Initially, all U.S. armored divisions were organized as “Heavy” divisions with twice as many tank units as infantry units. Combat during the fall of 1944 thus developed into a grinding battle of attrition amidst worsening weather conditions on Germany's western front. [35] The emergence of the U.S. / Soviet Cold War as demonstrated by the military and diplomatic events in Czechoslovakia in 1945 was the subject of the author’s Masters Thesis. (San Antonio, TX:  privately published in 1986), p. 143. In addition, the 97th Infantry Division was gained from XII Corps. The key time was 0001 local time on 9 May 1945. During its final attack of World War Two, the 9th Armored Division was brought to a stop just a few miles short of its last objective. To the south-east, the 14th Tank Battalion took up blocking positions to halt all movement from the east. [14], Breaking out from the Remagen bridgehead, the 9th Armored Division struck out across central Germany. Cecil Roberts received his commission through the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in early 1941 and soon after went on active duty. Immediately we took him to a hospital in the town, which we discovered as we drove up was still in German hands. The 1st Platoon, Co “B” was attached to CCR to act as road guides and MP's for the combat command. “Light” Armored Divisions were further bolstered by permanently assigned tank destroyer and self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery battalions and other support units as needed. The Museum's commemoration ceremony, including remarks by the German Soviet Premier Josef Stalin, the Soviet High Command, and Czech and Slovak Communists all wanted a pro-Soviet Communist government installed in Czechoslovakia. Under questioning they informed their captors of the German High Command’s surrender several hours before. CCB was relieved at 2400 and ordered to the Venlo, the Netherlands, rest area, the relief … Your work will certainly help. Just a couple weeks prior, the 90th Infantry Division had liberated the Flossenbuerg Concentration Camp near the German – Czechoslovak border. ;  See also Forrest C. Pogue’s  “The Decision to Halt at the Elbe.” Command Decisions. The ceremony at the US Capitol, featuring a candle-lighting and names 15 December 1999. Attached tank destroyer battalions were equipped with either the M-10, M-18 or M-36 tank destroyers, mounting 75mm, 76mm or 90mm anti-tank guns respectively in open-topped turrets. [60] CCA 9th AD AAR. Mapping Raymond's Life. ;   Lt. Col. George Dyer, XII Corps:  Spearhead of Patton’s Third Army, (privately published by the XII Corps Historical Assocation, 1947),  pp. “As such, we had hundreds of German soldiers surrendering, including generals. 60th Armored Infantry Battalion. Unable to withstand the brutal SS attacks, the lightly armed Czechs cried out desperately by radio and messenger for American assistance. Search the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum site: Documenting the Path of American Liberators: Remagen/Crossing the Rhine (March, 1945) This placed greater and greater strains on the 90th and 97th Infantry Divisions and 2nd Cavalry Group to cover this ever-lengthening flank. [22] Col. Cecil Roberts, Letter to the Author, 28 June 1998. My thanks to Gen. Ruhlen for copies of these after action reports. Capt Cecil Roberts was the only officer in the battalion with such a uniform so he got the assignment. Each armored division contained three battalions each of tanks, armored infantry and armored field artillery as well as a mechanized cavalry squadron for reconnaissance, and armored engineer, armored medical and armored ordnance battalions. This entailed swapping units between the tank and armored infantry battalions. The units of the 9th Armored Division engaged in fierce combat that bought the US commanders time to organize the defense of Detachments from other units such as the 2nd Armored Medical Battalion, the 656th Tank Destroyer Battalion, the 482nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, the 131st Armored Ordnance Maintenance Battalion, the 9th Armored Engineer Battalion, and the 89th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron [Mechanized] rounded out the combat commands. [29] Crucq, p. 381.;  9AD CCA AAR, pp. This heavily forested and mountainous region was being used by the Twelfth U.S. Army Group to refit and rest divisions that had experienced heavy combat; and to give new inexperienced divisions some light combat experience in a relatively “quiet” sector of the front lines. See Chapter 13 specifically. Plzen boasted the massive Skoda Works industrial complex. [44], Having overcome the German resistance, the Task Force resumed its advance and continued eastward. On March 17, 1945, the Ludendorff, severely damaged in the fighting ten days earlier and weakened further from the strain of heavy traffic, collapsed into the Rhine. [16], On 18 April, elements of the 90th Infantry Division of General George S. Patton’s Third U.S. Army reached the 1937 Czechoslovak - German border and crossed into the Nazi-occupied Allied nation. Then on 7 March 1945, a task force of the 9th Armored Division captured the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen on the Rhine River – the last great geographical barrier blocking the Allies from pouring across Germany. [Hereafter cited as History of 3rd AFAB.] [Hereafter cited as 3AFA AAR. I fired and neutralized the AT gun, dismounted and went to Critchlow’s tank. Then they waited for Reserve Command. Cecil Roberts. After Action Report for 1 - 8 May 1945. After Action Report for 1  - 8 May 1945. [60], Throughout the spring, Allied units had been discovering and liberating Nazi concentration camps in Germany. [11] For a more detailed discussion of the European Campaign, I recommend the following:  Stephen E. Ambrose, Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beach to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany. The Allies also discovered the atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps at such infamous places as Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen and Dachau. The division had no official name although it did associate itself with the nickname "Armoraiders" while in training at Camp Campbell. These formations were completed that afternoon; from this, the men knew that they were headed back into combat. ; Chapter Nine of Phantom Nine. On 24 March 18 Tank Bn of the 8th Armored Division was ferried across in support of the 30th Infantry prior to the Division's crossing. The division started the European Campaign on the defensive in the Ardennes region, but after the December 1944 German counter-offensive was decisively defeated the 9th Armored Division took part in the irresistible Allied drives which overran Germany. 60th Armored Infantry Battalion. [4], The 9th Armored Division’s first commanding general was Major General Geoffrey Keyes, assisted by Brigadier Generals Ernest Harmon and John W. Leonard. [53], With its advance halted, Combat Command A turned to the business of accepting and processing the surrender of the tens of thousands of German soldiers and civilians fleeing the Soviet Army. No. ;The History of the 17th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, (Seattle, WA:  Lowman & Hanford Co., 1946?). [Hereafter cited as 14th Tank AAR.] Twelfth U.S. Army Group. When we reached the ramp it was more understandable why we could not stop. After several days of this difficult duty, the 3rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion was relieved and sent back to rejoin its parent division in Germany. This enabled the Wehrmacht to re-organize and re-form an effective defense along the western German borders. 3rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion. 1st Lt. Platoon Leader. Dee Paris enlisted in the Army in September 1942 and earned a commission through Officer Candidate School. By the end of March, all Allied armies had crossed the Rhine. With little choice, Osterkamp accepted Taylor’s precise terms and surrendered his corps again. According to him, the speed of advance was more important than the German tank threat at this time. Three days later, the 9th Armored Division was officially deactivated at Camp Patrick Henry, near Newport News, Virginia.[64]. Other U.S. divisions were rushed across the bridge and subsequent bridges erected in the vicinity to exploit this fortunate opportunity. The 7th Army was responsible for defending the German – Czechoslovak Border. Operations Planning Section. Though still inferior to the main guns of the German medium and heavy tanks, the 76mm represented an improvement over the short-barreled 75mm gun then standard on Sherman tanks. Troops of the US 9th Armored Division capture the Ludendorff Railroad Bridge at Remagen, between Koblenz and Bonn, Germany. Reserve Command delayed the German drive on Bastogne and then fought with the 101st Airborne Division in defending the vital crossroads town. Colonel. Temporarily attached to the 1st Infantry Division, CCA’s mission was to liberate the Czech city of Karlovy Vary. —C B Sellers, US Army Signal Corps, April 20, 1945, “Leipzig fell and we were in town 20th April for pictures. Brigadier General Leonard was promoted to Major General and became the new commanding general of the 9th Armored Division. [2], The “Light” Armored Divisions had an authorized strength of 10,670 personnel. As May began, each of these divisions was in motion for its new positions. 102nd Cavalry Group. Spearheading the attack of the First Army in the spring of 1945, the 9th Armored Division drove rapidly into the German heartland, rolling along the autobahns built by the Hitler regime. 280-282. On 2 October 1945, the division embarked on ships and set sail for the United States. Found in Nevins, Arthur S. Brigadier General, USA. Click on the location markers to learn more about Raymond. XII Corps. "Military Area Prague." Both Cheb and Plzen had airports that were being utilized by the remnants of the German Luftwaffe. (NY:  Barnes & Noble Books, 1995), pp. The reserve status of Combat Command A, however, was soon to end. After the U.S. Army adopted the “Light” Armored Division Table of Organization in September 1943, the 9th Armored Division was re-organized accordingly. [43] Ibid. The 2nd Cavalry Group liberated the border town of Asch and the 97th Infantry Division liberated the city of Cheb. 1st Lieutenant. Having crossed the Rhine, the Allied armies prepared to drive into the interior of Germany. My father Leon Levin was a scout in the  89th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, I believe Troop C. I am trying to document his stories for my children and future generations. In the European Theater of Operations the 10th Armored Division was part of both the Twelfth United States Army Group and Sixth United States Army Group.Originally assigned to the Third United States Army under General George S. Patton, it … Within minutes, the Battery hit the remaining German anti-tank guns with 105mm shells and knocked them out. After arriving at CCA Headquarters, he learned why he had been summoned. 9th Armored Division. 79-86. After this was accomplished, V Corps consisted of Major General Clarence Huebner’s corps headquarters, nine battalions of field artillery, seven battalions of anti-aircraft artillery, four independent tank battalions, five independent tank destroyer battalions, two engineer combat groups, numerous support units, the 17th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, the 2nd Ranger Battalion, the 17th Belgian Fusilier Battalion, the 102nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Group [Mechanized], and the 1st, and 2nd Infantry, and the 9th Armored Divisions. Between 900 and 1,000 starving female prisoners were liberated at Zwodau and another 60 prisoners were liberated at Falkenau. While fighting to enlarge and defend the Bastogne Corridor, Combat Command A was temporarily attached to the 4th Armored Division as Combat Command X. The 9th Armored Division. 8th Armored Division 9th Armored Division 10th Armored Division 11th Armored Division 12th Armored Division 14th Armored Division 20th Armored Division ... U.S. Army Divisions Enter the Concentration Camps,” Army History. Eisenhower, however, recognized that the Soviets were in a far better position to capture the city so he directed his massive army to halt well short of the city. [51], At around 0855 Task Force Collins was passing through a swamp about 400 meters outside the village of Hor Slavko. 9th Armored Division – WW-2. Celebrations, however, amongst the U.S. troops in Czechoslovakia were not as boisterous as one might expect. The armored division was authorized 195 M-4 medium tanks mounting either 75mm or 76mm guns, 77 light tanks, fifty-four self-propelled artillery pieces and 466 half-tracks. After Action Report   1 - 31 May 1945. “For the first time since the battalion entered combat on March 1 at Wollersheim the men’s morale was excellent.”   Like the rest of the 9th Armored Division, the soldiers of Combat Command A believed that their war was over and that they soon would be assigned to occupation duties in Germany.[23]. On the morning of 7 May 1945 and as the Third Reich collapsed, soldiers of Combat Command A (CCA), U.S. D Company / 14th Tank Battalion / Combat Command A / 9th Armored Division. Task Force Engeman halted and consolidated its positions just outside of Karlovy Vary. In making their rapid advance across France, however, the Allied leadership made what must be regarded today as some questionable command decisions even as their armies far outstretched their supply lines. “This was done because the M26 tracks were so wide they could not cross obstacles on the U.S. Army treadway bridging,” recalled the battalion operations officer Capt. By the end of the day, both corps were ready to unleash their armored divisions. ; [37] TUSA AAR, pp. Reserve Command, under command of Lt. Col. Farris N. Latimer, was made up of the 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, the 2nd Tank Battalion and the 73rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion. Those advanced U.S. units were recalled from their drive on Prague.[47]. 6 May 1945: 1+. He served with the U.S. Marines MWSS-472 from January 2008 until June 2011 and served as Assistant Squadron Historian in 2009 and Squadron Historian in 2010/2011 as a collateral duty. Armored Infantryman. Platoon Leader. The advance had been costly. 9th Armored Division. Combat Command A fought on the southern shoulder of the Bulge. In doing so, the division set the stage for the 2nd and 69th Infantry Divisions to capture the city of Leipzig. Extract from the After Action Report, 52nd Armored Infantry Battalion, 9th Armored Division. [5], Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Engeman from Minnesota was an Army Reservist activated for World War Two in 1941. XII Corps and most of V Corps left Czechoslovakia by the end of May 1945. THE CONCENTRATION ON BASTOGNE ... which was then re-outfitting in a training area at Camp Mourmelon ... happening and felt altogether uncertain about both the friendly and enemy situations. Letter to the Author. Here in the Ardennes, the 9th Armored Division’s three combat commands were split up and used to augment other divisions in the area. [35], By early May, the rapid and minimally opposed occupation of the National Redoubt area by Third and Seventh U.S. concentration camp. On 4 May, he sent a message to the Soviets informing them of his decision to send Third U.S. Army eastward to the line Karlovy Vary – Plzen – Ceske Budejovice with a possible further advancement to the west bank of the Vltava River. 10 November 1999.;  Cecil Roberts. FWD-21006).” RG407, NARA. In addition, Bradley transferred First U.S. Army’s V Corps to Third U.S. Army for Patton to use in his offensive. Germany:  1 June 1945. RG407. He served in several horse artillery units before being assigned to the 9th Armored Division.[8]. [27] Ibid. Paris. (Washington, DC:  Center of Military History, 1987). He was assigned to the 2nd Horse Cavalry at Fort Riley. A detachment of troops of the U.S. 9th Armored Infantry Battalion, from the 6th Armored Division, part of the U.S. Third Army, and under the command of Captain Frederic Keffer, arrived at Buchenwald on April 11, 1945 at 3:15 p.m. (now the permanent time of the clock at the entrance gate). Hitler, reports went, had shot himself; Goebbels had taken poison.” The war had ended but with it came a massive flood of surrendering German soldiers and civilians desperate to escape from the advancing Soviet armies. reading, is happening now. He served honorably in WWII for 3 years in the 9th armored division. But somehow that thought passes, and you just get up and tell yourself I’ll get him before he gets me.”. Now as an Army of Occupation, Third U.S. Army engaged in processing German prisoners of war, repatriating liberated Allied prisoners of war and civilian refugees, maintaining order in the liberated areas and assisting the Czechs with re-building their country. My men took their weapons and placed them in a pile in the middle of the street.”   Pfc Shimkus also recalled that “some of the Germans were stragglers who threw their weapons away while others surrendered as units with their equipment. He was taken to Plzen for interrogation. [6] Biographical materials on Col. Engeman provided by Lt Colonel Dee Paris, USA (Ret.) Also present were Major Mortimer, Brig. Main telephone: 202.488.0400 With the war in Europe winding down, Patton, however, wanted to get the new 16th Armored Division into the final fight. After the war, US Army historians interviewed hundreds of captured German officers. Tripp was an infantryman in the 9th Armored Division, which liberated Falkenau, a sub-camp of Flossenbürg, on May 8, 1945. 450.; Hobart Gay, Major General, USA. Third U.S. Army. Paris, France:  December 1945.  pp. Eisenhower’s primary focus was to prevent the formation of the “National Redoubt” (Alpine Festung) area of last ditch fanatical Nazi resistance rumoured to be occurring in southern Germany and western Austria. For his service, he was awarded the bronze star. ];   Charles M. Province, Patton’s Third Army:  A Chronology of the Third Army Advance  August, 1944 to May, 1945. So on the morning of 7 May 1945, the 1st, 2nd and 97th Infantry Divisions and CCA 9th Armored Division resumed their advances. 374-387. ; [36] “SCAF (Supreme Commander Allied Forces) to Bradley [12th Army Group] and 9th Air Force Commanding General 4 May 1945.” SCAF Cable No. A history of the 12th Armored Division: Hellcats 98 pages, good scan. Phone Interview by Author. Copy located at US Army Military History Institute. Nevertheless, after only a couple hours, higher headquarters radioed orders for CCA to halt its forces in place. CCA’s task forces rolled forward against negligible German resistance. D Company / 14th Tank Battalion. The 123rd Combat Unit … For the several days that they were located here, thousands of German soldiers and civilians poured into their lines. 58-63.;  George Forty, United States Tanks of World War II In Action. Frank M. Hendricks spotted a German motorcyclist and a truck load of soldiers. In February 1985, two Holocaust survivors—Sigmund Strochlitz and Benjamin Meed—formally requested permission from the Secretary of the Army, John O. Marsh, Jr., to display in the future Museum the flags of all the US units that participated in the liberation of the Nazi camps. The 11th Armored Division (11 AD) was a division of the United States Army in World War II.It was activated on 15 August 1942 at Camp Polk, Louisiana and moved on 24 June 1943 for the Louisiana Maneuvers.Transferred then to Camp Barkeley, Texas on 5 September 1943, the division participated, beginning 29 October 1943, in the California Maneuvers and arrived at Camp … The Army first forged the River March 22, 1945. By March, American troops closed on the Rhine River. When the 9th Armored Division was activated, Lt Col Engeman became part of the new division and was placed in command of its 14th Tank Battalion in the summer of 1944. [54], That afternoon, the 14th Tank Battalion was ordered to have an officer in Class A uniform with ribbons report to CCA’s Headquarters for a special assignment. April 1, 1945 the Floessenbuerg Concentration Camp followed behind, consolidating the Armored... Germany Thank you the only intact bridge across the Rhine forced a change in Eisenhower s! 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