104th Infantry Regiment

Joseph Milner in Luxemboug Esch-Sur-La Sure on 17 January 1945.
(by courtesy of Marty Milner)

Three BAR men from A Company of the 104th. The man on the left is Pierre Rinfret, the others I don't know. Pierre passed away in July of this year and I would like to honor his memory by including him, and his fellow soldiers by placing this picture on the website.

Photo by courtesy of Mr. Neal "Specks" Burdette

Lt. Col. Joseph A. Milner, Co. F, 104th Infantry Regiment
Photos by courtesy of Marty Milner

104th Regt Hit Rhine First In YD

From the vantage point of its notable accomplishments in World War II, the 104th Infantry Regiment looks back on a long and distinguished past.

First "activated" in 1639, it has fought in seven wars, twenty-six major campaigns, and served in eight foreign countries.

After its first hard fight in Moncourt Woods, October 1944, less than six weeks after landing in Cherbourg, the 104th jumped off Nov. 8th in the muddy, miserable Third Army drive through Lorraine. Pushing hard, the regiment took a number of small but fanatically defended towns northeast of Nancy, including Vic-Sur-Seille, Chateau-Salins, Morville, Hampont, Benestroff (the divisional objective), and Albestroff.

Then shifting to the right, the regiment seized Sarre-Union and knocked out a string of Maginot Line forts around Achen.

After the abbreviated rest at Metz, the 104th was rushed a few days before Christmas to the Ardennes sector. On the morning of December 22, attacking through a snowstorm, the 104th and the rest of the division moved out against unknown enemy strength in unknown positions. The first element in the division to make contact, the 2nd Battalion 104th hit the Germans north of Bettborn. A series of hard-fought battles followed, the 104th taking Dellen, Buschrodt, Kaundorf, Esch-sur-la-Sure, crossing the Sure and Wiltz rivers, and holding this salient driven deep into the enemy's southern flank until the "Bulge" folded up.

From the last of January until the second week in March, the regiment helped hold the Saarlautern bridgehead. From the vicinity of Saarburg, on March 45, the 104th jumped off as a part of the general attack to break the German defenses in the west. After clawing its way over the mountains and through the thickest part of the Siegfried Line, the 104th broke into the clear at Reimsbach and swept almost to the Rhine, slowed up by occasional
snags of tough resistance such as Ottweiler.

On March 24, the 104th crossed the Rhine near Oppenheim, the first element of the 26th Division to go over, and was temporarily attached to the 4th Armored Division. Following up the sudden collapse of enemy resistance, it took Münchberg by April 15, only a few miles from the old Czech border. Driving south, the 104th was the first 26th Division regiment to enter Austria, and swinging north the 104th was the first YD outfit to contact the Russians officially (Ceske-Budejovice, Czechoslovakia, May 10, 1945).

For actions from Lorraine to Czechoslovakia, the men of the 104th have received more Distinguished Service Crosses (11), more Silver Stars (350), and more total decorations, 1,425 all told, than any other regiment or unit in the division. Under the leadership of Col. Dwight T. Colley, and Col. Ralph A. Palladino, its two commanding officers in combat, the 104th has added another chapter to the tradition of which it is justly proud.

excerpt from "Grapevine" Vol. II / No.35 - October 21, 1945