36-ID (141-IR – 442-RTC – 405-FS) November 1944

Early, I have published the work of Maj Watanabe about the Lost Battalion in the Vosges Mountains in France in October 1944. I found out that the AJAs did a hell of a job. There is just a wrong word used in this entire story : saved ! The 1st Bn, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division Texas wasn’t saved because it was just relieved from it’s positions in the Trapin de Saules.

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2-AD, Havelange – Fisenne, Dec 1944

Two Sherman M-4A1 of the 2nd Armored Division, July 26 1944, St Jean de Daye, France (US Army)

When the German offensive struck the Ardennes on December 16, 1944, the 2nd Armored Division was 70 miles away to the north near Baesweiller, Germany, as part of the Ninth Army. It had engaged in several weeks of heavy offensive fighting to reach the Roer River. Then, during the four weeks prior to Dec 16, the division had a dual mission. It held a defensive sector of the XIX Corps sector with a small force while the remainder of the command was held in Corps reserve. During this month of reserve status, 17 replacement officers and 464 enlisted men were integrated into the fighting teams. All units had conducted maintenance and training along with rest and rehabilitation. Current thought among commanders had resulted in the reorganization of one regiment (86th Armored) on Dec 15. This regiment kept the three battalion organization but made one into a reconnaissance and security battalion composed of a reconnaissance company and a light tank company. The two assault battalions each contained one light tank company and three medium tank companies. The organization of the 67th Armored Regiment remained unchanged with its light tank battalion and two medium tank battalions. Thus the status of the division is viewed as the German attack began.

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War Experiences, 1/Lt Alvin K. Dickson, 11th Armored Division

81-MM-Mortar-US-St-Vith
This dug-in mortar emplacement near St Vith, Belgium is manned by, left to right, Pvt R. W. Fierde, Wyahoga Falls, Ohio; S/Sgt Adam J. Celinca, Windsor, Conn., and T/Sgt W. O. Thomas, Chicago. 24 Jan 1945 (NARA Signal Corps)
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200px-11th_US_Armored_Division_SSI.svg_AF : It’s December 28, 2002, and this is an interview for the Veterans History Project. I’m talking to Mr Alvin K. Dickson. Mr Dickson was born in Canton, Ohio, on March 18, 1918 and served in the US Army (11th Armored Division). He was a first lieutenant (Aug 1942 to Sep 1945).

1/Lt Alvin K. Dickson
11th US Armored Division

The 11th Armored Division landed in Normandy on Dec 16 1944 and was assigned to contain the enemy in the Lorient Pocket. The German counteroffensive along the Belgian border resulted in a forced march to the Department of the Meuse (France) and the defense of a 30-mile sector from Givet to Sedan, on Dec 23 1944. Launching an attack from Neufchâteau (Belgium), Dec 30, the 11-AD defended the highway to Bastogne against fierce assault. The division acted as spearhead of a wedge into the enemy line, and its junction with the 1st Army at Houffalize, Jan 16 1945, created a huge trap. After the liquidation of the Bulge, the Siegfried Line was pierced, Lützkampen falling Feb 7, Großkampenberg Feb 17, and Roscheid Feb 20 1945. After a brief rest, the division crossed the Prüm and the Kyll River, taking Gerolstein and Nieder Bettingen against violent opposition. Andernach and Bröhl fell Mar 9, in the sweep to the Rhine River. In the swing southward to clear the Saar-Moselle-Rhine pocket, the Moselle River was crossed at Bullay and the Worms Airport captured, Mar 21. After rest and maintenance, the division drove across the Rhine at Oppenheim, took Hanau and Fulda, and headed for the Thuringian Forest, reaching Oberhof, Apr 3. The offensive raced through Bavaria, Coburg falling on Mar 10, Bayreuth Mar 14. In the final drive, the division crossed the Regen River, Apr 24, overran Grafenau and Freyung, and plunged toward the Danube River, seizing Rohrbach, Neufelden, and Zwettl. The enemy put up its last fanatical resistance along the approaches to Linz, Austria, but the 11-AD entered the city on May 5. Pushing onward, elements contacted Soviet forces, May 8 and became the first unit of the 3A, to meet the Russian armies. The war in Europe officially ended on May 8 1945, and the 11-AD was placed on occupational duty until inactivation on Aug 31 1945.

M4_Sherman_11th_Armored_division_advance_into_Kronach_Germany_April_1945-640x512
April 1945, Kronach, Germany, an M-4 Sherman of the 11th Armored Division (Third Army) is entering the city. (NARA-Signal Corps)

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