Col. William B. Lovelady 1990 Recollects about being First into Germany
Col. Lovelady & Charles Corbin, Eddy Monford & Col. Lovelady, Bill & Dee Lovelady receive gift from Henri Rogister and Belgium People
INTERVIEW WITH COLONEL LOVELADY
BY CHARLES CORBIN, ASSISTED BY HENRI ROGISTER
AND EDDY MONFORD OF CRIBA (BELGIUM)
CORBIN: Colonel Lovelady I would like to talk with you about our entrance into Germany capturing Roetgen, and crossing the DragonTeeth.
LOVELADY: Charlie, we crossed the border about 4|: 00 in the afternoon and had no opposition. We crossed the railroad track and went into Roetgen. Right after we crossed there were ten or twelve newspaper correspondents and commentators that came up and wanted to get the whole story of the crossing, and I wasn't to impressed with that because we had just lost one our best Officers, Lt. Burroughs, a reconnaissance Officer that had led us into there and was one of the first ones to cross the border. We had to spend the night in Roetgen, because the formidable dragon teeth were just on the outside of town plus two pill boxes that had direct observation on us and we were getting artillery and small arms fire. The demolition Officer and I went down and looked at the gate that was just across the road, just about 25 feet from the dragon teeth and it had a lock on it but he said that there would be no trouble in blowing that lock with a charge the next morning. We had decided we weren't going to attack until next morning. The next morning after spending the night in Roetgen the men moved up along side the fence before the dragon teeth, and we removed the bars that were sticking out of the ground on the road and put them on the side of the road. We thought they were booby trapped, but they weren't. And we were under small arms fire at the time. And then we continued on up the road to Rott. We had to go through the forest to get there. Just as we got on the outskirts of Rott everything was clear up ahead but we began to get fire right from the edge of the town of Rott. And there were four or five Germany tanks that were hid in the orchard astride the road firing at us and we knocked several of them out and we finally quieted them down, and the way we did it was that they were firing at Lt. Burroughs tank that was knocked out the day before, and that gave us the knowledge of where they were firing from. So after we knocked them out, we thought we had everything quieted down and then about 700 yards off to our left, we saw this Panther tank creeping up the hill to get a good shot at us. In the meantime Gen. Rose and Gen. Hickey had come up and were standing; talking to me just at the Panther tank appeared. A lot of the men got concerned about the tank so I got one of the tank commanders that was close by and pointed the Panther out to him. His first shot hit the Panther under the underside where it was not well protected and he knocked it out, no question about it. In a short while we were able to get everything cleaned up and reorganized. We took off on our route to Muhlartshutte and bivouacked there for the night. That was about eight o'clock in the evening and we spent the night there before taking off next morning.
We didn't meet too much opposition after Rott until we went through Mausbach and Diepenlinchen and we were stopped in our tracks.
CORBIN: That was on September 16th, 1944 and early next morning, Lt. Patterson, Robert Hinehaur, and I went on an attack with a company from the 1st. Inf. Div. We were ambushed and surrounded by Infantry and three light tanks. Most were killed or captured. I managed to escape but Patterson and Hinehaur were wounded and POWs for a year.
Col. Lovelady, I know you have your After Action Reports in front of you as proof of what you had accomplished, and also this British Newspaper that says Task Force Lovelady was the first to cross the German border and First to capture a German town since Napoleon, and cross the Dragon Teeth.
No matter what others may claim, we know what you did. I thank you for relating this part of history to us. I was there with you and I wish to say that it was a pleasure to have served for you and with you.
LOVELADY: Charlie, it was through all of you men efforts that we were able to accomplish what we did.
I was at the dragon teeth in the early morning and went up on top of the dam on the right to help give artillery support to the Engineers filling in the hole at the bridge. When the tanks pulled out toward Rott we joined the column and were attacked by a tank and antitank gun at the crossroad and we coiled in a field to the right, after we lost three tanks. and Lovelady drove from Rott to Muhlartshutte, where he turned left to the direction of Breinig and Mausbach and on Sept 15 he split his column going through Mausbach and was attacked by German tanks that were picking off our tanks as they fired between the houses. We lost seven M4 Shermans and one TD. We were stopped at the slagpile past Deapaletchen on the 15th. On Sept. 17 we attacked with a company of Infantry from the First Division. We failed to take the high ground to observe what was holding us up. After we failed again on the 18th we backed off the slag pile. We had lost Dipeliechen and Mossbach.
We had lost more than half our tanks and about the same for our Infantry. We also did not have the fuel, ammunition, and supplies to go on. We had come a long way since the breakout from St. Lo, Mortain, the Falais Gap, Mons, Liege. We were worn out and a rest was in order.
- In 1990, Henri Rogister and Eddy Monford of Belgium visited me for two weeks. They both were members of CRIBA and were writing books. It was their first time in this country; I told them I would take them on a tour of the South for a Week. In Florida we could visit the Space Center and go to Disney World and anywhere else. How could we get to meet Col. Lovelady, they asked? So I made arrangements as Henri was making a Study of the WW II battle of The Northern Shoulder of the Ardennes in 1944-5, and Eddy was studying Manhay and Malmpre his home town recaptured by TF Lovelady Jan. 3, 1945. Col. Lovelady was happy to obligee and took us to dinner before the Interview.
- Henri and Eddy taped and photographed the interview. This is the only interview Col. Lovelady every did on Video.
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