After Action February 1945

February 1945


APO No 255
U.S. Army
7 March 1945


Auth: CG 5th Armd Div
Date: 7 Mar 45

============================================================================================ 319.1 GNNJG
1. CAMPAIGN: Western Europe,

a. Personnel:

Personnel Officers Enlisted Men Total
Killed In Action 1 12 13
Seriously Wounded In Action 0 8 8
Lightly Wounded In Action 3 53 56
Seriously Injured In Action 0 1 1
Lightly Injured In Action 0 9 9
Missing In Action 0 3 3
Total 4 86 90

b. Vehicular:

Type Destroyed or Abandoned Evacuated
Carriage, Mtr, 75mm How., m8   1
Carrier, Pers, H/T, M3 4 2
Carrier, Pers, H/T, M3, M3A1   1
Tank, Med., M4, M4A1, M4A3 (w/75MM gun) 10 5
Trailer, Ammunition, M10   1
Truck, 1/4 ton, 4x4 4 5
Truck, 2 1/2-ton, 6x6, Cargo w/o winch   1
Total 18 16

3. Ammunition Expenditures and Losses:

Type Expended Loss Due to Enemy Action
Carbine, Cal, .30 12750  
Cal, 30 73,044 87,850
Cal, 45 6,000 10,400
Cal, 50 12,850 6,620
37mm 862  
60mm 16  
75mm Gun 4409  
76mm 1080 142
90mm Gun 3631  
105mm Howitzer 22,440  
155mm Gun 363  
Rockets, AT 56  
Grenade, assorted 200  
Signal, assorted    
Total Tonnage 795.9 16.7

(NOTE: 38.6 Tonnage expended for training purposes only.)


5th Armored Division, commanded by MAJ GEN LUNSFORD E OLIVER, 03536, USA

During the month of February 1945 units of the Division were commanded
by the following named officers:

Hq, Combat Comd "A", 5th Armd Div - BRIG GEN EUGENE A REGNIER, 08295, USA
Hq, Co, Combat Comd "B", 5th Armd Div - CAPT KARL W ROTH, 01010340, INF
Hq, Combat Comd "B", 5th Armd Div - COL HUGH J FITZGERALD, 06719, CAV
Hq Co, Combat Comd "B", 5th Armd Div - CAPT JOE W PERRY, 01012397, FA
Hq, Div Arty, 5th Armd Div - COL DOUGLAS J PACE, 04495, FA
Hq Btrg, Div Arty, 5th Armd Div - CAPT NORMAN W CUSICK, 0466787, FA
Reserve Command, 5th Armd Div - COL GLEN W ANDERSON, 38672, INF
Hq Co, 5th Armd Div - CAPT LARRY H GREENWOOD, 01283065, INF
Hq 5th Armd Div Tns - LT COL KARL L SCHERER, 018784, CAV
Hq Co 5th Armd Div Tns- CAPT JAMES BAGWELL, 01011081 CAV
MP Platoon, 5th Armd Div - MAJ ALEXANDER T NELSEN, 0335298 CAV
145th Sig Co - CAPT GLENN B WELDE, 04534467 SG
85th Cav Rcn Sq Mecz; - MAJ GEORGE C BENJAMIN, 023422 CAV (1-12 Feb 45)
     MAJ CHARLES W BENNINGTON, 0452900, INF (12-15 Feb 45)
     LT COL GEORGE C BENJAMIN, 023422 CAV (16-28 Feb 45)
10th Tank Bn - LT COL WILLIAM A HAMBERG, 0242156, INF
34th Tank Bn - MAJ GLEN L FOOTE, 0450438, CAV (1-14 Feb 45)
     LT COL RICHARD H JONES, 0238409, (15-28 Feb 45)
81st Tank Bn - LT COL LE ROY H ANDERSON, 0239452, INF
15th Armd Inf Bn - LT COL GLEN G DICKENSON, 0197385, CAV
46th Armd Inf Bn - MAJ WILLIAM H BURTON, 0366028, INF
47th Armd Inf Bn - LT COL HOWARD E BOYER, 0218680, INF
47th Armd FA Bn - LT COL JOHN B ROSENZWEIG, 0246291, FA
71st Armd FA Bn- LT COL ISRAEL B WASHBURN, 0235367, FA
95th Armd FA Bn - LT COL JAMES W MC NEER, 0223703, FA
22d Armd Engr Bn - LT COL FRED E RESSEGIEU, 020575, CE
127th Ord Maint Bn - MAJOR ROLAND S BIERSACH, 0318269, ORD
75th Med Bn, Armd - LT COL BENJAMIN H BADER, 0372570, MC , (1-4 Feb 45)
     MAJ THOMAS G GARDNER, 0421797, MC (5-7 Feb 45)
     MAJ RAYMOND J. WINKLER, 0357402, MC (8-28 Feb 45)
695th Armd FA Bn - LT COL HERBERT W KALE, 0360514, FA (1-20 Feb 45)
     MAJ JAMES F CANTWELL, 0396657, FA (21-28 Feb 45)
3907th QM Truck Co - CAPT CHARLES H DUDLFY, 01581668 QMC
3912th QM Truck Co - CAPT JOSEPH L ZIOLKOWSKI, 015739939 QMC
Det "A" Hq & Hq 3rd Armd Gp - MAJ RAY S TREAWELL, 0389764, INF
505th CIC Det, Hq European TO, U. S. Army -1ST LT THOMAS RYAN - 01017183 INF


On 1 February 1945, the Division less CCA as relieved from attachment to XVI Corps in place. The Division was not to be moved without prior authority of Headquarters Ninth Army.

CCA was relieved from attachment to the XIX Corps after its successful missions, carried out against the town of EICHERSCHEID and vicinity, had been completed during the last two (2) days of January. The Combat Command moved from an assembly area in the vicinity of RAEREN, to the Division area and closed in the vicinity of NEUDORF at 0430, 1 February.

The Division remained in place through 2 and 3 February, utilizing its time by re-equipping its personnel and maintaining its vehicles.

At 1830, 3 February, Ninth Army lifted restrictions on movement of the Division and at 1950 orders were received for the Division to prepare for movement to an area South of HOENSBROEK, HOLLAND, during the hours of darkness, 4-5 February. Movement was postponed 24 hours due to road priorities and at 1800, 5 February, the movement was commenced. Prior to the start of the move an advance party had opened a Division Forward CP at HOENSBROEK and the Division Forward and Rear Echelons moved to this location, closing at 2200.

CCA followed Division Headquarters and closed in its new area at 0130, 6 February.

From 6 through 9 February, the remainder of the Division moved to the new Division locality with CCA, CCR, the 22d Armored Engineer Battalion and Division Trains moving during the hours of darkness 6-7.

Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Armored Group was assigned to Ninth Army, 6 February, and was immediately attached to the Division to continue its role as a Headquarters Company for CCR, with a small group of officers and enlisted men forming the Armored Section of XIII Corps.

On 7 February, Field Order #5, Headquarters XIII Corps, was received by Division. This order attached CCB to the 102nd Infantry Division for an operation scheduled for 10 February. The remainder of the Division was placed in Corps reserve, to remain in its present location in the vicinity of HOENSBROEK, HOLLAND. Plans were that the Division should be prepared for employment on Corps order in the right of the Corps zone to either:

a. Assist in the capture of the German town of ERKELENZ.

b. To pass through the 102d and 84th Infantry Division upon completion of the first phase of the Infantry attack on the area generally 3 to 4 miles in depth East of the Roer River. The division's mission was then to be one of exploitation to the Rhine River in the Corps zone.

It was further directed that reconnaissance be conducted in the zone of the 102nd Infantry Division with the possibility of employment of the 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion in that zone prior to actual commitment of the entire Division.

The 695th Armored Field Artillery Battalion (105mm How) was attached to the Division and closed in the Division Artillery area at 1600, 7 February.

Orders were received from XIII Corps for the movement of the Division Artillery to 102d Infantry Division zone, to be attached to the 102d for operations only. Division Artillery Headquarters, 5h3 47th and the 95th Armored Field Artillery Battalion and the 695th Armored Field Artillery Battalion moved the following night. The entire movement of the Division Artillery was completed by 0600, 9 February.

CCB completed its preparations for the proposed mission with the 102d Infantry Division on 9 February. The remainder of the Division (less Division Artillery) continued plans and training for future operations. During the period 10 through 17 February, the Division (less CCB and Division Artillery) continued in Corps Reserve. Training and maintenance were carefully planned and executed. CCB and Division Artillery continued in operational attachment to the 102d Infantry Division. CCB carried out training and test firing of new weapons. Division Artillery supported the Infantry Division with its artillery fire. During the period the division also carried out a program of road repair and maintenance, which work was highly praised by the Corps Commander.

The XIII Corps inaugurated a security plan in the Corps sector and the Division was ordered to set up five (5) road blocks as its part of the plan. Accordingly, CCA set up one (1) of the road blocks and CCR and the 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron Mechanized established two (2) each.

During the period 18 through 23 February, the Division less CCB and Division Artillery, continued in Corps Reserve and maintained its security road blocks in the Division zone. The Division Engineer supervised the repair and maintenance of roads throughout the zone.

CCB and Division Artillery remained attached to the 102d Infantry Division for operation control. CCB, was located in the area WELEEN - KUNRADE - UBACHSBERG. Division Artillery delivered supporting fire under control of the 102d Infantry Divisions' Artillery.

At 1300, 24 February, CCB moved to the vicinity of ABESWEILER, and at 1630 the Combat Command was relieved from attachment to the 102d Infantry Division, reverting to control of the Division. At 2245 the same day, orders from XIII Corps were received, directing the movement of CCB across the Roer River in the zone of the 102d Infantry Division. This was to take place upon completion of the Infantry Division's attack on Corps objective number four (4). CCB was to relieve an Infantry Regiment on the right flank of the 102d and also assist in the eventual assault on ERKELENZ.

The remainder of the Division, less Division Artillery, prepared for its commitment on Corps order.

On 25 February, the Division Artillery Command was placed under Corps Artillery control.

The Division CP moved from HOENSBROEK HOLLAND to UBACH, GERMANY at 0930, 25 February.

CCB began to move its units across the Roer River at 0600, 25 February, Task Force "D", consisting of "A" Company, 81st Tank Battalion, "A" Company, 15th Armored Infantry Battalion, one (1) platoon of "A" Company, 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion and one (1) platoon of "A" Troop, 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron Mechanized crossed at 0600 and at 0800 it had relieved elements of the 406th RCT on the right flank of the 102d Infantry Division. The remainder of CCB moved across the river, starting at 1830 and had closed just South of HOTTORF by 0200, 26 February.

The 22d Armored Engineer Battalion (less A, B & C Companies) moved to UBACH and closed at 1400, 25 February. CCR moved to the vicinity of PALENBERG, closing at 1700. The 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron Mechanized (less B Troop) closed in the PALENBERG area at 1930.

Effective 25 February, the following units were attached to the Division by XIII Corps Order: "C" Squadron, 1st Lethians and Border Yeomanry (this British Unit consists of 15 flail tanks and 185 men), attached as of 1545. The 989th Treadway Bridge Company (less 1 Platoon) attached at 1800. The 557th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm SP Guns) to be attached upon the Division's closing across the Roer River.

At 1200, 26 February, CCB attacked from its position South of HOTTORF, to the North on the Corps right boundary, with the mission of cutting the roads to the East and North of ERKELENZ. The attack progressed well against moderate enemy resistance. The towns of WACKERATH - MENEDRATH - KAULHAUSEN and TERHEEG, were seized by 1700 and positions were consolidated for the night. This operation was made extremely difficult by reason of the muddy terrain. Half-tracked vehicles bogged down and the movement of tanks over cross country routes was slow and tedious. During the operation 2 enemy AT guns were destroyed, and a number of Mark IV Tanks were engaged, but definite results were not determined at the end of the period. Enemy mortars fired on Division troops from the town of HOLZWEILER, but these were quickly silenced by assault guns of Troop "B", 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron.

The Division Commander ordered CCA to move from HEILERHEIDE to an area just South of HOTTORF. The move was accomplished at 0900, 26 February.

The Division CP moved from UBACH at 23200, 26 February, crossed the Roer River at LINNICH at 0030 and went into bivouac in the vicinity of LOVENICH, GERMANY, closing at 0245, 27 February.

On 27 February, Troop "A", 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron Mechanized crossed the Roer and joined CCA in it area South of HOTTORF.

CCR began its crossing of the river (at LINNIGH) at 0330 and its last elements closed in an area South of HOTTORF at 0730, 27 February.

The 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron Mechanized followed CCR across the river and closed in the CCR area at 0900.

The 22d Armored Engineer Battalion made its crossing at 1200, 27 February and went into bivouac just North of HOTTORF.

CCB launched an attack at 0700, 27 February for the purpose of seizing Corps objective number 5, the area around the town of GLADBACH - RHFINDAHLEN. Task Force Anderson reached the South edge of town and also the town of GUNHOVEN by 1020, 27 February, although advance elements of the force had arrived at that point by 0900. Enemy resistance was moderate and consisted, for the most part, of AT and small arms fire. The terrain in this sector was in very poor condition and vehicles bogged down badly. After replenishing its supply of ammunition the Combat Command attempted continuation of the advance, but the condition of the terrain proved an impossible obstacle, and tanks, as well as half-tracks and wheeled vehicles, could be moved only with great difficulty. At 1625, CCB was ordered to abandon its attempts to move forward and to allow the 102d Infantry Division to pass through and continue the attack. Task Force Dickenson (CCB), moving North towards ERKELENZ, was delayed by an anti-tank ditch at 0800 and as a result was unable to get on his objective until 1400. This force also experienced the difficulties of muddy terrain and many of its vehicles bogged down.

It may be pointed out that in some places the terrain was passable, but in the majority of cases the mud seemed bottomless and the difficultly of trying to discern between the passable and the impassable was a continuous hindrance to the Combat Command.

After the completion of the 102d Infantry Division's movement through CCB, the Combat Command regrouped its units to the Southeast of GLADBACH - RHEINAHLEN.

The division Trains moved from HOENSBROEK, HOLLAND to the vicinity of UBACH, GERMANY with the Rear Echelon, Division Headquarters, moving to PALENBERG GERMANY.

On 28 February, the Division remained in place and continued in a Corps Reserve status. CCA and CCB were given the responsibility for protection of the Corps right boundary; CCA having the sector from VENRATH, North to WICKRATH, and CCB with the sector from WICKRATH, North to a point on the railroad at the Southern edge of RHEYDT.

Division Artillery continued to furnish supporting fire to the 102d Infantry Division.

Oral orders, later confirmed by Letter of Instructions #29, were received from XIII Corps, recommitting the Division to action. The Division was to continue the attack in the zone of the 102d Infantry Division, secure bridges East of VIERSEN, cut lines of communication South of KREFELD, and be prepared to continue the advance to the Rhine River to seize the bridge across the river in the vicinity of UERDINGEN.

(The latter to be on explicit instructions from Corps.)

The orders issued by the Division Commander were as follows:

CCB was to relieve elements of the 102d Infantry Division in the area west of RHEYDT after CCA hand cleared MUNCHEN - GLADBACH - RHEINDAHLEY, road.

CCB, operating from its present position, was to relieve the garrison in WICKRATH, proceed to the area then held by the 407th RGT (102d Infantry Division), North and East of WICKRATH and to relieve that Combat Team. Also, CCB was to secure the right flank of Corps in the MUNCHEN-GLADBACH area.

CCA was to move North, by-passing to the West of the 102d Infantry Division and continue its advance in the Corps zone through HARDT, on condition that the Infantry Division had secured the town and prepared exits.

CCA advanced to HARDT by late afternoon and fond the first and second battalions, 406th RCT, (102d Infantry Division) engaged in a fire fight against strong resistance which was supported mainly by AT and SP guns in the Northern portion of the town. CCA was unable to bring artillery support forward for the attack on VIERSEN before dark and therefore the Combat Command assembled just short of HARDT and sent patrols to the East and Northeast of the town to determine enemy defensive positions, in preparation for an attack of first light on 1 March 1945.


Section I - Personnel Matters

a. In general the comments for preceding months remain applicable. Morale and discipline which had been excellent became even higher as the Division again went into action toward the end of the month.

b. The flow of enlisted reinforcements was sufficient to maintain the Division strength plus part of an authorized overstrength. Of these, 47% were returns to duty - the total received being 554. For the most part these were received daily and in small numbers, thus facilitating handling, assignment and absorption. Officer reinforcements were not so satisfactory. Of thirty-four received, only 15% were returns to duty; and the total received plus 13 battlefield appointments made during the month, was insufficient to fill shortages.

c.The following awards or decorations were made during the month of February:

Bronze star 63
Oak Leaf Cluster to Bronze Star 10
Second Oak Leaf Cluster to Bronze Star   2
Silver Star 13

Section II - Intelligence Matters

The enemy committed what forces he could gather, piecemeal, in order to man his battered defenses. Some VOLKSTRUM (people's infantry) was encountered by us. As our forces advanced, the enemy showed signs of increasing disorganization. On occasions entire organizations were captured complete with their officers. Several guns and artillery pieces were captured when the enemy found that no fuel was available for his prime movers.

A definite change in attitude of the German PW was noted. Many PWs, some of them officers, stated that they now believe that Germany had lost the war.

Areas immediately on the Roer were found evacuated, but areas farther East were found, on an average, 50% populated. In bombed out cities, such as MUNCHEN-GLADBACH, the civilians had evacuated the center of the city, but the outskirts were thickly populated.

Enemy losses for the month of February were as follows:

   PWs for February   - 253
   Estimated enemy killed  - 175

   1 - Light Tank (US) KO'd (was used by enemy)
   2 - MK V Tanks
   2 - Trucks
   4 - Trailers (Misc)
   1 - 88mm AT-AA-Gun
   4 - SP guns (75mm, mounted on MK III chassis)
   3 - 105mm Hows
   3 - 105mm guns
  12 - AA-AT guns (Cal. unknown)

Section III - Operations

a. Experience has shown that some men have better night vision than others. During a period of inactivity in February, the 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron Mechanized conducted some tests in an attempt to rate all the men of the squadron on night vision. Equipment was improvised but was satisfactory enough to permit the comparison. This rating now makes it possible to pick men for important night patrol with some regard to their nocturnal visual abilities.

b. It is believed that a scientific test should be devised and administered to all personnel during the training period with the resultant rating permanently recorded on form 20 and 66-1. The efficiency of night operation might thereby be increased.

c. The operations in which this Division took part during the latter part of this month serve to show again that armored units cannot be efficiently used in muddy ground. When they are so employed, they lose their greatest asset - mobility.

When the terrain is sufficiently solid to permit rapid movement, especially cross-country, armored units are especially effective in maneuvering around cities and large towns to cut off communications and thereby permit infantry units to more easily take the objective.

Section IV - Supply and Maintenance Matters.

No comments.

For the Commanding General:


Colonel, G.S.C.,

Chief of Staff.