Table of Contents
France: Camp Lucky Strike
France: Luxembourg
Combat: Mosel River
Combat: Chasing the Tanks
Combat: Raversbeuren
The Rhine
The Rhine: Co. E Starts Across
The Rhine: Co. E's 2nd Platoon Crosses
The Rhine: Co. F Begins Crossing
The Rhine: Co. F Moves Toward Its Objective
The Rhine: Co. F Completes Crossing
The Rhine: Some Didn't Make It
The Rhine: Co A's Crossing
The Rhine: A Co. C Boat Is Sunk
The Rhine: The Reserve Companies Go Over
The Rhine: West of the Rhine
Into Central Germany
Into Central Germany: Co. C Held Up At Thal
Into Central Germany: Gossel
Into Central Germany: Wullersleben
Into Central Germany: Wizleben
Into Central Germany: Task Force Hart
Into Central Germany: VIII Corps
The End of the 354th
Appendix 1

The End of the 354th

Then the prisoners -- voluntary prisoners -- started streaming in. Thousands of them were collected by the Battalions and funneled in to the Regimental PW cage which was established in an open field in Planitz. The 3rd Battalion was designated Divisional PW Battalion. The prisoners came by foot, in all kinds of German military and civilian vehicles, on bicycles, in horse drawn carts. Even the German sick and wounded were evacuated to the Regimental PW enclosure. In a period of three days about 15,000 prisoners were evacuated through the Regimental cage. They were put in charge of their own officers and moved on to the Division PW cage as rapidly as possible.

On May 13 the Regiment was replaced by the 76th Division and moved back to Arnstadt Which many of the Regiment's troops had passed through going east. There they patrolled the Landkries of Arnstadt, checking displaced persons and former soldiers moving along the roads, and controlling the lagers where Russians, Poles, Czechs and other former slave laborers of the Germans were housed.

Near the end of May, the Regiment received orders to move to Le Havre. The men felt very optimistic. They felt that this could mean only one thing: board a ship at Le Havre, back to the States and a furlough and then on to the Pacific. On May 27 the Regiment was replaced by the 102nd Division and moved out of Arnstadt. Most of the elements went by train, the rest by vehicle. The vehicular group went back down the Frankfurt-Berlin autobahn which they had used going east, through Mainz and stopped outside of Kaiserslautern that night. The next day they proceeded through Saarbrucken, Metz and Reims to Soissons. As they moved westward on the morning of the third day, a sudden change in orders was received. The Regiment would not go to Le Havre. It would proceed to Camp Lucky Strike where the troops had first gone when they reached France. At Lucky Strike the Regiment prepared to take over the Post from the 15th Port Battalion. The 15th Port had been processing RAMPS (Recovered Allied Military Personnel). The Regiment's job was to process units being redeployed to the Pacific through the United States.

Brigadier General Robinson, assistant Division Commander, became Post Commander of Lucky Strike. Each Battalion and the 341st Field Artillery took over control of one of the four blocks of the camp. Extra clerks were pulled into headquarters units from the line companies to handle the stream of paper work. The Regimental I & R Platoon and Anti-tank Company became Military Police. Office lights burned until midnight every night.

Early in June, Lt. Gen. John C. H. Lee, Communications Zone Commander, visited Lucky Strike. Company C acted as guard of honor. General Lee was so satisfied with their appearance and conduct that he ordered that every man be awarded the Good Conduct Medal although many of them did not meet the one year requirement. On June 15, the Regiment received an ominous memorandum from General Finley:

a. I have just received information of vital interest on (the subject of inactivation) from General Eisenhower and Maj. Gen. Anderson (Corps Commander of the VI Corps to which the Regiment was then attached). I wish this information to be conveyed to all officers and men of the division without delay. "Present Mission: a Our division was selected, together with two others, by the Supreme Commander to assist Com Z troops in the tremendous task of redeployment, that is, preparing and sending divisions, smaller units and individuals to the United States for future service against Japan or demobilization.

b. We have the particular job of handling all personnel passing through the port of Le Havre. This involves operating the camps of Lucky Strike, Old Gold and Twenty Grand and one or two smaller establishments. Thousands of men have already passed through our hands and many thousands more will do so within the next few months.

c. General Eisenhower's instructions included the following: 'In view of the outstanding combat service of the three divisions selected for redeployment service, I particularly desire " that they continue to serve under a Field Commander who will insure for them the leadership, guidance and deep interest in their welfare that they have enjoyed in the past and, at the same time, insure the most efficient operation in their new tasks until the time comes for them in turn to be returned to the United States for inactivation...'

d. To this General Anderson added, '. . . The selection of your division for this duty is in no way a reflection on its combat record or combat efficiency. The contrary is true. . . The mission assigned your division is an extremely important one -- a mission which, if sloppily and I inefficiently executed, will bring disrepute upon the Army and will engender dissatisfaction among the troops being redeployed... The job must be done in an eminently superior manner, with a minimum of friction. Always bear in mind that it is another mission that must be carried out in the same outstanding manner in which in the past your combat tasks have been performed.'

e. The above extracts are quoted to show you that although the present job will not bring us any medals is nevertheless highly important and worthy of our best efforts. I am quite sure that the confidence of our superiors in us has not been misplaced and that each one of you will do his part to the limit of his ability.

Future Status: In accordance with the overall plan for demobilization issued by the War Department, the 89th together with twenty-some other divisions has been designated to become inactive after it returns to the United States. This means that we shall not fight the as a division and that the combat days of your outfit in this war are over. The reason for reducing the number of divisions is clear: Germany is licked, Japan is on the way out; there isn't enough war left to go around. I shall not try to explain why we are among those to be inactivated because I do not know. Some of the best divisions over here are included. Although different men will feel differently about it, I for one will always regret that a division which was at: its peak when peace came in Germany could not be kept together to fight as a team to the end. "As good soldiers we must accept wholeheartedly the decision of higher authority. Also as good soldiers we will accept the fact that many of us are short timers in combat and must expect to be transferred to other units to replace high point men who have a better right than we to go home."

On June 25, Lt. Col. William Burton, Regimental Executive Officer, returned to the Command of a Battalion when he took over the 1st Battalion, replacing Lt. Col. Thomas G. Davidson, who returned to the States.

Combat streamers were awarded to the Regiment, to each Battalion and to each company on July 10.


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