VII. Siegfried Line

The terrific strain on our supply lines, stretched to the breaking point by our rapid advances, now loomed as the one thing capable of stopping the march into Germany. After a 70-mile march on September 7 from Mons to Huy, Belgium, the Battalion was out of gas completely. However, after gasoline had been flown to the front by transport planes, the Battalion moved on to the vicinity of Herve, Belgium, on September 10 after strict apportionment of gasoline. On this move the Battalion passed through the city of Liege where it received a tumultous welcome from the citizens and crossed the Meuse River, another named steeped in the laurels of the great offensive in 1918.

During this fast-moving warfare, reconnaissance elements were roaming far in front of the combat elements in an effort to discover enemy pockets of resistance as well as to reconnoiter the routes to be used by the speeding combat teams.

It was on September 11 as the 745th rapidly was approaching the German border and the ramparts of the famed Siegfried Line that Lt. Glennis W. Thompson's reconnaissance platoon ran into a pocket of enemy a little too large for it to handle. Going into the village of Hockelbach, east of Herve, Belgium, the platoon contacted enemy elements and took several prisoners who asserted that the enemy was in strength in the area. As the platoon started to leave the town, tanks and small arms fired on the platoon's vehicles. Four men were killed, five wounded and two missing in action.

On September 12 tanks of the Battalion moved out to attack the Siegfried Line. Company "A" and Company "D" pushed as far as Eyenatten on the 12th and the following day crossed the German border to attack the defenses of the Siegfried Line in the face of heavy artillery fire and stubborn resistance from the enemy manning anti-tank guns and pillboxes. After overcoming enemy opposition, the breach was forced through the dragon teeth, anti-tank ditches, pillboxes, roadblocks and felled trees. Resistance by enemy infantry bordered on the fanatical, but the vigorous aggressiveness and terrific firepower of the 745th's tanks enabled them to overcome all opposition and force the initial breach through the German's famed defenses.

While these forces were moving into position south of Aachen, the second and third platoons of Company "B" were moving into the sector northwest of Aachen in the lower tip of Holland. The global aspect of the war was graphically illustrated at this stage by the fact that the Battalion had two platoons in Holland, four platoons in Belgium, the mail orderly in France, wounded in France and England, and the remainder of the Battalion in Germany.

Continuing against very stiff opposition, the Battalion advanced toward the industrial city of Stolberg, five miles east of Aachen. Stolberg, which proved to be the anchor of the Allies' farthest penetration into Germany for two months, was defended strongly, the enemy using each house as a gun emplacement and each street as a line of fire. Several strong counterattacks came against the battalion here, and the assault gun platoon played a major role in halting one of these by firing time fire at the shortest possible range as the enemy stormed a ridge in front of its positions.

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