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Lone Sentry: Unit History: 102d thru Germany

on the RHINE
Once the enemy had gained the safety of the east bank of the Rhine he lost no time in demolishing the Uerdingen bridge and immediately set to work to improve his defenses in the Mundelheim salient. This salient, formed by a huge westward bend in the river, afforded an excellent crossing site, since it was not highly built up, possessed good boat and bridge assembly areas, and was serviced by a number of roads favoring a southern encirclement of the Ruhr. Moreover, the mighty Rhine, having been crossed on March 7 at Remagen, had already lost a good share of its historical reputation as the most formidable water barrier in western Europe. Ozarks soon had a chance to size up the river for themselves for on March 11 the 102d relieved elements of the 95th and 2d Armored Divisions between Nierst and Rheinhausen to the north.
On the other side, 351st Volksgrenadier Regiment spent two whole weeks in organizing an alert defense. As late as March 15 one of our patrols reconnoitered Huckingen, four miles east of the river, once again establishing a record for the 102d Division, for at that time it was the deepest penetration yet made into Germany. Along their route they observed and by-passed with impunity several work parties busily digging and stringing wire. Several days later, however, our nightly patrols began to encounter alert outposts watching the river. Only opposite Uerdingen could the east bank be attained with any degree of safety. Prisoners identified the 2d Paratroop Division which had been shifted down from the north.
At this time 2d Paratroop Division was one of the strongest and best equipped German justifyspacer
"Jerry planes," yelled the convoy guards waving warning signals to the driver behind. Fifteen big trucks all loaded to the top with gasoline shrieked to a stop. Three FW 190s swooped down strafing the column from end to end, little dust spurts marking each bullets' strike. Back they came for a second run, then a third before giving up the dispersed vehicles as a bad target. The score: four punctured tires. The rest of the column proceeded serenely down the road maintaining its record of deliveries. It wasn't the first time troops of 102d Quartermaster Company had been under fire. Drivers of the outfit claim to be "first" into München-Gladbach, although they didn't know it at the time. It was just another case of wrong roads. The error was discovered when a fusilade of shots peppered the leading truck. This convoy had more important things to do, however, than capture cities, so they turned around, leaving the town for the 29th Division to clean up. They moved gasoline and ration dumps into Gevenich under enemy artillery fire only two days after the Roer crossing. Tanks were gassed up right on the Lovenich battlefield. Across the Rhine QM troops were in Hereford several days before the rest of the 102d caught up.
When the 102d attacked, the QM company handled a daily average of 50,000 gallons of gasoline. To feed the division, every man in the
ration section loaded or unloaded every day an average of 2 tons of food, including 25 items that had to be drawn, sorted and "broken down". And sometimes they had to travel 650 miles back to get the stuff. When most of Ninth Army ate "operational rations" Ozarks enjoyed "A" rations. Why? Because our ration haulers were always first at the railhead every morning.
During the winter 102d Quartermaster Company handled nearly a half-million dollars worth of food, clothing and gasoline every month. Take combat boots for example -- 4000 pair every 30 days, valued at over $30,000. Or trousers -- 10,000 pairs in March, worth $47,789.18. As future tax payers they saved us an average of $46,000 every month by reclaiming and reissuing some 22,000 different items of clothing and equipment.
In their "spare time" they operated baths. Back in Palenberg they solved a bathing problem by setting up squad tents inside damaged bath buildings. In Krefeld the city bathhouse in the hands of our QM furnished an average of 1700 daily baths. When flags and ambulance markers were unobtainable, QM Joes sat down with liberated sewing machines and stitched up several hundred. No job was too big to be tackled nor too small be ignored. That's why men of the 102d Quartermaster Company now proudly wear an embroidered wreath on their right sleeve.

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