I am pleased to welcome you to my personal blog, which I started in March 2009. I first became interested in blogging about five years ago, using old "blogger.com", which was cumbersome to use and I never mastered. About a year ago I discovered that Google had bought "blogger.com" and had revised it considerably, making it fun to use, so much so that I have devised at least 15 blogs on various subjects and frequently add posts and Gadgets to them.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Blue Mike, Chap. II - Combat (3 of 5)

These are US Army trucks crossing the treadway (pontoon) bridge across the Rhine river, March 30, 1945.

March 30, 1945 - Weiskirchen, Germany

Blue Mike tells us that "at 1000 Co. M moved on foot to an assembly area in the vicinity of Alsenz. The weather was cloudy with a light rain. At 1100 we loaded on trucks and moved approximately 50 miles via Darmstadt to assembly in the vicinity of Frankfurt. We crossed the Rhine at Oppenheim on the treadway (pontoon) bridge in a smokescreen so there was very little to see except the water, the pontoons and the two tracks the vehicles had to stay on....After General Patton got on the east side he reportedly radioed back to Gen. Bradley, 'We have crossed the Rhine.' Gen. Bradley was totally amazed because logistically he had believed it was impossible for Gen. Patton to advance so rapidly.....The entire 14th Infantry made the crossing of the Rhine river and moved into assembly areas in the vicinity of Frankfurt.

"We closed into billets in the town of Weiskirchen by 1600. After we had gotten settled in our billets and our kitchen truck arrived, we broke out the deer meat [killed earlier that morning]. One of our men had found a big supply of potatoes and onions in the basement of one of our billets...and we had some of the best tasting venison stew you ever tasted.

March 31, 1945 - Weiskirchen, Germany

Blue Mike: "Co. M remained in billets in the town of Weiskirchen, south of Hanau, throughout the day." [I remember being sick that day, from a bad C ration, I suppose.]

April 1, 1945 - Bivouac near Glauberg, Germany

Blue Mike: "...Today is Easter Sunday morning, and the rest of the Army rolls on while we continue to take it easy. If the present pace continues perhaps the war will be over in two weeks....[I remember seeing my first jet plane that day, a German fighter.] At 1700 the 3d Battalion departed by truck and occupied the town of Altenstadt by 2100....Co. M and elements of the 3d Battalion went into the advance march for about seven km after detrucking and occupied a bivouac area near Glauberg after midnight.

April 2, 1945 - Wolf, Germany

Blue Mike: "The regimental attack order on the 6th SS Nord Division was issued at 0500. At 0720 the 3d Battalion reported enemy fire being received from the woods south of Altenstadt. The attack was scheduled at 0900 but by 0800 the attack was postponed until 1000....Co. M was in position at 0915. Lt. Prekker's 3d Mortar Platoon was set and zeroed in on Hill No. 267...At 1000 the artillery and mortar preparation began. As promised in the regimental attack order, the artillery delivered 400 rounds of high explosives and our mortar platoon fired about 90 rounds on the hill. The artillery lifted at 1020 and there was no response from Hill No.267. Immediately we moved into the attack march on the hill. We received no fire while closing on the hill....We occupied the hill and found it had been occupied by a German horse-drawn artillery battery. What we found was not pretty. Five or six enemy killed along with four or five Percheron-type horses destroyed....When the 3d Mortar Platoon occupied Hill No, 267, they found a money wagon...full of German marks..Most of the mortar platoon were a little depressed about our attack on Hill No. 267. They did their job by delivering fire on the hill as ordered. They were depressed because so many horses were killed.

"Following the occupation of Hill No. 267, Co. M continued in the attack march in an easterly direction for about four miles until nightfall where we bivouacked in and around the village of Wolf. [I remember that we emplaced our mortar outside a house and slept inside, six to a bed - two on the mattress, two on the box springs, and two on the bedding. We kept guard on the mortar and ammunition.]

April 3, 1945 - Bivouac near Dudenrod, Germany

Blue Mike: "The weather was clear and cool. The situation has become very fluid. At daybreak we received a report from division intelligence that we should be alert for...fleeing 6th SS Nord troops...Co. M was ordered to hold positions....and to send out foot patrols...The 3d Battalion assignment was the clean-out of woods and towns and to patrol the road networks. Co. M conducted a thorough search of the town of Wolf...Co. M departed Wolf at 1200 on foot and arrived in the town of Dudenrod at 1400, a distance of only two miles....Co. M was bivouacked about one half kilometer southeast of Dudenrod."

April 4, 1945 - Bivouac near Breitenbach, Germany

Blue Mike: "At 0800 Co. M loaded on the first shuttle of QM trucks in Dudenrod for displacement of 16 miles to the 3d Battalion assembly area in Kressenbach, arriving at 1530. The weather was rainy and miserable...Co. M bivouacked one-half kilometer southeast from Breitenbach and two miles east of Kressenbach....The day was cloudy with a slow rain most of the afternoon. We moved into our bivouac area outside the village of Breitenbach about 1700. Our orders were to guard our perimeter and dig in for the night. Foxholes and slit trenches were not the most comfortable places to spend the night in the rain." [I've thought of this night frequently. It was the only night in the rain during our time in combat. I remember that I was to share cover with Pfc Presnell, one of our squad's ammunition bearers, but we could not erect a pup tent because he had burned his wooden tent pegs at Camp Old Gold. So we buttoned our two shelter halves together and pulled them over us to keep the rain off. I remember the occasional automatic weapons firing by other units in their fight with the 6th SS Nord Division. It was not a good night.] Blue Mike continues: "My order was for everyone to keep his head down until daylight unless we were attacked. Fortunately, I was able to bring our company mess truck into our company area for the night, which provided a hot meal before darkness. All of our men were dog-tired after two days of the advance march. To compensate, I placed the company cooks on guard duty for the night. We armed them with all the BARs [Browning Automatic Rifles] we could locate."

April 5, 1945 - Bivouac near Breitenbach, Germany

Blue Mike: "A close screening action was initiated following a report that survivors of the 6th SS Nord Division had been ordered to change into civilian clothes for the purpose of making their escape into Bavaria. All small towns in the regimental area were screened by a house-to-house search, the woods were mopped up and a close control of civilians was established... Co. M, less the 1st MG Platoon, had been ordered to sweep and clear two small villages northwest of Breitenbach at 0800. We completed this assignment by 1000....A system of motor patrols, outposts and listening posts was established for the night as the units buttoned up. Co. M participated in outpost duty up to two km to our front and in motor patrols...At 2030 we were alerted to be prepared to move to the vicinity of Fulda tomorrow morning."

April 6, 1945 - Maberzell, Germany

Blue Mike: We've surely been having some lousy weather lately as it has been cloudy and rainy most of the time. We slept out in the rain night before last, but found a shed and two warehouses for most of our men last night...Co. M and the rest of the 3d Battalion prepared close out its area near Breitenbach for movement forward. At 0600, we were loaded on QM trucks and began the displacement of approximately 25 miles to the general vicinity of Fulda. Our route of march via convoy from Breitenbach was north through Hauswitz and to Hosenfeld where we detrucked at 0830.

Blue Mike: "We deployed and began a sweep of the Forst Grossenluder via Giesel, Neiderrode, Hainbach and on to Maberzell. We had completed a foot march of 13 km or 8 miles in a search and occupy operation. The Forst Grossenluder sweep resulted in the capture of 70 POWs in this mopping-up exercise by the 14th Infantry. A house-to-house search was made in the towns, and the woods in between were thoroughly searched. The weather continues bad with uninterrupted light rain. The road was very muddy. The 2d MG Platoon and the 3d Mortar Platoon were in direct support of the battalion in this sweep. The 1st MG Platoon was still on guard duty at Eberstadt. We made our way into Maberzell, three miles west of Fulda, at nightfall....At 2000 Co. M was billeted in Maberzell for the night. We received word that the 1st MG Platoon would rejoin us tomorrow. At 2200, we received the order to move eastward tomorrow morning. The billeting parties are to be at regimental headquarters in Fulda ready to move promptly at 0600."

April 7, 1945 - Kaltensundheim, Germany

Blue Mike: At 0930, the company loaded on trucks in Maberzell and started the displacement to Kaltensundheim. As was the case in nearly every move forward, the motorized elements of Co. M would drop into the QM truck convoy. We arrived in Kaltensundheim at 1500 after a move of 25 miles. The weather had improved and was starting to clear. The day continued cool, clear and bright. The roads were still muddy but drying....The company was billeted in Kaltensundheim for the night. All of the company's machine-gun-mounted jeeps were active in roving patrols during the afternoon. [I remember being involved in some of these patrols.] and up until near midnight."

April 8, 1945 - Kaltensundheim, Germany

Blue Mike: ..."The company had machine-gun mounted jeep patrols active throughout the day. The weather was crisp and clear....The company remained billeted in Kaltensundheim for the night...We were at our most northerly advance into Germany. From now on, we would be traveling in a south-southeast direction until we met the Russians....We have stayed in houses the last two nights and it was much appreciated. The first night it was raining and last night there was frost on everything."

April 9, 1945 - Dreissigacker, Germany

Blue Mike: "This is the second morning in Kaltensundheim with very little to do....The company continued jeep patrols in the morning. The weather was cool and clear....At 1400 we loaded on trucks and traveled ten miles to Dreissigacker, just outside of Meiningen, arriving at 1500, where we billeted for the night."

April 10, 1945 - Meiningen, Germany

Blue Mike: "The company continued jeep patrols for most of the day. The weather was hazy with one mile visibility in the morning but burned off by noon to four miles visibility. The nights have been clear...At 1830 the company loaded on trucks in Dreissigacker for a two mile ride into Meiningen, arriving at 1900 to relieve elements of the 2d Battalion, 66th Infantry. The 3d Battalion was now in regimental reserve.....We billeted for the night in Meiningen. Again, we were called upon for night patrols in and around the city. At 1855 the 3d Battalion reverted to attachment to XII Corps, relieving 2d Battalion, 66th Infantry, vicinity of Meiningen. This means were are now on call by Corps to handle hot spots. We are now in reserve."

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