My father Leon Levin was a scout in the  89th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, I believe Troop C. I am trying to document his stories for my children and future generations. In August 1944, the division travelled east from its base in Louisiana to New York. Artillery fire support was provided primarily by M-7 self-propelled guns with 105mm howitzers. The 9th Armored Division served on occupation duties in Germany throughout the summer of 1945. 31 May 1998 and 1 November 1999. [59], Hiding within this massive flood of humanity were Nazi officials and senior German commanders attempting to escape Allied justice. 102nd Cavalry Group. Diary. “This is a hell of a place to end the war,” Lt. Col. Kenneth Collins observed to Lt. Col. George Ruhlen. All Germans arriving within American lines after that time would be turned over to the Soviets. is a World War II tank division which saw combat from June 1944 to September 1945. [21] US Army Order of Battle, pp. With little choice, Osterkamp accepted Taylor’s precise terms and surrendered his corps again. Letter to the Author. Take it easy.” 9th Armored Division had thus fired its last combat shot at 0925. By 9 March CCB of the 8th secured the town of Ossenberg as well as the towns of Borth and Wallach. [11], For its part the U.S. 9th Armored Division became part of the VIII Corps of the First U.S. Army located in the Ardennes Region of Belgium and Luxembourg. [62] Col. Cecil Roberts, Letter to the Author - 28 June 1998.; Roberts, A Soldier From Texas, p. 81. Shortly before darkness, Task Force Collins received orders to move forward to the town of Steinhof. He was honorably discharged in June 2011 as a Religious Program Specialist First Class (Fleet Marine Force). *The author served as a Religious Program Specialist in the U.S. Navy Reserve for eight years, mobilizing and deploying twice to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Initially, all U.S. armored divisions were organized as “Heavy” divisions with twice as many tank units as infantry units. CCA 9th Armored Division had been halted just west of Karlovy Vary. This enabled the Wehrmacht to re-organize and re-form an effective defense along the western German borders. These formations were completed that afternoon; from this, the men knew that they were headed back into combat. 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. Having crossed the Rhine, the Allied armies prepared to drive into the interior of Germany. 11 May 1998. In XII Corps’s area, the 359th Infantry Regiment of the 90th Infantry Division continued to process the surrendering 11th Panzer Division while the division’s other two regiments, and the 5th and 26th Infantry Divisions seized key terrain further south. The narrow road and rugged terrain greatly aided the German defenders. By the end of the day, both corps were ready to unleash their armored divisions. Platoon Leader. Immediately we took him to a hospital in the town, which we discovered as we drove up was still in German hands. While still in their custody, Henlein managed to slit his wrists using his eyeglasses and died on 10 May 1945. The Professional Bulletin of Army History, Fall/Winter 1992/1993, 1–5. As the Germans attacked US positions near St. Vith on the northern sector of the front, part of the 9th was transferred to assist in defending the city. [18] Ibid. My thanks to Gen. Ruhlen for sending me a copy of this AAR. 9th Armored Division. 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). 3rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion. Not only did you worry about the German fire out in No Man’s area (the bridge) but the gaping holes, some large enough a tank could fall through. The 9th Armored Division was still moving south from Jena. On March 17, 1945, the Ludendorff, severely damaged in the fighting ten days earlier and weakened further from the strain of heavy traffic, collapsed into the Rhine. The command dispersed with its Headquarters at Marktredwitz, Task Force Collins in and around Arzburg, and Task Force Engeman centered on Mitterteich. He committed suicide rather than face the first US Army troops who captured the city on April 19.”, “Elsewhere in Hitler’s Reich, Germans stopped killing others and began killing themselves. (Washington DC:  Center of Military History, 2008). Click on the location markers to learn more about Raymond. [5], Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Engeman from Minnesota was an Army Reservist activated for World War Two in 1941. In October of 1943, the 9th Armored Division was re-organized according to the new “Light” Armored Division Table of Organization. So General Eisenhower decided to send Third U.S. Army to help the Soviets clear the remaining German forces out of Czechoslovakia. The 1st Platoon, Co “B” was attached to CCR to act as road guides and MP's for the combat command. Civilian movement was to be heavily restricted. In early March 1945, Allied troops had reached the west bank of the Rhine River along most of the river's length, north of the city of Köln. Celebrations, however, amongst the U.S. troops in Czechoslovakia were not as boisterous as one might expect. ; U.S. Army. (NY: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1959), pp. concentration camp. [17], For the rest of the month, XII Corps of Third U.S. Army advanced parallel to the border as it protected the army’s left flank during the drive to Austria and conducted several cross-border operations. The key time was 0001 local time on 9 May 1945. By the end of the day, numerous towns had been liberated, tens of thousands of German troops and civilians had surrendered and Eisenhower’s Karlovy Vary – Plzen – Ceske Budejovice restraining line had been reached in several places. Capt Cecil Roberts of the 14th Tank Battalion was one of the U.S. soldiers who attended the party. He served in several horse artillery units before being assigned to the 9th Armored Division.[8]. Colonel, USA (dec.). Outgoing Message File. After certification as a liberating division by the US Army Center … Unable to withstand the brutal SS attacks, the lightly armed Czechs cried out desperately by radio and messenger for American assistance. Each armored division contained three battalions each of tanks, armored infantry and armored field artillery as well as a mechanized cavalry squadron for reconnaissance, and armored engineer, armored medical and armored ordnance battalions. In addition, Bradley transferred First U.S. Army’s V Corps to Third U.S. Army for Patton to use in his offensive. The war had ended but with it came a massive flood of surrendering German soldiers and civilians desperate to escape from the advancing Soviet armies. The reconnaissance vehicles were too lightly armored to withstand anti-tank guns and Panzerfausts. Copy located at US Army Military History Institute. Task Force Engeman consisted of his 14th Tank Battalion minus C Company,  A Company of the 60th Armored Infantry Battalion, a section of quad fifty-caliber machine gun half-tracks from the 482nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery [Automatic Weapons] Battalion and a platoon from the 9th Armored Engineers Battalion’s A Company. We joined the leading elements at Leutesdorf and turned in many of the first pictures of the advance east of the Rhine. ; Reichelt, pp. Strochlitz and Meed were serving then as co-chairpersons on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council's Day… Private First Class. Only in Czechoslovakia were the Germans still mounting serious resistance. [58] Lt. Col. Dee Paris. [63], CCA 9th Armored Division was relieved by other American units on 12 May 1945 and returned to Germany to rejoin their parent division. Germany:  late May 1945. So, 9th Armored Division would detach its Combat Command A to spearhead 1st Infantry Division’s drive on Karlovy Vary while the rest of the division was held in reserve. In February 1985, two Holocaust survivors—Sigmund Strochlitz and Benjamin Meed—formally requested permission from the Secretary of the Army, John O. Marsh, Jr., to display in the future Museum the flags of all the US units that participated in the liberation of the Nazi camps. 1st Lt. Platoon Leader. Per verbal orders received 13 December, the Battalion moved to Vicinity of Huldingen, Luxembourg. Letter of Instructions - 041100 May 1945.  re-printed in 9AD CCA AAR, pp. In the European Theater of Operations the 10th Armored Division was part of both the Twelfth United States Army Group and Sixth United States Army Group.Originally assigned to the Third United States Army under General George S. Patton, it … The 11th Armored Division (11 AD) was a division of the United States Army in World War II.It was activated on 15 August 1942 at Camp Polk, Louisiana and moved on 24 June 1943 for the Louisiana Maneuvers.Transferred then to Camp Barkeley, Texas on 5 September 1943, the division participated, beginning 29 October 1943, in the California Maneuvers and arrived at Camp … ; U.S. Army. Russell F. Weigley, Eisenhower’s Lieutenants: The Campaign of France and Germany 1944-1945. [59] Ruhlen, 3rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion History, pp.145-7. 14th Tank Battalion / Combat Command A / 9th Armored Division. Reserve Command, under command of Lt. Col. Farris N. Latimer, was made up of the 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, the 2nd Tank Battalion and the 73rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion. [26], With a return to offensive operations imminent, Brig. On the morning of 7 May 1945 and as the Third Reich collapsed, soldiers of Combat Command A (CCA), U.S. 9th Armored Division mounted up their vehicles and resumed their advance eastward further into north-western Czechoslovakia. 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. [48], In the pre-dawn hours of 7 May 1945, Task Force Collins assembled its vehicles and soldiers for the drive on Karlovy Vary. (New York: Da Capo P, 1969). Paris. They provided medical aid and food to the starving female prisoners of both labor camps. (NY:  Barnes & Noble Books, 1995), pp. The streets were dirty, littered with rubble, full of nails, buildings burned. As 3 May ended and 4 May began, Combat Command A’s units were just pulling into their new positions. U.S. forces remained in Czechoslovakia under the command of XXII Corps until December 1945 to help the Czechs. [Hereafter cited as V Corps in ETO. [13], After the Battle of the Bulge, the 9th Armored Division re-organized and then returned to active operations in February 1945. Just west of Falkenau, Task Force Collins turned south-east on to a secondary road and headed for the town of Hor Slavkov. 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. Main telephone: 202.488.0400 (Privately published by the Cantigny First Division Foundation, 1996), pp. For the several days that they were located here, thousands of German soldiers and civilians poured into their lines. My grandfather had been a POW at Oflag VIB in Doessel, Germany for 5 and 1/2 years. Combat Command A. The division was able to secure the new M4A3 Sherman tank with its improved engine and 76mm main gun. During its final attack of World War Two, the 9th Armored Division was brought to a stop just a few miles short of its last objective. “The mob now consisted of some 12,000 Luftwaffe, 3000 Wehrmacht infantry, 2000 SS troops, 1000 civilians and some 2000 vehicles.”  To ensure order in the camps and prevent a large-scale riot, Ruhlen placed a battery of his self-propelled guns, several attached half-tracks with quad fifty-caliber machine guns and several tanks in positions to fire directly at the camps if necessary. [40] See the Third U.S. Army After Action Report, V Corps in ETO, and LtCol Dyer’s history of XII Corps for more details. Further south, the 26th Infantry Division attacked to the north-east in the direction of Ceske Budejovice. Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force. 2-3.;  Crucq, p. 381.; Chapter Nine of Phantom Nine. The 102nd Cavalry Group was in reserve at Weiden. ; Chapter Nine of Phantom Nine. General Thomas Harrold was at that moment inspecting the screening posts and road blocks set up by his troops. He served honorably in WWII for 3 years in the 9th armored division. For his service, he was awarded the bronze star. USAMHI Archives, p.919. ];  U.S. Army. 9th Armored Division. 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. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). 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. On the Big Red One’s left was the 6th Cavalry Group of VIII Corps. [17] U.S. Army. The 7th Army was responsible for defending the German – Czechoslovak Border. Lt. Col. Battalion Commander. “For the first time since the battalion entered combat on March 1 at Wollersheim the men’s morale was excellent.”   Like the rest of the 9th Armored Division, the soldiers of Combat Command A believed that their war was over and that they soon would be assigned to occupation duties in Germany.[23]. General Orders Number 81 - 9 May 1945. USAMHI Library. —167th Signal Photographic Company, Unit 123. The ceremony at the US Capitol, featuring a candle-lighting and names ; Chapter Nine of Phantom Nine. Roberts. FWD-21006).” RG407, NARA. The German High Command had surrendered. Hendricks’ crew opened fire. After Action Report for 1 - 8 May 1945. 2-4.;  14th Tank AAR;  60AIB AAR, p. 2. Konrad Henlein, Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter of the Sudetenland, was not one of them. NARA. [29], As the 4th of May dawned, V Corps was still in the process of assembling its divisions for the expected push into Czechoslovakia. Once through these mountains, the terrain leveled out into rolling farmland and the road network improved significantly. ; U.S. Army. [45], While Task Force Engeman was advancing on Karlovy Vary on 6 May, Task Force Collins remained in reserve at Cheb. The Museum's commemoration ceremony, including remarks by the German Previous: Surrender of German and Hungarian Units Only the 11th Panzer Division was near its authorized manpower strength. (Bloomington, IN: Indiana U P, 1981); and the U.S. Army’s official histories of World War Two, published as the series The United States Army in World War Two. 22 - 4 May 1945. 15 December 1999. The 52nd Armored Infantry Battalion, the 19th Tank Battalion, and 16th Armored Field Artillery Battalion comprised Col. Harry W. Johnson’s Combat Command B.  Johnson had assumed command after Major General William Hoge had left the division to assume command of the 4th Armored Division in late March. [15], The month of April witnessed the near collapse of the German Army in the west. Mr. Raymond Holderle was present at the liberation of Dachau and Buchenwald Concentration Camps. —C B Sellers, US Army Signal Corps, April 20, 1945, “Leipzig fell and we were in town 20th April for pictures. Latimer was new to the job, having only been placed in command on 28 April. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, senior British diplomats and military officers, the U.S. State Department and pro-democracy Czechs and Slovaks pressed for Third U.S. Army to liberate Prague and as much of western Czechoslovakia as possible as a possible counter-balance to Soviet machinations to install pro-Soviet Czech and Slovak Communists in power in the liberated country. He eventually became the S-3 (Operations) Officer for the 14th Tank Battalion. Men who broke doors down to escape were machine gunned by Nazi SS Troops.” USAMHI Archives. 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