The big job in January was to eliminate the German salient at the Roer-Wurm confluence.
This was a formidable piece of ground defended by a little stub of the old Siegfried
Line. Plans were necessary. Plans were made. Snow suits were issued. Assault teams,
specially trained in attacking fortified positions, were organized. British 43d Division
on our left planned to attack at the same time. The use of British attachments gave us
an opportunity to learn a little of the British Army language and get acquainted with
Tommies of the Dragoon Guards Armoured Regiment, the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, the
Lothian and Border Yeomanry. Everything was set for the attack at 0730 26 January. And
then the Germans, growing increasingly faint-hearted under our thunderous artillery,
relentless patrolling, and devastating raids, withdrew, "to shorten their lines".
During the night of 24-25 January great explosions rocked the river valley. Dawn revealed
the Korrenzig bridge and many others in ruins. No enemy traffic could be seen in the
bridgehead. Patrols found the towns abandoned. 1st Battalion, 405th Infantry, seizing
Honsdorf and Flahstrass, discovered the pillboxes deserted but littered with booby-traps,
time-bombs, and antipersonnel bombs. They pushed on through Randerath to Himmerich,
rounding up nineteen prisoners enroute.
3d Battalion, 406th Infantry secured the Lindern sector. 2d Battalion moved into Brachelen
encountering nothing hut cheval-de-frise obstacles and schu-mines in every street and door
yard. 1st Battalion moved rapidly to Gut Rischmuhle where it linked with Troop C of the
17th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, attached to the Ozarks for this operation, Before
noon 26 January all objectives were well in hand with nothing more than a scattering of
artillery fire to impede the attack. During the afternoon a 406th patrol penetrated
Hilfarth -- at that moment further into Germany then any other allied unit in the
history of World War II.
"I saw a man floating in the black smoke of an exploding mine." - Brodie.
The New York TIMES had this to say:
NINTH LOSES BUT 9 MEN
(By The Associated Press.)
BRACHELEN, Germany, Jan. 26. – This badly battered old city, ten miles inside Germany,
and six surrounding villages were in American hands tonight without an artillery shell
The last plug was knocked from the Siegfried Line in this sector at a cost up to noon of
nine casualties. A hundred Germans are prisoners and the rest have fled into the blue,
tree-topped hills to the east along with the civilians.
Most of the casualties were wounded by the mine fields, as Brig. Gen. Frank A. Keating's
102d Infantry Division, whitecloaked against the snow, surged forward early this morning
and overran ninety-seven pillboxes.
The division struck three regiments abreast against such light opposition that plans
for an elaborate artillery barrage were canceled.
The 407th Infantry Regiment, commanded by Col. James Reed of Fort Smith, Ark., ran into
some machine-gun fire, but otherwise little fighting was necessary.