pfreimd
    – 1 Plat Cav and 1 Plat Inf at Nieder Murach
    – 1 Plat Cav and 1 Plat Inf at Winklarn
    – 1 Plat Cav at Pemfling
    – 1 Plat Cav at Cham

At 2215 a message from Division ordered continuation of the advance, and detailed orders were received at 0200. Mission of the Division was to march on Regen, CCs in column, CCB loading, clearing designed areas of enemy.

April 24 1945
At 0800 April 24 commanders were assembled in the CP and given verbal order covering march and designating areas to be cleared. At 1225 order was received from Division to disregard clearing mission and move out at once, but because of bad roads and length of proceeding columns, movement of CCA was delayed until 1300. In addition, CCB traffic had broken up the designated route so badly that a new route had to be reconnoitered from Cham to Miltach. Because the command was at the tail of an entire CC plus Division troops, progress was extremely slow, advance elements being at Viechtach by 1500. CCB discovered the bridge at Regen to be blown and as a result 41 Cav Sq was sent out to reconnoiter an alternate route from Patersdorf NW to Bodenmais. All elements less the cavalry closed at Viechtach for the night. At 2020 41 Cav discovered an extensive roadblock 1 mile west of Bodemais. Three hours later the block had been removed and troops entered the town. No resistance was encountered and a bridge in the vicinity was captured intact. Plans were made for continuation of the attack on April 25.

April 25 1945
Advance cavalry elements moved out at 0600 April 25 and at 0700 were at Langdorf meeting slight resistance. Remainder of the command stayed in Viechtach until condition of roads had been accurately determined. 1000 M west of Zwiesel the road was discovered to be impassable because of extensive bomb craters. No bypasses were available and it was necessary to retrace movement to Patersdorf and follow CCB main route of advance beyond Regen. Movement of the main body was resumed and at 1245 Force Wingard had reached Patersdorf. Beyond Regen progress was again rapid after the tail of CCB column had cleared and CCA continued its advance toward the north and east. At Schwarzach (Q1150) advance elements of A/41 Cav reinf ran into an enemy column which was immediately taken under fire. Approximately 80 enemy were killed, 40 PWs taken and an undetermined number of vehicles destroyed. By 1640 A/41 Cav had cleared Grafenau (Q1444) and was clearing Neudorf 2500 M SE. Progress was unimpeded except for a succession of road blocks and A/41 had secured bridge across the Resch River and was in position for the night in vicinity Kreuzberg by 2000. All other troops were in defensive positions around Grafenau being closed by 0430 April 26. Advance was to be continued April 26 with no change in forces except that cavalry elements were to remain in place at Kreuzberg.

April 26 1945
At 0110 a message was received from Division ordering continuation of advance April 26 and at 0800 elements of Force Wingard started moving. Progress was rapid until a bridge was found destroyed at Freyung. A bypass suitable for tracked vehicles was immediately reconnoitered and installation of a treadway bridge begun. After Force Wingard and supporting artillery had crossed, the bypass broke down and the column was delayed several hours until a suitable bridge could be installed for wheeled vehicles. Except for the blown bridge at Freyung progress was rapid. By 1250 Force Wingard had reached Untergrainet and a reinforced patrol had pushed 2000 M E. The patrol met no resistance until it reached Lackershausen where a force of Hitlerjugend was encountered. This was considered a diversion and the patrol pushed on toward the Austrian border. A token force was sent across the bridge 1600 M east of Lackershausen and touched Austrian soil at 1810. Mission was completed and the reinforced patrol rejoined the main force at Untergrainet. At 1807 a message was received from Division informing Command that detachment of 41 Cav (less C Tr) was effective at once. C Troop remained under CCA control. CP CCA was located at Furholz. At 2300 a message was received from Division ordering Command to be prepared to continue advance in direction of Lurz April 28.

April 27 1945
During April 27 Force Hearn sent a patrol consisting of 1 Plat Inf, 1 Plat Tks to reconnoiter routes south and east. No suitable routes were found. C/41 Cav crossed the Czech border near Bischofsreut 3946. No resistance was met and no suitable routes were found. Remainder of the command performed maintenance and rested.

April 28 1945
At 0700 April 28 Division Operations Memo #61 was received showing tentative routes and objectives toward SE. Patrols were immediately sent out to reconnoiter routes as follows :

    0800, 1 Inf Plat, 1 Tk Plat from Force Wingard reconnoitered routes from Freyung NE along main road as far as Q3749
    1 Inf Plat, 1 Tk Plat, and 1 Plat TDs from Force Hearn was to reconnoiter routes to Waldkirchen Q3031 then east as far as Breitenberg Q4529
    I & R Plat was to move to positions Q302376 and Q288375 to establish temporary Ops and observe to the southwest

By 1100 Wingard patrol reached the outskirts of Kensvart, Austria Q3751 having met no resistance on route. Enemy were observed in this vicinity but our troops did not enter the town. Hearn patrol reported light resistance from woods Weibreitemberg Q4529. 40 PWs were taken. Three members of the patrol were wounded and 1 TD was hit. CC visited Div CP and returned with plans for displacement of the command to CCB area to the south leaving a holding force in the vicinity of Uuntergrainet until relieved by elements of Reserve Command. These plans were later confirmed by Division Operations Memorandum #62. The command had been given a new route to original main axis for continuation of attack SE toward Binx.

Discovering-the-True-Face-of-Nazism-Germany-003-1945

April 29 1945
C/41 Cav Reinf with 1 Plat TD moved out to reconnoiter NE, and two Wingard patrols (composition 1 Plat Inf, 1 Plat Tks) reconnoitered routes to the southeast. A message was received from Division that SS troops with tanks were threatening an attack from vicinity Kreuzberg. G-3 relayed orders that command was to alert at least 1 Co Tks and 1 Co Inf for immediate movement to Freyung to meet the threat. This force, augmented by 1 Btry 276 FA, under the command of Major Blalock, left at 1300. At 1605 TF Blalock was at Kreuzberg having met no resistance. Force Crabhill :

    – 1 Co 55 AI
    – 1 Co 22 Tk
    – Plat A/56 Engrs
    – Plat A/705 FB
    – 276 FA Bn
    – Btry 945 FA – (155-MM)

moved to concentration area vicinity Woldaberg followed by C/41 Cav reinf on return from reconnaissance mission to the NE. At 1605 instructions were received regarding continuation of advance toward Linz as soon after daylight 30 April as practicable. Commanders were given the following order of march. There was no change in force except substitution of C/41 for A/41 Cav. Order of March :

    April 30 0700, C/41 Cav Reinf (from Vic Wollaberg)
    Force Hearn (-) at Unter Grainet move out in time to pick up remainder of force at Wollaberg and follow C/41 Cav by approximately one hour. Force Wingard and remaining elements follow by liaison rear to front

April 20 1945
C/41 Cav Reinf moved out from its bivouac area vicinity at Wollaberg as scheduled and by 0920 Adv Elms were 2000 M north of Wegscheid Q4518 meeting sniper fire and dug-in infantry. Force Hearn moved in with dismounted infantry supported by tanks to clear woods NE of town. On probing the flanks resistance was found to be extensive and well organized supported by strategically placed AT guns and light artillery. Five of our tanks were knocked out. Artillery was immediately brought forward to cover the ridges and woods and to overcome resistance in the town. Because of the ruggedness of the terrain, tanks could not be used effectively and resistance had to be overcome chiefly by infantry and artillery. Weather conditions were such that air support was unavailable during the day. Attack of Force Hearn was successful and the town was completely cleared at 2130. CP CCA closed for the night at Kasburg Q4420. At 2030 an FM message had been relayed from CG 11 Armored Division stating that higher Hq was very desirous of continuing attack as far as possible toward final objective, Linz, on May 1. Commanders were issued the following order for next day’s attack :

Hearn to attack 010630 and secure bridges at Bellstein Q5320 and at Deindorf. Upon securing bridges C/41 Cav Reinf move through and reconnoiter main axis of advance. Forces no change. Force Wingard and Trains to be moved forward as soon as route is cleared.

Roads in the area had been badly chewed and engineer work was required at several points between Wegscheid and Bonen where C/41 Cav and CCA Trains were bivouacked. During the day our forces had captured or destroyed four 75-MM AT guns, 1 SP gun, one 140-MM AA gun, inflicting approximately 75 enemy casualties and capturing 137 PWs.

End
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