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Lone Sentry: Unit History: 102d thru Germany


The Ozarks crossed the Rhine in early April, then hurried on across the rolling cultivated fields of Munster Bay. On 4 April the 102d paused to mop up the Teutogebirge. These conspicious ridges, mostly wooded, offered excellent cover and concealment for hundreds of stragglers and malingerers who became separated from their outfits as the tide of battle swept by. The forest cover, largely deciduous, but interrupted by evergreen groves and bushy patches was sufficiently dense to necessitate a tedious by foot search. Some three thousand prisoners were combed out of these woods and nearby villages. Among them were many who had changed to civilian clothes, some to evade capture, others under the impression that the war was over and having been "liberated" from the merciless bombings and artillery they were now free to return to their normal civilian pursuits. Whether flushed out of hiding or seized in the open, the enemy's reaction was nearly always the same -- a sigh of relief.
On April 7 a mildly dramatic incident broke the rather singular lethargy which had so far been the most notable characteristic of the defeated Third Reich in this particular part of Germany. Bielefeld was discovered to be suffering from an invasion of displaced persons, who were celebrating their release from servitude by looting the shopping district. German citizens themselves joined in plundering their fellow merchants and there then arose the justifyspacer
ugly head of international rivalry as to who would loot what. This led to rioting and by the time CT 407 entered town it was about to become a shambles.
Under the influence of the 1st and 2d Battalions, and perhaps somewhat intimidated by the Cannon Company at one end of the main street and the 927th Field Artillery Battalion at the other, quiet soon reigned. Company H meanwhile was busy quelling severe riots in Gutersloh. CT 407 had lost no time in restoring order to the troubled countryside.
Not all rear area pockets were willing to surrender so easily. East of the Weser river was a long steep wooded ridge called the Wesergebirge. An estimated 3000 troops had gravitated into this natural hiding place, more by chance than according to any preconceived plan. Many found themselves in this natural refuge after withdrawing from the path of the Allied armored thrusts. Among these men were many excellent leaders as well as a large proportion of young troops thoroughly indoctrinated by Hitler Jugend teachings. Units were hastily improvised, units with a high esprit de corps and no lack of will to fight. Arms were plentiful. Some men had as many as seven panzerfausts. Vowing death rather than surrender, they erected road blocks and dug well concealed foxholes, determined to fight to the last round. This is what CT encountered on April 10.

CT 406 crossed the Weser river early on April 9 and attacked at noon with the 3rd Battalion on the left and the 2nd Battalion on the right. They overran a few roadblocks and blown out culverts against moderate resistance. Then the 2d Battalion really had to start fighting for a patch of level ground between the villages of Todenmann and Eisenbergen. Well-entrenched infantry, several self-propelled guns and a few light artillery pieces offered stiff opposition. At the end of the day the little village of Todenmann was still in enemy hands.
It was during this first afternoon that a patrol from 2d Platoon, 102d Reconnaissance Troop met disaster. Back on the Roer river the troop had held part of the defensive line at Flossdorf. Coming up to the Rhine, they'd been out in front all the way. On the Rhine their defensive sector included the Lank-Latum-Nierst area, pounded unmercifully by Jerry's artillery. Now a two jeep patrol was ferreting out strong points for CT 406. As Sgt John H. Davis, Erie, Pa., and Cpl Aarol W. Irish, Hemlock, Mich., cautiously headed up the road towards Steinbergen, justifyspacer

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