The 94th US Infantry Division at the Siegfried Line
Publication Year: 2007
Initially used as part of the force blockading the Brittany ports after D-Day, in December of 1944, the division was incorporated into General Patton’s Third Army south of the Moselle-Saar Triangle, the base of which was a portion of the Siegfried Line known as the Orscholz Switch. Its first combat experience came in battalion-sized attacks during that terrible winter while the Battle of the Bulge raged to the north, and the Division suffered heavy casualties, many due to the ferocity of the winter weather. Patton, with characteristic zeal, excoriated the division’s officers and senior NCOs for the rate of non-combat casualties. Thereafter, the division was ordered forward on an all-out assault to break through the Siegfried Line. After horrific fighting against entrenched defenders, with ice turning to mud as spring approached, on February 19, 1945, the 94th broke through to open the roads to Trier and the Rhine.
This book is the most comprehensive study to date of the fierce fighting between the 94th U.S. Infantry Division and their German counterparts during that spring of 1945. It sheds new light on the achievements of the outnumbered division in penetrating Germany’s Westwall. With characteristic verve and detail, Tony Le Tissier narrates the action and illuminates the tribulations and sacrifices of American soldiers who won their laurels at great cost.
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
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List of Illustrations
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In entering into this project, I was fully aware that I was treading on ground already well covered by Nathan N. Prefer (Patton’s Ghost Corps) and the official History of the 94th Infantry Division by Lt. Laurence G. Byrnes. Nevertheless, I believed that the story of the 94th U.S. Infantry Division’s role in World War II was worth investigating further...
1. The Division Moves into the Line
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In Belgium’s Ardennes region the Battle of the Bulge was in full spate, and all attention and resources were focused in that direction when the 94th U.S. Infantry Division arrived at the front to relieve the more experienced 90th Infantry Division.1 Between January 7 and 10, 1945, the 94th Infantry Division...
2. The Division Goes into Action
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The 94th Infantry Division settled into its new role by sending out probing patrols to learn something of the terrain in which it was to operate. It had yet to receive any winter warfare clothing to counter the bitter cold, and the men had to improvise snowsuits from sheets and tablecloths...
3. Disaster at Orscholz
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Within the limitations imposed on him, Major General Malony decided that his basic strategy would now be a double envelopment of the Orscholz Switch. Operations on the left flank had gone reasonably well, despite the fierce reaction experienced at Tettingen with the arrival of the 11th Panzer Division...
4. Action on the Left Flank
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Lieutenant Colonel Cloudt’s 3rd/302nd was now drawing considerable attention from the 11th Panzer Division. At about 1000 on January 20, five German tanks loaded with infantry tried to storm Nennig from the north and were beaten back by intense small-arms ¤re and a defensive artillery...
5. The Second Battle of Sinz
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General Malony remained frustrated by the failure to crack the Orscholz Switch, so he called a conference of his staff and regimental commanders on February 3 to discuss plans for future operations within the limitation of regimental size imposed upon him by General Walker. The result of this...
6. The Division Unleashed
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The lack of armored support for the 94th Infantry Division’s operations was a problem recognized by Major General Walker at XX Corps. It was clear that the division had little chance of breaching the Orscholz Switch without armor. He appealed to General Patton, noting that the 10th Armored Division was resting and stocking...
7. Clearing the Triangle
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At 1800 hours on February 19 the men of Colonel McClune’s 376th Infantry were transferred lock, stock, and barrel to Major General Morris’s 10th Armored Division, together with one company of the 81st Chemical Warfare Mortar Battalion, to form Task Force 376. The reason for this transfer was that the structure...
8. Crossing the Saar
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General Walker returned to XX Corps headquarters and had Field Order Number 17 drawn up, implementing Patton’s orders for the 10th Armored Division. Walker also extended the order for crossing the Saar to the 94th Infantry, ordering them to cross between Saarburg and Hamm on the night of February...
9. Establishing the Bridgehead
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The men of Lieutenant Colonel Martin’s 2nd/376th, charged with the taking of Ockfen, followed the 3rd Battalion across at the northern crossing site and were met by some harassing machine-gun fire and a few rounds of artillery, which exacted some casualties in Company E while still on the...
10. Developing the Bridgehead
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On February 25 Lieutenant Colonel Anderson, commanding the 376th Infantry Regiment, received orders to launch an attack to the south in order to link up with the 3rd/301st near Beurig. This would connect the two bridgeheads and clear the area of German fire, thus enabling the construction of a bridge...
11. Taking Trier
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On the morning of February 27 Brigadier General Collier, chief of staff to XX Corps, telephoned General Malony, who had previously commented that he needed mountain troops for the next area of operations, saying: “General, you have your wish for mountain troops! The German 2d Mountain Division is now in front...
12. The Battle of Lampaden Ridge
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With the fall of Trier, Lieutenant Colonel Anderson’s 376th Infantry reverted to the command of the 94th Infantry Division on March 3 as the 10th Armored Division thrust northward along the Moselle valley toward the Rhine. During its attachment to the 10th Armored Division, the 376th Infantry had...
13. The Race for the Rhine
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The relief of the 94th Infantry Division by the 26th was about halfway complete when XX Corps intervened on March 8 with orders to stop. General Walker appeared at the joint divisional headquarters in Saarburg at 1245 the next day with fresh orders from General Patton calling for an all-out push to the Rhine...
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The following is the text of an address given by the Rev. Charles H. Manning to the 94th Infantry Division Association at the 47th Annual Memorial Service held at Kansas City, Missouri, on August 31, 1996...
Appendix A: HQ 94th Infantry Division
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Appendix B: 301st Infantry Regiment
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Appendix C: 302nd Infantry Regiment
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Appendix D: 376th Infantry Regiment
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Appendix E: Selected Telephone Conversations between HQ XX Corps and HQ 94th Infantry Division
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Armed Forces Index
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Publication Year: 2007