Germany (Part 1)
| Volkssturm roadblock, always ready,
but rarely finished.
are Now Entering Germany -- No Fraternization.... We were on the move
once more and this sign greeted us as we crossed the Sauer River. We were
attached to Combat Command A of the 4th Armored Division who were spearheading
for the Rhine. Mission -- to strike the Rhine at Mainz and attempt to
capture a bridge intact. The Battalion, less Battery D, who were on Security
Guard, left Consdorf on the 17th of March (St. Patrick's Day). The weather
was good but the same could not be said for the roads. We covered miles
of Germany before we stopped for the night at Kochem. Early in the morning
of the 18th we crossed the Moselle River once more (Battalion's 5th crossing
of Moselle) and started over those mountains. We went up one side and
down the other so often it started to feel like a scenic roller coaster.
That afternoon (1300) we pulled into Bretzenheim and dispersed and camouflaged
our equipment in our usual thorough manner. A short while later we glanced
up casually at a flight of planes. It took a moment for us to convince
ourselves that they really were FW-190's. It broke up the ball game that
had started and almost broke a few legs as the men dived for concealment
and cover. We received a temporary mission that afternoon to protect the
4th Armored Division bridges and supply routes over the Nahe River at
Bretzenheim and Bad Kreuznach. The gun batteries went into position and
before dark that night 23 FW-190's and Me-1O9's had made six raids on
the protected area. They were all flying low and only the machine guns
were fired. It was that night we also came into contact with the world
famous Rhine wines. How much did the barrels hold? How much could the
115th hold? The barrels won but that was due to a March Order that moved
us to Bad Kreuznach the following morning. It was a bright warm day and
the guns were quickly set up and ready for action. We saw no planes until
chow time that night. Many a cup of coffee was spilled as "Stand-To"
rang out. It was a single FW-190 flying low, the guns opened up and he
dropped his bombs short of the bridge and ran. It was just a short time
later that Stand-To rang out again, almost too late -- for the plane was
coming in fast. That was our first look at a jet Propelled Me-262. Once
again we fired; he streaked across the sky and was gone in a moment. Another
jet job followed him but the ack-ack was too intense for him to get near
The morning of March 20th we were informed of the tactical situation.
The 4th Armored Division Forward CP was moving to Freilaubersheim. CCA
was in Alzey -- CCB was in Albig -- the 11th Armored Division was moving
east on the right flank -- the 12th Armored from the 7th Army was moving
north but position and destination were secret and the 90th Infantry Division
was 7 km west of Mainz. We had our own worries too ... starting at 0930
and lasting until 1830 we had fifteen raids by 45 planes. It looked as
if Jerry had all of his planes on display for us, for there were Me-262's,
the AR 234 (a new jet propelled job), and of course our old friends the
Me-109's and 110's, and the FW-190's. We threw everything at them but
the wine we were saving and claimed four Cat I and one Cat II. This was
also the day that the 88's tried to knock out the bridge and ford at Bretzenheim.
Do you Headquarters boys remember that?
The raids started at 0640 the next morning (what a hell of an early hour).
There were four raids by nine jet jobs and one recon mission. Those jets
came in from all directions travelling at 500 mph. We claimed one Cat
I. A Battery area was bombed resulting in two casualties. They moved up
with Headquarters and went into billets at the Schneider Optical Works
where the cry was "all these lenses and no cameras". On to the
Rhine we hoped, and on it was, early morning the 22nd of March.