101st Infantry Regiment Battle Honors
Pre World War II History
The battles of Gettysburg, Antietam, and Manassas are recognized highlights of history. They are also highlights in the history of a distinguished and renowned infantry regiment. Replete in its lineal descent with glory, the 101st Infantry Regiment was originally the "Fighting Ninth", organized in the days when the now traditional "Spirit of the Yanks" was first written in the annals of history, days when Faneuil Hall was still a perfection of modern design.
The officially recognized date of the mustering into service of Ninth Infantry Regiment is June 20, 1861 when the unit was called for Federal Service in the Civil War. A few weeks previously a large number of men
of Irish origin under the leadership of Colonel Thomas Cass had formed an infantry regiment and offered their services to the Governor of the Commonwealth Massachusetts. Since then, the Regiment had been in existence, both in Federal and State Service.
The Civil War days of the Regiment are historic. Ten major engagements crowded the Ninth's docket. The battles of Gaines' Hill and Malvern Hill are the never-to-be forgotten initial battles of the Regiment which served as promises for the scores of years to follow. Among the major engagements were Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, Manassas, and Antietam. In the closing year of the Civil War the Ninth took part in the great Wilderness Offensive, in which its commander, Colonel Guiney was seriously wounded and replaced by Lt. Col. Patrick Hanley. It was at Laurel Hill near Spotsylvania's "bloody angel" that the pioneer doughts marched many a mile under fire as General Grant tried to out-maneuver General Lee. The three years for which this Regiment had enlisted were shortly to expire, and it returned home to be mustered out in Boston on June 21, 1864.
The next call for military service came on May 4, 1898, for the Spanish American War. The Regiment, under the command of Colonel Lawrence J. Logan, was stationed in the vicinity of Santiago, Cuba, until the Spanish forces surrendered. The story of the Ninth in the Cuban campaign is one in which maladies peculiar to the tropics took a greater toll than did the enemy.
Still fresh within the memories of a few members of the Regiment are the activities of the Ninth during the first World War. Prepared for this service by its duty at El Paso, Texas, June 18 to November 22, 1916, the Regiment was augmented by additional troops, was redesignated the 101st Infantry, with Colonel Edward L. Logan its commander, and was mustered in at Framingham on August 22, 1917. One month later it landed in France, the first National Guard Unit of the American Expeditionary Forces to land on French soil.
The 101st Infantry was also the first National Guard unit to enter the lines. Joining the French, it made a successful raid on February 23rd, the first raid in which American troops had participated and the first time that troops had attacked behind a barrage laid down by American Artillery. This marked the beginning of an exceptionally renowned era in the Regiment's History. The Regiment distinguished itself in the battles of Lorraine, Ile-de-France, Champagne-Maine, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne.
Under the command of Colonel Edward L. Logan, who served longer in the line than any other Colonel in the Army, the Regiment sailed home in March, 1919, and was mustered out at Camp Devens in April. The promise of Gaines' Hill and Malvern Hill had not been belied at Chateau Thierry or St. Mihiel. The six major engagements of the World War had but enriched the traditions of the "Fighting Ninth", now the 101st Infantry Regiment.
Until the recent era of 101st Infantry History, the Regiment had been commended by the following officers: -- Thomas Cass, Patrick R. Guiney, Patrick T. Hanley, Patrick A. O'Connel, Bernard F. Finan, William M. Strahan, Frederick B. Logan, Lawrence J. Logan, William J. Donovan, John L. Sullivan, Edward L. Logan, Thomas F. Foley, John D. Murphy, Arthur W. Desmond, and Francis V. Logan.
In December 1938, Colonel Paul G. Kirk, was appointed Commander and remained in command until September 1943. He was succeeded by Lt. Col. Albert C. Dunphy, who was later replaced by Colonel Walter T. Scott, in the latter part of September 1943.
With the German steamroller crashing throughout Europe in May 1940, America fell the need for increased defenses against the threat of totalitarian might and started into operation long prepared plans for the mobilization of a citizen army. All National Guard Divisions were inducted into Federal Service within a year. And so, on January 16, 1941, the 26th Division, the "Yankee Division" of World War I was inducted. On that date, the 10,000 Massachusetts Officers and Men of the Division reported to the 50 Armories throughout the State.
Augmented by 1500 Trainees, the Regiment was engaged in its initial training at Camp Edwards, Mass. Moving temporarily to Fort Devens, Mass., for preliminary field maneuvers, the Regiment again returned to Camp Edwards in September 1941, only to leave again to participate in Carolina Maneuvers during October and November, returning again in December to Camp Edwards.
The world was stunned by Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. For the 26th Division, it meant immediate assignment to the Eastern Defense Command to aid in the security of the United States' east coast. The regiment was engaged in shore patrol duty.
The Regiment left Camp Edwards for the last time in May 1942, proceeding to Camp Hill, Va. In October the Regiment moved again, this time to Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland. Shore patrol was now over, and the Regiment moved to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where it joined the rest of the division attached to the 12th Corps, 2nd Army of the Ground Forces.
A new group of inductees brought the Regiment to strength in February 1943, and the 101st Infantry launched upon a year of training previous to the gang-plank. In April 1943, the Regiment moved to Camp Gordon, Ga.
In Sept 1943 Col. Paul G. Kirk, Commander of the regiment since the summer of 1938, left for duties with the Military Government. Lt. Col. Albert C. Dunphy assumed command and was superceded by Col. Walter T. Scott.
Then, on it moved in its nomadic ways to Camp Campbell, Kentucky, to Tennessee maneuvers, to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and finally to Camp Shanks, New York.
Training and preparation was over. The blunt, unyielding stare of the gang-plank supervised the embarkation of the Regiment on August 27, 1944. On September 7, 1944, the 101st Infantry Regiment docked in Cherbourg.
World War II
This is the history of the combat action of the 101st Infantry Regiment against Germany in World War II. It is more than mere factual data for historical purposes. It is the story of the achievement, the admirable conduct, the solid worth of the Regiment. It is the story of the hundreds of gallant and fighting 101 Combat Infantrymen, men who delighted in mastery, were confident of their ability and their overwhelming determination to fight successfully to victory, and men who fought doggedly and furiously for the right things in life. It is the story of men who always held, never lost, an irrepressible and biting scorn for the enemy and his treacherous cause. It is the story of the valiant men who took in their capable stride the little things and the big things, working continously with seriousness and diligence.
This is, in another sense, a tribute. It is a tribute to each Officer and Enlisted Man who served with the Regiment; a tribute to those at home who hoped and prayed for them; a special tribute to those heroic deeds, who paid the supreme sacrifice for their Regiment, for their country, and for the world; brave men who fought that the world might have once and for all the four unimpaired freedoms. Indeed, it is a special recognition for the latter. Their deeds in themselves are certainly a monument more lasting than brass.
The combat history of the Regiment is one keynoted by aggressiveness. From the beginning to the end, activities were never of a passive nature. Under the vigorous leadership of Col. Walter T. Scott, the Regiment worked strenuously, attacking with feverish intensity, maneuvering with marked dexterity. There was nothing dormant in the activities.
Following the debarkation at Cherbourg, France, on the 7th of September 1944, and the relief of the 4th Armored Division in the vicinity of Arracourt, France, on the 7th of October the offensive operations for the Regiment began on the 8th of November 1944. The attack from Arracourt, France, on this date began an aggressive period which was to terminate temporarily at Rohrbach, France, on the 10th of December 1944.
Plans for the initial offensive were carefully and meticulously drawn up. The 2nd Battalion of the Regiment, under Lt. Col. Bernard A. Lyons, was to lead the attack, supported by the 3rd Battalion from positions on the high ground to the rear. The 1st Battalion was to hold the positions it had and support the attack by harassing the enemy to its front and by executing small local attacks. The plan was for the 3rd Battalion to follow the 2nd Battalion when it had reached Moyenvic, France, at which time the 1st Battalion was to disengage itself from the enemy and assemble in the vicinity of Juvrecourt, France, and follow the 3rd Battalion around the left of the position and thence to Moyenvic. "Hill 310" was the initial objective.
In the darkness of the morning of November 8th, Lt. Col. Lyons left to join the forward elements of his Battalion. With no indications that the enemy suspected an attack, Lt. Col. Lyons inched the assault echelons of his Battalion closer to the enemy lines for a better jump-off position. At 0600 on the 8th November 1944, the attack jumped off, preceded by a thoroughly devastating hour of artillery preparation.
For many men in the Regiment the deafening, ceaseless, foreboding roar of artillery on this morning marked a standard by which future mornings could and would be judged. Moving in a column of battalions, 2nd Battalion leading, the assault on Hill 310 had started. A surprise jump-off found "G" Company in Moyenvic, France, and "I" Company in Salival, France, before the enemy could catch his breath. "E" and "F" Companies continued around the flanks of Moyenvic, establishing a river crossing by swimming the Seille River and capturing a bridge north of Moyenvic. An important stepping stone, this bridge assisted both companies in a continuous drive on to the hill, elements of "F" Company having made for the hill prior to the capture of the bridge. At 0915 elements of "E" and "F" Companies were securely entrenched on the high ground of Hill 310, when later they were reinforced by "L" Company and "M" Company. The 1st Battalion had effected a convincing demonstration in its original position so that the enemy would not discover the line of thrust of the Regiment's main effort. At 1100 the 1st Battalion extracted itself from the enemy, followed the route taken by the other two battalions, and contacted "I" Company on the west side of Hill 310.
The drive was made not without difficulty. The attack had carried the Division into a penetration of the enemy's lines, leaving elements of the enemy on the Regiment's right rear. A terrific stream of enemy harassing artillery fire came from that enemy element, conservatively estimated at 3500 rounds in a period of two days. Moreover, Hill 310 was the beginning of a ridgeline which ran to the north and then turned to the east, affording the enemy direct observation on Hill 310 and the surrounding area.
And so the Regiment was committed to active combat. The tempo at which the future was to be carried on was indicated by a conference held by Division Commander Major General Willard S. Paul and Col. Walter T. Scott in the streets of Moyenvic while the command post was being set up under enemy observation. In the initial attack from the 8th of November to the 12th of November the Regiment netted 524 prisoners.
On the 12th of November the 3rd Battalion experienced the Regiment's first counter attack from the rear, a counter attack coming from Wuisse, France. It was swiftly and surely repulsed. On the 13th of November the Regiment received added strength in the persons of 759 reinforcements. With the augmented strength the Regiment seized Bedestroff, near Marimont. On the 19th of November the doughs plunged through water waist deep in a driving attack on a general line north and south through Bergelstroff. Lt. Col. Lyons, C. O. of the 2nd Battalion, was seriously wounded on that day. On the 20th the 1st Battalion under Lt. Col. Lawrence M. Kirk took Lohr and Innsviller and the 3rd Battalion under Lt. Col. Peale captured Torchviller. The 27th of November witnessed the fall of Altweiller to the 1st Battalion. At Altweiller the 101st Engineers built several bridges in only a few hours, keeping up their record of being instrumental in keeping the main supply routes to the Battalions constantly open.
Throughout the November weeks, the talk and interests of the Sarre doughs centered around the impending battle for Sarre Union, France. Sarre Union was not far off. On November 30th, Col. Scott, accompanied by the Regimental S-3, Major Albert J. McWade, went to Eschweiller to coordinate for an attack order with Generals Dager and Wood of the 4th Armored Division. On the 1st of December, with the support of two squadrons of fighter planes, the Regiment jumped off and "I" Company reached the outskirts of Sarre Union. The following day saw the consolidation of attacks by "K", "I", and "L" Companies in the town. The 1st Battalion swiftly seized the high ground some 1500 yards east of Sarre Union, followed by the 2nd Battalion. By the 3rd of December, but only after fierce fighting in the streets and outskirts of the town, Sarre Union fell to the 101st Infantry. A determined counter attack by enemy tanks and infantry was thrown off the following day by "I" Company. Sarre Union cost the service of valuable personnel in the loss of Major Frank Sellars, the Regiment's Civil Affairs Officer and Lt. Col. Kirk, 1st Battalion C. O.
From Sarre Union the Regiment drove through Oermingen and Kolhausen to Rohrbach where the Regiment's initial phase of action terminated. The relief was completed by the 87th Infantry Division.
Throughout these chill autumn weeks the Regiment gradually hardened to the increasing cold and dampness. The long hours of the day and night in and out of fox holes had been spent mostly in rain and cold, snow and sleet. There was no comfort even in the woods, for they were often booby trapped with potato mashers and 88 shells ready to be ignited by trip wires. For the riflemen stoves were out of the question and bearded faces were prevalent. There were the usual close calls. For example, S-Sgt. Edward Canty of the 2nd Battalion Intelligence Section was hit by a small arms missile which passed through both pockets of his jacket and left him unscarred. Or the "A" Company dough who watched a mortar dud land in his foxhole.
Metz to the Battle of the Bulge
Riding back over the old battle grounds on December 10th, 1944, the leading elements of the Regiment completed a tactical motor movement to Metz. Evidence of the destruction of war visited upon the fortress city was seen everywhere. The 2nd Battalion was to continue through Metz and into positions to contain Fort Jeanne d'Arc. This fort was the last fort of the group around Metz to fall and at the time of our arrival there was being contained by elements of the 345th Infantry, 87th Infantry Division. Col. Scott ordered specifically that no attempt would be made to attack the fort other than by harassing fire. Included in the Metz mission was the task of guarding captured equipment and allowing no unauthorized persons to enter the fallen forts of Driant, Plapperville, Quentin, Dam D' Bois and the many smaller forts along the chain.
On the 11th of December General Hartness, Assistant Division Commander, and Col. Scott decided that more troops were needed physically on the guard to prevent any possible escape of the enemy. As a result the 1st Battalion took the southern sector and the 2nd Battalion the northern sector.
Fort Jeanne d'Arc had not long to stand. On the 13th of December Capt. Thomas Ryan, 1st Battalion S-3, reported by telephone to the Regimental C. P. that a German Officer had come out of the fort with a white flag to "B" Company's area and had expressed a desire to discuss surrender terms with Col. Scott. A meeting was arranged and the parties met at a road junction southeast of the fort. Brig. Gen. Harlan P. Hartness and Col. Scott accepted the unconditional surrender of the last Metz fortress. Once again the 101st scored.
For the 101st doughs Metz was also a city for rest and rehabilitation. There were passes to the city and some to Paris. There were movies and beer. For a few days there was no war. On Sunday the 17th of December the Regiment held a combined memorial service in memory of its fallen comrades. Chaplains Peter Honderd, Joseph Raimondo, and Floyd Engstrom officiated.
The men of the 101st Infantry liked Metz. The rest, the relaxation, the entertainment, was exceptionally suitable, but it was not long to last.
On the 19th of December it was definitely determined that the Regiment was going to move somewhere due to an impending emergency, which was later found out to be the penetration made by the Germans through Belgium and part of Luxembourg.
Photo: US ARMY Signal Corps - courtesy of Neal W Burdette
Battle of the Bulge
A motor movement from Metz to Luxembourg was effected on the 20th of December. The movement of 26th Division was the initial effort made by the Third Army to drive a wedge into the south flank of the penetration made by the recent German counterattack to the north. The Battle of the Ardennes was destined to be one of the fiercest and most trying of all for the 101st Infantry.
Contact was first made with the enemy by "K" Company on December 23, as part of the task force "Dunham" (Capt. Leland K. Dunham, C. O. "K" Company) in the vicinity of Rambrouch. From that day on, the 101st Regiment encountered a determined, arrogant, and vicious enemy. There were enemy paratroopers. The enemy was using American equipment including trucks and P-47s. Those were the days of air attacks, of compromised passwords, of treacherous assaults. Those were the days of bitter wind and cold, long hours of watching and waiting -- long, monotonous, painful moments. Those were the days of sleeping in the maculate atmosphere of the odious aftermath of battle, days touched with bitterness. There were apathetic men who came so close to death that all the fury of battle seemed ironically vague. There were many heroes, some pronounced, many unsung. The Battle of the Bulge was perhaps the toughest of the war. Yet in traditional style the 101 moved on with a dogged, assured determination to crush anyone who dared to contend. There was no cringing, no cowardice. The doughs were arrogant in pressing forward to seize what was desired.
On the 24th of December the Regiment was in the vicinity of Ell and Reichling, Luxembourg. The 2nd Battalion, led by Major Stetson, took Rambrouch and Koetschette. Fortunately the Regiment spent a quiet Christmas Eve.
On the 25th of December the Regiment relieved the 328th Infantry, and the 2nd Battalion immediately took Arsdorf.
In these snowy regions the Regiment encountered the Gross Deutschland Division, equipped with white snow capes which made them exceedingly difficult to see. It was necessary to cross the icy Sure River and the enemy attempted to frustrate all attempts to cross. It was here that Col. Scott arrived on the scene, instructing that a boat be made available to him. Taking his bodyguard Sgt. Joseph Yerardi with him, he made the initial crossing setting an example for his troops to follow. For this he was awarded the Silver Star by Major General Willard S. Paul. The crossing of the Sure River was definitely achieved by the aggressive, persistent action of both the 1st and 3rd Battalions. The 1st Battalion sent its Battalion patrol across the river the night of the 25th of December. Meanwhile, the 3rd Battalion forced a crossing in "K" Company's area against several vicious enemy counter attacks and captured the town of Lieffrange. There, a junction was made between the two battalions.
On the 28th of December the 1st Battalion took Bavigne and the Second took Mecher-Dunkrodt. Then followed the memorable days of Hill 490, the savage counterattacks, the battle of Mon Shuman crossroads. Those were days when the Regiment, able to fake it and dish it out, stood squarely on both feet, slugging it out against fierce opposition.
On the 31st of December the 3rd Battalion cut the Bavigne-Wiltz road, but was driven back across the road on the 1st of January.
On the 9th of January the Regiment moved to its left to relieve elements of the 35th Division, which were moving closer to Bastogne. Opposing elements were the German 5th Paratroop Division made up of young and well trained soldiers, but the Regiment undaunted prepared to join the determined drive to break The Bulge. The 1st Battalion had been pinned down. "C" Company in its effort to attack to the front had one platoon reduced to four men and one officer. "A" Company had also received severe casualties and had been forced to withdraw. It was then that the 3rd Battalion swung around to attack in front of the 1st Battalion. The snow fall was heavy. Supporting engineers had to plow roads. Major Richard J. Quigley, Rgt'l S-4, ordered sleds constructed in order to carry supplies to the front line and to evacuate the wounded.
On the morning of the 9th the 3rd Battalion attacked while the 2nd Battalion advanced abreast the 90th Division. The determined drive to break the enemy line succeeded. The entire front pushed, displaying an irrepressible and bitting scorn for any enemy interference.
The following days of January saw additional struggles with the weakening enemy. At times the psychological warfare team attempted, via loudspeakers, to induce an enemy surrender. The answer, as usual, was a heavy shelling. On the 17th of January the Regiment heartened to the news of the Russian breakthrough. On the 21st of January the Regiment attacked the enemy supply center of Wiltz. The 1st Battalion commanded by Lt. Col. Albert L. Gramm took the city, with the 2nd and 3rd Battalions attacking in the vicinity of Noertrange. Pushing through Wiltz, the Regiment encountered heavy mine fields, "Schumines", and booby trapped enemy bodies. Nevertheless the attack moved swiftly to Selscheid.
Once again there was a river to cross. In all of the operations the Regiment led in river crossing, first at the Seille River, then the Sarre River, the Sure River, and now the Clerf River. Swiftly the Regiment seized Clervaux, with the 1st and 3rd Battalions crossing the river.
The Regiment's missions in the Battle of the Ardennes and the relief of Bastogne were completed. Along with other units the 101st Infantry, and the 26th Division as a whole, was cited by higher headquarters for
the prominent part it had played in this critical and decisive battle. As for the 101st Infantry they had simply wondered at the far channel into which the German ability had flowed, had taken this into consideration, and had then acted. It had been a long, determined fight. As one dough put it, it was our own "Valley Forge".
On the 28th of January the Regiment moved to the vicinity of Falck, France, where it went into position as Division reserve and began a training program in anticipation of the large scale drive which was to follow. The division then held a bridgehead over the Saar River in Saarlautern and outposted the area on a broad front to the Saar River. For several days the 1st Battalion was attached to the 328th Infantry to secure the bridgehead.
The weeks in Division reserve served to strengthen and rehabilitate the Regiment for later days. There were movies, Red Cross donuts and entertainment. There was security from the turbulent and tempestuous days of the weeks before.
On the 23rd of February the 101st Infantry became the bridgehead Regiment relieving the 328th Infantry. There ensued days of close skirmishes, of plans to enlarge the bridgehead, of games of hide and seek with the enemy. Saarlautern and Fraulautern were dead cities, abandonded and destroyed, booby trapped and mined. There were patrols at night. A cloak of invisibility covered both the doughs and the enemy. A position was discovered and it was destroyed.
On the 3rd of March elements of the 65th Division came to study the Regiment's positions. On the 8th of March relief was completed and the Regiment moved to the vicinity east of Saarburg.
Push to the Rhine
The first week in March saw the Regiment outposting the Serrig area and that area east of Saarburg. It was evident that something of importance was in the wind. On the 12th of March an order was given calling for an attack on the 13th of March in conjunction with the XX Corps attack. Our mission was to clear the area south of the Moselle. Initially, the 101st Infantry was in reserve. At 0300 on the 13th of March the attack began, preceded by a tremendous softening up barrage by the 101st Field Artillery. While the 3rd Battalion was attached to the 328th Infantry, the remainder of the Regiment bivouaced east of Serrig. The 3rd Battalion spearheaded the attack of the 328th Infantry Regiment at Serrig; an attack that broke organized German resistance at that part of the Siegfried Line. On the 15th of March the entire 101st jumped off in a column of battalions. Progress in rugged terrain dotted with pillboxes, was slow but steady. On the 17th of March
"C" Company took the town of Bratdorf.
Since it was evident that the enemy resistance was crumbling, Col. Scott ordered the formation of the St. Patrick's task force, which was led by Major Joseph P. Boucher. The task force included "A" Company, 101st Infantry, one platoon of the 26th Reconnaissance Troop, one platoon of 818th Tank Destroyers, one platoon 778th Tank Battalion, one platoon of Regimental Antitank Company, and one squad from the Antitank mine platoon.
Spearheading the 101st Infantry drive, Task Force St. Patrick reached Buprich on the night of the 17th of March and secured a bridgehead across the Prims River. Other elements of the Regiment followed to secure the bridge site. The advance continued and steady progress was made. By 1800 on the 18th of March 901 Prisoners of War had been taken. The situation kept advancing rapidly. Telephone communications were a physical impossibility and control was maintained entirely by use of radio. Relay stations were used to maintain contact with all Battalions.
On the 19th of March, Task Force St. Patrick, still spearheading in the zone and encountering resistance in various towns, seized Ottweiler, in conjunction with a task force of the 104th Infantry. With advances so swift, the shuffling of troops was necessary. All unnecessary loads were dropped and a maximum of gasoline and rations were carried. Behind the task force the other units fought and cleared out zone and obliterated all opposition that was encountered. The task force pushed rapidly over the Blyes River and secured a crossing over the Oster River. The advance continued with all three battalions pushing on to the east with little or no opposition being met in the regimental zone. During the afternoon of the 20th of March, contact was made with the 6th Armored Division of the 7th Army, which had worked north from Sarre-quemines. Darkness on the 20th found the elements of the 1st Battalion at Landstuhl, the 2nd Battalion at Hauptstuhl the 3rd Battalion at Waldmuhr. On the 21st of March 1945, troops were again shuffled forward. The pursuit was on. Light resistance was met. As the advance progressed orders were received from the Division to halt the advance immediately. At this time task force St. Patrick had the town of Appenthal, the 1st Battalion extended from Appenthal to Elmstein, the 3rd Battalion was at Elmstein, and the 2nd Battalion was in an assembly area near Trippstadt.
The Regiment was then given the responsibility of the south flank of the Division to Weiderbach, Germany. On the 23r of March plans were made to cross the Rhine River in the vicinity of Oppenheim. On the same day the 2nd Battalion moved to the bridge site to relieve elements of the 5th Division. The 3rd Battalion was motorized with the mission to be prepared to encounter any enemy thrust across the Rhine River in the vicinity of Wiesbaden.
The 26th Infantry Division crossed the Rhine River on a pontoon treadway bridge at Oppenheim, Germany on the 25 th of March, 1945 following the 5th Infantry Division that secured the east bank and the 90th Infantry Division.
By evening of the 25th of March the entire Regimental Combat team had crossed the river and had relieved elements of the 90th Division in the vicinity of Darmstadt.
The push from Serrig to the Rhine had been rapid, complete, and admirable. There was beauty of order, magnificence of leadership. The enemy was completely beaten, disintegrated, and disorganized.
Across the Rhine
During the night of the 25th of March the 1st Battalion pushed east from Darmstadt and made good progress. The 3rd Battalion followed motorized. Advance was so swift that scattered enemy units were straggling in rear areas. On the night of the 26th of March an enemy patrol entered the position of the 101st Field Artillery Battalion from the nearby woods and caused confusion in rear areas of the Regiment. The 1st Battalion immediately remedied the situation while the other two battalions crossed the Main River, using ferries and assault boats instead of waiting to use the heavily loaded bridge to the northeast. At times contact with the enemy was lost. During the 28th and 29th of March the only contact with the enemy was made with deserters hurrying in to give themselves up. However, a concentration of enemy troops was reported in the vicinity of Fulda.
On Easter Sunday, the 1st of April, the attack on enemy strong points at Fulda began. While the 1st Battalion attacked the city, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions cleared the woods to the east and northeast of the city. It was in "A" Company's zone on that day that fighting ceased for a few minutes to allow a stray Easter-parading maiden to pass safely through the sector of fire. After she had passed the fighting resumed. Fulda was cleared on the 3rd of April 1945, and the Fulda River crossed.
On the same day a German Officer contacted "A" Company regarding the surrender of troops. It developed that 1000 Hungarian soldiers surrendered the following day. The total of German prisoners was great: 16 officers and 1307 enlisted men.
The 101st Infantry Steamroller moved on. Scattered enemy resistance was met, the main defense being protected road blocks. Meiningen fell on the 5th of April to the 1st Battalion. The attack continued southeast. On the 8th of April elements were on the general line of Gottriesburg - Ratscher - Hintrinan - Schleusinger Neudorf. On the 10th of April Oberneubrunn fell.
One of the highlights of the Regiment's combat activities during this period was fashioned by Colonel Scott on the 12th of April. The Regiment headed its advance toward Forschengreth, Germany, preparatory to attacking Sonneberg, Germany. Arriving at the town of Forschengreth. Colonel Scott discovered the Telephone exchange with Sonneberg was still in operation. Calling Sonneberg, he assured the city's senior elder that the city was surrounded and could escape devastation only by immediate surrender. Realizing the impending disaster, the town displayed white flags, surrendering without a shot being fired, as the three battalions entered from three different sides of the city.
The advance pushed forward to the east. From then on there was little fight remaining in the enemy. Prisoners continued to pour in, singularly and in groups. It was a beaten enemy, groggy and withering. The 101st Infantry wiped out the little resistance it met in its advance through the woods.
On the 25th of April a new mission was received because a panzer division was reported east of Cham. Combat team 101 was assigned the mission of blocking the southeast and west of Cham, in order to protect the Division's left flank. In as much as the area had not been cleared, battle formations were used by battalions. One ambush was encountered in the vicinity of Mittlach, where Major Joseph Boucher, C.O. 1st Battalion, was killed.
From that time until the end of April the Regiment continued to mop up with the added mission of protecting the right flank along the Danube. To best accomplish this mission the battalions leap frogged through the area.
The final action of the 101st Infantry was made in a drive on Passau, a key city on the Danube. It was there that a beaten enemy was attempting to make a last desperate stand. But now nothing could stop the 101st Infantry. Somewhat indifferent, the doughs made this fragmentary enemy operation appear as nothing more than a subversive sputter. Following the fall of Passau the Regiment outposted along a broad front on the north bank of the Danube River.
The final period of skirmishes for the Regiment occured with the mopping up of small pockets throughout the area along the north bank of the Danube. On the 4th of May, the 101st Infantry crossed the German border into Austria, moving into the area of Aigen, Austria, and thence northeast across the border into Czechoslovakia. From Aigen the 1st and 3rd Battalions, the second was detached for XIIth Corps security, pushed across the Muldau and Vittaua Rivers.
Estimating keenly the final fleeting gasps of the German Armies, the Psychological Broadcasting Unit made a broadcast in "B" Company's area. As a result two officers of the 111th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, bedecked with while flags, crossed our lines to discuss surrender terms. Satisfied that the game had reached its final out, they humbly returned to their commander accompanied by 1st Lt. George Largay of the Regimental Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon.
At 0700 on the 7th of May 1945, Major General Von Butler surrendered all elements of the 85th German Corps, approximately 5000 troops, and assembled them in designated areas, under the control of Lt. Col. Daniel J. Murphy, Rgt'l Ex. O. On the 8th of May 1945, large numbers of German troops moved into the area from the northeast in order to keep ahead of the rapidly advancing Russians.
The Regiment had its hey-day. During this period four German Generals and their staffs were apprehended and approximately 25,000 German troops were brought under control.
At long last the hour of formal capitulation arrived. By 0001 on the 9th of May 1945, cessation of hostilities, in accordance with the unconditional surrender of the German High Command, greeted both visionaries and pronounced realists. It found the 101st Infantry command post in the town of Oberplan, Czechoslovakia, the 1st Battalion in the vicinity of Schwarzbach, Czechoslovakia, the 2nd Battalion at Grafenwohr, Germany, as Corps security, and the 3rd Battalion in the vicinity of Zelnaua, Czechoslovakia. The doughs maintained complete control over the area.
V-E day came to the 101st Infantry in quiet manner. A deep tranquility welcomed V-E day. Yet, it was an unforgettable day of life. A feeling of happy contentment and a deep spiritual and physical satisfaction pervaded the atmosphere.
Victory in Europe marked another milestone in the history of the Regiment. Another milestone added to a list which includes the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, the World War I, a final milestone, perhaps!
Victory in Europe brought the opportunity to look back in retrospect over the preceding months. To look back to the faithful and admirable leadership of Col. Walter T. Scott, Commanding Officer, and Lt. Col. Daniel J. Murphy, Executive Officer. To look back to the leadership of each and every officer, non-commissioned officer, and men. To look back to the days when happiness or unhappiness were not considered in the overwhelming determination to fight successfully to victory. There can be no doubt that each individual unit had displayed admirable conduct and had demonstrated the highest standards of judgment.
The history of the combat action of the 101st Infantry Regiment against Germany in World War II is indeed the story of the achievement, the admirable conduct, the solid worth of the Regiment. It is also a tribute to each and every individual who served; a tribute to those at home who hoped and prayed for the regiment; a special tribute to the many heroic dead who paid the supreme sacrifice that the world might live.
The 101st Infantry Regiment is justifiably proud of this chapter of her history.
May no destructive blast
Our heaven of joy o'ercast
May Freedom's fabric last
While time endures.
by courtesy of David J. Clymer, 101st Inf. Reg. Veteran