XII. The Remagen Bridgehead

One of the luckiest breaks of the war for the Allies was the capture by the 9th Armored Division of the railroad bridge at Remagen, about 20 miles south of Bonn. After several days of rest near Bonn, the 745th was called upon to support the First Division in its task of expanding the Remagen Bridgehead, already established by the 9th Armored and the 78th Infantry Divisions.

The bridgehead still covered a small area when our units moved across the majestic Rhine on a pontoon bridge built along side the oft-bombed railroad bridge. Company "C" was the first to cross, on March 15, and other units of the Battalion followed quickly. Meanwhile, the enemy continued to maintain heavy pressure all around the bridgehead, and artillery and mortar fire was intense. Company "C" found rough going at Orscheid and Wullscheid and received numerous counterattacks at the airfield in the vicinity of Germscheid, while Company "B" encountered a large scale counterattack after taking the town of Eudenbach.

By March 20 Company "A" had taken Oberpleis, and the bridgehead had expanded far enough that the lines were growing thin. The light tanks of Company "D" were sent into the battle in the role of mediums to attack the towns of Rubhausen and Kurscheid in support of the 18th Infantry Regiment.

Lt. Thomas E. Pegg led his second platoon of Company "A" in attacks on Jungsfield and Soven but ran into a strong counterattack after clearing the latter. Although his tanks knocked out three enemy self- propelled guns, Lt. Pegg was killed by direct fire from an enemy tank, and his platoon sergeant, S. Sgt. John R. Patrick, was seriously wounded.

By this time the enemy had gathered two Panzer divisions and three infantry divisions in the woods west of Altenkirchen in preparation for an all out attack against the bridgehead. The platoon commanded by 1st Sgt. William V. Resnick, Jr., of Company "B" destroyed eleven enemy armored vehicles in two days as a series of counterattacks were received from these forces.

Lt. Richard J. Carleton, Sgt. Samuel B. Whinery, Jr., Pvt. Larmer S. Tippit, and Cpl. George L. Keeter of Company "A" received their biggest "thrill" of the war on March 26 at Dondorf when they were captured by the Germans after their tank had been knocked out. However, after about eight hours of captivity, they were liberated by Company "E'' of the 16th Infantry Regiment, none the worse for their experience.

As the rest of the Battalion pushed eastward, Company "D" drew the assignment of guarding the Division's left flank along the Sieg River. Some stiff enemy resistance was met in the towns of Hennef, Geisbach, and Dondorf.

It was during this period that the mortar platoon saw some of its heaviest action of the war, firing a total of 812 rounds at attacking enemy forces from its position in the vicinity of Bierth. The assault gun platoon also played an important part in stopping heavy enemy counterattacks against the bridge-head, firing 397 rounds on March 22 and 349 rounds on March 23.

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