March Campaign Maps
The Rhineland Campaign (8 February- 21 March 1945)
Allied Advances (22- 28 March 1945)
Allied Advances (29 March- 4 April 1945)
Company E, 112th Infantry
APO 28 Us Army
To: S-1, 112th Infantry
1 April, 1945
On the 1st, we were still in Rocherath, training with Company C of the 777th Tank Battalion to whom we were married late in February. It was a mutually likable combination. The men mix very well. We like them, and they like us. We take care of enemy anti-tank guns for them, and they take care of enemy infantry for us, plus the most acceptable (to us) fact that we ride on the tanks, which beats walking, to the nth degree.
We stayed here until the 5th, when we left to go to an assembly area about 5 miles west of Schoneseiffen.
On the 6th, we left the assembly area at 1200, supposedly to be the advance guard for the Battalion, which was to advance through a line just south of Gemund which was being held by elements of the 2nd Division. However, due to the density of mines in the area, it was necessary for us to follow the Battalion. No resistance was encountered, so we were able to use regular routes of travel, going through Herhahn, Gemund, and arrived at Olef just before dark. Security was put out on the high ground just west of the main road running through the town, and the remainder turned in for the night.
On the morning of the 7th, we proceeded to Broich, after the road had been cleared of mines, to where the remainder of the Battalion was waiting for us. Here we were ordered to proceed to Sistig as the advance guard of the Battalion. The 1st Platoon was the advance party for the Company. No resistance was met, although it was necessary to stop often to remove the many Regal and Teller mines planted in the roadbed to delay us. At the outskirts of Sistig, the lead tank fired a few rounds of 75 mm. ammo into the town as a prelude to our arrival. To this the natives responded with white flags, banners, sheets, shirts, drawers, and anything that was white, firstly to signify that they were very much in accord with our intentions, and secondly, to prevent if possible, their happy homes from being blown in.
We were delayed here for several hours due to two roadblocks. One blocking the road leading into town, , the other blocking the road leading from town, not to mention the mines that were planted in the vicinity of the roadblocks. As soon as the blocks were cleared, we were ordered to continue to Blankenheim. A few miles out of Sistig we encountered another roadblock consisting of large trees felled across the road, and a quantity of Regal mines. With the aid of the tanks and some of the men in the advance party under the leadership of colonel Nelson, the road was once again clear. Being that it was getting late, and we had quite a ways to go to reach our final objective for the day, it was necessary to proceed at a rapid clip for the remainder of the advance.
About 1 mile west of Blankenheim we were again held up at a stream where a bridge had been blown out. While the tanks were looking for a suitable place to cross the stream, the 1st Platoon was ordered to proceed by foot through Blankenheimerdorf to Blankenheim, and cleared the road of all mines, so that the tanks wouldn't be delayed once they had crossed the stream. The mission was accomplished just after dusk, and the 1st Platoon waited in Blankenheim for the remainder of the Company to pull in, which was shortly before midnight. After having to practically break down a few front doors, the men were able to turn in for the night.
On the 8th, we left Blankenheim at 1430, and proceeded to Ahrdorf, where the 1st Platoon was left to remove the shells from the bridge which the enemy didn't have time to blow, and was also given permission to protect the bridge. The remainder of the Company proceeded to Dorsel. The men were billeted in houses, and no more than billet security was necessary, being that our Division has been punched out by the 3rd Army on our right, and friendly units on our left.
On the morning of the 10th, we were divorced - unquote, from the tankers, although a reconciliation is expected eventually -------------we hope.
After several days in the town, we went in for training in a big way, with a retreat formation every night.
Early in the evening of the 16th, the company was assembled at Dorsel, where we entrucked and left at 2300 for Bell, arriving there at 0500 on the morning of the 17th. During our stay in this town, we were billeted in houses. Everyone in the Company received two bottles of Coca Cola, which didn't make anyone mad.
On the morning of the 18th, we left by truck for Bubenheim, arriving shortly before noon. Here we detrucked, and proceeded to Lutzel, which is just across the Moselle River from Coblenz. Here we relieved company C of the 347th Infantry which was in a holding position from Lutzel past the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle, to a point in Neuendorf, about a thousand yards north of the confluence, and on the west bank of the river.
The 1st Platoon was given the sector from the boatyard to Neuendorf to defend. The 2nd Platoon was given the mission of guarding the railroad bridge and the traffic bridge running from Lutzel into Coblenz. The 3rd Platoon was given a front of about 500 yards on the left of the 1st Platoon, and its sector extends into Wallersheim.
Although we were receiving no artillery or mortar fire, there was plenty of sniping from well-concealed positions on the east bank of the Rhine. Particularly well zeroed in by the snipers was the entrance to the company CP, and by the second day, the snipers must have thought they could use machine guns to better advantage, because they sure had 'em, and they sure used 'em. Not to any advantage though, for up to the time friendly pushed down from the north on the other side of the river and drove the enemy out, we hadn't received any casualties.
On the 28th, Sgt. Robert Baldwin left the Company to report to Officer Candidate School. Also the men received two more "Cokes" apiece on the 28th.
By this time the situation warranted moving the Company into one area in barracks formerly used by the Luftwaffe.
Perhaps the most noteworthy even of the month for us was on the 29th, our own T/Sgt. Allen a. Conrad, who joined E Company at Camp Gordon Johnston, Florida, and who had been with us every day since, save for 14 days that he was hospitalized for wounds received in action, received a battlefield commission, having been promoted to 2nd Lt. early in the day. Needless to say, the promotion was a reflection of "Konrad's" outstanding capabilities, and there wasn't a soul in E Company who wasn't very proud of him. Lt. Conrad was assigned to the 2nd Platoon.
Considering the speed with which the forward troops were advancing, we were really getting into what could be called the rear echelon category, and it wasn't beyond the good logic of sound tactics to hold a Retreat formation with a genuine American flag to set a continental precedent for us. It was the first time we have had a flag since we left the United Kingdom. PFC Guido Cavallini blew the Retreat on a trumpet which was part of a conglomeration of band instruments left behind by the Krauts in their eastward haste.
On the 30th, we left Coblenz-Neuendorf by truck at 1800, proceeded north, and crossed the Rhine a few miles below Remagen. From here we moved easterly, and arrived at Berzhahn at 0130 on the morning of the 31st. Berzhahn is about 10 miles due north of Limburg.
At 1300 the 2nd Platoon was moved to the woods southwest of the town, and given the mission of patrolling by motor the area within the jurisdiction of the company. The 3rd Platoon was moved to Wengenroth, with a mission of keeping the civilians in tow. The 4th Platoon was moved to Willenrod with the mission of maintaining a checkpoint, plus keeping an eye on the civilians. The 1st Platoon remained in Berzhahn, and was given the same mission as the 4th Platoon.
One Purple Heart was awarded during the month. It was given to T/5 Charles Schaff for a wound received by a stray bullet from a sniper's rifle which came into the Company kitchen from across the Rhine. The wound however, did not necessitate Schaff's evacuation.
Lt. Flynn and PFC Bertis A. Corrie were awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious services rendered in Alsace.
T/Sgt. Donald L. Nelson was the first one from the Company to receive a pass to the United Kingdom. It probably would have been more specific to say Carmarthen, South Wales, which used to be his (and our's too, for that matter) old stomping ground.
PFC Lawrence Taylor was granted a 30 day furlough to the United States, and Lt. Flynn and T/Sgt. George Barnes were notified that they would leave on the 1st of April.
Other than that the men have been receiving passes to Paris and Brussels.
Thus endeth the month of March. A month of unbelievably good weather, one casualty, and the future was the brightest it had been in many a moon.
Robert F. Flynn
1st Lt., 112th Infantry