HEADQUARTERS 137TH INFANTRY
APO 35 U S ARMY
Auth: CG 35th Inf Div
Date __19 Apr 45____
1 April 1945
SUBJECT: Report After Action Against Enemy
TO : The Adjutant General
Washington 25, D.C.
1. In compliance with the provisions of Par 10 C3, AR 345-105, submitted below is report after action against enemy for the 137th Infantry covering the period 1-31 March 1945.
1-2 MARCH 1945
March 1st found the 137th Infantry Combat Team continuing its swift attack toward the Rhine River with TF (Task Force) Byrne and the 134th CT. The 137th CT, which consisted of the 137th Infantry; Co B, 654th TD (Tank Destroyer) Bn; Co B, 60th Engr (C) Bn; Co B, 110th Med; and the 692nd FA (Field Artillery) Bn, was in the vicinity of Rodgen, Germany on March 1 waiting for TF Byrne to pass through its positions and then follow the 320th force further east by marching and shuttling. By 1750 TF Byrne had passed through the road junction east of Rodgen and the 137th CT began to move out at the rear of the TF Byrne column. The 137th's mission was to advance and close into an assembly area near Leuth, Germany, southeast of Venlo, Holland.
Upon arrival, Regimental Headquarters and Special Units moved into Leuth at 0030, March 2 while the 2nd and 3rd Bns closed into a position southeast of Leuth. The 1st Bn at 0220 met enemy opposition outside of Kierhenbeck, its proposed assembly area. The Bn was confronted by an entrenched road block and a woods to the right of the road, with an estimated number of 65 enemy. By 0430 the 1st Bn troops and their tank destroyers had flushed the woods, cleared the enemy situation and advanced into the town.
A gun crew of Cannon Co captured 40 enemy soldiers without a fight during the early morning when the enemy came marching down a road into Lay. Later in the morning when the Service Co quartering party entered Leutherheide and spotted an estimated number of 65 enemy troops it reported the news to the 137th CP. A task force was organized of armored cars, tank destroyers and seven jeep loads of men from Co's L and G, which roared into the town and so surprised the enemy that 35 surrendered and the reminder fled. The 137th CT remained assembled in the area while TF Byrne was three km east of Straelen at 1505, March 2.
3-4 MARCH 1945
The 137th Infantry CT departed from its assembly area in the vicinity of Venlo, Holland at 1500, March 3 and moved by foot and motor to an assembly area west of Nieukirk, Germany, where it closed by 1900. The 2nd and 1st Bns left their areas and marched 14 miles through the night prior to jumping-off in an attack at 0700, March 4. The 3rd Bn moved to Nieukirk during the night and remained there in regimental reserve until 1100.
The 2nd Bn, with Co G pointing the push, launched its drive and swiftly secured the town of Rheuret, southwest of Lintfort. The Bn seized two bridges intact over the Fleuth Landwehr at 1000. The 1st Bn, advancing meanwhile, also took crossings over the Fleuth Landwehr until it met strongly held and fortified enemy positions in the woods to its front, protecting Lintfort. The 3rd Bn in reserve manned road blocks and outposts near Nieukirk.
On the left flank of the US Ninth Army, TF Byrne was holding down the left flank of the 35th Division. The 137th CT was in the central sector of the division and the 8th Armored Division, attached to the 35th, was on the right flank of the 35th. The 35th had the 1st Canadian Army on its left and the 5th Armored to its right.
5-6 MARCH 1945
After Lintfort had been taken on March 5, Task Force Murray, which included CCB, 8th Armored, was composed and in a daring night attack captured the city of Rheinberg.
The 8th Armored desired to seize Lintfort by attacking through the 137th's 2nd Bn, a plan which was mutually agreed upon by the respective commanders. The attack began at 0700 with the 8th Armored rolling into the city while the 2nd Bn made a demonstration, then assisted the armor by fire and followed it into the city. The 1st and 3rd Bns attacked in the left zone, using columns of companies. Co A advanced to a point northwest of Lintfort before it was pinned down by heavy enemy fire.
Task Force Murray became effective as of 1600, March 5, and was composed of Troop E, 88th Rcn; Co B, 654th TD Bn; Co A, 784th Tk Bn; Co B, 809th TD Bn; 36th Tk Bn (- one Co); 49th Armd Inf Bn; Co B, 53rd Engr Bn; and Co B, 80th Engr Bn, along with the 137th Infantry Regiment. Its mission was to twist north and take Ossenberg, then move on across the Rhine River with Wesel as its final objective.
The 8th Armored stabbed toward Rheinberg in the afternoon and received a jolting punishment from the enemy in the city. The 2nd and 3rd Bns of the 137th had become motorized when Lintfort was taken and had followed the armor to the outskirts of the city.
A night attack was planned to capture Rheinberg, a plan which only a veteran, experienced unit could fulfill. In a daring and shrewd move, the 3rd Bn entered Rheinberg at 1930 and the 2nd Bn at 2012. After dismounting from trucks, the Bns made contact and worked their way down the main street, the 3rd Bn on one side and the 2nd on the other. After flushing out dark cellars and buildings, Rheinberg was nearly cleaned up by 0300. There were still fire fights until 0600 when the city was mopped up and securely outposted. The Negro tankers of the 784th added a touch to the victory by prefacing their entry into the city with a sensational dash through five miles of enemy lines to the Rhine River itself.
The prized trophy of TF Murray in taking Rheinberg was the multi-millionaire midget and his luxurious mansion in the town square, where Regimental Headquarters and the 3rd Bn located their CPs.
For the remainder of the day, the 2nd and 3rd Bns were checked outside of Rheinberg by a blown bridge. The men couldn't move against the heavy enemy fire directed at them across the flat expanses of terrain without the support of tanks, and the armor couldn't cross the stream until a bridge was built. The drive continued at 1800 as soon as the bridge was put in, with Ossenberg as the next objective. Artillery had pounded Ossenberg day and night so that it might be taken and a stop put to the enemy's retreat across the river above the city. The 1st Bn had a bitter struggle in clearing the Haus Heideberg Woods, west of Ossenberg.
7 MARCH 1945
On March 7th, Task Force Murray was fighting in the outskirts of Ossenberg while absorbing all types of intense enemy fire. The road from Rheinberg to Ossenberg gave the 137th its bitterest opposition encountered during the entire operation and was dubbed "88 Alley." The enemy was determined to hold Ossenberg in order to keep his pocket west of the Rhine River and Wesel.
The heavy enemy fire slowed down the entire attack of the 3rd Bn. The 1st Bn met severe resistance throughout the day as Co A advanced to the woods, directly east of Ducksrath and Co C neared the slag pile and brickyard across the railroad tracks, southwest of Ossenberg. The 2nd Bn remained in Ossenberg and prepared to attack along the Rhine the following day.
8 MARCH 1945
Task Force Murray was hammering away at the southern edge of the enemy pocket north of Ossenberg on March 8th after the 2nd Group had pushed the enemy out of Ossenberg and its Solvay Works. Working on the left, Group 1 was engaged in bitter fighting with Co C battling in the brickyard. Group 3 went around Ossenberg and edged its way north under violent enemy fire.
TF Murray now consisted of Troop E, 88th Rcn and three groups. Group 1, commanded by Major Frink, consisted of the 1st Bn, 137th Inf; 1 plat, Co B, 654th TD Bn; 1 plat, Co A, 784 Tk Bn; 1 plat, Co B, 60th Engr Com Bn. Group 2 was commanded by Lt Col Butler and consisted of his 3rd Bn, 137th Inf; Co B, 809th Tk Bn; 36th Tk Bn (- 1 Co); and Co B, 53rd Engr Bn. Group 3, led by Lt Col Rosebohough, consisted of the 49th Armd Inf Bn; 2nd Bn, 137th Inf; Co B (- 1 plat) 654th TD Bn; Co B, 36th Tk Bn; Co B (- 1 plat) 80th Engr Bn; and Co A, (- 1 plat), 784th Tk Bn.
Group 1 had the mission of hitting the highway between Ossenberg and Millingen. Group 2 was to advance through Ossenberg on up the highway to a point, southwest of Menzelen, then cut northeast and take the town of Menzelen and advance on to Gest. Group 3 was to move along the highway just west of the Rhine River up to smaller Borth and then advance on to Augenedshorf. Group 3 was to continue northeast up the highway to Buderich, on up to Fort Bulcher, then across the Rhine to Budericher and on to Wesel, the final objective of TF Murray.
Group 2 had the mission of taking Ossenberg and Lt Col Butler organized a force under 1st Lt Willard Pulliam which included Co I, 137th Inf; a platoon of 8th Armored tanks, and a platoon of 809th tank destroyers, which fought for and seized the city. When daylight came, the group had reached the town when the enemy pushed a counter-attack into the group. The men pulled back to relieve the shock and then jumped once more, reaching the Solvay Works. The fire was fierce and the enemy had guns in every building and shack. The enemy artillery and mortar fire was heavy as the men of Group 2 moved slowly ahead in the bitter struggle. Two enemy tanks and one self-propelled gun were knocked out during the fray. Another force of Group 2 was working on the western outskirts of Ossenberg driving north in the face of heavy enemy fire.
With Group 1, Co C jumped off prior to dawn on March 8 and battled 18 hours when it fell upon and captured the huge slag pile and brickyard, southwest of Ossenberg. Before daylight, heavy artillery and mortar fire was layed down on the enemy positions and at 0500 hours, a platoon of Co C attacked the slag pile and secured it by 1400. Another platoon went around the pile and hit the yard with its numerous piles of bricks. By 2000 the position was cleared with the exception of enemy snipers in the vicinity.
9 MARCH 1945
Task Force Murray continued the attack in its zone at 0700, March 9th as Group 2 mopped up the remaining resistance in Ossenberg, Group 1 punched ahead to the eastern outskirts of Millingen, and Group 3 was pinned down by vicious enemy fire from the eastern side of the Rhine River.
Task Force Byrne continued its attack on the left capturing Hilimanshof and the 134th CT prepared to relieve them the following day.
10 MARCH 1945
On March 10, TF Murray had its boundary changed and after the 137th had smashed ahead and seized Borch and Wallach, it was pinched out of the advance by the 134th CT, attacking toward Wesel through TF Byrne.
Against light resistance, the 3rd Bn moved north and Co K seized Wallach at 1040. The 1st Bn continued mopping-up southwest of Ossenberg. The regiment was directed to assemble in its positions and initiate patrolling. At 2220 CCB, 8th Armored Division was released from attachment to TF Murray.
The 134th CT, after contacting the British on their left, had sent patrols to the bridges over the Rhine River by dusk March 10th. The 75th Division was operating on the right of the 35th Division.
11-12 MARCH 1945
On March 11 and 12 the 137th Infantry remained in its positions along the bank of the Rhine River. The 3rd Bn was occupying positions in Wallach and Borth, the 2nd Bn troops were in Ossenberg, and the 1st Bn was in position, southwest of Ossenberg.
Regimental Headquarters and the 3rd Bn CP remained in Rheinberg. The 2nd Bn had CPs in both Ossenberg and Rheinberg, while the 1st Bn CP was located east of Bauern, west of Rheinberg.
At 2135 the 137th Infantry was relieved in its zone by the 290th Infantry Regiment of the 75th Division, and prepared to move March 13 to a rear assembly area.
13-14-15 MARCH 1945
When the 35th Division was relieved of its responsibilities along the Rhine River front, the 137th Infantry moved by motor to a rear assembly area in Germany, southeast of Venlo, Holland.
Regimental Headquarters and Special Units closed into an area in the vicinity of Breyell by 1000, March 13. The 1st Bn moved into an area at Klinkbammer by 0930, the 2nd Bn into Leutherheide by 1100 and the 3rd Bn in the vicinity of Leuth by 1130.
16-17-18-19-20-21-22 MARCH 1945
The 35th Infantry Division remained in XVI Corps reserve of the Ninth Army from March 16 to March 22. The 75th Infantry Division was holding the Corps front along the Rhine River.
The regiment conducted a daily training schedule which did not interfere with passes to Brussels and Paris, recreation, moving pictures, and Red Cross clubmobiles.
23-24-25 MARCH 1945
The offensive to win the war in Europe was launched at 2200 hours, March 23, as the Ninth Army, British and Canadian troops, shrouded by a 66-mile-long smoke screen, crossed the Rhine River in assault craft of every type. These attacks were north and south of Wesel, on the east bank of the Rhine, only 12 miles north of the congested factory district of the Ruhr Valley and previously the final objective of the 137th Infantry during its drive from the Roer to the Rhine. The Ninth Army bridgehead was established 12 miles south of Wesel and the troops were surprised to discover that the enemy positions were held so lightly. From dawn to dusk, Allied Air Forces brought to a climax the program of devastation they had carried on day after day across northwestern Germany.
March 25 the 35th Division was alerted to move forward as soon as operational space was provided by the 30th and 79th Divisions, battling east of the Rhine.
26 MARCH 1945
The 137th Infantry moved by motor March 26 to a forward assembly area east of the Rhine River and prepared to attack the next morning between the 30th and 79th divisions.
The regimental motor column reached its IP in Leuth at 0700, departed from its area and moved through Nieukirk, Sevelen, Horstgen and Rheinberg, then crossed the Rhine River south of Mehrum on a pontoon bridge under an umbrella of air protection and proceeded through Gotterswickerhamm on to Dinslakener-Bruch. Regimental Headquarters and Special Units closed into Dinslakener-Bruch by 0930 while the three battalions moved into an area east of the town. Closing times were: 3rd Bn, 0930; 2nd Bn, 1045; and 1st Bn, 1120.
27 MARCH 1945
Leaving the northern Rhine bridgehead south of Wesel, the 137th Infantry Regiment knifed into the northern section of the Ruhr Industrial area March 27 against stubborn enemy resistance. As the Autobahn superhighway was approached there was no indication of an enemy withdrawal from the 137th's front.
The 30th Division was attacking to the left of the 35th Division and the 79th on the right. The 35th attacked with the 134th on the left and the 137th on the right.
The 3rd Bn, 137th, attacked at 0600 in the left zone with one plat, Co B, 784th Tank Bn and one plat, Co B, 654th TD Bn, while the 2nd Bn with one plat, Co B, 784th Tank Bn and one plat, Co B, 654th TD Bn, attacked in the right sector. The 1st Bn with Co B (-), 784th Tank Bn; Co B (-), 654th TD Bn; AT Co and one plat, Co B, 60th Engr Bn, followed the 3rd Bn. Cn Co was in general support.
The 3rd Bn pushed through the Staatz Forst Wesel throughout the day while the 2nd Bn took Waldhuck, Walsumermark and Sterkrade-Nord by 2030. The superhighway was stiffly defended as 2nd Bn troops, now under the command of Lt Col George O'Connell, advanced to a point 1,000 yards west of the Autobahn. The Bn ran into opposition at 0920 as the enemy directed SP and machine gun fire at the men. Co E was confronted by an enemy tank at the same time. The enemy was initially observed by the 3rd Bn when an enemy company advanced in approach march formation. They deployed and a fire fight began which was marked with enemy tank fire into Walsumermark and Sterkrade-Nord. It was believed that the enemy was using dummy tanks to draw fire.
Twenty-three men of Co's G and H were killed or captured when the unknowingly advanced into enemy territory to establish an OP in a building, were isolated and had no means of possible escape.
28 MARCH 1945
The 137th Infantry was encountering severe enemy resistance March 28 as the regiment contacted the Autobahn superhighway, east of Konigshardt. The 3rd Bn had struggled through the gloomy Kollischer Woods and finally succeeded in getting two companies along the edge of the highway. The 1st Bn had fought its way between the Staatz Forst Wesel and the Sterkrade Woods, capturing Konigshardt.
Today the 35th Division, with the 134th on the left, 137th in the center, and 320th on the right, was flanked on the left by the 30th Division and on the right by the 79th. The 30th Division was holding down the left flank of the XVI Corps and the Ninth Army, adjacent to the British Second Army.
Prisoners taken by the 137th said they were to defend the superhighway at all costs and were using dug-in positions along the highway. An enemy railroad gun, north of Kol Rheinbaben, was firing in the 3rd Bn's front. Approximately 500 tons of various German ammunition was discovered in the Staatz Forst. The 1st Bn jumped at 0600 and by 0745, Co's B and C were meeting heavy resistance. The advance was halted again at 1015 when Co C was held up by SP and machine gun fire. Five self-propelled guns were firing on the 1st Bn from the opposite side of the highway.
29 MARCH 1945
The 137th Infantry continued attacking throughout the night of March 28-29 and by morning had three companies across the Autobahn highway. When the attack ceased at 1900, the 137th had reached the suburbs of Kol Rheinbaben, Eigen and Bottrop.
After an artillery preparation, Co's I, K and L were up to the highway receiving heavy mortar and machine gun fire. The 1st Bn was under intense SA and SP fire at midnight, but by 0240, had both assault companies, A and B, at the edge of the Autobahn. The heavy enemy fire checked their crossing however and they planned to jump across at 0330. By 0410, Co I had one platoon on the other side of the highway.
The 137th ceased the attack at 1900 and was directed to continue at 0700, March 30. The Regimental CP moved from Brink to Konigshardt at 1400. Co A, 89th Ceml Bn was attached to the 137th Infantry.
The fact that the 137th had captured 290 German soldiers in its sector during three day's fighting, proved that the enemy was determined to hold the ground along the northern Rhur Valley.
30 MARCH 1945
The 1st and 2nd Bns broke away from Kol Rheinbaben and Bottrop on March 30 and made an 8,000 yard advance which took them to the Topeka Objective, a line running southwest from Buer Beckhausen to Horst. The 137th was attacking east just 6,000 yards north of the city of Essen with its Krupp Steel Works. The regiment's boundaries were the Autobahn superhighway on the left and the Rhine Herne Canal on the right.
The 2nd Bn, led by Co G, passed through the 3rd Bn west of Kol Rheinbaben and advanced in its sector, shooting through Schlangenhardt, Eastern Eigen, Ellinghorst, Piesbeck, Rheinbaben Schachten, Boy, Schuhmacher, Z. Graf Moltke, Lone, Siebeck and Buer Beckhausen.
Operating in the right sector, the 1st Bn with Co C on tanks, shot through Bottrop and Krahenburg. At 1840 the 1st Bn had enemy resistance between its CP and OP, but when the advance was halted shortly after, the enemy was mopped-up.
Co K had crossed the Autobahn at 0720 and then the entire 3rd Bn was assembled in and about Kol Rheinbaben. The Regimental CP moved from Konigshardt to Bottrop at 1400 and from Bottrop to Gladbeck at 1900.
31 MARCH 1945
The 137th Infantry rolled swiftly east March 31, gaining from 6,000 to 7,000 yards and capturing 100 Nazi soldiers. The 1st and 2nd Bns received scattered artillery fire in the early morning, prior to jumping-off for the day.
The 2nd Bn began to move out of Buer Beckhausen at 0710 and Co G on tanks rolled out at 0725. The Bn advanced past the Buer Erle airfield and Buer Erle itself and knifed approximately 1,000 yards into the Kol Ewald Woods.
The 1st Bn launched its push as Co's B and C flushed the large factory in northeastern Horst and Co A mounted tanks. By 1110 the Bn was receiving direct fire from across the canal on its right and at 1245 the Bn was advancing in the face of heavy mortar fire. The 1st took the town of Bechmann and pushed through the southern portion of the Kol Ewald Woods after going through Buer Erle. The advance was halted at 2000.
The Regimental CP moved from Gladbeck to Beckhausen at 1000.
Awards received by members of the 137th Infantry for the month of March 1945, are as follows:
|DSC||Silver Star||Croix de Guerre||Bronze Star|
The number of Purple Heart Medals awarded is: 49
The battle casualties for the month of March are as follows:
W. S. MURRAY
Incl: Journal and supporting papers