XI. Roer to Rhine

With the remainder of the Battalion resting, performing maintenance and preparing for a gigantic drive against the Roer River defenses, Company "D" plus the assault gun platoon and the mortar platoon joined Task Force Davisson to hold positions along the west bank of the river south of Ober Mausbach. A number of platoon leaders and platoon sergeants made use of artillery observation planes to see the terrain and defenses through which the attack was to move.

First to cross the Roer was Company "A", which on February 25 moved across a bridge constructed by the 28th Regiment of the 8th Infantry Division on the First Division's left flank. From this bridgehead Company "A" attacked to the south with the 16th Infantry Regiment and took its first two objectives of Kreuzau and Drove. The gaining of these towns made it possible for Company "C" to cross with the 26th Regiment and take Udingen.

From there the attack was continued due east across the Cologne Plain in a drive destined to reach the Rhine despite determined enemy opposition. The flat plains proved to be good tank country, with the exception of cultivated fields which were quite soggy as a result of recent rains. It was also excellent anti-tank country, however, and the enemy's flat trajectory weapons took a toll of our armor until our forces began staging night attacks when the vision of the anti-tank weapon would be limited.

Numerous enemy mines were encountered during this drive, but they served only to slow the tanks rather than to stop them, and most of the disabled tanks were returned to action within 24 hours.

The Battalion suffered its greatest losses to enemy mines when two officers and two men met death while riding peeps which struck buried mines. Lt. John J. Day, Jr., was killed when the vehicle he was using to reconnoiter routes for his tanks hit a mine, and two days later a Company "A" peep hit a mine in Gladbach. The latter incident took the lives of Cpl. Frank J. DuMolin, S. Sgt. William I. Tucker, and Lt. Elmer K. Yakish. The irony of the accident lies in the fact that S. Sgt. Tucker had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism at Hamich, and Lt. Yakish had been a member of the Battalion for only two hours.

On February 27 Company "B" crossed the Roer and joined in the drive to the Rhine, taking the towns of Stockheim, Jakobwullesheim, Kelz, and Dorweiler.

As Companies "A" and "D" moved eastward they encountered stiff opposition at Frangenheim and Soller, but the attack on Vettweiss was even more fiercely contested. Of fourteen armored vehicles which launched the attack-five medium tanks, five light tanks, and four tank destroyers- -only two reached the objective, the remainder being hit by anti-tank guns or becoming stuck in the soggy sugar-beet fields.

The rest of the way across the Cologne Plain proved to be the assault of one rural village after another. Some of them fell easily, but many, such as Pingsheim and Mellerhofe, were tough nuts to crack.

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