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Welcome to the official site of the 35th Infantry Division in Europe during World War IIUnitsGeneral Paul BaadeAwards and DecorationsCasualties
Welcome to the official site of the 35th Infantry Division in Europe during World War II

To strengthen the American line and to prevent a German breakthrough, the 35th Division, less the 134th Infantry Regiment still fighting East of Bastogne, was trucked back to Metz on January 19th to pick up replacements and re-equip, clean up, get a good meal and then move on by convoy to defensive positions in the front line in the Vosge Mountains about 25 miles southeast of Saarguemines, between the 100th and the 45th Divisions. There we awaited a renewal of the German offensive which quite agreeably with us never came. We engaged in patrol actions and some artillery dueling which, compared to Bastogne, was a welcome relief, although the snow and cold persisted. The newly arrived shoe pacs, designed to cut down on trench foot, were a welcome addition in the Vosge snow drifts so long as we could remain in defensive positions.

KO'd Tiger Royal in Belgium

Meanwhile our 134th Regiment East of Bastogne continued pressure on von Runstedt’s rear guard who mounted delaying actions to cover the retreating German Armies. The Regiment experienced heavy artillery fire and some sharp infantry fire fights as they advanced steadily eastward, skirmishing daily with the German 560th and 340th Volksgrenadier Divisions, eventually arriving on January 31st at the Our River and outskirts of the Siegfried Line. No complaints appeared to be registered when the 17th Airborne Division relieved our Santa Fe soldiers on January 31st so that they could rejoin the division now en route to Holland.

With the removal of the threat of German counter-attack, the allies could return to the completion of the Rhineland campaign to sweep the Germans from the West bank of the Rhine River. The weather, one of the coldest winters in Europe on record, was moderating. We looked to return to the Third Army, but surprise! It seems that Ninth Army had some new divisions that were untested and that a battle trained, tested and proven division like the 35th – what you might call shock troops – would be a stabilizing factor to have in Ninth Army’s line of battle. So, we prepared for another long troop movement, 292 miles to be exact – the troops by train (40 and 8 box cars) and the equipment cannon, and supplies by truck convoy. Destination – Sittard, Germany, to replace the British 52nd Infantry Division, just West of the Roer River. That means going through Luxembourg and Belgium, through the Ardennes again, and through Holland and back into Germany. As we were then in France, that would mean a total of five countries. To fool the Germans, elaborate provisions were made to remove all unit markings on trucks and equipment, removal of the 35th Division patches, etc.. So, we embarked and traveled through the night, arriving in Sitard on February 2nd, 1945, where we were greeted with a shower of German air dropped leaflets welcoming the 35th Division to their new war zone!

An "88" knocked out near Honville Belgium

Now the newest division in the XVI Corps of the Ninth U.S. Army we were glad to be a part of what everybody now expected to be the last big offensive to end the war, relishing also to be under Gen. W.H. Simpson’s command. Gen. Simpson had been a former commander of the 35th division. I don’t think that any of us thought that we were also under the command of Gen. Montgomery, the British hero of North Africa who commanded the 21st Army group to which Ninth Army belonged. So much for Gen. Bradley, who commanded the 12th Army group to which our old friend, Gen. Patton’s Third Army was a part.

Medics of the 137th remove the wounded from Lustremange, Belgium, shortly after the town was shelled by artillery.

For the second time, the 35th Division was inside the German border. Unlike the hilly country around Saarguemines and the Blies River, this was the level lowland country in the Roer River Valley. The roads and fields were muddy and there were few if any civilians around as they had been evacuated by the British from the front line areas. Land mines and booby traps were all over, placed there by withdrawing German troops. The British had been in these positions for many weeks and cautioned us to be careful. There were snipers out there among the houses or behind bushes with scopes, who were good a picking off an unwary soldier. Machine gun nests were also at strategic spots, as witnessed by an unlucky Tommy who was still laid out along a road where he had been hit several days before and died too far from safety. No man’s land was soggy, and there was the constant threat that the Germans would blow the Roer River dams at any time and flood the area through which the Allied offensive must go. This the Germans finally did, forcing a delay in our attack across the Roer River from February 9th to February 23rd.

As the weather became milder we could see once again an end to the war – out there – somewhere – one last big push.....

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Quick Facts

By Maj. Norman C. Carey, Company A-320th Inf. Regt.

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