Navigation bar
  Home View PDF document Start Previous page
 22 of 32 
Next page End 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27  

The crossing of the great Rhine River came on the 26th of March.  As the truck drove slowly
over the swaying pontoon bridges the famous waters flowed deep and strong beneath them on all sides. 
Across the Rhine were visible the crumbled buildings which unerring American artillery had crushed. 
The once sturdy bridges which had crossed the Rhine banks were now a mass of twisted, broken steel. 
This crossing, routine though it was, marked a tremendous milestone in the Allied advance.  The great,
unconquerable, famous Rhine! … had been crossed!  And beyond it lay only the already faltering heart
of the Fatherland!
The Army rolled on … Sprendlinger … Partenheim … Weiterstad … Herbstein … 
Huesenstamm … Wachenbuchen … Sorga … Vacha … Viernau … Stutzerbach … Grafenthal …
Ebersdorf … B1ankenberg … Schwarzenbach … Marktredwitz … Windischenbach …
Oberviechtach … Cham.
The Allied armies were no longer marching on; they were steam rolling over the opposition. 
They were crushing everything before them with an irresistible force.  No delays, no stopgaps.  This was
a march to Berlin, the race between America and Russia … a friendly rivalry of fierce competition with
the laps on the course marked off by the Heinie cities and villages razed to the ground.
Only a few the villages remained unscarred by the havoc of battle.  And from every house in
these villages great flags streamed in the March wind … great white flies or surrender.  As ordnance
rolled on, groups of German soldiers would frequently march out of the outlying woods and fields, hand
upraised, anxious to give themselves up.  The infantry had bypassed him, or had had no time to bother
with them.  Ordinance sent them back to the PW cages.  The Heinies marched off, grinning, joking
together, happy to be safe and out of the fury of the flaming Holocaust which was their self created
All service trains traveled the roads with armored escorts during the first part of April. Fanatic
German SS Divisions that had been bypassed in the great forward were raising havoc with all supply
trains. Fortunately the company suffered no casualties. Before the end of the month armored escorts
were no longer necessary.
Daily more and more German soldiers were found wandering along the road, confused, anxious
to give themselves up. A constant stream of them moved rearward, being evacuated to PW cages.
German civilians themselves were hostile but helpless, and were terrified that we might do to them what
their Armies had done to others. They couldn’t understand the lack of deliberate destruction, the way
Americans didn’t commit brutalities or unnecessary butchery and murder; why their young women
weren’t raped or made slave-laborers. These American, they thought in bewilderment, are soft … and
unbelievably mighty! They were baffled by this contrast of gentle softness and warring fury which could
so completely overwhelmed their own ‘‘unconquerable’’ Wehrmacht.
Previous page Top Next page