"The Tomahawk Strikes"
"From the Siegfried Line to Victory"
From their toe-hold on the east bank of the Roer, the 29th and 30th Divisions picked up speed and momentum. The 29th took Juelich, by-passed and later wiped out the resistance in the ancient citadel; the 30th made speed through the Hambach Forest to take Steinstrasse. Both divisions made full use of their maneuver-room, taking the towns that dotted the area with speedy and economical flanking attacks both day and night. that gave the Germans no chance to dig in anywhere. It was muddy, disagreeable moist country, of small farms with clusters of slate-colored plaster and brick farmhouses; the tree-lined roads of brick or cobblestones slippery with mud. Open stretches of fields were commanded by 88's and self propelled guns, and systems of trenches on the commanding ground. Each town was a strong point, or had been intended to be. In many of them however, the Volkssturm forces were so quickly inundated by the American advance, that they got no warning at all, and dissolved into civilians without firing more than a few shots. In some places, where the forces from in front managed to withdraw and fight a delaying action, or reserves came up from the rear, there was sharp fighting.The enemy rushed some of the best troops we had on the West Front - 9th Panzer, 11th Panzer, 130th Panzer Lehr, elements of 2nd Parachute and 15th Panzer Grenadier, plus assorted infantry divisions - to attempt to halt the threatened disaster. Our battle-hardened 29th and 30th, and 2nd Armored Divisions knew what to do and did it speedily and expertly.
On the fifth day of the attack, the stage was considered sufficiently set to let go with the finishing blow. The 2nd Armored Division was ordered in for a powerful smash to finish off the industrial area on the west bank of the Rhine centered around Muenchen-Gladbach, Neuse, and Krefeld-Jerdingen. The whole 2nd Armored attacked all along the line, and despite heavy resistance the first day, made an advance of six miles. The blow was stronger because elements of the 83rd Division attacked with the armor. Meanwhile the 29th Division continued its drive, and by the first of March had taken and cleaned up the last resistance in Muenchen-Gladbach - Rheydt. This was an important manufacturing city, with large cloth and steel mills.
The 2nd Armored drove between Muenchen-Gladbach and Neuss and continued north to reduce the manufacturing centers of Uerdingen. The 83rd Division, an outstanding newcomer to the Corps, peeled off to the right, and proceeded to clean up Neuss, and came very close to seizing the big Rhine bridge there intact. The 2nd Battalion of the 331st Infantry was the first to reach the Rhine just south of Neuss. Meanwhile the 30th Division and the 113th Calvary Group had been guarding the right flank of the Corps along the Erft River, until the units of the VII Corps came up the other side of the river and relieved them of that task.
By the fifth of March the 2nd Armored had taken Uerdingen, and the task of the Corps was finished, for this operation. The speed of the Corps advance came near taking several of the bridges across the Rhine, but the enemy finally succeeded in blowing them all at the last moment, often marooning considerable numbers of enemy troops in the process.
XIX Corps was ready and anxious to forge the Rhine forthwith, and believed firmly it could be done. But higher headquarters decided to wait until the drive could be set up to go all the way to Berlin, once we were across. The divisions of the Corps moved up solidly along 26 miles of the Rhine's left bank.
In the ten day drive, XIX Corps took more than 11,000 prisoners, 353 towns, and over 300 square miles of territory at the price of a proportionately very small casualty list. Corps Artillery fired nearly 2500 missions for a total of about 250,00 rounds; Corps Engineers built 3040 feet of all types of bridges; the Tank Destroyers destroyed 65 enemy tanks and armored vehicles, and the Corps AAA shot down 30 planes. It was a dashing example of fine teamwork and dynamic direction.