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Lone Sentry: Unit History: 102d thru Germany

St Tonis road. Company B, on the north side of the highway, was soon pinned down by the defenders of the water works and was so close to some of these that it engaged in a hand-grenade fight. Company A was able to work its way gradually up the south side of the highroad, and by midafternoon had cleared out the first fine of buildings south of the steel works. It was then withdrawn, while Company C came up behind it and deployed, facing north in the woods which fringed the south side of the highroad. This maneuver put the two companies into a V-formation, with the left of Company C tied in with the right of Company B, still pinned down along the road to St. Tonis and facing east. The attached tanks and tank destroyers were then brought up, and endeavored to attack north in conjunction with Company C. It was now about 1530.
One platoon of tanks was to go around the water works to the north, relieving Company B's situation, and the other platoon was to go around to the south. This maneuver was ruined by the extremely effective fire of two enemy tanks, which were emplaced behind a streetcar on the highway to the north of the steel works, and which could not be by-passed because the ground was open and afforded no concealment. It was not until several rounds of 8" artillery fire fell around them that these opponents gave ground and withdrew into the city.
In the meantime, at 1800, the 2d Battalion 405th Infantry, which had deployed and was awaiting orders at Holterhope on the Neersen-Krefeld highway, was committed between the 1st and 3d Battalions. It jumped off from the right of the highroad, by-passed the steelworks to the east, and headed northeast for the housing development of Stahldorf. The 2d Battalion passed by the 1st Battalion in the gathering darkness without making contact, but its presence was sufficient to put the defenders of the steel works and the water works into a highly disagreeable position.
A short advance due north towards the city was now executed, the buildings of the steel works were stormed and secured, and here the 1st Battalion halted for the night.
The 2d Battalion had run into heavy fire as it came abreast of Stahldorf. This fire came from buildings for the most part, but there was also a good deal of sniping from behind hedges, where the snipers were so well concealed in the darkness that the Battalion had literally to fight from one patch of shrubbery to the next. Part of this opposition was composed of civilians, and a few of the more persistent and accurate of these -- a curious illustration of the maxim that the female of the species is deadlier than the male -- subsequently turned out to be women.
During the night of 2-3 March all effective resistance inside Krefeld was withdrawn, and when the 405th and 406th Infantry Regiments resumed their attack in the morning they met with no opposition. Some German soldiers, it is true, were left in the city, but these, owing to a lack of communications or possibly of common sense, did not seem to be aware that Krefeld was under attack. A whole Kraut platoon, marching at shoulder arms in the direction of its PX, was captured by members of the 406th Infantry. By 1000 the Division was in control of all Krefeld south of the main east-west thoroughfare. Contact was established with the 84th Infantry Division north of this line. At 1200 Krefeld was officially declared to have fallen, and so the campaign came to an end.
Stars and Stripes paid tribute to the accomplishments of the 102d Infantry Division with a headline announcement that "OZARK DOUGHS CAPTURE 4000, 86 LOCALITIES". The story continued, "Major General Frank A. Keating's Ozark doughboys . . . . . paced Ninth Army's whirlwind push to the Rhine, capturing over 4,000 prisoners and investing three cities Erkelenz, Viersen, and Krefeld." There were times when the advance was properly described as meeting only "light" or "limited" resistance. But these are relative terms, for the enemy was so out-led and out-fought that their capabilities were never allowed to develop into anything other than light or limited reaction. In those 33 long miles from Linnich to Krefeld the 102d Infantry Division had hiked and fought its way not only through the heart of the Rhineland defenses but up the long road of fame as well.

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