[4], The 9th Armored Division’s first commanding general was Major General Geoffrey Keyes, assisted by Brigadier Generals Ernest Harmon and John W. Leonard. Although some fighting remained, the US Army had driven far into Austria when the war came to an end on May 8, 1945. “This is a hell of a place to end the war,” Lt. Col. Kenneth Collins observed to Lt. Col. George Ruhlen. The 1st Platoon, Co “B” was attached to CCR to act as road guides and MP's for the combat command. Troops of the US 9th Armored Division capture the Ludendorff Railroad Bridge at Remagen, between Koblenz and Bonn, Germany. CCA 9th Armored Division had been halted just west of Karlovy Vary. At Hirschberg, the command turned on to secondary roads. 10 November 1999.;  Cecil Roberts. A detachment of troops of the U.S. 9th Armored Infantry Battalion, from the 6th Armored Division, part of the U.S. Third Army, and under the command of Captain Frederic Keffer, arrived at Buchenwald on April 11, 1945 at 3:15 p.m. (now the permanent time of the clock at the entrance gate). Brigadier General Leonard was promoted to Major General and became the new commanding general of the 9th Armored Division. Combat Command A. (Fort Worth, TX: Branch-Smith, Inc., 1978). Per verbal orders received 13 December, the Battalion moved to Vicinity of Huldingen, Luxembourg. Copy located at US Army Military History Institute. 9th Armored Division – WW-2. My thanks to Gen. Ruhlen for copies of these after action reports. At 1000, the division issued a Letter of Instruction to the Command which detailed them to secure their areas of responsibility, construct roadblocks, patrol, and maintain law and order. Eisenhower also sent orders to Gen. Bradley for Third U.S. Army to conduct the operation. Record Group (RG) 407. The reserve status of Combat Command A, however, was soon to end. Here in the Ardennes, the 9th Armored Division’s three combat commands were split up and used to augment other divisions in the area. My grandfather had been a POW at Oflag VIB in Doessel, Germany for 5 and 1/2 years. Half-tracks transported the infantry and performed a variety of support roles. [Hereafter cited as 3AFA AAR. The capture of the intact Ludendorff Bridge enabled U.S. forces to quickly cross the Rhine River and establish a firm bridgehead for follow-on operations. [3], The 9th Armored Division traced its origins back to the 2nd Cavalry Division stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. All hostilities were to cease at 0001 local time on 9 May 1945. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Within minutes, the Battery hit the remaining German anti-tank guns with 105mm shells and knocked them out. Russell F. Weigley, Eisenhower’s Lieutenants: The Campaign of France and Germany 1944-1945. (NY:  Hippocrene Books, 1992). [62] Col. Cecil Roberts, Letter to the Author - 28 June 1998.; Roberts, A Soldier From Texas, p. 81. This AD came in late in the war but saw a good amount of action. The 123rd Combat Unit … Then on 7 March 1945, a task force of the 9th Armored Division captured the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen on the Rhine River – the last great geographical barrier blocking the Allies from pouring across Germany. Germany:  28 May 1945. USAMHI Archives, p.919. 31 May 1998 and 1 November 1999. The task force halted for the night just a few miles east of Karlovy Vary outside the town of Sokolov. [26] U.S. Army. 11 May 1998. A Sudeten German, Henlein had helped instigate Adolf Hitler’s annexation of the Sudetenland border region of Czechoslovakia and been rewarded for his efforts by appointment to high positions within the Nazi party, the Third Reich and the SS. His men disarmed the soldiers and directed them into temporary camps on the hills surrounding the town until they could be sent back to the 1st Infantry Division and thence onto Germany. Karlsruhe, Germany: US Army, Europe – Historical Division [Foreign Military Studies Branch], written sometime between 1945 & 1954. Vehicles full of Jerries were now arriving, many hitched to trailers and all overloaded with women, children, household furnishings, and junk,” Lt Col Ruhlen wrote in his history of the battalion. Both Cheb and Plzen had airports that were being utilized by the remnants of the German Luftwaffe. 15 December 1999. By mid-April, the capture of Berlin seemed within reach of British and American led armies. In Weimar, the mayor and his wife, after seeing Buchenwald atrocities, slashed their wrists. ;The History of the 17th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, (Seattle, WA:  Lowman & Hanford Co., 1946?). On the Big Red One’s left was the 6th Cavalry Group of VIII Corps. See Chapter 13 specifically. Eisenhower’s primary focus was to prevent the formation of the “National Redoubt” (Alpine Festung) area of last ditch fanatical Nazi resistance rumoured to be occurring in southern Germany and western Austria. It's men boarded the cruise ship Queen Mary and set sail for Britain. The 101st Airborne Division. The SS had established Wöbbelin in early Feb 1945 to house concentration camp prisoners who had been evacuated from other Nazi camps to prevent their liberation by the Allies. NARA. Under questioning they informed their captors of the German High Command’s surrender several hours before. The Americans also liberated over 2,000 Allied prisoners of war from three camps west of Karlovy Vary. 3 vols. He served honorably in WWII for 3 years in the 9th Armored Division under General Patton. [48], In the pre-dawn hours of 7 May 1945, Task Force Collins assembled its vehicles and soldiers for the drive on Karlovy Vary. In doing so, the division set the stage for the 2nd and 69th Infantry Divisions to capture the city of Leipzig. [Hereafter cited as History of 3rd AFAB.] (Germany:  1945), USAMHI Library. The new armored division was organized according to the Table of Organization for the “Heavy” Armored Division. After Action Report - Month of May 1945. On 4 May, he sent a message to the Soviets informing them of his decision to send Third U.S. Army eastward to the line Karlovy Vary – Plzen – Ceske Budejovice with a possible further advancement to the west bank of the Vltava River. The former had been established by the SS in 1944 to manufacture equipment for the Luftwaffe. Only the 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions retained the “Heavy” Armored Division organization. 79-86. Washington, DC 20024-2126 The 7th Army was responsible for defending the German – Czechoslovak Border. (Austin, TX: Presidial P, 1987.). Germany:  late May 1945. Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force. The 2nd Infantry Division was in the midst of relieving the 90th Infantry Division along the border. The 20th Armored Division was an armored division of the United States Army that fought in World War II.It was activated on 15 March 1943 at Camp Campbell in Kentucky.. 9th Armored Division. 498-505. Over the next twenty-seven days, the division advanced over 200 miles through central Germany, and captured Neiderhausen, Idstein, Warburg, and Colditz on its way to the Mulde River. After several days of this difficult duty, the 3rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion was relieved and sent back to rejoin its parent division in Germany. Gen. Harrold formed his command’s usual task force arrangements. I was always amazed at how much horse-drawn equipment the Germans had.”[58], Lt Col George Ruhlen and his 3rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion were also tasked with processing the surrendering German soldiers and civilians. FWD-20726 6 May 1945. G-3 (Operations) Division. Brig. [34] U.S. Army. [4] U.S. Army. Letter to the Author - 25 June 1998.;  Col. Daniel F. Shimkus, USAR (dec.). [37], V Corps’s commanding general Major General Clarence Huebner asked to use the more experienced 9th Armored Division for the Plzen attack instead of the 16th Armored Division. [6], Also in the 14th Tank Battalion were 1st Lieutenant Demetri “Dee” Paris and Captain Cecil Roberts. The Camp was founded when the Nazi Party first came into power in 1933 and has been in continuous operation ever since, although its largest populations date from the beginning of the present war. Other U.S. divisions were rushed across the bridge and subsequent bridges erected in the vicinity to exploit this fortunate opportunity. The 9th Armored Division. There was no Burgomeister left, for he and half the city hall had committed suicide at a drinking party the night before.”, “…with [a] torn picture of his Nazi Fuehrer beside his clenched fist, the dead General of the Volkssturm lies on the floor of the office in City Hall in Leipzig, Germany. [46], While American forces pushed eastward throughout western Czechoslovakia, Czech partisans were waging their own battles in Prague. We joined the leading elements at Leutesdorf and turned in many of the first pictures of the advance east of the Rhine. Ruhlen agreed and radioed headquarters that the message was garbled and requested them to repeat it. “We went wheeling up to the German headquarters. (Washington, DC:  Center of Military History, 1987). [58] Lt. Col. Dee Paris. The 9th Armored Division was gained from VIII Corps. 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