After crossing the Siegfried Line, we stayed at Allensdorf for a week, and on March 11th I got my first bath! Then came the long fascinating drive to the Moselle River. The 11th Armored had done the job, and there were dead German, horses, and equipment all along the way.

The next ten days were the hardest ones for me of the whole time in combat. We crossed the Moselle at Winningen, and in spite of hasty reconnaissance and total unfamiliarity with engineer assault boats, we made a good crossing at 0300 the morning of 16 March. That we completely surprised the enemy was proven shortly after daylight after we had reorganized high above the river when we killed or captured two entire German companies in the act of changing over. We captured 166 prisoners and killed in the neighborhood of 50. We had one killed and two wounded. I carried a carbine and had my first German in the sights when he surrendered to a man down on my right. I never did kill a German with a rifle, but got plenty with artillery.

The next day we took a long march through the woods, by-passing Waldesch and broke into the open overlooking the Rhine and the town of Rhens. It was a real thrill to see that river. The 345th took Koblenz.

Just at dusk we started down the road towards the town and caught up with Jerry again. Burp guns, machine guns, and sniper fire. I was mad clear through. We all were. These people were licked and they wouldn’t stop.

We piled in artillery and moved down towards town. It was pitch dark and Col. Cobb halted us. It was a long night. We lay in ditches by the road all night long while they fired machine guns over our heads. About 0400 a tank (ours) rolled down to us, and we began to feel better and at daylight we really shot up the town and the factories across the river. We filled the entire valley with smoke from the firing and then moved off the hill into the town. It was easy then.

At night we could put our feet in the river, but we didn’t dare move much in the daytime unless screened by building. We had a good time-lots of beer and that wonderful Moselle wine and champagne.

U.S. Army Star
Capt. Willard Dickerson
Liaison Officer at 1st Battalion Staff, 347th Infantry Regiment

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