Rhine Crossing: The Attack of the 89th Division

Attack of the 353rd Regiment at Oberwesel: At 020026 March at Oberwesel, 353rd Infantry Regiment began crossing the Rhine. Although the defense was a determined one, including automatic weapons, mortars and considerable artillery fire against the crossing site, it was not as fierce as further north, and waves of assault craft were never interrupted. The three battalions reached the east bank and began moving inland.

The lead Battalion (1st), on the left, soon took Dorscheid, and by evening occupied Wesel. 3rd. Battalion crossed next, swung to the right (north) on the river road and attacked the defenses of Kaub. Assault craft ferried supplies and men direct from Oberwesel to landings near Kaub. The town fell after strong resistance. The advance north continued, and by evening 3rd. Battalion stood near Lorch.

2nd Battalion 353, crossed third, and attacked north of 1st Battalion. It took Bornich, Loreley and went on to make contact with the 354th Regiment near St Goarshausen.

The 3rd Battalion, 355th Regiment (89th Division Reserve) was needed to close a widening gap in the center of the 353rd Regimental zone Division attached this battalion to 353rd Regiment at 1300. It crossed the river at Oberwesel at 1500 and was inserted between the 1st and 3rd battalions zones of advance. From Bornich it drove northeast to capture Rittershain that night.

Like her sister regiment to the north, the 353rd Regiment had broken the Rhine positioning. However resistance continued strong and persisted longer among the Rhine towns from Kaub toward Wiesbaden then elsewhere in the Division zone.

On 25 March, the day prior crossing, a mobile force was organized from a battalion of infantry from the Division reserve (1st. of the 355th Regiment), two tank companies, two tank destroyers companies, a cannon company, platoon of engineers and other small units. This mobile armored–infantry force was intended for commitment to any feasible opportunity that might arise.

On 26 March the Division commander, aware that the 87th Division crossing just to the north at Boppard was successful, and that a pontoon bridge was already completed, committed Task Force Johnson (1100). It crossed the Rhine at Boppard (1400), then turned right and moved north on the east shore road. Early on 27 March, it fought an action at Kestern, gaining some 100 prisoners). The task force then passed through St. Goar, turned east through Reichenburg into the interior country. Early on the 28th it was in Struth. By noon on the 29th, Task Force Johnson had entered Bad Schwalbach.

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