The following was sent
to me via Bill Bassak. The original is on file in the National
The first day of March found the 274th Inf organizing and
consolidating their defensive positions south of STIRING-WENDEL. The
Regimental CP was located at BOUSBACH, FRANCE. Aggressive patrols
were sent out and discovered the enemy in strongly defended
pillboxes and entrenchments. Patrols also reported an estimated
enemy strength of two Bns opposing the Regt and the most logical
place for the enemy to try an attack at this time would be against
either of our flanks .
The CO 274th Inf, Colonel S. G. Conley, issued orders (Operation
Instructions #18) that defensive positions be held and improved. An
attack plan, in the form of 0.I. #19, was also issued assigning
three Bn objectives to each Bn. The final objective for each Bn
would place the Regt in position for a final thrust at its part of
the Division objective.
The following day (2 March 1945) this Regt received O.I. #13 from
Hq 70th Div assigning the following mission: "Overrun STIRING-
WENDEL detaching units from Regtl reserve to clear the enemy from
the city. Special attention to hostile positions covering FORBACH -
STIRING-WENDEL road. Continue the advance and seize that part of the
Division objective in Regtl zone of action. Organize and defend
final objective. Mop up enemy within Regtl zone by-passed during the
advance. Relieve armored force units blocking NE approaches to
STIRING-WENDEL. Maintain contact with 276th Inf. Have a force of not
less than one company remain in position on KREUTZBERG RIDGE."
Regiment immediately issued F.O. #10 assigning to Bns the mission
received from Division.
During the day, enemy activity was light until 1645 when they
fired a heavy concentration of mortar and artillery. This
concentration was followed by a strong enemy attack against Co. E,
276th Inf, attached to 2d Bn 274th Inf, and front of two platoons of
Co. L 274th Inf. The fierce attack was broken up by 1725 with
mortar, artillery and infantry fire. At 1745 the enemy attempted
another attack but were repulsed, and by 1000 all was quiet. Enemy
artillery was heavier than that experienced of the previous three
days. During the night careful and painstaking plans were made for
the attack to take place on the morrow at 0825.
At 0825 on the 3d of March all three Bns crossed the LD and the
attack was off to a good start. The crossing of the LD was preceded
by a 10 minute artillery preparation. The Bns were well informed on
the enemy situation since the Regtl IPW Team, 1st Lt. Fred Hartman
in charge, had gleaned the following information from PWs. There
were opposing the Regt the 1st, 2d and 3d Companies of I Bn, 1125th
VG Regt of 559th VG Division in the woods surrounding
STIRING-WENDEL. The 1st Co. 347th Fusilier Bn occupied bunkers in
The attack got under way with 2d Bn, led by Major Buford E. Boyd,
spearheading. The 1st Bn, led by Major Fred H. Cantrell was on the
right and 3d Bn, led by Lt Col Karl A. Landstrom on the left.
Companies B and C were in the assault of the 1st Bn: Companies E and
G led the 2d Bn and Companies I and K spearheaded the 3d Bn. Co. A
held le KREUTZBERG RIDGE and was in support of the Regt. The city of
STIRING-WENDEL had been divided into numbered blocks and each Bn had
a sketch of the town and were to report to Regt as they proceeded to
capture each block and each house in each block. The planning of the
attack on STIRING-WENDEL had been perfected to the nth degree.
At first the Bns moved slowly and warily. The enemy threw heavy
concentrations of mortar and artillery, especially at the 2d Bn.
Nevertheless all Bns advanced forcing the enemy back. The Executive
Officer 2d Bn, Capt Charles E. McFarland, requested bombing and
strafing mission be flown over railroad NE of STIRING-WENDEL which
was in turn submitted to the Division Air Officer. The mission was
approved and later flown with excellent results.
The enemy withdrew slowly under our attack and some enemy
remained in bunkers and were captured. The enemy made determined
defense of fortifications and strong points. Open areas, roads and
trails were stubbornly defended by machine gun and automatic fire.
Enemy had strong mortar and artillery support in defense of their
positions. Part of the enemy strength included remnants of the 13th
and 14th Companies of 1125th Regt (AT and Howitzer companies).
1st Bn made good progress under enemy mortar and artillery fire.
At 1655 Co. C had reached their objective south of HABSTERDICK under
withering hostile fire. The 2d Bn encountered enemy pillbox and AP
mines and advanced under devastating enemy fire. The 2d Bn entered
STIRING-WENDEL at 1610 receiving heavy machine gun, small arms and
mortar fire in the town. By 1800 the 2d Bn had taken 1/3 of their
objective. The 3d Bn, with Co. 5 of the Lorraine Division (French)
attached, were likewise meeting stiff resistance, but due to their
unceasing efforts and aggressive spirit by 1800 they had captured
SOUPHIA, a portion of NEW GLASHUTTE and one block of buildings in
STIRING-WENDEL. Co. K had some trouble with an enemy pillbox but
by-passed it and a squad from Co. L was sent to knock it out. The
squad from Co. L had cleared out the pillbox by-passed by Co. K at
At 2100 the Bns were ordered to "button up and tie in" for the
night and to continue the attack at 0630 4 March 1945. As a result
of the day's operations the Regt had been successful in driving the
enemy north of the METZ HIGHWAY and the southern portion of
STIRING-WENDEL was occupied. Co. 5 of the Lorraine Division was used
to occupy portions of town cleared by Regt, mopping up and take PWs
to the rear. Hours of darkness was utilized to reorganize, resupply
ammunition and other supplies, and evacuation of casualties.
274th Inf continued the attack at 0630 March 4th at which time
all Bns jumped off. Cos. B and C encountered Shu mines and very
heavy resistance in house to house fighting and advanced under heavy
mortar and artillery fire. Co. A remained in position on le
Companies F and G supported by one
medium tank platoon continued attack with bitter house to house
fighting. Co. E, was committed to further the attack. 2d Bn received
continuous artillery and mortar fire while making their advance. The
3d Bn continued the attack supported by two platoons of medium tanks
and cleared 8 blocks of STIRING-WENDEL and had with a fearless
determination, beaten back a stubborn enemy. Co. L had encountered
pillboxes in the direction of FORBACH and Co. I encountered AT
barricade across the METZ HIGHWAY. The 3d Bn also now completely
occupied NEW GLASHUTTE. The French 5th Co. had been employed to
occupy cleared portions of the town. A new enemy unit had been
identified as the 7th Co., 2d Bn 1126th VG Regt of 559th VG
Division. Also the information that there was an estimated reserve
of 300 troops in the vicinity of SAARBRUCKEN was expertly extracted
from PWs by the Regtl Interrogators.
Throughout the day the enemy
continued determined defense in pillboxes and bunkers and fought
stubbornly from house to house. An enemy counterattack attempted at
1530 was shattered while in the process of forming.
Our troops encountered pillboxes that
could be elevated and some that rotated approximately 45º
as well as mine belts around bunkers in STIRING-WENDEL about two
meters wide and an arc at 50 meters distance from the bunkers.
At 1500, enemy mortar and artillery
was so devastating in 2d Bn area that Major Walter W. Greenhalgh,
Regtl S-3, called for bombing and strafing mission to be flown over
SCHONECKEN where the artillery was believed to be originating. The
Division Air officer reported that the air mission could not be
flown because the ceiling was too low (2,000 ft) for bombing
mission. However, at the first opportunity a mission would be flown
over SCHONECKEN Major Greenhalgh then called for counter-battery
from Corps artillery.
Capt Gerald E. Boyea, S-3 2d Bn,
reported at 1605 that the 2d Bn objective in STIRING-WENDEL had been
taken except for just two blocks which had been added to their
objective from 3d Bn's objective.
The Regiment was honored to have Lt
General Alexander Patch visit the Regtl CP at 1430.
The Bns were informed at 2000 to
"tie-in" for the night and reorganize and prepare to continue the
attack in the morning. The largest portion of STIRING-WENDEL, while
is south of the railroad, had been cleared as a result of the
undaunted determination and untiring efforts of the men of the 274th
On the morning of March 5th the three
Bns continued the attack. The 1st Bn completed mopping up and
organizing to defend ground previously gained; also reconnaissance
was made and plans completed to continue attack toward Regtl
objective. The 2d Bn continued mopping and clearing out few
remaining buildings in STIRING-WENDEL.
At 0800, March 5th, Major
Buford E. Boyd, CO 2d Bn, reported approximately 250 Russian,
Polish, French and other Allied prisoners of war streaming down the
METZ HIGHWAY and an enemy machine gun opened fire on them, wounding
some and pinning others down. They had overrun the guards at the
German PW hospital. The 2d Bn went to work on the PW hospital area
and it was not very long before the hospital was captured and the
remaining allied Prisoners of War liberated. A total of 951 allied
prisoners of war were liberated most of whom were sick, crippled,
starved and diseased. Their joy at being free again overwhelmed them
and they were deliriously happy. Many broke down and cried. Those
that could walk or stand embraced the American soldiers of the 274th
Inf and expressed their gratitude in many ways. The men of the 274th
Inf gave the liberated prisoners cigarettes, candy and gum and those
that could walk were evacuated through the lines; the others were
evacuated by trucks. It was learned that some of these broken humans
had been taken prisoner in 1940. Medical reports revealed a high
percentage were suffering from tuberculosis and in some cases
typhoid existed. Some volunteered eagerly to rejoin their units but
they would never again see military service because of their
physical condition. They all cheered wildly when told of the
progress made by the Allies in the war and the sight of so many
grateful people amply repaid the doughboys of the 274th
Inf for the hardships they endured to set these people free.
Needless to say, the liberation and evacuation of so many people
slowed down the advance of our 2d Bn who did an excellent job of
expediting the evacuation of the liberated prisoners of war.
Our 3d Bn resumed the attack at
daylight with tank support and cleared the remaining portion of
their objective. The French 5th Co. was detached late in
the afternoon. Major Greenhalgh, S-3 274th Inf received
word from Division Air Officer that bombing mission over SCHONECKEN
requested yesterday would be flown 1000.
The enemy gave forth bitter house to
house defense during the day. All troops received heavy enemy mortar
and artillery fire – 60 rounds per hour in STRING-WENDEL and 40
rounds per hour in NEW GLASHUTTE. The enemy used 88mm, bazooka and
Nebelwurfer fire effectively. The enemy strength still reported at
450 to 500 troops due to reinforcements in small numbers.
The 270th Engr (C) Bn did
excellent work clearing mines and road blocks for all three Bns. At
the close of the day the 274th Inf had taken
STIRING-WENDEL and was finishing mopping up. O.I. #20 was issued by
Regt assigning the mission for the next day, namely, 1st
Bn to hold their present positions and to continue mop up inpresent
sector. Be prepared to attack and seize their portion of Regtl
objective. 2d Bn was to be prepared to continue attack and seize
their second objective, to reorganize and be prepared to continue
attack on Regtl objective. To conduct aggressive patrolling. 3d Bn
to attack at 0630 and seize second objective, reorganize and be
prepared to continue attack on Regtl order. Conduct aggressive
patrolling. The Regt had attached Co. B, 749th Tk Bn, One
Platoon Co. D, 749th Tk Bn, Co. B (less one platoon) 99th
Chemical Mortar Bn, 8th Company French Forces and Co. A
270th Engr (C) in direct support.
The 1st Bn on March 6th
spent the day consolidating their positions and made reconnaissances
and prepared for employment of the Bn in attack. Received heavy
concentrations of enemy mortar and artillery fire all day long. Our
2d Bn resumed the attack at 0430 to finish up clearing out remaining
enemy in sector. Stiff resistance of machine gun, bazooka, and
artillery fire was encountered. Elements of 43rd Tk Bn
relieved Co. G of their sector.
The 3d Bn continued the attack at
0630 on a well fortified enemy coke factory and mine. The factory
was surrounded by a 7 foot concrete wall and on the far side
(nearest the factory) was an AT ditch and barbed wire entanglements
plus some mines. After clearing mines in the woods surrounding the
factory, Co. L, led by 1st Lt. Kenneth R. Carlson, fought
their way to the south side of the factory believing that to be the
weakest point. Upon reaching the wall, Co. L became involved in a
heavy fire fight against enemy automatic small arms. CO 3d Bn, Lt.
Col Karl Landstrom, maneuvered his tanks into position to blow holes
in the wall. They succeeded in penetrating the wall in two places
but troops could not go through the holes because they drew
devastating fire from the enemy.
Staff Sergeant John W. Cathey, Co. L,
volunteered to ride the back of a tank into the attack. He rode
forward with fearless determination, pointing out targets to aid the
advance of his company. During the attack, the company was pinned
down and Staff Sergeant Cathey, with daring display of initiative
and determination, personally led his men through withering enemy
hostile fire toward the mine. Many men were wounded and killed, but
Staff Sergeant Cathey, with selfless devotion to duty, continued on.
He rushed through a shell hole in the wall, although enemy fire was
fierce, and started into the mine alone. About 30 yards into the
mine, he was wounded by bazooka fire. He was miraculously rescued by
Staff Sergeant Kohn, a medic. In this attack, S/Sgt Cathey was the
only man to enter the mine, other than S/Sgt Kohn, who evacuated
him. Over and above the call of duty, this is but one of them many
brave and heroic acts S/Sgt has performed. He has been a continuous
source of inspiration to the men in his company and battalion. Due
to the well fortified position of the enemy the attack was held up
until a plan of maneuver could be worked out.
The enemy continued their stubborn
defense from bunkers and well fortified positions in houses and
other buildings. In STIRING-WENDEL area an average of 100 rounds of
enemy artillery and mortar fire fell per hour while in NEW GLASHUTTE
an average of 40 rounds fell per hour. Nebelwurfer fire also
increased during the day. Aggressive patrols were sent out during
On the 7th of March all
three battalions sent out aggressive patrols to the front and probed
for enemy weak spots. 1st Bn established two combat
outposts during the hours of darkness. Co. A relieved elements of
the 12th Armored Division in STIRING-WENDEL. Co. B
occupied Co. A old position on le KREUTZBERG RIDGE. An estimated 450
rounds of enemy artillery and mortar fire fell in 3d Bn sector while
more than 700 observed rounds fell in 1st Bn sector. 3d
Bn units were regrouped and plans made for continuing the attack.
O.I. #15 was received from Division
Hq with the mission "to defend in present positions, reorganize, and
be prepared to resume the attack on Division order. Continue
pressure on enemy and conduct active patrolling to determine weak
spots in enemy’s defense."
The Regimental S-3 immediately
disseminated the mission to the battalions in the form of O.I. #22.
Also O.I. #21 was published by Regiment divulging plan for bombing
the factory and mine in 3d Bn’s sector to take place shortly after
daylight on Division order. 3d Bn troops were to withdraw to a
safety line and bombing mission would be flown. After bombing
mission Divarty would fire preparation. When artillery fire lifted,
troops were to yell and shout to draw enemy the enemy out of
fortified positions. Then another artillery preparation would be
fired. Upon lifting of second artillery preparation, 3d Bn was to
assault. The 1st and 2nd Bns were to remain in
The evening and night of March 7 was
spent in perfecting plans for the next day and in sending out active
The weather took a decided change for
the worse and at daylight on March 8th it was cloudy and
a light rain fell. Due to unfavorable weather the plan for calling
for the bombing mission was not carried out. The 1st Bn
moved to new positions to defend Regtl right flank. Positions were
consolidated for defense and plans made to continue to Bn portion of
Regtl objective. In the 2d Bn, Co. G relieved elements of the 12th
Armored Division at approximately 1900, retaking responsibility for
the Bn right sector. Our 3d Bn consolidated positions and conducted
daylight reconnaissance to study approaches to the factory for tanks
on the right flank. Enemy artillery fire increased over the previous
day in all sectors. An estimated 400 rounds fell in the 1st
Bn sector, 2d Bn received approximately 1500 rounds in
STIRING-WENDEL and 3d Bn received a barrage of rocket and mortar
fire in NEW GLASHUTTE. All Bns conducted aggressive patrolling to
the front. The enemy was still fighting an active defense battle.
Regt S-3 O.I. #23 giving the
following mission to all Bns:
"Defend in present positions,
reorganize and be prepared to resume attack on order. Each Bn to
have one company in reserve. Defensive emplacements to be
constructed with view of holding positions with minimum
strength. Continue pressure on enemy and conduct active
patrolling to determine weak spots in enemy’s defense.
Continuing into the next day all Bns
improved and held their positions. 1st Bn made
reconnaissance to extend Bn’s left while 3d Bn made preparations to
extend their right flank. All Bns received a terrific amount of
enemy mortar and artillery fire and 2d Bn used their supporting 4.2
mortars to advantage in return. The enemy continued to be actively
defensive. Reports showed the caliber of enemy artillery to range
from 75mm to 170mm, the heavier shells believed fired from the
vicinity of SAARBRUCKEN. From the enemy deserters interrogated, it
was believed the enemy morale was very low.
Plans were made to train units out of
the line and Regtl S-3 recommended to Division S-3 that a three day
rest be given the men before starting training. This recommendation
was approved by the G-3.
Division O.I. #16 was received by
Regt containing the following mission:
"Organize and defend present
positions, coordinate defenses with 275th Inf on
right and 276th Inf on left. Move one Bn to vicinity
BEHREN, GAUBIVINGEN and ETZLINGEN in Regtl reserve. Organize, as
a training mission, and occupy on Division order only, a Regtl
reserve position on high ground SE of STIRING-WENDEL. Build
trails anc clear fields of fire. Be prepared to counterattack.
Conduct by day and by night not less than one raid per week of
not less than platoon strength to gain information and take
Regtl S-3 immediately issued O.I. #24
assigning the following missions to the three Bns:
1st Bn – to organize and defend
present positions. Conduct aggressive patrolling and relieve
elements of 2d Bn.
2d Bn – to move, upon relief by
elements of 1st and 3d Bns, to vicinity of BEHREN,
GAUBIVINGEN and ETZLINGEN in Regtl reserve. Organize, as a
training mission, and occupy on Regtl order only, a Regtl
reserve position oh high ground SE of STIRING-WENDEL. Build
trails, clear fields of fire and mine fields. Be prepared to
counterattack. Plan to include attack by both company and Bn
3d Bn - to organize and defend
present positions. Conduct aggressive patrolling and relieve
elements of 2d Bn.
On March 10th the 1st
Bn moved from the offensive to the defensive. Positions were
improved and two outposts were occupied to the front. Co. A relieved
elements of 2d Bn. The left flank of 1st Bn was "tied-in"
with right flank of the 3d Bn. Our 2d Bn. Was moved to Regtl reserve
after relief by elements of 1st and 3d Bns was completed
at 0400. 2d Bn prepared counterattack plans to repulse any enemy
penetration from NW or NE and also occupy RRL on order, either by
day or night. The 3d Bn extended its right flank to join the left
flank of the 1st Bn and relieved elements of the 2d Bn.
3d Bn also started a series of town patrols to control civilian
movement and search for possible snipers. The front line companies
were in contact with the enemy with exchange of small arms fire
throughout the day. Enemy artillery and mortar fire was sharply
decreased during the day, but enemy was actively using rifle and
machine gun fire. As a result of the day’s activities, the Regt took
up defensive positions, continued to improve positions and conducted
The Regt received Division O.I. #17
on March 11th with no change in mission. The Commanding
General, Major General, Barnett, desired that gas masks be within
immediate vicinity of individual soldiers.
O.I. #25 was released from Regt passing on to the Bns the orders
received from Division.
The 1st Bn remained in position to defend the Regtl right flank.
Co. B prepared defensive positions along METZ ROAD. One platoon Co.
B was pulled back to ETZLING for platoon raid training. Combat
patrols were sent out and defensive positions improved during the
day. Our 2d Bn remained in Regtl reserve position. Counterattack
plans had been completed to repulse any enemy penetration. Plans for
training were completed - such as setting up firing ranges etc. The
3d Bn continued defensive mission during the day. Positions were
improved and digging of emplacements outside of houses were started.
It was verified that the following enemy units opposed the 274th
Inf at this time:
Remnants of Alarm Co. "Hesse".
5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 14th Companies, 1125th VG Regt.
2d Co, 1125 th VG Regt.
559 Fusilier Co.
Enemy activity remained defensive. Yost of the activity for t e
day came from the vicinity of the factory in the 3d Bn area.
It was also on March 11th that Colonel S. G. Conley, CO 274th Inf
at BEHREN, FRANCE, made the first presentations of two Silver Star
medals and 16 Bronze Star Ribbons. Staff officers attended and
heartily congratulated these men who had been the first to earn
awards for bravery and heroic action at the time the Regt was first
initiated into battle. The Regimental Band played for the ceremony.
The 1st and 3d Bns devoted March 12th to improving their
defensive positions with wire and trip flares and cornstructing
splinterproof shelters. Aggressive patrols were dispatched to search
out weak spots in the enemy's defense. The 2d Bn continued
reconnaissance and coordinating plans for counterattack against any
enemy penetration. Also, test firing of weapons was conducted.
The enemy patrols were very active and a patrol from our Co. C,
led by Pfc Roland J. Hicks, captured a 5-man enemy patrol. Enemy
Nebelwurfer artillery and mortar fire increased some. An estimate of
550 rounds fell in Regtl sector during the day.
The enemy began a general withdrawal at approximately 2000, 12
March and at 0559, 13 March the enemy rear guard left ALT STIRING.
From information received from PWs enemy troops were to clear the
SAAR RIVER and be in SAARBRUCKEN by 2400, 13 March or by early
morning 14 March 1945.
In the absence of Colonel Conley, CO 274th Inf, who was on a
reconnaissance with the Regtl S-3, the Executive Officer, Lt Col
Wallace R. Cheves, issued the following orders:
To CO 3d Bn - "Push out aggressive patrols to the front. If
factory unoccupied, seize and hold. Continue patrolling to
KRUGHUTTE and SCHONECKEN. If unoccupied, seize and hold. Await
further orders. Keep us informed."
To Executive officer, 1st Bn - "Push out aggressive patrols to
the front. If ALT STIRING and HABSTERDICK is found unoccupied
seize and hold. Await further orders. Keep us informed." "Co. C to
remain in position until relieved by 275th Inf unless otherwise
Excecutive Officer, 274th Inf, also alerted 2d Bn to be prepared
With indications of an enemy withdrawal, patrols from the 1st Bn
maintained increased pressure and companies alerted to follow in
pursuit. Co. B moved to HABSTERDICK, CO. A to ALT STIRING and Co. C
occupied positions vacated by Co. A upon relief by elements of 275th
Inf. Executive Officer 274th Inf informed lst Bn to continue
mission, and patrol aggressively to the SAAR RIVER.
During the morning of March 13th the 2d Bn, in Regtl reserve,
reorganized companies, test fired weapons and trained in village
fighting. In the afternoon, received alert instructions to follow
the 3d Bn in pursuit of the enemy. The Regtl S-3 informed the 2d Bn
that Regt wanted to push up to the SAAR RIVER that night at
GERSWEILER and cut crossing off.
The 3d Bn sent a squad from Co. L to reconnoiter the factory at
1300 and squad reported white flag at factory and the place was not
defended. Co. L immediately was dispatched to factory and secured
it, freezing the civilians in place. Combat patrol of Co. I was
dispatched up the road to the left of the factory and met machine
gun fire just across the railroad NW of the factory, on highway 3.
Patrol from Co. I was sent into ALT STIRING in the Bn right flank
and met no resistance except for scattered shots from civilians. Co.
K moved forward to secure position of ALT STIRING. Co. I was used to
exploit advance around the left flank on Hwy #3. The Executive
Officer, 274th Inf, ordered the 3d Bn "to continue the advance in
your sector, seize KRUGHUTTE, SCHONECKEN, and GERSWEILER. Seize
bridgehead over SAAR RIVER. Continue advance unless stiff resistance
encountered. Overcome small covering forces. Patrol aggressively to
the SAAR RIVER."
The 8th French Co. was informed to be prepared to move when our
troops captured KRUGHUTTE and SCHONECKEN to police up towns. Co. C
was relieved by elements of 275th Inf at 2125. At the end of the day
the 274th Inf had pursued the enemy, seized Simien1
factory and mine and seized ALT STIRING and HABSTERDICK.
Continuing into the next day, 14 March, the 274th Inf pursued the
enemy vigorously. The 1st Bn made contact continuously throughout
the day. AP and AT mines, wire obstacles and barricades were
encountered, however, patrols got through to the SAAR RIVER. The 2d
Bn moved to STIRING-WENDEL during darkness of the early morning and
remained alerted to move on order. Co. G, led by Capt Fred J.
Cassidy, patrolled woods to NW of STIRING-WENDEL and found no signs
of the enemy. Reconnaissance was made to further the attack.
Our 3d Bn continued to follow up the enemy withdrawal. Co. K, led
by 2d Lt James P. DeLorme, was successful in moving by way of
ALT-STIRING to SCHONECKEN during the night of March 13-14 and
cleared the 3d Bn sector of ALT STIRING-WENDEL and SCHONECKEN prior
to daylight. Co. I, led by Capt Edwin B. Keith, using the route past
the mine and then the FORBACH-SCHONECKEN Road passed through Co. K
at SCHONECKEN and proceeded to take the east end of KRUGHUT TE
arriving at daylight, moved on to GERSWEILER early in the morning
and proceeded to clear the town. Co. L moved from SCHONECKEN to
GERSWEILER at 1300 and cleared the right portion of the town. The
advance of all companies was slowed by numerous road blocks
consisting of AT ditches, craters, abatis, and AT and AP mines.
The 3d Plat, Co. A, 270th Engrs led by 1st Lt Richard
R. Best, rendered excellent support throughout the move, clearing
all obstacles with minimum of delay and followed closely the advance
of the rifle troops. Through their support the supply problem was
As a result of their untiring efforts and aggressive spirit the
men of the 274th Inf seized and held positions south of the SAAR
In the very early morning of March 15th, this Regt received F.O.
#2 from Division stating "attack, capture objective and be prepared
to continue attack to SE, reducing SAARBRUCKEN south of the SAAR
The Regtl S3, Major Greenhalgh, immediately published 0.I. #26
assigning the following missions:
1st Bn - "Attack 1000 and capture objective shown on overlay,
and clear enemy from South of SAAR RIVER in sector. Be prepared to
continue attack to SE reducing SAARBRUCKEN south of the SAAR
RIVER. Reconnoiter for crossing sites. If possible, cross river
and establish bridgehead."
2d Bn - "Regtl reserve vicinity STIRING-WENDEL. Be prepared to
attack on Regtl order in any direction to reduce SAARBRUCKEN south
of the SAAR RIVER or exploit bridge-head."
3d Bn - "Attack at 0700 and clear the enemy from south of SAAR
RIVER in sector. Reconnoiter for crossing sites. If possible cross
SAAR RIVER and establish bridgehead."
During the day the 1st Bn continued to press the enemy back. Con
tact was made with frequent fire fights. The 1st Bn received a
counterattack between Companies A and B positions at 0630. The enemy
fought so fiercely it took the 1st Bn until 1300 to repulse the
counterattack. This delayed the 1st Bn plan for attacking the
SIEGFREID LINE and the attack jumped off at 1613 preceded by a heavy
artillery barrage. There was a 20 minute artillery preparation at
H-50. The preparation lifted for 10 minutes and then another 20
minute preparation followed. At the end of the second preparation
the fires were lifted 600 yards to the north and the assault began
supported by two tank platoons, one TD platoon and AT guns. It was
like literally "bumping against a stone wall". The enemy was firmly
entrenched in pillboxes and bunkers composing the SIEGFREID LINE.
Offering very little cover and concealment, all approaches were
under direct observation and covered by interlocking bands of fire.
Artillery, mortar and AT weapons were registered on the approaches
and were skillfully brought down on our troops as the attack
advanced. The 1st Bn gained only a few hundred yards against the
devastating machine gun and automatic enemy fire, and were forced to
The 2d Bn remained in Regtl reserve maintaining contact with the
275th Inf on the right and protected the rear of the attacking Bns.
Also they protected the exposed right flank of the Regt until 275th
Inf could bring their front lines parallel with ours.
The 3d Bn consolidated positions during the night of March 14-15
and made preparation for continuing the attack in the morning. The
companies moved out at 0700 March 15 to continue clearing the enemy
resistance south of the SAAR RIVER. All companies received heavy
machine gun and rifle fire throughout the day from both south of the
SAAR RIVER and also from pillboxes and emplacements across the river
(SIEGFRIED LINE). The Regt spent the evening and night preparing to
continue vigorous attack on the enemy. During the night of March
15-16 the 1st Bn withdrew to set up defensive positions. All
companies remained in position the remainder of the day receiving
small arms fire from the enemy. Capt Ernest G. Murphy, S-3 1st Bn,
called on heavy artillery (8" and 155mm how) to destroy enemy
installations to the front of 1st Bn sector. The 882d F.A. Bn at
1630 reported results of mission requested by Capt. Murphy. They
fired 44 rounds of 155mm gun making 3 hits but no appreciable damage
was done; 84 rounds of 155mm How were fired making 20 hits on
pillboxes, most of these ricocheted off; the 8 inch guns fired 32
rounds making 7 hits with one penetration.
The 2d Bn was still in Regtl reserve and was prepared to move on
order. They protected the Regtl rear and right flank, maintaining
contact with 275th Inf by patrols. Our 3d Bn continued consolidating
positions along SAAR RIVER and continuous reconnaissance day and
night was made of the river area and the approach on our side. The
terrain was studied for possible crossing sites. Numerous pillboxes
were active across the river with automatic fire through out the
day. The 3d Bn OP received a direct hit at 1716 causing no
casualties but considerable damage to the OP equipment. Capt James
L. Myler, S-3 3d Bn, requested bombing mission on rail tracks in
SAARBRUCKEN to stop train from going in and out of SAARBRUCKEN. This
request was passed on to the Division Air Officer.
The enemy remained on an alert defensive throughout the Regtl
sector. One platoon of enemy attempted an infiltration but were
discovered and driven back. The frontline doughboy of the 274th Inf
saw something like this facing him: a 200-300 yard strip of open
ground sloping into a steep bank at the SAAR RIVER. On the other
side was also a steep bank with a double apron fence. There were
several rows of parallel bunkers interlocking and short trenches
connecting the bunkers to round cement-looking machine gun firing
points on the river's bank. The bunkers were flush with the ground.
Using glasses both AP and Shu mines could be seen. The enemy had a
very formidable defense set up.
The 1st and 3d Bns consolidated their positions and maintained
contact with the enemy during March 17 mostly by aggressive combat
patrols. The 2d Bn still occupied Regtl reserve positions and
protected Regtl rear and right flank. The 3d Bn consolidated their
positions during the day and maintained contact with the enemy. All
Bns continued aggressive patrolling and made reconnaissance for
possible river crossings. The enemy activity was limited to
artillery, mortar fire and sniper activity. The Regt opened new Cp
at 1430 in FORBACH, FRANCE. Regt published O.I. #27 in the evening
with the mission to continue probing for weak spots, reconnoiter for
river crossing sites and determine indications of an enemy
Early on the morning of March 18th, Regt received word that
armored elements of the 3d Army reached a point 60 miles NE of
SAARBRUCKEN. All Bns were notified to be on the lookout for any
friendly troops. During the day the 1st Bn maintained close contact
with the enemy and exchanged aimed small arms fire and mortar fire.
They made plans and reconnaissance to regroup the Bn and
reconstitute a reserve. Aggressive action to the front was obtained
by strong combat patrols. The 2d Bn made reconnaissance for
positions in case 274th Inf took over 276th Inf sector. Our 3d Bn
continued to consolidate positions and in every case our attack by
fire brought return enemy fire from pillboxes. The 3d Bn continued
reconnaissance of river area and under cover of darkness additional
AT guns were placed in position. Enemy activity was confined to
small arms fire, mortar and artillery fire. Approximately 500 rounds
of mortar and artillery fell in Regtl sector during the day.
At 2210 the Regtl S-3, Major Greenhalgh, issued the following
instructions by order of Colonel Conley, to 1st and 3d Bns:
"you are to push two combat patrols across the river tonight.
It is thought that only an enemy shell faces you. Alert rest of
Bn immediately if patrols are successful. Mission of patrols to
see if crossing can be made by additional troops to establish
bridgehead. 2d Bn to follow on Regtl order. 3d Bn to select its
own crossing and own plans for preparatory fires. 1st Bn to do
the same in their sector."
Regt received message at 0030, 19 March that the Division has
been ordered to attack and cross the river without delay. 276th Inf
to make crossing and 274th inf to immediately take over 276th Inf
area and be prepared to follow and attack SAARBRUCKEN from the NW.
The crossing to be made before daylight if possible. At 0300 Regtl
S-3 received word from Division G-3 that "H-hour would depend on the
situation and will go when we can cross the river with the minimum
of casualties at the command of the Division Commander."
Patrols from 1st and 3d Bn tried crossing, the river by boat and
across the bridge but were driven back by withering hostile fire.
The most of the day was spent in attempting to get patrols across
the river and feeling out.the enemy weak spots.
F.O. #3 was received from Division with the following
"Assemble one Bn in STIRING-WENDEL prepared to move on one
hour notice to cross the SAAR RIVER behind elements of the 276th
Inf. Be prepared to assemble remainder of outfit and cross SAAR
RIVER in column of Bns immediately behind 276th Inf on Division
order, attack and capture SAARBRUCKEN from the NW. Assist
crossing of 276th Inf by fire of one Bn."
Regtl S-3 immediately published F.O. #11 assigning the following
1st Bn - "Be prepared to assemble Bn and cross SAAR RIVER
immediately behind the 3d Bn. Initially Regtl reserve in the
attack. On Regtl order seize objective leaving elements to block
road as shown on overlay."
2d Bn - "Be prepared to move on 30 minutes notice to cross
SAAR RIVER behind elements of 276th Inf. Attack and seize
objective. Be prepared to continue attack and seize portion of
SAARBRUCKEN in sector on Regtl order."
3d Bn - "Assist crossing 276th Inf by fire. Be prepared to
assemble Bn and cross SAAR RIVER immediately behind 2d Bn.
Attack and seize objective. Be prepared to continue attack and
seize portion of SAARBRUCKEN in sector on Regtl order."
At 1730 the order was given to start firing; all direct fire
weapons to try to reduce pillboxes and bunkers along the river. The
Regtl OP reported magnificent display of marksmanship by our direct
fire weapons. Many direct hits were made and the enemy was forced to
use smoke to hide their positions. 2,000 rounds of artillery and 33
boats were placed at the disposal of the CO 3d Bn for an attempt to
cross the river. Colonel Conley, CO 274th Inf, gave an order to CO
3d Bn, Lt Col Landstrom, to cross the SAAR RIVER that night and to
select his own time of crossing. If successful, 2d Bn would follow.
CO 3d Bn reported the time for crossing would take place between
midnight and daybreak. At 2300 Regt received a report from S-3,
276th Inf that they had two boats across the river and encountered
no opposition. The pillboxes previously occupied were now empty.
The enemy had begun a general withdrawal at approximately 2000 on
the night of March 19-20. At 0510 March 20 our 3d Bn reported all
across the river and at 0512 the 2d Bn was ordered to cross followed
by the 1st Bn.
All Bns advanced swiftly against light enemy resistance. Regtl
S-3 received 0.I. #20 from Division with the mission to "secure high
around north of SAARBRUCKEN and block the exits from SAARBRUCKEN to
the NE. Be prepared to advance to the NE rapidly in pursuit of the
The doughboys of the 274th Inf had the enemy on the run and were
in hot pursuit. In fact the 2d Bn moved so fast it was extremely
difficult to maintain communication with them and when Regt received
word at 2015 from Division not to advance beyond Phase Line #2, it
was discovered the 2d Bn was already past that line. It was not
until 2110 that communication was finally established with Lt Col
Cheves, who was with the advance elements of the 2d Bn, and the
message relayed "to halt advance by order from Division". Lt Col
Cheves reported that Co. G captured BILDSTOCK at 1930 and all the
towns on the METZ ROAD from SAARBRUCKEN to BILDSTOCK. Advance
elements of the 65th Division were tied in with Co. G at BILDSTOCK.
On March 21st Regt received Division 0.I. #21 assigning mission
"to advance to new Army boundary and halt there and mop up in Regtl
zone". Regt released O.I. #28 passing the mission on to the Bns.
Major Paul J. Durbin, Executive Officer, 3d Bn, reported making
contact with elements of 3d Army at 0730.
The day was spent reorganizing and mopping up areas. At 1830 the
disposition of the Bns were: 1st Bn in SAARBRUCKEN, 2d Bn
CP in DUDWEILER, Cos E and H In HIRSCHBACH. Co. G in FRIEDERSCHAL,
3d Bn in FISCHBACH with one platoon of Co. G guarding captured mine.
The Regtl S-3 received the message from Division at 2125 to
"continue mopping up using a maximum of troops that have not been in
contact lately. Be prepared to assemble on order. Report when mop up
Regtl S-3 received Division O.I.s 23 and 24 on March 22 stating
to continue mission of mopping up in detail and emphasizing
non-fraternizing policy. Regt immediately issued 0.I. #29
disseminating the Division orders to the Bns. Each Bn was to clear
its assigned sector and by the end of the day most of the Regtl
sector was cleared. No contact was made with the enemy during the
On March 23d Regt received O.I. #25 from Division with the
Instructions to commence training on March 24th emphasizing
Tank-Infantry training and training of reinforcements. The mornings
were to be devoted to outdoor training, the afternoons to care and
cleaning of weapons, personal hygiene, mass games and tactical
The above Division order was given to the Bns in the form of O.I.
#30. The Regtl CP moved to SULZBACH, GERMANY at 1600, the first
274th Inf Regtl CP to be set up in GERMANY.
Training was conducted by all Bns on March 24th and near the
close of the day all Bns were alerted to move the following morning.
A reconnaissance party went forward to make reconnaissance for move
to new assembly area.
Early in the morning of March 25th found the 274th Inf on the
move. The 1st Bn moved by motor to new assembly area at OTTERBACH
and closed in at 1230. Preparations were made for proper policing of
the Bn area by designating areas to each company. The 2d Bn moved by
motor to HEILIGENMOSCHEL closing in at 1400 and assigned mission to
mop up Bn area to all companies. Our 3d Bn moved by motor to
MEHLBACH closing in at 1400. Companies immediately took control of
the towns in their areas. The Regtl CP moved to KAISERLAUTERN,
GERMANY and opened at 1600.
The Bns were ordered on March 26th to reconnoiter to the front,
left and right of their positions so that in case of a move they
would be oriented. CO 3d Bn reported at 2100 on a route
reconnaissance he had made. The route covered,
STADECKEM-NIEDER OLM-MAINZ. Reported two way hard surface road clear
but under small arms and shell fire. Also made route reconnaissance
report on OPPENHEIM-UNDENHEIM-GAU
ADT-LOHNSFELD-OTTERBERG-MEHLBACH. Two way-hard surface and clear
The entire day on March 27 was spent searching for enemy troops,
ammunition, weapons and equipment. Reconnaissance was made for
possible routes forward. Motorized patrols were maintained after
hour of darkness.
Liberated Russians, French, and Poles, some of then still in
German uniform, presented a problem. To feed the hundreds of
refugees was accomplished by obtaining food from the Bourgermeisters
at the order of the Regtl Commander. Transportation was more
difficult. A general round-up of all available vehicles was made by
Capt. Jay C. Underwood, Regtl S-4, and men, women, and children were
loaded and sent to the rear areas. The 1st BN, on March 28, moved to
KAISERLAUTERN with the mission to guard and police the city and
continue necessary mopping up. The 2d Bn finished combining and
clearing their towns in their sector. Our 3d Bn completed mopping up
entire Bn sector and started training schedule of four hours
technical training per day.
The Regt continued mopping up mission on the 29th of March and
conducted training covering deficiencies noted in combat. The first
presentation of Combat Awards to be made on German soil, where they
were earned, were made by Col S. G. Conley, CO 274th Inf at
KAISERLAUTERN, GERMANY. The Regimental Band played while the
presentation of 1 Silver Star Medal Cluster, 2 Silver Star 2 Medals
and 17 Bronze Star Ribbons, 1 Soldier's Medal and 2 Division
Commendations were made.
A Repatriation Center, for displaced personnel, was organized and
supervised by Major Joseph A. Walker, S-2 274th Inf. At the time the
center was initiated, there was approximately 3,000 refugees to
admit. The majority were Russians, others were Polish, Italian,
Rumanian, Slovakian, and Holland-Dutch. They were housed in 5 German
barracks and fed in two dining halls. Acting mess sergeants and
cooks were detailed from the Regiment to organize dining halls and
cook meals. They were later replaced by personnel of the center who
had experience as cooks. The majority of the personnel were Russians
and for this reason mess was broken into two main groups. One dining
hall was designated for the Russians, the other for the
miscellaneous nationalities. Procuring food and kitchen equipment
was a major problem. Capt Jay C. Underwood, Regtl S-4, with untiring
efforts and magnificent results, obtained field kitchens and food
from captured German supply dumps. He also received rations from the
Army for the center. The balance of the rations were obtained from
the Bourgermeister by order of the Town commander, Major Fred
Cantrell, CO 1st Bn.
Arrangements for electricity, water and heat were made. Bathing
of personnel, cleanliness and police of barracks and area were
stressed. All persons were cataloged and interrogated upon arrival.
10 enlisted men were used as interpreters and did much to help in
assisting the operations of the center. A nationality group
breakdown was made and leaders appointed to preside over each group;
they in turn were given the authority to appoint subordinates as
they so desired. A Russian officer visited the center and made a
speech to his people telling them of the many Russian and Allied
victories. A public address system was set-up and was used for the
many group announcements; also for recreational activities. The
Regimental Band played 4 or 5 entertainment shows. Guards were
stationed at each gate and around the perimeter of the center.
On March 30th and 31st the Regt continued as army reserve
carrying out the mission of mopping up. Concurrent training was
conducted in conjunction with tactical work. The training was
directed at correcting deficiencies noted in combat and to bring
reinforcements up to standard.
At KAISERLAUTERN, GERMANY, on March 31st, Major Joseph A. Walker,
Regtl S-2, made the presentation of 2 Silver Star medals and 11
Bronze Star Ribbons.
The Regt received warning order to move to vicinity of MAINZ,
GERMANY and the last day of March found the 274th Inf preparing
plans for a move and turning over to the Military Government the
The total prisoners captured during the month of March was 9
officers and 735 enlisted men.
The morale of the men was exceptionally high. They were enjoying
the luxury of living in German homes, the majority having lights and
running water. News broadcasts were more encouraging each day and
the end of the war seemed not far off.