History Lesson / February

The Siegfried Line

In September 1944, the 29th was shipped east to help with the drive toward Germany. By this time, the Allies were re-grouping for what was believed to be the final push for Germany itself. Initially the 29th would be placed in a defensive position to support other units, but it would not be long before they would take part in the final push into the German heartland.

The Battle of Aachen marked the first major battle within Germany itself. The enemy resisted fiercely and the battle would rage all through October. The 29th provided crucial flank protection for the US forces involved by engaging the 183rd Volksgrenadier Division and keeping it from reinforcing the embattled German forces at Aachen.

The division also put pressure on the German Siegfried Line, a string of fortifications along the frontier of Germany. The ultimate goal of the Allies was to sever this defensive system of tank traps and bunkers, and open the path to the heart of Germany.

On 2 October, 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 115th Infantry Regiment attacked Hatterath and Kreuzrath, achieving their objectives with the help of the 747th Tank Battalion. Close co-ordination was required to effectively attack the dogged German resistance.

By early October, the Birgden-Kreuzrath area was finally cleared. At this point, the 115th settled down to a period of active patrols and reconnaissance for future operations. Throughout the month, the 29th learned more valuable lessons in urban warfare that would serve them well in future operations. Building on actions in St. Lô and Brest, the soldiers found that fighting from house to house was very dangerous on the attack, and prone to being surrounded on the defense. Communications and artillery was key and every attempt was made to provide equipment and plans for calling in mortar fire and other assets for support. During this period, the 29th cemented its reputation as tough-minded assault troops.

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