The Rhine: Co. F Completes Crossing
Planning to attack an enemy strongpoint, the group discovered an enemy 20mm gun on their left. Cpl. Leonard M. Sackett, an acting squad leader in the 2nd platoon, volunteered to secure the left flank. He approached the enemy position alone. At a pre-determined time he fired a rifle grenade into the enemy position. When he was at an exposed point about 35 yards from the enemy weapon, the Germans opened fire on him. He was mortally wounded. Then S/Sgt. Edward O. Evans, Pfc. Burnice Jones and Pvt. John L. Hastings volunteered to reduce the 20mm position. In the face of heavy enemy machine gun and sniper fire they crept up on the position and started firing. Jones, using a bazooka to cover the advance of the other two men, was wounded by shrapnel but continued firing and scored a direct hit on the 20mm. The three men took 47 prisoners. By daylight Bannan's and Holmes' platoons had wiped out practically all resistance left of the main section of down town In another Co. E boat Capt. Paul O. Wofford, the company's Co. continually shouted to his men in other boats to keep rowing regardless of what happened. Taking a paddle he pitched in to help in the rowing of his own boat. In midstream this boat was hit in the middle by a 20mm. The boat exploded and most of the men in it, including the CO and 1st Sgt. Philip L. Grand Pre, were either killed or drowned.
The remnants of the first two E Co. platoons and the group from Co. F who had joined up in the cellar in St. Goarshausen got in contact with Regiment shortly after dawn. They were told to hold tight. They set up a company CP and started clearing out nearby houses, using a white flag to indicate that a house had been cleaned.
Co. F Moves towards Its Objective At the same time that Co. E was crossing, Co. F was moving over toward its objective - the right part of St. Goarshausen. When only one boat of the 1st platoon managed to make the east bank, Lt. Thomas S. Bannan and 14 volunteers from the 2nd platoon took off in a motorboat and landed at the main drainage ditch at the right flank of the company area. As the motorboat left the east bank to return to St. Goar it was blown up along with the two engineers running it.
As the F Co. group worked its way up the east bank, Pfc. Alessandro Rotella and two other men volunteered to wipe out a machine gun which was firing from a cellar near the shore. Under enemy small arms, 20mm, machine gun and artillery fire, Rotella crawled forward about 75 yards along the shelter of a stone wall, covered by fire from the other two men. Then he rushed boldly across an open area and hurled a hand grenade into the enemy position. Bannan's group then headed for a house, got into it and captured nine Germans. S/Sgt. Roger B. Jaenisch helped Bannan organize the house as a strongpoint. Through rapid interrogation of their prisoners they found that two men had run away from the house as they entered, apparently to get help. Figuring on a counterattack, Bannan withdrew the main elements of his 10 men from the house and placed them between the house and the river. Soon seven Germans attacked Bannan's position. Because his men were outside and on the ground, the Germans were silhouetted through Bannan's BAR fire. Two Germans were killed and the rest quickly repulsed. Bannan and his men returned to the house but they were hardly inside before the lookout on the top floor spotted another counterattack, this time from the street side. Placing a bazooka, two BARs and a submachine gun at the front of the house, Bannan's men opened fire, killed two and drove off four others. About 30 minutes later another small group counterattacked and were repulsed in a similar manner.
Sgt. Jaenisch spotted an enemy machine gun in action in another house. He could see that its fire was so effective that it might retard the later crossing by the units following. He moved out of his covered position, worked his way alone across an exposed area and attacked the enemy position. He managed to divert the Germans to such an extent that the men of his squad were able to bring additional fire on the position and destroy it.
While this was going on, Pvt. Raymond B. Kedrowski was cut off from the rest of the group. With little hope of receiving support or ammunition, he continued to hold that part of the stronghold in which he found himself against two German counterattacks. While he was guarding the rear exit of a building he killed one German and drove another to cover in a nearby building. Then he started searching the buildings. He was fired on by two Germans and was wounded in the leg. He returned their fire and drove them to cover. Then, despite his wound, he crawled back to his squad's position and gave them the location of the Germans he had discovered.
Meanwhile Lt. Holmes had brought over another squad of 1st platoon men, made contact with the F Co. men who were working with Co. E's remnants and started working toward Bannan's group which was 400 yards to the east.