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9 March 1945
US 3rd Army reaches the Rhine
The Japanese attack French forces in Indo-China
9th Armored Division (United States)
The 9th Armored Division (the "Phantom Division") was an armored division of the United States Army during World War II. In honor of their World War II service, the 9th was officially nicknamed the "Phantom Division."
The 9th Armored Division was cited for extraordinary heroism and gallantry in combat in the vicinity of Waldbillig and Savelborn, Luxembourg from 16–22 December 1944 during which they repulsed constant and determined attacks by an entire German division. Outnumbered five to one, with its infantry rifle companies surrounded for most of the time, clerks, cooks, mechanics, drivers and others manned the 10,000 yards (9,100 m) final defensive line. Supported by the outstandingly responsive and accurate fire of its artillery battalion, this widely dispersed force stopped every attack for six days until its surrounded infantry were ordered to fight their way back to them. This staunch defense disrupted the precise German attack schedule and thus gave time for the United States III and XII Corps to assemble unhindered and then launch the coordinated attack which raised the siege of Bastogne and contributed to saving much of Luxembourg and its capital from another German invasion. [ citation needed ] They were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their heroism.
- Dirk Benedict, American actor (A-Team, Battlestar Galactica), born in Helena, Montana Gordon Thompson, Canadian actor (Adam Carrington in Dynasty), born in Ottawa Joy Garrett, American actress (Jo Johnson-Days of Our Lives), born in Fort Worth, Texas (d. 1993) Derek Watkins, British trumpet player and composer ("The Spy Who Loved Me" "Skyfall"), born in Reading, England (d. 2013) Farooq Hamid, cricketer (1-107 in Test, Pakistan v Australia 1964) Hattie Winston, actress (Nurse, Electric Company), born in Greenville, Mississippi Dieter Meier, Swiss singer/children book writer (Yello) Jaime Tirelli, American actor (Orlando Lopez-Ball Four), born in NYC, New York Tara Browne, British socialite (d. 1966) Frank Novak, American actor Tommy Svensson, Swedish soccer midfielder (40 caps Östers IF, Standard Liège) and manager (Östers IF, Sweden), born in Växjö, Sweden Randy Matson, American field athlete (Olympic gold shot putt 1968), born in Pampa, Texas Anna Maria Horsford, American actress (Thelma Frye-Amen), born in NYC, New York Hugh Grundy, British rock drummer (The Zombies - "She's Not There" "Time Of The Season"), born in Winchester, Hampshire, England Arthur Lee, American rock singer-songwriter (Love - "Forever Changes" "Vindicator"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2006) John Heard, American actor (Home Alone, Cat People, Big), born in Washington, D.C. (d. 2017) Graeme Watson, Australian cricket all-rounder (5 Tests, 6 wickets 2 ODIs), born in Kew, Victoria, Australia (d. 2020) Jim Chapman, American politician (Rep-D-TX, 1985-1997), born in Washington, District of Columbia Micky Dolenz, American singer (The Monkees - "I'm A Believer"), and actor (Circus Boy), born in Los Angeles, California Bruce Broughton, American composer Anselm Kiefer, German painter Laura Lee, American soul and gospel singer (Dirty Man, Women's Love Rights), born in Chicago, Illinois Robin Trower, British rock guitarist (Procol Harum, 1967-71 - "Conquistador" solo - Bridge Of Sighs), born in London, England Dennis Rader, American serial killer who murdered ten people in Sedgwick County, Kansas, born in Pittsburg, Kansas Robert Calvert, South African-British writer and musician (Hawkwind), born in Pretoria (d. 1988) Katharine Houghton, actress (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner), born in Hartford, Connecticut Birgitta Sellén, Swedish politician Elizabeth Brumfiel [Elizabeth Stern], American feminist archaeologist, former president of the American Anthropological Association Pete Nelson [Lipscomb], British pop singer (The Flower Pot Men - "Let's Go To San Francisco"), born in Uxbridge, London, England (d. 2005) Harvey Mandel, American rock guitarist (The Snake), born in Morton, Illinois Timothy Mason, consultant (British Arts Council) Tricia O'Neal, actress (Piranha Part II), born in Shreveport, Louisiana Dock Ellis, American baseball player Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, American mobster who testified against John Gotti, born in Brooklyn, New York Hans van Emden, Dutch rock guitarist (Les Baroques - "Such A Cad") Anatoly Timofeevich Fomenko, Russian mathematician, born in Stalino, USSR Herman[us J] van Veen, Neth, cabaretier/singer/composer/writer Michael Martin Murphey, American country singer (Wildfire), born in Dallas, Texas Walt Parazaider, American rock saxophonist (Chicago), born in Chicago, Illinois Jorgen Sundelin, Swedish yachtsmen (Olympic gold 1968) Mark J Green, American lawyer/author (Closed Enterprise System), born in Brooklyn, New York Tracy Smith, long-distance runner, born in Altadena, California) A. K. Faezul Huq, Bengali lawyer and politician (d. 2007) Elis Regina, Brazilian singer (d. 1982) Michael Hayden, General USAF, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Aleksey Vakhonin, USSR, bantam weight (Olympic gold 1964) Joy Fielding, Canadian novelist and actress, born in Toronto, Ontario Hiroh Kikai, Japanese photographer (Asakusa Portraits) , born in Daigo, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan (d. 2020) Eric Woolfson, Scottish singer and producer (The Alan Parsons Project), born in Glasgow (d. 2009) John Jacobs, American golfer (PGA Senior C’ship 2003), born in Los Angeles, California Lisa Nicole Baker, American Playboy playmate (Nov 1966, Playmate of the Year 1967), born in Detroit, Texas Stefanos Kiriakidis, Greek actor Pat Riley, American NBA coach (Lakers, Knicks, Heat), born in Schenectady, New York Tim Yeo, British MP/under-sect (State of Environment) Henry Bartholomay, American fighter pilot Jay Ingram, Canadian television host and author Rosemary Stone, American funk and rock vocalist, and pianist (Sly & Family Stone - "Everyday People" "Dance to The Music"), born in Dallas, Texas Vernon Guy, American R&B and gospel singer (Cool Sounds, Sharpees), born in St. Louis Missouri (d. 1998) Alan Opie, British Grammy Award-winning baritone (Boughton - Bethlehem Britten's Peter Grimes "Balstrode"), born in Redruth, Cornwall, England Chuck Jackson, American singer (Playboy, Independents), born in Greenville, South Carolina Franco Battiato, Italian pop, rock, and new wave singer, songwriter (“La Voce del Padrone” (“The Master’s Voice”), and filmmaker ("Lost Love"), born in Jonia, Sicily. Italy (d. 2021) Krasnodar Rora, Croatian soccer midfielder (5 caps Yugoslavia Dinamo Zagreb, Standard Liège) and manager (Šibenik), born in Vis, Croatia (d. 2020) Robert T. Bakker, American paleontologist Curtis Hanson, American film director and screenwriter (LA Confidential, 8 Mile), born in Reno, Nevada (d. 2016) Patrick Malahide [Duggan], British actor (Inspector Alleyn Mysteries Minder Game Of Thrones), born in in Reading, England Mikhail Voronin, Russian and Soviet gymnast (1968 Olympics: 7 medals including 2 gold, 1972 Olympics: 2 silver medals), born in Moscow (d. 2004) Briton Selby, Canadian NHL player, born in Kingston, Ontario Chuck Portz, bassist (Turtles - "Happy Together"), born in Santa Monica, California Hans Brunhart, Leader of Liechtenstein (1978-93), born in Balzers, Liechtenstein Count Björn Hamilton, Swedish politician, count and engineer, born in Gothenburg, Sweden
Mar 28 Rodrigo Duterte, Philippines politician, President of the Philippines (2016-), born in Maasin, Leyte, Philippines
- Johnny Famechon, Australian boxer (WBC featherweight champion), born in Paris, France Sally Carr, Scottish pop singer (Middle of the Road - "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep"), born in Muirhead, Scotland
Mar 29 Walt "Clyde" Frazier, NBA guard (NY Knicks), born in Atlanta, Georgia
- Willem Ruis, Dutch TV host (Willem Ruis Show), born in Haarlem, Netherlands (d. 1986) John "Speedy" Keen, British musician, songwriter, producer (Thunderclap Newman - "Something In The Air"), born in Ealing, London (d. 2002) Hardy Fox, American member of avant-garde band The Residents, born in Longview, Texas (d. 2018)
Mar 30 Eric Clapton, English singer and guitarist (Cream - "Sunshine Of Your Love Derek & The Dominos - "Layla" solo -"Tears in Heaven"), born in Ripley, Surrey, England
- Johnnie Walker [Peter Dingley], British radio DJ, born in Birmingham Richard Evans, British graphic designer, album cover designer (The Who The Doors Pink Floyd Louis Armstrong), born in Wilmslow, Cheshire Valerie Curtin, American actress, writer, and producer
The Barbie doll makes its debut
On March 9, 1959, the first Barbie doll goes on display at the American Toy Fair in New York City.
Eleven inches tall, with a waterfall of blond hair, Barbie was the first mass-produced toy doll in the United States with adult features. The woman behind Barbie was Ruth Handler, who co-founded Mattel, Inc. with her husband in 1945. After seeing her young daughter ignore her baby dolls to play make-believe with paper dolls of adult women, Handler realized there was an important niche in the market for a toy that allowed little girls to imagine the future.
Barbie’s appearance was modeled on a doll named Lilli, based on a German comic strip character. Originally marketed as a racy gag gift to adult men in tobacco shops, the Lilli doll later became extremely popular with children. Mattel bought the rights to Lilli and made its own version, which Handler named after her daughter, Barbara. With its sponsorship of the “Mickey Mouse Club” TV program in 1955, Mattel became one of the first toy companies to broadcast commercials to children. They used this medium to promote their new toy, and by 1961, the enormous consumer demand for the doll led Mattel to release a boyfriend for Barbie. Handler named him Ken, after her son. Barbie’s best friend, Midge, came out in 1963 her little sister, Skipper, debuted the following year.
March 9, 1945
Minutes of Meeting
I. The Governing Board met in the board room at the Institute Building, 57 East 55th Street, New York at 10:10 a.m.
Present: Mr. Klopsteg, Chairman, and Board Members, Messrs. T. D. Cope, R. B. Dow, F. A. Firestone, Harvey Fletcher, R. C. Gibbs, G. B. Pegram, J. T. Tate, L. W. Taylor, W. Waterfall, A. G. Worthing.
Absent: Messrs. L. A. DuBridge, K. S. Gibson, H. Mark, and N. W. Taylor.
- Mr. Duane Roller, Editor, American Journal of Physics
- Mr. Elmer Hutchisson, Editor, Journal of Applied Physics
- Mr. Joseph E. Mayer, Editor, Journal of Chemical Physics
Associated Societies of AIP
- Mr. Lester H. Germer, Representing American Society for X-Ray and Electron Diffraction (Morning Session only)
- Mr. James Hillier, President, Electron Microscope Society of America
- Mr. Sidney Siegel, President, Physical Society of Pittsburgh (Morning Session only)
The Physics Club of Philadelphia was represented by Mr. T. D. Cope, who is also a member of the Board. The Physics Club of Chicago did not expect to have anyone in the east at this time and had to forego “the pleasure of sending a representative.”
II. The Secretary reported that at the Annual Meeting of the Corporation on February 28, 1945 Messrs. DuBridge, Gibson, Firestone, and Klopsteg, whose terms were to expire in 1945, were elected to succeed themselves respectively, and that the constitution of the Governing Board until the 1946 Annual Meeting of the Corporation is:
|Membership of Governing Board, 1945|
|Nominated by||Term Expires|
|American Physical Society||George B. Pegram||1946|
|John T. Tate||1947|
|Lee A. DuBridge||1948|
|Optical Society of America||R. C. Gibbs||1946|
|A. G. Worthing||1947|
|K. S. Gibson||1948|
|Acoustical Society of America||Wallace Waterfall||1946|
|Floyd A. Firestone||1948|
|Society of Rheology||Hermann Mark||1946|
|N. W. Taylor||1946|
|R. B. Dow||1946|
|American Association of Physics Teachers||T. D. Cope||1946|
|L. W. Taylor||1947|
|Paul E. Klopsteg||1948|
III. The minutes of the meetings of March 10, 1944 and April 14, 1944 were presented and on motion it was voted to approve them as presented.
IV. Report of the Chairman.
The Chairman offered no report.
V. Report of the Secretary.
The Secretary reported, concerning a Mail Ballot on the question of authorizing the Institute to transmit to the Secretaries of the Founder Societies, for circulation among their officers and council members, a Preliminary Report of the Policy Committee on the Reorganization of Physics, dated January 3, 1945, that 13 ballots were favorable none opposed.
The Secretary reported that by Mail Ballot of August, 1945, fixing 15% as the fraction of dues collected by each member society in 1944 which will constitute that society’s contribution to the Institute in 1945, 12 favorable ballots were received none opposed.
The Secretary reported that official notice had been received from each member society that the governing board of that society had adopted the three resolutions necessary to put into effect the new plan of supporting contributions by the member societies to the Institute and that the societies each understands that the new plan is in effect as of January 1, 1945 rendering ineffective any clause or reference in a publication contract between a member society and the Institute.
For the record the three resolutions adopted by the Member Societies to set up the new plan are here recorded.
That, subject to similar and concurrent action by the governing board of each of the other Founder Socieites the (name of Society) agrees to contribute annually to the support of the American Institute of Physics Incorporated in proportion to this Society’s income received in the preceding year as dues of individual members, of all classes, of the Society, provided
that each Society shall contribute the same fraction of its similar income,
that the said fraction shall not exceed 15%, and
that the fraction to be paid each year be set by the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics Incorporated and that notice of the fraction for the following year be sent to the secretaries of the Founder Societies prior to September 1 of each year
That this agreement as to contributions to the American Institute of Physics Incorporated shall be effective from the beginning of the calendar year following the receipt by the Secretary of this Society of official notice of
similar and concurrent action by each of the other Founder Societies, and
action by the American Institute of Physics Incorporated to release each of the Founder Societies from the 15% service charge provided in publication contracts with the Institute.
That this agreement as to contributions to the American Institute of Physics Incorporated shall not be terminated by any of the Member Societies without at least a full year’s notice to each of the other Member Societies and to the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics Incorporated.
Resolutions I and II were proposed by the Board to the Societies, Resolution III was added by the Societies.
That the Board ratifies the mail ballots as stated in V (a) and V (b) preceding and
That the Board ratifies on its part the arrangements as stated in V (c) preceding for putting into operation this new plan of contributions from the societies in support of the Institute in substitution for the former plan of providing in publication contracts for a 15% fee for the support of the Institute.
VI. Report of the Treasurer.
The Assistant Treasurer, Mr. Barton, presented the Auditor’s Report, for year ended December 31, 1944 by Pasley and Conroy, Certified Public Accountants, and stated that copies of this Auditor’s Report had been on hand for examination at the annual meeting of the Corporation and had been transmitted to the Member Societies. Items of the Auditor’s Report were discussed and explained in connection with VII below.
The Treasurer reported the purchase or exchange of short term government bonds as follows:
July 3, 1944, $25,000 U.S. Treasury, rate 1-3/4%. Maturity June 15, 1948.
November 23, 1944, $15,000 U.S. Treasury Certificates 7/8%, maturing December, 1944 (Purchased December 1, 1943) exchanged for $15,000 U.S. Treasury Notes “C”, 0.90%, due January 1, 1946.
On motion the actions of the Treasurer with respect to these investments were approved.
VII. Report of the Director.
Mr. Barton commented on a report on the activities of the Institute, including a summary of financial operations, copies of which were distributed to the members of the Board. A copy is attached to the official copy of these minutes.
Three topics were especially discussed but without formal action:
- The financing of the Institute Building
- Postwar personnel problems in Physics
- Need of better publicity at Society meetings.
VIII. Report of Editors of Institute Journals.
Review of Scientific Instruments.
Mr. Barton reported for Mr. Harnwell that the question of cooperation with a national instruments society in relation to the RSI might soon come up that numerous local organizations interested in plant control instruments, rather than in scientific instruments, seem on the point of coalescing into a national organization. Mr. Harnwell had also raised the question of whether editorials by the editor should be published without previous sanction by the Board.
Journal of Applied Physics.
Mr. Hutchisson reported more good papers, by half, than this journal can publish with the restricted paper supply.
Journal of Chemical Physics.
Mr. Mayer claimed that this journal had shown an “indecent” profit this year, that there were hardly enough papers on hand to fill out the 1944 issues but that the diversion of a number of articles on high polymers, as presented at meetings of the High Polymer Division of the A.P.S., had helped in 1945.
IX. Report of A.A.P.T. Representatives on American Council on Education.
Mr. Gibbs presented a Report of which a copy is attached to the official copy of these minutes.
It was voted that the report be accepted and that the Director be asked to write to the secretaries of the organizations referred to in the last paragraph of the report urging the desirability of these organizations becoming constituent members of the American Council on Education.
On motion of Mr. Gibbs it was voted that the question of physics in relation to national security, with special reference to proposed universal military training, be referred to the Policy Committee for study and report to the Board.
Mr. Cope also called the attention of the Board members to a recent article by Dr. A. W. Hull on the proper training of physicists and to a Bulletin No. 10 sent out for High School Bulletin Boards by the Pennsylvania Conference of College Physics Teachers. This bulletin is headed “Physics is one of the most important subjects taught in high school.”
Recess for lunch was taken at 1:15 p.m. and the session resumed at 2:30 p.m.
Appointment of a Finance Committee.
The Treasurer proposed the appointment of a Finance Committee, of not more than three members, preferably located in New York City, which committee should be available to officers of the Institute for consultation and advice on any matters of Institute finances, particularly investments, any question of accounting, and questions relating to business dealings.
On motion it was voted to authorize the Chairman to appoint such a committee for 1945.
Mr. Barton expressed the opinion that advertising rates on the Journals of the Institute may need upward revision soon.
After some discussion, it was voted to refer the subject to the Executive Committee.
The Director read a letter from Dr. Marsh White, transmitting a gift of a $500.00 Series F War Savings Bond to the Building Fund from Sigma Pi Sigma (Physics Honor Society). Dr. White expressed the hope that in the organization of the Institute there might be provision for student membership and student chapters.
Support of Cooperative Committee on Science Teaching (Dr. Lark-Horovitz)
It was voted that Mr. L. W. Taylor be asked to represent the Institute on the Cooperative Committee on Science Teaching for 1945, and that Mr. Taylor’s travel expenses to two meetings in the year, presumably in Chicago, be paid by the Institute.
Mr. Barton explained that the member of the firm of Robinson & Henson who had actually been doing the legal work for the Institute since the appointment of that firm as counsel, namely Mr. Robert E. Lawther, had transferred from the firm of Robinson & Henson to the firm of Bate, Loeb, Klein & Churchill that it seemed desirable for the Institute to continue to have the services of Mr. Lawther since he was most closely in touch with the City Tax Commission in connection with the question of tax exemption of the Institute that correspondence with the firm of Robinson & Henson indicated that the Institute would be expected to pay Robinson & Henson the sum of $400.00 on account of work already done by that firm in connection with our tax case.
That the Board authorize the settlement of claims of Robinson & Henson and the appointment of the firm of Bate, Loeb, Klein & Churchill as counsel for the Institute for the year beginning March 1, 1945 provided that a reasonable retainer can be arranged with the new firm.
XI. Report of the Executive Committee:
The Secretary reported the actions taken by the Executive Committee at its meetings of June 14, 1944 and January 19, 1945 and in several mail ballots.
On motion the Board voted approval of these actions as recorded in the minutes of the Executive Committee.
The Secretary reported that a resolution adopted by the Executive Committee on March 8 would more properly be reported following consideration of the report of the Policy Committee.
Mr. Barton presented a proposed budget for 1945 as authorized and recommended by the Executive Committee.
On motion it was voted to adopt this budget for 1945. Copy of this budget schedule is attached to the official mintues.
XIII. Report of Nominating Committee and Election of Officers.
Mr. Gibbs, for the Nominating Committee, of which the other members were Messrs. G. B. Pegram, F. A. Firestone, and L. W. Taylor, reported the following nominations of officers for 1945:
|Chairman||P. E. Klopsteg|
|Treasurer||G. B. Pegram|
|Assistant Treasurer||H. A. Barton|
|Assistant Treasurer for Payroll Account||Madeline M. Mitchell|
|Adviser on Publications||J. T. Tate|
On motion it was voted without objection to ask the Secretary to cast one ballot for the nominees as stated. The Secretary reported the ballot cast. Mr. Gibbs, acting as momentary chairman by request, declared the nominees elected to their several offices to serve until the close of the next annual meeting of the Board.
Mr. Klopsteg resumed the chair.
On motion of Mr. Gibbs, the Board adopted the following resolution:
That the Board express grateful appreciation to Dean Pegram for his long and faithful service, and stimulating influence and guidance in the growth and maintenance of the Institute’s business in his capacity as secretary, and record our genuine satisfaction that with him as treasurer we shall continue to benefit from his penetrating insight into understanding of the manifold problems with which the Institute is concerned.
XIV. Appointment of Committees.
It was voted that the Chairman should appoint the following committees for 1945:
- Executive Committee
- Policy Committee
- Editorial Committee
- Physics Monographs Committee
- Physics Building Fund Committee
- Council on Applied Physics
- Finance Committee (see X above)
XV. Miss Mitchell and Mr. Tate were most respectfully asked to absent themselves temporarily. The remarks that were then made about the great part that each of them had taken in the successful development of the Institute, especially the unique part that Miss Mitchell has played, might have put a severe strain on their modesty had they remained present.
It was voted unanimously that although Miss Mitchell has arranged to leave at the end of June, her employment shall be continued to the end of August, with vacation from the end of June, in addition to any vacation she may otherwise be entitled to.
It was also voted that an amount of approximately $200.00 be expended on an appropriate wedding gift, preferably silver, for Miss Mitchell.
XVI. Report of the Policy Committee.
This “Preliminary Report of the Policy Committee on the Reorganization of Physics”, copy of which is attached to the official copy of the minutes, was taken up for discussion by the Board. Mr. Tate, Chairman of the Policy Committee, spoke briefly of the objectives of the Report and stressed the fact that it was to be considered as a preliminary report which the Policy Committee hoped would draw out vigorous discussion.
It was stated to the Board by Mr. Barton that copies of this Report had been sent to the secretary of each Member Society for distribution to the governing council of that society.
In the discussion of general features of the Report the question was raised as to whether the proposals of the Report are framed, as some of them may appear to be, in the belief that a reorganization of physicists should be directed toward attaining one strongly centralized organization, something like the American Chemical Society, with the present societies becoming subsidiary.
After general discussion the recommendations in Part II of the Report (pp. 2 and 3) were discussed one by one and an informal vote as to approval or disapproval was taken on some items.
On an informal vote received 7 favorable and 3 unfavorable votes.
It was agreed that the words “are not already performed by the Member Societies” could to advantage be replaced by “it can best be performed by an overall agency”.
Agreed that it could be well clarified in wording
2. and 3. No vote on approval but no change proposed except on II. c, 3, it was agreed that the first line could better be worded “Establish the Institute as mediator in proposals of alternative methods of organizing activity in newly developing fields of physics to determine which shall be adopted.”
The second paragraph of III. a. which proposed the setting up of an office of President of the Institute was discussed and informally voted upon. No votes favored the President proposal, 3 were opposed.
There was extended discussion of the suggestions in III b. as to content of the proposed “General Journal”. It seemed to be agreed that only an editor plus experience with the journal can predict in detail what topics a journal should cover to be of general interest to physicists.
Recommendation of the Executive Committee.
At the conclusion of the discussion of the Report the Secretary was called on to present a resolution with recommendation to the Board which had been adopted by the Executive Committee at a joint meeting with the Policy Committee on the preceding day, March 8th.
In accordance with the recommendation of the resolution of the Executive Committee the Board voted to adopt the following resolution:
RESOLVED that the Board records agreement in principle with the objectives stated in the Preliminary Report of the Policy Committee, and that in accored with Section IV of the Report the Board authorizes the Policy Committee to appoint committees as therein suggested, also to call such conferences of physicists as may be desirable for consultation on any revisions or developments of the Preliminary Report and that the Board requests the Policy Committee to report the results of its further work to the Board through the Executive Committee.
Today in World War II History—March 9, 1940 & 1945
80 Years Ago—March 9, 1940: French military intelligence takes possession of supply of heavy water at Norsk Hydro plant in Telemark, Norway with permission of Norwegians.
New song in Top Ten: “When You Wish upon a Star” from Walt Disney’s Pinocchio.
75 Years Ago—Mar. 9, 1945: On the night of March 9-10, US B-29s launch first major nighttime, low-altitude incendiary raid on Tokyo—97,000 are killed in the most destructive air attack of the entire war.
On Iwo Jima, US Marines repulse a large banzai suicide attack and reach the far coast, dividing Japanese forces.
At Fort Devens, MA, black Women’s Army Corps orderlies at the hospital go on strike to protest the lack of opportunity for technical training 4 women choose to face court-martial for mutiny.
The Remagen Bridgehead (US Army Armor School Study)
Post by David Thompson » 28 May 2005, 06:16
THE REMAGEN BRIDGEHEAD
7-17 March 1945
RESEARCH AND EVALUATION DIVISION
THE ARMORED SCHOOL
THE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY is to collect all available facts pertinent to the Remagen Bridgehead Operation, to collate these data in cases of conflicting reports, and to present the processed material in such a form that it may be efficiently utilized by an instructor in preparing a period of instruction. The data on which this study is based was obtained from interviews with personnel who took part in the operation and from after action reports listed in the bibliography.
This is an Armored School publication and is not the official Department of the Army history of the Remagen Operation.
It must be remembered that the Remagen Operation is an example of a rapid and successful exploitation of an unexpected fortune of war. As such, the inevitable confusion of facts and the normal fog of war are more prevalent than usual. The absence of specific, detailed prior plans, the frequent changes of command, and the initial lack of an integrated force all make the details of the operation most difficult to evaluate and the motives of some decisions rather obscure. The operation started as a two-battalion action and grew into a four-division operation within a week. Units were initially employed in the bridgehead, as they became available, where they were most needed: a line of action that frequently broke up regiments. In cases of conflicting accounts of the action, the authors of this study have checked each action and each time of action included in the study and have evaluated the various reports in order to arrive at the most probable conclusions.
The following comments are included in this study of the operation for the benefit of those who will follow and who may be confronted with the responsibility of making immediate, on-the-spot decisions that are far-reaching in their effect and that involve higher echelons of command.
The details of the operation are valuable and should be studied, as many worthwhile lessons can be learned from them. In this study, which should be critical, the student should approach them by "Working himself into the situation" that is, by getting a clear mental picture of the situation as it existed at the time it took place.
First and foremost, the operation is an outstanding proof that the American principles of warfare, with emphasis on initiative, resourcefulness, aggressiveness, and willingness to assume great risks for great results, are sound. The commander must base his willingness to assume those great risks upon his confidence in his troops.
Commanders of every echelon from the squad up who take unnecessary risks that are rash, ill-conceived, and foolhardy should be removed from command. Hence the need and value of good training.
In this particular operation the entire chain of command from the individual soldier, squad, platoon, and on up through the highest echelon, SHAEF, saw the opportunity and unhesitatingly drove through to its successful execution.
It is impossible to overemphasize this as an illustration of the American tradition and training.
Military history is replete with incidents where wonderful opportunities were not grasped, with resultant failure.
The fact stands out that positive, energetic actions were pursued to get across. The traffic jams, the weather, the road nets, the change in plans, did not deter anyone from the primary job of getting across the Rhine and exploiting this wonderful opportunity. The results are history.
One other thought. When a reporter asked Sergeant Drabick, the first soldier across the bridge, "Was the seizing of the bridge planned?" "I don't know about that, all I know is that we took it," was his reply. This sums it up in a nutshell. So much for the operation.
It might be well for future value to surmise what would have happened if the operation had failed. Assume for this purpose that 24 or 36 hours after the initial troops crossed, the bridge had gone down from delayed time bombs or from air bombing or the direct artillery fire, which was extremely accurate the first few days. It actually did collapse on 17 March.
Those troops already across would have been lost.
Would the commanders who made the decisions have been severely criticized?
My purpose in this question is to create discussion. My hope is that your thinking will result in the answer that they would not.
Commanders must have confidence not only in those under their command but also in those under whom they serve.
In this specific case we had this confidence.
JOHN W. LEONARD
Major General, USA
Formerly Commander, 9th Armd Div
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction . 1
Summary of Operations ---------------------------------------921
Bibliography --------------------------------------------- 23
I Detailed Unit Dispositions ------------------------------------24
II Enemy Order of Battle ------------------- 39
III Interrogation of General Bayerlein, Commanding General, LIII Corps . 11-41
IV Names of Unit Commanders ----------------------------------45
V Maps -------------------------------47
No. 1 First Army Plan
No. 2 Seizure of Ludendorf Bridge
No. 3 Build-up and Conduct of the Bridgehead
No. 4 Situation 102400 Mar 45
No. 5 Situation 132400 Mar 45
No. 6 Situation 162400 Mar 45
No. 7 Map of Remagen and vicinity
VI Ludendorf Bridge, 27 Mar 48
The Establishment and the Build-up of the REMAGEN BRIDGEHEAD
Prepared by the Research and Evaluation Division, The Armored School.
INTRODUCTION: Seizure of the Ludendorf Bridge.
At 071256 March 1945, a task force of the United States 9th Armored Division broke out of the woods onto the bluffs overlooking the RHINE RIVER at REMAGEN (F645200)*, and saw the LUDENDORF BRIDGE standing intact over the RHINE. Lieutenant Colonel Leonard E. Engeman, the task force commander, had under his command: one platoon of the 89th Reconnaissance Squadron, the 14th Tank Battalion (-Companies B and C), the 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, and one platoon of Company B, 9th Armored Engineer Battalion.1 Beyond the river lay the heartland of Germany, and presumably the organized defenses of the RHINE. Lieutenant Colonel Engeman's original orders were to capture REMAGEN (F645200) and KRIPP (F670180). However, in a meeting between the Commanding Generals, 9th Armored Division and Combat Command B of that division, it had been decided that if the LUDENDORF BRIDGE at REMAGEN were passable, Combat Command B would "grab it." This information had been sent to Lieutenant Colonel Engeman.2
About 062300 March the III Corps commander, Major General Milliken, had remarked to Major General Leonard over the phone, "You see that black line on the map. If you can seize that your name will go down in history," or words to that effect. This referred to the bridge.
The plan of assault as formulated by the column commander and as subsequently executed was an attack on REMAGEN (F6420) by one company of dismounted infantry and one platoon of tanks followed by the remainder of the force in route column and supported by assault guns and mortars from the vicinity of (F63:3204). 3 This plan obviated the necessity of moving any vehicles within the column prior to the time of attack. The plan further provided that the assault tank platoon should move out 30 minutes after the infantry, with the two forces joining at the east edge of town and executing a coordinated attack for the capture of the bridge. 3 As enemy troops and vehicles were still moving east across the bridge at the time (1256), the column commander requested time fire on the bridge with
*For all map references in this study see Maps, appendix
1 Statement of Lt Col Engeman, CO, 14th Tank Battalion.
2 After Action Report, CCB, 9th Armored Division, March 1945, page 8.
3After Action Report, 14th Tank Battalion, March 1945, page 12.
the dual purpose of inflicting casualties and of preventing destruction of the structure. This request was refused due to the difficulty of coordinating the infantry and artillery during the assault on the town.1
Company A, 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, moved out at 1350 following the trail which runs from (F629204) to (F635204). At 1420, the 90-mm platoon of Company A, 14th Tank Battalion, left the woods at (F632204) and started down the steep, twisting, tree-lined road that enters REMAGEN at (F639201).2 The tank platoon arrived at the edge of town before the infantry and, meeting no resistance, continued on into the town. The infantry, upon arriving at the edge of town, was able to see the tanks already moving toward the bridge, so it followed along the main road running southwest through the center of REMAGEN.l The town appeared deserted - the only resistance encountered was a small amount of small-arms fire from within the town2 and sporadic fire from 20-mm flak guns which enfiladed the cross streets from positions along the east bank of the river.3 The tank platoon reached the west end of the bridge at 1500 2 followed shortly by the company of infantry. By 1512, the tanks were in position at the western end of the bridge and were covering the bridge with fire. At the same time, a charge went off on the causeway near the west end of the bridge, followed shortly by another charge two thirds of the way across. The first charge blew a large hole in the dirt causeway which ran from the road up to the bridge the second damaged a main member of the bridge and blew a 30-foot hole in the bridge structure. A hole in the bridge floor which the Germans were repairing made the bridge temporarily impassable for vehicles.4 The assault guns and mortars began firing white phosphorus on the town of ERPEL (F647205) at this time (1515) in an attempt to build up a smoke screen over the bridge. A strong, upstream wind prevented complete success, but partial concealment of the assaulting force was accomplished. 5 The use of burning white phosphorus demoralized the defenders and drove them to cover. The remainder of Company A, 14th Tank Battalion, arrived at the bridge and went into firing position downstream from the bridge. The 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, less Company A, dismounted in the town and prepared to assault the bridge.'
At 1520, a captured German soldier reported that the bridge was to be blown at 1600 that day. This information, which appears to have been widely known, was substantiated by several citizens of REMAGEN (F6420).
In order to evaluate properly the initial decision to establish a bridgehead over the RHINE and the subsequent decisions of higher commanders to exploit the operation, it is necessary to understand the plan of operation at the time. The mission of the 9th Armored Division was to go east to the RHINE and then cut south and establish bridgeheads over the AHR RIVER preparatory to continuing south for a linkup with the Third Army. Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division, was on the north and east flank of the division, charged with accomplishing the division mission within the zone of the combat command. The task force commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Engeman was, of course, one of the striking forces of the combat command. No specific orders had been issued to anyone to seize a RHINE bridge and attack to the east. The decision to cross the bridge and to build up the bridgehead required a command decision at each echelon-a decision which was not as obvious as it appears at first glance.
1 Statement of Lt Col Engemnan, CO, 14th Tank Battalion.
1 Report, Battalion, 1945, 12.
2 After Action 14th Tank March page
3 Statement of Maj Cecil E. Roberts, S-3, 14th Tank Battalion.
4 Statement of Lt John Grimball, 1st Platoon, Company A, 14th Tank Battalion.
5 After Action Report, 14th Tank Battalion, March 1945, page 13.
It is probable that very few places along the whole stretch of the RHINE were less suited for a large-scale river crossing. From a tactical standpoint, the REMAGEN BRIDGE was on the north shoulder of a shallow salient into the enemy side of the river. The ground on the east bank rose precipitously from the river and continued rising through rough wooded hills for 5000 meters inland. The primary road net consisted of a river road and two mountain bridge roads, any of which could be easily blocked. From a supply and reinforcement viewpoint, the bridge site was near the southern, army boundary. Only one primary road ran into REMAGEN from the west, and that road did not run along the normal axis of supply.Furthermore, there had been no build-up of supplies at the crossing site in anticipation of a crossing at that point. As previously stated, therefore, the decision was not so obvious as it first appears. The possibility of putting force across the river only to have the bridge fall and the force annihilated approached the probable. A negative decision which would have ignored the possibility of seizing the bridge while insuring the accomplishment of the assigned mission would have been easy. Probably the most important observation noted on the whole operation is that each echelon of command did something positive, thereby demonstrating not only a high degree of initiative but also the flexibility of mind in commanders toward which all armies strive but which they too rarely attain.
At 1550, Company A, 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, reached the east bank of the river, closely followed by Companies B and C. 2 The crossings were made under sporadic fire from 20-mm flak guns and uncoordinated small-arms fire from both sides of the river.2 The guns of Company A, 14th Tank Battalion, drove the German defenders from the bridge road surface and from the stone piers of the bridge. In addition, the tanks engaged the flak guns on the east bank which were opposing the crossing. 3 On gaining the far shore, Company A, 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, turned downstream and began sweeping ERPEL (F647207). Company B scaled the cliffs immediately north of the and seized HILL 191 (F645208) while Company C attacked toward ORSBERG (F652216).4 Troops from Company B, 9th Armored Engineer Battalion, moved onto the bridge with the assault infantry. These engineers, moving rapidly across the bridge, cut every wire in sight and threw the explosives into the river. 4 No effective repairs of the bridge could be accomplished until dark, however, due to extremely accurate and heavy fire from the snipers stationed on both banks of the river.5
As the leading elements reached the far shore, CCB received an order by radio that missions to the east were to be abandoned: "Proceed south along the west bank of the RHINE." At 1615 the Commanding General, Combat Command B, received an order issued to his liaison officer by the division G-3 at 071050 March, ordering Combat Command 13 to "seize or, if necessary, construct at least one bridge over the AHIR RIVER in the Combat Command B zone and continue to advance approximately five kilometers south of the AHIR halt there and wait for further orders."
Upon receiving this order, General Hoge decided to continue exploitation of the bridgehead until he could confer with the Commanding General, 9th Armored Division. By 071650 March, the division and Combat Command B commanders had conferred at BIRRESDORF (F580217), and the division
l After Action Report, 14th Tank Battalion, March 1945, page 13.
2 After Action Report, 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, March 1945, page 6.
3 Statement of Lt John Grimball, 1st Platoon, Company A, 14th Tank Battalion.
4 After Action Report, CCB, 9th Armored Division, March 1945, page 9.
5 Statement of Maj Cecil E. Roberts, S-3, 14th Tank Battalion.
commander directed Combat Command B to secure and expand the bridgehead 1 Task Force Prince at SINZIG to be relieved by Combat Command A and Task Force Robinson on the north to be covered by one troop, 89th Reconnaissance Squadron division responsible to the west end of the bridge. 2 This released for the bridgehead forces the following units:
Company C, 656th Tank Destroyer Battalion.
Troop C, 89th Reconnaissance Squadron.
52d Armored Infantry Battalion.
1st Battalion, 310th Infantry.
1 platoon, Company B, 9th Armored Engineer Battalion.
Provisions were made to guide these units to their areas, and a time schedule of crossing was drawn up.3
The command post of the bridgehead force was set tip in REMAGEN 200 yards west of the bridge at 1605. Combat Command command post was established at BIRRESDORF (F580217) at 1200.
At 1855, the bridgehead commander received orders from Combat Command B to secure the high ground around the bridgehead and to mine securely all roads leading into the bridgehead from the east. In addition, he was informed that the necessary troops required to perform this mission were on the way and that the division would protect the rear of the task force.4
A dismounted platoon from Company D, 14th Tank Battalion, swept the area between the railroad and the woods on the high ground west and south of REMAGEN. This job, which was completed at 2040, silenced the flak guns and drove out the snipers who had been harassing the engineers working on the bridge.5
Late in the evening American Air intercepted a German order directing a heavy bombing attack on the bridge to be made at 080100 March. However, the bad weather prevented the German planes from getting off the ground. 2
During the night, the two roads leading into REMAGEN from BIRRESDORF on the west and SINZIG (657164) on the south, as well as the streets of the town, became clogged with traffic first by units of the combat command being hurriedly assembled, and later by reinforcements being rushed up by III Corps.
The night was rainy and very dark, which necessitated great efforts from all concerned to keep traffic moving at all. The bridge repairs, completed by midnight, permitted one-way vehicular. traffic. Company A of the 14th Tank Battalion, less its 90-mm platoon, crossed successfully and Company C, 656th Tank Destroyer Battalion, followed. The leading tank destroyer slipped off the temporary runway on the bridge in the darkness and became wedged between two cross members of the structure, thereby halting all vehicular traffic for a period of three hours. By 080530 March, when the tank destroyer was finally towed off the bridge, the traffic jam was impeding movement as far back as BIRRESDORF (580217). 5
During the next 24 hours, the following designated units crossed the bridge:
Company A, 14th Tank Battalion, less one platoon, crossed and set up a road block at (F642211) and one at (F656203).
1 After Action Report, 9th Armored Division, March 1945,
2 Statement of Major General Leonard. pages 19, 20.
3 After Action Report, 14th Tank Battalion, March 1945, page 14.
4 After Action Report, 14th Tank Battalion, March 1945, page 13.
5 After Action Report, CCB, 9th Armored Division, March 1945, page 10.
52d Armored Infantry Battalion, dismounted, started across the bridge. The battalion established its command post at ERPEL F647207) at 0630 and took over the north half of the perimeter from U N K E L (F634224) to (F652227).1
1st Battalion, 310th Infantry, crossed and occupied the high ground south of the bridge around OCKENFELS (F673200) in order to deny the enemy use of the locality for observation on the bridge.
14th Tank Battalion, less Company A, crossed and went into mobile reserve.2
During the remainder of the day of 8 March, the 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division, crossed and took up defensive positions to the east and northeast of the 27th and 52d Armored Infantry Battalions. By this time, the bridgehead was about one mile deep and two miles wide.
Following the 47th Infantry, the 311th Infantry, 78th Division, crossed the river and went into an assembly area at (F647213).3,4
During the night of 8-9 March, traffic congestion in REMAGEN became so bad that only one battalion of the 60th Infantry was able to cross the river. One cause of the increased traffic difficulty was the almost continuous artillery fire falling on the bridge and bridgehead, and the air strikes in the area.5,6 The command of the bridgehead changed twice in 26 hours. At 080001 March, the Commanding General, Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division (General Hoge), assumed command of the forces east of the RHINE. During the night of 7-8 March, he moved to the east bank all command posts of units having troops across the river, so that a coordinated fight could continue even if the bridge were blown. At 090235 March, the Commanding General, 9th Infantry Division (General Craig), assumed command of the bridgehead forces, and directed the operation until the breakout on 22 March. 7
l After Action Report, 52d Armored Infantry Battalion, page 3.
2 After Action Report, 14th Tank Battalion, March 1945, page 15.
3 After Action Report, CCB, 9th Armored Division, March 1945, page 9.
4 After Action Report, CCB, 9th Armored Division, March 1945, page 10.
5 After Action Report, 9th Armored Division, March 1945, page 20.
6 Statement of Lt John Grimball, Company A, 14th Tank Battalion: ". the first round of German artillery fired at the bridge came in on the morning of March 8 at about 1030 or 1100 o'clock. I remember this very clearly . ."
7 After Action Report, CCB, 9th Armored Division, March 1945, pages 10, 11.
NARRATIVE: Build-up and Conduct of the Bridgehead
By the time the 9th Infantry Division assumed command of the bridgehead, it had become a major effort. The activities which then dominated the scene were threefold: (1) the close-in protection of the bridge and the building of additional crossings (2) the enlarging of the bridgehead and (3) the reinforcing of the troops east of the RHINE. In order to understand correctly these problems and their solution, it is necessary to hark back several days and study the progressive situation.
In the 9th Infantry Division zone the 47th Infantry Regiment drove approximately three miles past HEIMERZHEIM (F4135), a gain of five miles. The 60th Infantry attacked through the 39th Infantry Regiment and also advanced approximately five miles to BUSCHHOVEN (F4631), which was captured. Both Combat Command A and Combat Command B of the 9th Armored Division attacked to the southeast early in the morning, and continued the attack through the day and night to advance nine or ten miles. Although Combat Command A was held up for a number of hours at the city of RHEINBACH (F4425), it captured that place during the late morning and by midnight had taken VETTELHOVEN (F5219) and BOLINGEN (F5319). Combat Command B captured MPIEL (F4230) and MORENHOVEN (F4430), and by 1530 had entered STADT MECKENHEIM (F4925).
The 78th Infantry Division's 311th Infantry, which had crossed the corps southern boundary into the V Corps zone in order to perform reconnaissance and protect the corps south flank, was relieved early by elements of the V Corps and attacked to the east. The regiment advanced up to five miles to MERZBACH (F4322), QUECKENBERG (F4022), LOCH (F4022), and EICHEN (F4216).
As a result of the changes of corps boundaries that had been directed by First US Army during the night 5-6 March, the direction of attack was changed to the southeast, with consequent changes in division boundaries and objectives. The 1st Infantry Division's southern boundary was moved south so that the city of BONN (F5437) fell within the division zone, and the division was directed to seize BONN and cut by fire the RHINE RIVER bridge at that place. The southern boundary of the 9th Infantry Division was also turned southeast so that the cities of BAD GODESBURG (F5932) and LANNESDORF (F6129) became its objectives, and the 9th Armored Division was directed to seize REMAGEN (F6420) and crossings over the AHR RIVER in the vicinity of SINZIG (F6516), HEIMERSHEIM (F6016), and BAD NEUENAHR (F5716). The 78th Infantry Division was directed to seize crossings over the AHR RIVER at AHRWEILER (F5416) and places to the west of AHRWEILER (F5416), and was instructed to continue to protect the III Corps right flank. All divisions were directed to clear the enemy from the west bank of the RHINE RIVER in their respective zones, and all artillery was directed that pozit or time fuses only would be used when firing on RHINE RIVER bridges.
During the night of 6-7 March, 9th Armored Division was directed to make its main effort toward the towns of REMAGEN and BAD NEUENAHR, and was informed that closing to the RHINE RIVER at MEHLEM (F6129) was of secondary importance.
By 1900, First US Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Courtney H. Hodges, requested the Air Force not to bomb either BONN or BAD GODESBURG. It was also requested that all the RHINE RIVER bridges in III Corps zone be excluded from bombing, although no objection was made to attacking ferry sites, pontoon bridges, boats, or barges being used to ferry men and equipment across the RHINE RIVER.
The III Corps command post opened at ZULPICH (F2333) at 1200.
Corps continued its rapid advance of the preceding day and drove from five to 12 miles along its entire front to seize the railroad bridge across the RHINE RIVER at REMAGEN (F6420), as well as a number of crossings over the AHR RIVER in the vicinity of SINZIG (F6516), BAD NEUENAHR (F5716), HEIMERSHEIM (F6016), and AHRWEILER (F5416). On this day, enemy resistance appeared to collapse, and opposition was scattered with no apparent organized lines of defense. The little resistance encountered was confined to towns, where small groups defended with small-arms fire, although at HEIMERSHEIM and BAD NEUENAHR the enemy defended stubbornly.
At 1400, III Corps was assigned a new mission when Major General W. B. Kean, Chief of Staff, First US Army, visited the corps command post at ZULPICH with instructions directing the corps to advance south along the west bank of the RHINE RIVER and effect a junction with the Third US Army, which was driving north toward the RHINE at a point only a few miles south of the III Corps right flank. A message cancelling this mission was received at III Corps headquarters at approximately 1845 when Brigadier General T. C. Thorsen, G-3, First US Army, in a telephone message, directed that "Corps seize crossings on the AHR RIVER, but do not move south of the road, KESSELING (F4909)STAFFEL (F5109)-RAMERSBACH (F5410)KONIGSFELD (F6011), except on First US Army order." A second telephone call from First US Army at approximately 2015 informed III Corps that it had been relieved of its mission to the south, but that the III Corps was to secure its bridges over the AHR RIVER, where it would be relieved as soon as possible by elements of the 2d Infantry Division (V Corps).
In the zone of the 9th Infantry Division, the 60th Infantry Regiment attacked in the direction of BONN, while the 39th Infantry Regiment continued to attack toward BAD GODESBERG (F5932). By midnight, after advances of several miles, elements were ill position to attack BAD GODESBERG and objectives to the south along the RHINE.
To the south, in the zone of the 79th Infantry Division, the 309th Infantry Regiment attacked through the 311th Infantry Regiment, and advanced from eight to ten miles against light resistance and seized crossings over the AHR RIVER. The 9th Armored Division, having been given the mission of seizing REMAGEN and crossings over the AHR, moved out in the morning with Combat Command A on the right and Combat Command B on the left. The mission of Combat Command A was to seize crossings at BAD NEUENAHR and HEIMERSHEIM, while Combat Command B was to take REMAGEN and KRIPP (F6718) and seize crossings over the AJIR at SINZIG and BODENDORF (F6317). Combat Command B consequently attacked in two columns, one in the direction of each of its objectives, with 1st Battalion, 310th Infantry, and a tank destroyer company covering the left flank. Although Combat Command A met stiff opposition at BAD NEUENAHR, Combat Command B met practically none and captured SINZIG and BODENDORF (F6317) by noon with bridges intact, and by 1530 had captured REMAGEN, against light opposition. Upon finding the bridge at REMAGEN intact, Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Engeman, commanding the north column of Combat Command B, seized the bridge.
First news of the seizure of the bridge arrived at the III Corps command post at approximately 1700 when Colonel James H. Phillips, Chief of Staff, received a telephone call from Colonel Harry Johnson, Chief of Staff, 9th Armored Division. Colonel Phillips was informed that the bridge was taken intact, and was asked for instructions. At this time, the corps commander was at the command post of the 78th Infantry Division, and although First US Army had given no instructions regarding the capture of the bridge, Colonel Phillips gave instructions for the 9th Armored Division (less CCA) to exploit the bridgehead as far as possible, but to hold SINZIG. Colonel Phillips then relayed the information to Major General Milliken, who confirmed these instructions and immediately made plans to motorize the 47th Infantry Regiment (9th Infantry Division) and dispatch it to REMAGEN. The 311th Infantry Regiment of the 78th Infantry Division was alerted for movement to the bridgehead.
III Corps was presented with the problem of making troops available for immediate employment in the bridgehead. The greater parts of all three divisions were engaged. As an expedient, units had to be moved to the bridgehead in the order in which they could be made available. In order to achieve effective control and unity of command, it was decided to attach all units initially, as they crossed the river, to Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division, for securing the initial bridgehead.
As a result, the 47th Infantry Regiment, having been motorized, became attached to Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division, at 2100 and the 78th Infantry Division was instructed to have the Commanding Officer, 311th Infantry Regiment, with necessary staff officers, report to the Commanding General, 9th Armored Division. The 78th Infantry Division was told that III Corps would furnish trucks to the regiment at 080100 March, and that movement would be upon call of the Commanding General, 9th Armored Division.
First US Army, on being notified of the day's developments, confirmed the decision to exploit the bridgehead. A telephone call to III Corps from First Army at 2015 included the information that the 7th Armored Division was attached to III Corps immediately,
for use in relieving the 9th Infantry Division that elements of the 2d Infantry Division (V Corps) would relieve the 78th Infantry Division and CCA of the Eth Armored Division as soon as possible that a new V-III Corps boundary was placed in effect immediately and that First Army was sending a 90-mm antiaircraft battalion, a treadway bridge company, and a DUKW company to III Corps. Major General Robert W. Hasbrouck, Commanding General, 7th Armored Division, was instructed to immediately move one combat command, reinforced by one battalion of infantry, to an area MIEL (F4230)-MORENHOVEN (F4430)-BUSCHHOVEN (F4631)-DUNSTEKOVEN (F4333), where it would become attached temporarily to the 9th Infantry Division. In turn, the 9th Infantry Division was informed of these arrangements, and was directed that the 60th Infantry Regiment, after relief by Combat Command A, 7th Armored Division, would become attached to the 9th Armored Division.
Other considerations were the need for artillery support, the protection of the bridge against enemy air action and sabotage, the construction of additional bridges, and the problems of signal communication. The signal plan had been built around an axis of advance to the south and did not envisage a need for extensive communications in the REMAGEN area.
Artillery plans also needed quick revision. By 2230, one 4.5-inch gun battalion, one 155-mm gun battalion, and one 8-inch howitzer battalion were in position, ready to deliver fire. Heavy interdiction fires around the bridgehead were planned.
By 080300 March the 482d Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion had established defense of the bridge. Assurance was given by First Army that air cover would be provided from any base on the continent or in the United Kingdom from which planes were able to leave the ground.
Visibility during the day was fair, with low clouds and scattered rains throughout. Heavy rains fell during the night.
Activity on 8 March was concerned primarily with reinforcing the troops across the river as rapidly as possible, expanding the bridgehead, and clearing the enemy from the west bank of the RHINE.
East of the RHINE the enemy took no concerted action. No counterattacks were launched and no organized defenses were encountered. KASBACH (F6620) and UNKEL (F6322) were captured, and at the day's end, the 1st Battalion, 310th Infantry Regiment, was fighting in LINZ (F6718). The 47th Infantry Regiment crossed the river in the afternoon and went into positions northeast of the 52d Armored Infantry Battalion.
The 78th Infantry Division was directed at 0200 to cancel all attacks which had been scheduled for this day, and to hold the AHR RIVER bridgehead until relief had been effected by the 2d Infantry Division. Major General Walter M. Robertson, Commanding General, 2d Infantry Division, had visited the 78th Infantry Division command post, and had stated that the relief could be completed no earlier than 0815 of that day.
At this time the 309th Infantry Regiment was the only regiment under control of the 78th Infantry Division which was actually engaged. The 310th Infantry Regiment had previously been attached to the 9th Armored Division, with which it was currently operating, and the 311th Infantry Regiment, having been alerted for movement on the preceding night, had been assembled and was prepared to move by 0500. Movement of the 311th Infantry Regiment began during the morning, and by late afternoon the regiment closed in the bridgehead area, where it became attached to the 9th Armored Division.
At 0945, the 309th Infantry Regiment was alerted for movement to the bridgehead, when instructions were issued to Major General Edwin P. Parker, Commanding General, 78th Infantry Division, directing that the 3(09th Infantry Regiment, upon relief by the 2d Infantry Division, be assembled and marched on secondary roads to an area designated by Major General Leonard, Commanding General, 9th Armored Division. Major General Parker, Commanding General, 78th Infantry Division, was instructed that control of his regiments would be returned to him as soon as he was prepared to assume command of his zone of action in the bridgehead area. At 1755, the relief of the 309th Infantry Regiment was completed, and at that time, control of the zone of the 78th Infantry D1ivision passed to the Commanding General, 2d Infantry Division. At 1815, two battalions of the 309th Infantry Regiment were ordered to move within seven hours, and the regiment began crossing during the night, closing in the bridgehead area on the following day.
Movement of the 7th Armored Division into the zone of the 9th Infantry Division continued throughout the day and at 12:35, Combat Command A had closed in the area and become attached to the 9th Infantry Division. The 1st Battalion, 60th Infantry, had assembled by afternoon and had crossed the river by early morning of 9 March. Combat Command B, 7th Armored Division, became attached to the 9th Infantry Division at 1100, and was directed to move during the afternoon to relieve the 39th Infantry Regiment. At 1715, the Commanding General, 7th Armored Division, assumed command of the zone, and all 7th Armored Division elements, plus those units of the 9th 1nfantry Division remaining in the zone, passed to his control.
The anticipated attachment of the 99th Infantry Division made it doubly important that some agency be given the responsibility of staging and moving troops west of the RHINE. Consequently, the Commanding General, 9th Armored Division, was directed to continue to perform this function. The Commanding
Generals, 9th Infantry and 9th Armored Divisions, operated as a team, one furnishing troops to the other as called for III Corps set up the priority for the movements of troops available west of the RHINE as rapidly as they could be disengaged, and established a tactical command post at REMAGEN to (1) expedite information to corps, (2) give advice for solution of rising problems, (3) closely supervise engineer operations, and (4) supervise traffic and control roads. A traffic circulation plan was placed in effect in which eastbound traffic moved on northerly roads, which were not under enemy observation, and westbound traffic moved on southerly routes. Thus, loaded vehicles ran less risk of receiving artillery fire. In order that bridge traffic would not be interrupted by westbound ambulance traffic, it was decided that casualties would be returned by LCVPs, DUKWs, and ferries, which were soon placed in operation.
Because of poor weather conditions-the day was cold with rain and low overcast fighter-bombers were grounded and were unable to furnish cover protection for the bridge. However, the enemy attempted ten raids over the bridge with ten aircraft, eight of which were Stukas. By afternoon, however, the 482d Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion had three batteries at the bridge site with three platoons on the east and three platoons on the west bank of the river, while the 413th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion (90-mm) went into positions on the west bank and of the ten attacking aircraft, eight were shot down.
Because of the air attacks and the artillery fire, the engineers at the bridge site requested that smoke be employed, and requests were again made of First US Army for a smoke generator unit. Because none was available at this time, however, smoke pots were gathered from all available sources. The 9th Armored Group was ordered to furnish CDLs (search lights mounted on tanks) to assist in protecting the bridge against floating mines, swimmers, riverboats, etc., and depth charges were dropped into the river at five-minute intervals during the night to discourage swimmers bent on demolishing the bridge.
By the end of the day, the forces in the bridgehead consisted of the 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, the 52d Armored Infantry Battalion, the 14th Tank Battalion, the 47th Infantry Regiment, the 311th Infantry Regiment, the 1st Battalion of the 60th Infantry Regiment, the 1st and 2d Battalions of the 310th Infantry Regiment, Company C of the 656th Tank Destroyer Battalion, Troop C of the 89th Reconnaissance Squadron, one platoon of Company B of the 9th Armored Engineer Battalion, and one and one half batteries of the 482d Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion. The 309th Infantry Regiment was en route.
III Corps Operations Directive No. 10 was published, which established three objectives, known as lines Red, White, and Blue. The seizure of line Red was to prevent small-arms fire from being delivered on the bridge area when line White had been reached, observed artillery fire would be eliminated and the seizure of line Blue would prevent medium artillery fire from being delivered on the bridge sites.
On the third day of the bridgehead operation, enemy opposition east of the RHINE stiffened considerably, as elements of the 11th Panzer Division were contacted on the front. Enemy troops had been reported moving on the autobahn with lights on during the night. Although the 311th Infantry Regiment made good progress to the north, where it made gains of from 2000 to 3000 yards, strong resistance was met in the south and center of the bridgehead, and the enemy attacked with infantry, tanks, and aircraft. Fire of all types was received, and heavy artillery fire landed in the vicinity of the bridge. During the early afternoon, a direct hit on an ammunition truck which was crossing the bridge caused considerable damage, placing the bridge out of operation for several hours.
On the west of the RHINE, all organized resistance ceased and at 1125, the 7th Armored Division was able to report that its zone had been cleared of the enemy from boundary to boundary and to the river. Relief of the 60th Infantry Regiment was completed early in the afternoon, and at 1300, that regiment was relieved of attachment to the 7th Armored Division. The regiment, the 1st Battalion of which had crossed to the east of the RHINE the preceding day, closed in the bridgehead during the early morning hours of the 10th. The 39th Infantry Regiment, having captured BAD GODESBERG (F5832), was relieved by elements of the 7th Armored Division by 1800, and prepared to move into the bridgehead on the following day. The 7th Armored Division was directed to outpost islands in the RHINE RIVER at (F627270) and (F632270), opposite HONNEF, and to prevent movement of enemy upstream toward the bridge sites.
Of the 78th Infantry Division, all but the 309th Infantry Regiment and elements of the 310th Infantry Regiment, attached to Combat Command A, 9th Armored Division, had crossed the RHINE on 7 and 8 March. The 309th Infantry Regiment, having begun its movement across the river on 8 March, closed in the bridgehead late in the afternoon of 9 March, and at 0930, elements of the 2d Infantry Division were moving into position to relieve the 310th Infantry Regiment(-) in the AHR RIVER bridgeheads. That relief was completed at approximately 1600. By 100400 March, the 310th Infantry Regiment had crossed completely, and the only elements of the 78th Infantry Division remaining west of the RHINE at that time were the division artillery and spare parts.
During the morning the command post, 9th Infantry Division, opened at ERPEL (F647205). The Commanding General, 9th Infantry Division, was directed that elements of the 78th Infantry Division currently attached to the 9th Infantry Division would revert to control of the Commanding General, 78th Infantry Division, at a time and place agreed upon by the two division commanders, and that the Commanding General, 78th Infantry Division, would assume control of the north sector of the bridgehead. The Commanding General, 9th Infantry Division, was instructed early in the morning to continue the attack and to seize line White.
At 1015, the 99th Infantry Division, commanded by Major General Walter E. Laner, became attached to III Corps, and during the late afternoon the division began to move into an assembly area in the vicinity of STADT MECKENHEIEM (F4925). By midnight, the 393d and 394th Infantry Regiments had closed in the area, and the 395th Infantry Regiment was en route. Instructions were issued directing: (I) that the 99th Infantry Division (-artillery), with the 535th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, the 629th Tank Destroyer Battalion, and the 786th Tank Battalion attached, would cross the RHINE, commencing at 102030 March (2) that the division would pass through elements of Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division, and attack to the south and (:3) that one infantry regiment (minus one battalion) was not to be committed except on II Corps orders. This regiment, the 395th, was to move to an assembly area within one hour's marching distance of the bridge site, and was to close there by the evening of 11 March.
Elements of the 9th Armored Division, which were holding its bridgehead across the AHR RIVER, were directed: (I) to be prepared to move east of the RHINE on III Corps orders (2) to continue to protect bridges over the AHR RIVER and (3) to maintain contact with the 2d Infantry Division (V Corps) on the corps south flank.
The III Corps Engineer was directed to assume control of all engineer activity at the bridge site, thus relieving 9th Armored Division engineers of that responsibility. At the
time, two ferries were already in operation, and a third was nearing completion. Construction had been started at 091030 March on a treadway bridge at (F648202), and it was planned that a heavy pontoon bridge would be built upstream at (F674186) (KRIPP). A contact boom, a log boom, and a net boom, designed to protect the bridge from water-borne objects, were under construction upstream from the bridge.
Early in the day, the 16th Antiaircraft Artillery Group was directed to employ all antiaircraft artillery units for the protection of the bridge, and consequently the antiaircraft defense of the bridge site was strengthened by the arrival of two additional battalions. The 109th Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion became operational on the west bank of the RHINE, and the 634th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion crossed and went into position on the east bank.
The corps command post opened at RHEIN-BACH (F4425) at 1220.
At the close of the day, the forces in the bridgehead had been strengthened by the arrival of the 309th Infantry Regiment, the remainder of the 310th Infantry Regiment, the 60th Infantry Regiment, and additional antiaircraft protection. The antitank defense of the bridgehead had been bolstered by the tank destroyers accompanying the regimental combat teams.
Although no artillery - or at best an occasional battery - had as yet moved east of the RHINE, the artillery of the divisions, as well as corps artillery, supported the operation from positions on the west side.
The day was cold, with visibility restricted by a low overcast which continued throughout the day. No fighter-bombers flew in support of the bridgehead, but medium bombers flew several missions.
The expansion of the bridgehead continued against stiffening resistance. Very heavy resistance was encountered in the area northeast of BRUCHHAUSEN (F6522), and strong points which delayed the advance were encountered in the entire zone. Fire from small arms, self-propelled weapons, mortars, and artillery was received.
In the north, the 311th Infantry Regiment attacked HONNEF (F6427). The 309th Infantry Regiment, in the northeast portion of the corps zone, advanced some 2000 yards to the east after repulsing one counterattack, and in the center sector the 47th Infantry Regiment received sharp counterattacks which forced a slight withdrawal. The regiment, assisted by the 2d Battalion, 310th Infantry Regiment, repulsed these counterattacks, however, and during the afternoon the 3d Battalion, 310th Infantry Regiment, followed by the 52d Armored Infantry Battalion (attached to the 310th Infantry Regiment), attacked through the 47th Infantry Regiment and advanced up to 1000 yards. The 60th Infantry Regiment, in the southeast, attacked and gained about 1500 yards. Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division (1st Battalion, 310th Infantry Regiment, and 27th Armored Infantry Battalion), plus elements of the 60th Infantry Regiment, attacked south and reached a point about 700 yards south of LINZ (F6718), capturing DATTENBERG (F6817) en route.
The movement of the 9th Infantry Division across the RHINE was completed at 1825, when the 39th Infantry Regiment closed in the bridgehead, in an assembly area in the vicinity of BRUCHHAUSEN (F6522). The Commanding General, 9th Infantry Division, requested that he be relieved of responsibility for the security of the railroad bridge and bridging operations at REMAGEN, and consequently the 14th Cavalry Group was directed to assume that responsibility. Instructions were issued directing the group to move to an assembly area in the vicinity of STADT MECKENHEIM (F4925)-ARZDORF (F5423) RINGEN (F5419)-GELSDORF (F5021) on 11 March.
The 99th Infantry Division closed in its assembly area west of the RHINE early in the morning, and at 1530 one regimental combat team was directed by the corps to move into the bridgehead. The 394th Infantry Regiment began to cross the RHINE during the night, and at 2100 the corps directed that the remaining two infantry regiments plan to arrive at the bridge on the following morning. III Corps directed that the 99th Infantry Division plan to take over in the southern sector of the bridgehead. III Corps Artillery, reinforced by V and VII Corps Artillery, fired heavy interdiction and counterbattery missions during the day.
The attack to enlarge the bridgehead progressed slowly against continuous stubborn resistance. Few gains were made in the north and central sectors. The 394th Infantry Regiment, which had completed crossing early in the morning, attacked to the south through Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division, and gained up to 3000 yards, capturing LUEBSDORF (F6816) and ARIENDORF (F6814). Elsewhere in the bridgehead, some local objectives were taken and a number of counterattacks, supported by tanks, were repulsed.
The 394th Infantry Regiment, the first of the 99th Infantry Division units to move into the bridgehead, completed its crossing early in the morning and became attached to the 9th Infantry Division at 0730. At 0830, the Assistant Division Commander, 99th Infantry Division, opened an advanced command post with the command post, 9th Infantry Division. By noontime, the 393d Infantry Regiment had closed east of the RHINE. The 395th Infantry Regiment moved out during the early morning hours to an assembly area in the vicinity of BODENDORF (F6317), and at approximately 1230 its 1st Battalion had crossed the RHINE, to be followed during the day by the 2d and 3d Battalions. The division command post opened at LINZ (F6718), and at 1400 the Commanding General, 99th Infantry Division, assumed control of the southern sector, at which time he assumed command of the 393d and 394th Infantry Regiments. As the attack of 'the 393d and 394th Infantry Regiments progressed to the south and southeast, elements of Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division, were relieved in the line and began to assemble, preparatory to going into III Corps reserve. The 27th Armored Infantry Battalion assembled in the vicinity of UNKEL (F6322). The 1st Battalion, 310th Infantry Regiment, was detached from Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division, and reverted to control of the 9th Infantry Division at 1200. Company A, 656th Tank Destroyer Battalion, and the 60th Armored Infantry Battalion were attached to Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division. The 395th Infantry Regiment was attached to the 9th Infantry Division effective at 1200 and designated as bridgehead reserve.
The Commanding General, 78th Infantry Division, assumed control of the northern portion of the bridgehead at 0900, and at the same time assumed command of the 309th and 311th Infantry Regiments, both of which were attacking. The 310th Infantry Regiment, however, remained attached to the 9th Infantry Division, in whose zone it was heavily engaged. The 39th Infantry Regiment, which was operating in the zone of the 78th Infantry Division, became attached to that division. Effective at 11(X), Company C, 90th Chemical Battalion, was attached to the 39th Infantry Regiment. III Corps directed the 78th Infantry Division units currently operating in the zone of the 9th Infantry Division, and 9th Infantry Division elements operating in the zone of the 78th, to be relieved and returned to their respective divisions as soon as operational conditions permitted. It was directed that details of relief would be agreed upon by the division commanders concerned.
The 60th Armored Infantry Battalion, which had been attached to Combat Command B,
9th Armored Division, remained on a two-hour alert on the west bank of the RHINE.
The 9th Infantry Division, having turned over control of the greater portion of the bridgehead to the commanding generals of the 78th and 99th Infantry Divisions by 1400, continued its operations with the 47th and 60th Infantry Regiments plus the 310th Infantry Regiment of the 78th Infantry Division. Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division, and the 395th Infantry Regiment remained attached to the 9th Infantry Division.
The artillery of both the 9th and 7th Armored Divisions fired in support of the bridgehead, and the 7th Armored Division occupied the island in the RHINE at (F628270). On the east side, the 78th Infantry Division discovered a highway bridge leading to the island at (F632270) and sent patrols to that island, whereupon the 7th Armored Division was relieved of that mission.
In the vicinity of the bridge sites, the enemy made desperate attempts to knock out the railroad bridge and prevent operation of the treadway. The treadway was opened to traffic at 0700, but because of several damaged pontoons, was able to handle only light traffic initially. Artillery fire was heavy throughout the night of 10-11 March and the morning of 11 March. At approximately 0515, the railroad bridge was placed in operation again after having been temporarily closed because of damage from artillery fire. Although it remained in operation throughout the day, the movement of traffic was hazardous because of heavy interdiction fires. During the night of 11 March, an enemy noncommissioned officer with radio was captured near the bridge.
The heavy pontoon bridge at (F673186) (KRIPP) was ready for operation at 1700, but was damaged by an LCVP, and it was 2400 before the bridge was reopened. It was planned to divert traffic to the bridge beginning at 120500 March. The DUKW company and three ferry sites continued to be employed.
The antiaircraft defenses of the bridges were strengthened during the day. The 134th Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion became operational on the west bank of the river. Three batteries of the 376th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion went into position on the west side of the river and one on the east. Heavy concentrations were instrumental in breaking up several German counterattacks. The day was cool with intermittent rain.
All three divisions attacked to expand the bridgehead in the face of very aggressive and determined enemy resistance. Opposition was encountered from tanks, infantry, self-propelled guns, and fire of all types. A number of counterattacks were repulsed. In the north, the 309th Infantry Regiment was forced to defend in position, and the 311th Infantry Regiment received two counterattacks. At 1200, the 1st Battalion, 310th Infantry Regiment, was detached from the 9th Infantry Division and reverted to control of the 78th Infantry Division. The battalion was then attached to the 311th Infantry Regiment. At 2300 the 60th Armored Infantry Battalion was also attached to the 311th Infantry because of the strong enemy pressure in the regimental zone. The 39th Infantry Regiment (attached to the 78th Infantry Division) attacked, but made little progress.
In the central sector, the 9th Infantry Division made slow progress, although the 60th Infantry Regiment attacked to the outskirts of HARGARTEN (F7120), where heavy fighting took place. The 310th Infantry Regiment (-lst Battalion), after reaching its objective, the high ground in the vicinity of (F690240), received a counterattack and was forced to withdraw.
In the south, however, the 99th Infantry Division met lighter opposition initially. The 393d Infantry Regiment advanced up to 3000 yards to capture GINSTERHAHN (F7219)
and ROTHEKREUZ (F7218). On the high ground north of HONNINGEN, strong resistance consisting primarily of self-propelled weapons and small-arms fire was encountered. The 395th Infantry Regiment remained in assembly areas under operational control of the 9th Infantry Division until 1800, at which time it came under III Corps control as corps reserve. The 39th Infantry Regiment attacked toward KALENBORN (F7024). The rugged terrain and determined defense prevented the regiment from reaching its objective.
At 1800, Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division, was detached from the 9th Infantry Division and came under III Corps control. The 60th Armored Infantry Battalion, upon closing in the bridgehead area at 2300, was attached to the 78th Infantry Division, where it became attached to the 311th Infantry Regiment.
The 7th Armored Division Artillery, reinforced by fires from the division tanks and attached tank destroyers, fired in support of the 78th Infantry Division, while the 9th Armored Division Artillery supported the operations of the 99th Infantry Division. Up to this point in the operations, the artillery had been able to support the division operations from west of the river with excellent results, and by remaining west of the river had eased the resupply problem. On this day, four field artillery battalions, two belonging to the 9th Infantry Division and one each to the 78th and the 99th Infantry Divisions, crossed the river and a schedule which contemplated the crossing of six additional artillery battalions was set up for 13 March. A marked decrease in enemy artillery activity was noted during the night of 11-12 March and during the following day.
During the period 120600 to 130600 March, the enemy increased his efforts to destroy the bridges by aerial assault. A total of 58 raids were made by 91 planes, 26 of which were shot down and eight of which were damaged.
The 14th Cavalry Group assumed the responsibility of guarding the bridge and controlling traffic in the bridging area. The 16th Battalion Fusiliers (Belgian), scheduled to arrive in the III Corps area on 13 March, was attached to the 8th Tank Destroyer Group, which had been charged with the responsibility of guarding rear areas. At 1315, the III Corps command post moved from RHEINBACH (F4425) to BAD NEUENAHR
Expansion of the bridgehead continued to be slow because of extremely difficult terrain and stubborn and aggressive enemy resistance, which included several infantry counterattacks supported by armor. In the south-central sector the enemy employed an estimated 15 tanks, and in the northern area approximately 2100 artillery rounds were received. The terrain in this area consisted of steep slopes, heavily forested areas, and a limited road net, which restricted gains to approximately two kilometers.
The 78th Infantry Division's 311th Infantry Regiment made the day's greatest gains-approximately two kilometers-after repulsing a counterattack of battalion strength. The 309th and 39th Infantry Regiments made some progress, and by dusk the 39th Infantry Regiment had secured observation of the town of KALENBORN (F7024). In the center of the III Corps zone, the 9th Infantry Division attacked along its entire front and made small advances. The 60th Infantry Regiment cleared HARGARTEN (F71.3206) and continued to advance toward ST KATHERINEN (F7221), but the 310th Infantry Regiment (-1st Battalion), with the 52d Armored Infantry Battalion attached, met heavy resistance from tanks, mortars, and artillery and was unable to take its objective.
The 99th Infantry Division moved out early in the morning, with the 393d Infantry Regiment attacking to the east. At 13300, the 2d
Battalion, 395th Infantry Regiment, was released from III Corps reserve and reverted to division control. At 1715, III Corps was notified that the 393d Infantry Regiment was being held back because of the fear of overextending its lines. III Corps directed that the attack be pushed to secure the objective. The division was informed that an advance on the part of the 393d Infantry Regiment would assist the advance of the 60th Infantry Regiment (on its left) and that should the need arise, the remainder of the 395th Infantry Regiment would be released from corps reserve and returned to the division. This was done at 1800, although it was directed that one battalion be held in regimental reserve and not be committed except by authority of the corps commander.
During the morning, prior to the release of the 395th Infantry Regiment from corps reserve, both the 395th Infantry Regiment and Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division, were directed to prepare counterattack plans for employment in any portion of the corps zone. Routes and assembly areas were to be reconnoitered, and Combat Command B was further ordered to be prepared for attachment to any infantry division through which it might pass.
In an effort to further protect the bridge against enemy waterborne attack, V corps, commanded by Major General Clarence R. Huebner, was informed at 1700 that it was vital to use the utmost vigilance along the river to prevent enemy swimmers, mines, boats, or midget submarines from moving downstream. III Corps dispatched technical experts to the zone of the 7th Armored Division, where construction of a cable across the river was under way to assist in converting that cable into torpedo boom. One platoon (four CDLs) from Company C, 738th Tank Battalion, was attached to the 7th Armored Division, and the division was instructed to maintain observation and protection on the river and boom 24 hours per day.
The two military bridges remained in operation throughout the day, but the railroad bridge was closed in order to make permanent repairs necessitated by the damage caused by the initial attempt to blow the bridge, and subsequent damage caused by enemy artillery fire and heavy traffic. The ferry sites, DUKWs, and LCVPs remained in operation, but three heavy pontoon battalions were relieved of attachment to III Corps over the objection of the corps engineer, who requested that the corps be permitted to retain at least one.
At 2300, the 9th Infantry Division requested "artificial moonlight" for its operations on the night of 14-15 March, and III Corps arranged to have four lights released to the control of the 9th Infantry Division on the following morning.
The enemy again made a desperate bid to knock out the bridges. Ninety planes made 47 raids between 130600 and 140600 March. Twenty-six planes were destroyed and nine damaged. Enemy artillery activity continued light, but III Corps Artillery, assisted by V and VII Corps Artillery, fired heavy counter-battery programs.
The 400th Armored Field Artillery Battalion and the 667th Field Artillery Battalion were relieved of attachment to the 9th Armored Division and were attached to the 9th and 99th Infantry Divisions respectively. The 9th Armored Division was directed to reinforce the fires of the 99th Infantry Division. The 7th Armored Division was directed to reinforce the fires of the 78th Infantry Division.
The day was cool and clear with good visibility. Six missions were flown in close support of corps, and P-38s flew continuous cover over the bridge sites.
The attack to expand the bridgehead continued, but progress was again slow because of stubborn enemy resistance and rugged terrain. Although there was no appreciable lessening of resistance, counterattacks were
1945 – Happy birthday and a “Lights out! Uh-huh!” to Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band is born today in the Bronx, N.Y.
1945 – Hugh Grundy (Zombies) is born.
Help Stu in his battle with Cancer!
9 March 1945 - History
Posted on 03/28/2005 10:49:00 AM PST by mdittmar
On this day, Gen. George S. Patton's 3rd Army captures Frankfurt, as "Old Blood and Guts" continues his march east.
Frankfurt am Main, literally "On the Main" River, in western Germany, was the mid-19th century capital of Germany (it was annexed by Prussia in 1866, ending its status as a free city). Once integrated into a united German nation, it developed into a significant industrial city-and hence a prime target for Allied bombing during the war. That bombing began as early as July 1941, during a series of British air raids against the Nazis. In March 1944, Frankfurt suffered extraordinary damage during a raid that saw 27,000 tons of bombs dropped on Germany in a single month. Consequently, Frankfurt's medieval Old Town was virtually destroyed (although it would be rebuilt in the postwar period-replete with modern office buildings).
In late December 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, General Patton broke through the German lines of the besieged Belgian city of Bastogne, relieving its valiant defenders. Patton then pushed the Germans east. Patton's goal was to cross the Rhine, even if not a single bridge was left standing over which to do it. As Patton reached the banks of the river on March 22, 1945, he found that one bridge -- the Ludendorff Bridge, located in the little town of Remagen -- had not been destroyed. American troops had already made a crossing on March 7 -- a signal moment in the war and in history, as an enemy army had not crossed the Rhine since Napoleon accomplished the feat in 1805. Patton grandly made his crossing, and from the bridgehead created there, Old Blood and Guts and his 3rd Army headed east and captured Frankfurt on the 29th.
Patton then crossed through southern Germany and into Czechoslovakia, only to encounter an order not to take the capital, Prague, as it had been reserved for the Soviets. Patton was, not unexpectedly, livid.
Rapid Allied advances against Germany
By March 26, 1945, the main body of U.S. and British forces in Europe had crossed the Rhine--their last major obstacle in the conquest of Germany. Advancing as much as 50 miles a day against crumbling German defenses, the U.S. First and Ninth armies encircled the Ruhr, capturing the industrial heart of Germany and trapping some 325,000 German troops.
The British Second Army, meanwhile, moved across northern Germany, and the Canadian First Army drove into the occupied Netherlands. The U.S. Third Army raced through southern Germany. On April 12, the U.S. Ninth Army crossed the Elbe River and was within 75 miles of Berlin. Four days later, the Soviets began a drive on the German capital.
On April 25, the two great Soviet armies completed the encirclement of Berlin--with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler trapped within--and Soviet and American forces linked up on the Elbe River. On the night of April 30, with Soviet troops less than half a mile from his underground bunker, Hitler committed suicide with his mistress, whom he had married the night before. His chosen successor, Admiral Karl Doenitz, had no choice but to surrender, and at midnight on May 8, 1945, the war in Europe was officially over.
I think the source for this story is wrong. I think it was Courtney Hodges' First Army that seized the Remagen Bridge. Patton, IIRC, used a series of assault crossings & pontoon bridges to get across the Rhine. There's a semi-famous photo of Patton zipping up after p*ssing in the Rhine.
If you parse it carefully, it is not wrong, merely misleading. While they leave the impression that Patton crossed at Remagen, they don't actually say that. It is hard to tell if the editor was ignorant, or just sloppy.
I do stand corrected on one point. The bridge at Remagen had been distroyed by March 22. It collapsed on the 17th. So that "fact" in the story is clearly wrong.
The rest of the story looks good though. :') Near the end, not long before V-E day, Allied forces (US, UK and its Dominion, for the most part) stopped, I think at the Elbe the areas each side (meaning the real Allies, and the USSR) was responsible for was hashed out in advance, in talks with the Soviet "allies".
Had Patton been turned loose earlier, and given sufficient supplies (or better yet, given the area awarded to Montgomery, which included the liberation of the vital port of Antwerp), the war would have ended earlier. I just love the "what if".
Montgomery hatched a scheme by which he'd give a left hook and spring loose eastward across rivers and along the coastline, into the heart of Germany, bringing about German collapse and an earlier end to the war. This accomplished nothing except stockpile badly needed supplies and delay German defeat.
You must "parse" like a brain surgeon! Just kidding, but the author says "he" meaning "Patton" found the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen still standing. I sometimes am guilty of drawing the wrong inferences, but I did give this as fair a reading as I could.
History Channel ran an excellent analysis of Operation Market Garden in their series, "Battlefield Detectives". They made the point that tanks, for the most part, had to stick to hard surfaces. This meant that a couple of PAK's and a handfull of infantry could hold-up an armored battalion all day. Don't know if Patton could have pulled that one off either.
Yes, and I corrected myself on that point. By the time Patton's forces reached the Rhine (far south of Remagen) the bridge had already fallen into the Rhine. So even if he took a sight-seeing trip down the river, he wouldn't have seen the bridge intact.
Patton wasn't that concerned about getting beaten by the 1st army he just wanted to make sure he beat the British across the Rhine.
Here are the dates I wanted. Montgomery crossed the Rhine in his set piece "Operation Varsity" on March 24, 1945. Patton got across March 23 in a hastily developed assault. Montgomery again needlessly squandered airborne units, while Patton minimized his casualties.
Yeah, he wrote a letter to Ike:
"Dear Ike, today I pissed in the Rhine."
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Firebombs Over Tokyo
In 1990, when I was traveling in Japan, my friend Masayuki introduced me to his mother, Mrs. Tadokoro. One night, as the three of us sat together after dinner in her apartment in Osaka, she told me of the firebombing of Tokyo. She was nineteen when the American bombers came, just after midnight on March 10, 1945. Hearing the air-raid sirens, she ran to Kinshi Park. As she ran, she saw an electrical pole glow hot in the flames and then crash down. In the park many people, most with suitcases, waited through the night as sixteen square miles of the city burned. Nothing remained of her house the next morning but some stones. Still, she was lucky. The dead from that one night's bombing numbered 80,000 to 100,000—more than later died in Nagasaki (70,000 to 80,000), and more than half the number who died in Hiroshima (120,000 to 150,000).
August brings the fifty-seventh anniversary of the two famous atomic bombings, justification for which is still a matter of debate. The conventional wisdom that the Hiroshima bomb saved 500,000 or a million American lives is wrong according to the historian Gar Alperovitz, modern scholarship and also government estimates at the time put likely U.S. casualties from an invasion of Japan, had one been necessary, in the range of 20,000 to 50,000—which is, of course, still a lot. Nor is it the case that Hiroshima was targeted for its military installations it had some modest military value but was targeted mainly for psychological effect. Yet the bombing clearly did hasten Japan's surrender, and thus saved many American lives (and possibly, on balance, Japanese lives). The much harder question is why the United States rushed—and it did rush—to bomb Nagasaki only three days later. Neither President Harry Truman nor anyone since has provided a compelling answer. In his 1988 history of the nuclear age, McGeorge Bundy, who served as National Security Advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, wrote, "Hiroshima alone was enough to bring the Russians in these two events together brought the crucial imperial decision for surrender, just before the second bomb was dropped."
Alongside the two atomic bombings, the firebombing of Tokyo remains obscure. Few Americans have even heard of it, and few Japanese like to dwell on it. When I listened to Mrs. Tadokoro's account, I was struck by her matter-of-fact, detached manner. What happened happened, and war is always bad, and 1945 is ancient history: that was her practical, forward-looking attitude, and I admired her for it. Yet the Tokyo attack deserves the most introspection of all, even as it receives the least.
In the 1930s, as today, Americans set great store by the principle that civilian populations should not be targeted for bombing. "Inhuman barbarism," President Roosevelt called civilian bombing in 1939. Indeed, that was one reason to fight the Japanese: they targeted civilians, we didn't. By 1945, however, the precision bombing of Japan had proved frustrating. "This outfit has been getting a lot of publicity without having really accomplished a hell of a lot in bombing results," Major General Curtis LeMay groused on March 6. So he loaded more than 300 B-29 Superfortress bombers with napalm incendiaries and, on the evening of March 9, ordered them emptied over central Tokyo. LeMay made no attempt to focus on military targets, nor could he have done so with napalm, whose effect that windy night was to burn wooden Japanese dwellings with spectacular efficiency. The victims were "scorched and boiled and baked to death," LeMay later said. Over the next few months the United States dealt with more than sixty smaller Japanese cities in like fashion.
The rationale was that Japan's industrial capability needed to be destroyed and the country's will broken. In fact, however, the Japanese maintained the ability to fight, although they probably lost the capacity to mount any large offensive. In any case, even supposing that the Tokyo firebombing was a success on its own terms, did that justify the targeting of tens of thousands of civilians, with weapons designed to melt them in their homes? If so, what sort of action would not have been justified on grounds of helping to end the war (that is, winning)? In June of 1945, as the historian John W. Dower notes, a military aide to General Douglas MacArthur described the American firebombing campaign as "one of the most ruthless and barbaric killings of non-combatants in all history." It is hard to disagree.
I believe the firebombing of Tokyo should be considered a war crime, a terror bombing, if those terms are to have any meaning at all. It is true that the United States in 1945, in marked and important contrast with, say, al Qaeda in 2001, viewed the targeting of civilians as a last rather than a first resort and it is true that throughout history even the virtuous have wound up fighting dirty if fighting clean failed and it is true that sometimes the good must do terrible things to destroy a great evil. But it is also true that if the good find themselves driven to barbarism, they own up afterward and search their souls.
America is better at reforming than at repenting, which is probably just as well. Perhaps America's quiet way of paying its debt to the dead of Tokyo has been to take unprecedented pains, far beyond anything done by any other great power, to design and deploy weapons and tactics that spare civilian lives. A lot of innocent people in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan are alive today as a result. Still, the erasure of the Tokyo firebombing from Americans' collective memory is not a noble thing.
In March, on the fifty-seventh otherwise unmarked anniversary of the attack on Tokyo, a handful of survivors opened a small museum there to memorialize the firebombing. They used private contributions totaling $800,000, which is less than one percent of what Mount Vernon plans to spend on its new museum and visitors' center. Well, it was a start. The next step should be an official museum or memorial—not in Tokyo but in Washington.
Le Minh Khai's SEAsian History Blog (+ More)
I love reading historical documents because they never fail to demonstrate how so much of what people think today is a recent invention/construction.
I was reading a history that was written in 1945 and which the National Library of Vietnam recently digitized. It is by Nguyễn Duy Phương and is called Lịch Sử Độc Lập Và Nội Các Đầu Tiên Việt Nam [The History of the Independence and the First Cabinet of Vietnam].
This work was clearly written at some point in the spring or early summer of 1945. It refers to March 9, 1945 as the day when “our country of Vietnam was liberated” (nước Việt Nam ta được giải phóng).
March 9, 1945 was the day that the Japanese overthrew the Vichy French government in Indochina and had Bảo Đại declare independence and Trần Trọng Kim form a government (all of these things may not have happened on that day, I can’t remember, but the ninth was when all of these changes began).
Nguyễn Duy Phương is happy that Vietnamese independence is helping to bring prosperity to the Greater East Asian (Co-Prosperity Sphere), and he thanks the Japanese emperor. He also recognizes the Vietnamese soldiers who had sacrificed their lives and shed blood together with the Japanese to drive out the French.
While some might dismiss what Nguyễn Duy Phương wrote as propaganda for the Japanese by a “collaborator,” it is clear that Nguyễn Duy Phương was very nationalistic. And if you look at the way in which Vietnamese wrote their history, it changes over the course of the twentieth century, and it is precisely with people like Nguyễn Duy Phương in 1945 that it starts to get very nationalistic.
The reason why I find this interesting is because it points to the ways in which the “official narrative” of the past has 1) erased so much and 2) created much that is new.
The Trần Trọng Kim era does not get much credit, but this was a very important period (as was the Vichy government period, as that government encouraged Vietnamese to become more nationalistic to counter Japanese efforts to create pan-Asian sentiments). A lot of ideas, particularly nationalist ones, which became dominant later, were first expressed openly during this time, and Nguyễn Duy Phương’s history is an example of this.
In respect to the way that the official narrative has created much that is new, it is interesting to note where Nguyễn Duy Phương began his history of Vietnamese independence – with the Trưng sisters. He does not mention any Hùng kings or Lạc Long Quân, etc.
After Vietnam became divided, scholars in the South did not talk about those figures either. Instead, it was in the half of the country that promoted the “scientific” approach to scholarship that those figures were officially incorporated into the nation’s past.
There is much about the way in which Vietnamese history is presented today that is not “fact.” Much of the narrative of Vietnamese history is a recent construct that was created for ideological purposes. Books like Nguyễn Duy Phương’s and Nguyễn Phương’s (which I wrote about here) remind us that there are other ways that Vietnamese history can be written.