Peragimus, "We Accomplish"
A River Again
The navy had nothing on the 358th Infantry; for river crossings were forever on the schedule and the assault boat became as familiar as the jeep. At quarter past four on the morning of the 6th of December, the First Battalion with "B" and "C" Companies in the assault crossed the Saar River in the vicinity of Wallerfangen, Germany, home of Franz von Papen. Farther down the river, the Third Battalion, led by "I" and "L" Companies scrambled down the steep banks near Oberlimberg, Germany, quietly loaded into assault boats, and made its way across the Saar. The 2nd Battalion, crossing after daylight on a footbridge, faced heavy mortar and machine gun fire from enemy pillboxes commanding the river line.
Once across the battalions faced the fortified cities of Pachten and Dilligen, bulwarks of the Siegfried Line. The main thoroughfares took on names like "88" Street and "Purple Heart Avenue". It became a war against steel and concrete. Troops were raked by fire from pillboxes cleverly concealed in harmless looking barns and shops. Once again supply men and engineers battled against a river. The Regiment's supporting tanks and TDs and the guns of the Anti Tank Company, had to be ferried across, for Jerry's heavy shelling prevented the construction of a bridge. Supply men pushed supplies of ammunition and rations across on every type of boat; alligators, ducks, assault boats and storm boats. Wiremen struggled day and night to maintain communications across the river despite a swift current and constant shellfire. For sixteen days and nights the battalions hit again and again into the enemy's fortifications. Continuously hammered day after day, the enemy was systematically blown out of one pillbox after another, as all three Battalions were employed to clear the major portion of Dillingen.
Then one day came the startling news of the great German counteroffensive in the Ardennes. Where they would strike next no one knew. During the hours of darkness on the 21st of December the Division quietly withdrew across the Saar, forsaking it's sizable dent in the Siegfried Line and moved to a defensive position in the Saar-Moselle triangle, facing the Siegfried Line again. The holidays were days of patrolling and constant alert for unusual enemy activity.
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