Brigadier General Doyle O. Hickey, pipe smoking, aggressive, long-time leader of Combat Command "A", immediately assumed command of the division. The men had perfect faith in Hickey. They proved their allegiance by driving steadily forward. Bitterly, men of Task Force -X", now commanded by Lt. Colonel John K. Boles, Jr., a dynamic, boy-faced veteran of tank warfare, cleared the road-block which had cut Welborn's column, and then went on to take Haxtergrund.
At Paderborn, the 3rd Armored Division was striking at the "Fort Knox of Germany." Here the
Reich's panzer elements were trained for battle and it was these school troops, many of them officer candidates, who came out to fight the American spearhead with tanks, tank-destroyers, and the big bazookas which seemed to be Germany's last, potent weapon of defense. The school troops of Paderborn fought well, but the grindstone of battle was wearing Germany thin.
German soldiers and civilians alike were stunned by the swift approach of American armor. Under the Nazi imbued of the Death's-Head SS, young Germans 'who had trained at Paderborn, died on the grounds of their military camp. Hitler may not have known it, but' a majority of his troops, taken on the western front at this time, were fully aware of the fact that the jig was up. The POW enclosures were bursting with disillusioned "supermen." In small fields adjacent to almost every small town along the route they were standing, just waiting, looking beat-up and numb after the flame of battle. Small groups continued to ambush liaison men and messengers along the winding roads but frequently the enemy came marching out in company strength, waving white flags and looking for some one to officially put them behind barbed wire.
In clearing the Paderborn area, Lt. Colonel William R. Orr's ist Battalion of the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment alone captured 136 cannon, ten of which were active. Company "C", commanded by Lt. Robert J. Cook, was first on the city's airfield. The company was immediately pinned down by fire from two 88 mm and eight 2o mm flak weapons which Jerry had converted to ground use. Division tanks and other heavy weapons were brought tip to take care of these defenses.
On April i, the "Spearhead" Division had accomplished one of the great drives of World War 11, but the satisfaction of that victory was soured by the news of General Rose's death. There was no slacking off in the 3rd.
Task Force Kane was detached from the rest of the "Spearhead" and sent on a swift drive to the west. Overrunning sharp oppositions, these battle groups met elements of the 2nd Armored "Hell on Wheels" Division at Lippstadt. The 2nd had come across the flat, north German plain while the 3rd was making its two-way thrust, first to Herborn and Marburg from the Rcmagen bridgehead, and then north in a brilliant crossing of the "T" to seal off the Ruhr. More than 376,ooo enemy soldiers were hopelessly enmeshed by that historic drive. Significantly, the First United States Army announced that the mass encirclement would henceforth be known as the "Rose Pocket" in honor of the great general who was killed in action leading the first Americans to a decisive victory over Germany.
There was always one more river. This time it was the Weser, deep in central Germany. The war was winding up in a furious series of hard battles and confused situations.
After mopping up in the Lippstadt-Paderborn area, the two veteran combat commands jumped off on April 5th. The opposition still consisted of remnants from the SS training center at Paderborn, plus a conglomeration of various units. Although this type of resistance was not comparable with that received earlier in the war certain desperation and fanaticism produced bitterly contested local actions. In addition, the enemy still had a number of tanks and the new 128-mm tank destroyers left with which to fight.
By April 7, though, the "Spearhead" Division had reached its new objective to find every bridge blown. The Kraut, still tingling after his stupendous snafu at Remagen, was now blasting each and every span, which might aid the invader. It was late in the game for such tactics.
At the Weser, increasing resistance slowed advance elements, but the division prepared to hurdle the stream immediately. On April 9, crossings were made under moderate fire and the combat commands branched out. Twenty-two towns were taken before sunset and the task forces continued to advance.
On April 10th. tanks and infantry roared ahead, overrunning rear guard elements and dueling with occasional Panther tanks. A platoon of the 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, led by Lt. Duane Doherty, cleared a V-2 assembly plant at Kleinbodungen, and found a number of the huge rockets, complete except for warheads, lying on the jigs where they had been constructed. A nearby railway line had been totally destroyed by aerial bombardment, but the V-2 factory was practically undamaged.
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