274th Infantry: Documents: Mar 45 AAR
The following was sent to me via Bill Bassak. The original is on file in the National Archives.

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 STIRING-WENDEL.

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 1600.

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 KREUTZBERG RIDGE.

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 Inf.

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 the night.

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 position.

The evening and night of March 7 was spent in perfecting plans for the next day and in sending out active patrols.

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 prisoners."

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 strength."

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 aggressive patrolling.

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 notified."

Excecutive Officer, 274th Inf, also alerted 2d Bn to be prepared to move.

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 greatly reduced.

As a result of their untiring efforts and aggressive spirit the men of the 274th Inf seized and held positions south of the SAAR RIVER.

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 RIVER."

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 consolidate.

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 withdrawal.

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 instructions:

"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 missions:

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 enemy".

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 is completed".

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 day.


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 walks.

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, MEHLBACH-SCHALLODENBACH-IMSWEILER-KREUZNACH-SPRENDLIN-GEN 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 ODERNHEIM-ALZEY-KIRCHHEIM-BOLANDBEN-BORR ST ADT-LOHNSFELD-OTTERBERG-MEHLBACH. Two way-hard surface and clear road.

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 Repatriation Center.

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.

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