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

Mosel River

By 0930 all three Battalions had made the crossing, the 2nd going over at the 1st Battalion crossing point. Lt. Jules J. Friedman, 1st Battalion Communications Officer, crossed the river three times under enemy small arms fire to supervise the installation and maintenance of the Battalion's communications. At 1400 the 3rd Battalion resumed the attack with Co. K guiding on the river, Co I and Co L moving in from the high ground. The objective was the river town of Enkirch. After an advance of 500 yards, Co K's lead platoons were held up by rifle fire from the left, front and right. With one platoon pouring every bit of ammunition possible into the objective, the other was able to move forward and gain positions where it could fire. They then moved forward by short rushes and gained a small hold on the town. Meanwhile Co.L hit resistance in the woods from a dug-in enemy rifle platoon. They were quickly driven out and Co. L advanced to secure a share of the hold on the objective. Co. l, moving through enemy fire and receiving artillery fire, continued its mission of blocking the route of escape for the enemy and set up road blocks on all roads to the east and south.

As the artillery fire reached the vicinity of the Battalion OP radio communication with all the Battalion's companies and with Regiment was broken. Pfc. William Weber of 3rd Battalion Hq Co., Lt. Col. Burton's radio operator, realizing tile importance of maintaining communication, determined to go back through the fire to get the necessary parts to repair the radio. With artillery and sniper fire falling all around, he left his covered position, crawled through some weeds and then across several hundred yards of open space. He got the parts, crawled back again and soon had the radio operating. For this he was awarded the first Bronze Star in the Regiment.

Sgt. Arthur V. Streed, radio sergeant of Co. K, was also having communication trouble. A burst of 88mm artillery fire shattered the hand piece of his radio so badly that transmission become impossible. He was able to receive messages only occasionally. So Streed and Pfc. William Wegner, another radio operator, took turns carrying the SCR 300 radio. They managed to keep within range of their commanding officer and keep him informed of instructions being given to adjacent units of the Battalion.

When Co. K was immobilized by heavy machine gun and rifle fire, Sgt. Kenneth L. Wiser moved a machine gun into position and brought up ammunition, completely exposing himself. Alone, he engaged the Germans with sufficient fire to enable his company to advance. While he was displacing his gun forward the Germans again achieved fire superiority, bringing into action additional 88mm and mortar fire. Wiser again set up his machine gun and reopened fire, reducing the German resistance and enabling Co. K to reorganize and take its objective.

Heavy concentrations of 88mm and 120mm mortar fire fell in Burg that afternoon in an attempt to blot out the Battalion CP0. Five civilians were killed and eight wounded and much damage was inflicted on the town's buildings. But enemy resistance at Enkirch was soon worn down. Two rifle companies were in the town by darkness. During the first day of assault the Battalion had suffered four casualties, all wounded. That night Lt. Fred Pipkin and Lt. Robert C. Brown of Co. M established liaison with the line companies by motorized patrol.

Meanwhile, at the 1st Battalion crossing point, Capt. Paul J. Brown reorganized Co. A and started out toward Punderich. Lt. Leonard J. Michelson led a squad of his 1st platoon into the town, stealthily investigating each Strasse for German soldiers or signs of German occupation.

Before dawn the work had been completed and the squad rejoined its company. Thus the first German town in the 354th's line of advance into German territory had been taken within a few hours of the first dough's crossing.

The 1st Battalion was working south to the left of the 3rd. Just north of the point where the crossings were made the Mosel makes a sharp loop to the south so that the 1st was also going down a shore of the river, but on high ground above the river. With Co. B out in front, the Battalion reached some woods 1200 meters southwest of Briedel shortly after noon. Co. A, on the left of Co. B, took Briedel lightly defended by the Germans. The Germans lost two officers killed and several enlisted men taken prisoner. Pvt. Edward J. Cahill Jr., drew first blood for Co. A when he called to two German officers to halt. They were attempting to escape on a motorcycle and refused to heed his call. Cahill lifted his BAR and fired one magazine. His prize souvenirs are the pistols from these dead officers.

Northeast of Briedel, while scaling the river bluffs, Co. A ran into its first heavy opposition. After flushing a squad of Germans from a woods at the bluffs crest, they pushed out into an , open field to be met by heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire. Lt. Vincent D. J. O'Connell, leader of the weapons platoon, did not wish to be left out of the fun. Grabbing his carbine, he left his position to the rear of the company with his platoon and advanced to the front of the 3rd platoon. Running full tilt at the enemy, he was struck in the leg by enemy rifle fire and became the Division's first officer to receive the Purple Heart.

At BM 420 Co. A ran into a heavy artillery concentration which forced it to withdraw to the reverse northern slope of the hill. Co. B crossed a quarter mile of open ground without drawing fire but when Co. C and Co. D followed they were subjected to a heavy artillery concentration. Co. B casualties for the first day of combat were two dead and three wounded. The next morning at 0700 the remaining elements of the Regiment crossed the river on a pontoon bridge in the 353rd Infantry zone to the north to establish a CP at Briedel. Half an hour later the two assault Battalions moved on again. The 3rd Battalion left Co. I in Enkirch as a holding force. The A & P platoon assisted in putting in road blocks on all roads to the south. The Battalion, motorized, moved southwest towards Raversbeuren with the Anti-tank guns near its head. Small arms and machine gun fire began to dig into the lead elements from the town but the Battalion moved in and took it. The CP was moved to Enkirch and then to Raversbeuren that day. Communication and supply were maintained over rough terrain. More PWs were screened and deposited in a cellar for safekeeping. Night blocks were placed on all possible roads to the south and southwest and active patrolling was carried out by the line companies.

At 0900 the 1st Battalion again received artillery fire presumably from enemy troops in the 353 rd Infantry zone.


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