II. THE MARCH INTO GERMANY
AT 5:30 A. M., November 17, the 3d Army began its advance in the direction of Luxemburg. It was a
crisp Sunday morning all important events in the A. E. F. seemed to be inaugurated on Sunday when
the advance guards of the 3d Corps on the left (2d, 32d, and 42d Divisions) and the 4th Corps on the
right (1st, 3d, and 4th Divisions) crossed the line established on November 11. Exactly one week later,
also on Sunday morning, the 7th Corps began the forward movement, with the 90th Division on the
right, the 89th Division on the left, and the 33d Division in reserve. The 5th Division furnished line of
communication troops. The army aggregated approximately 250,000 men, and was commanded by
Major-General Joseph T. Dickman.
The armies of the Allies moved toward the Rhine simultaneously, following up the withdrawing
German forces. The sectors from Holland to Switzerland were originally allotted as follows: Belgians,
British, French, Americans, then French again. The Belgians were on the extreme north and were to
occupy Brussels, later Liege, and then the left bank of the Rhine opposite Düsseldorf. Adjoining them
on the south were the British, who advanced in the direction of Namur, Spa, Malmédy, to the bridgehead
at Cologne. The French armies, which came next, had a wedge-shaped sector which came to a point at
the line which had been the German frontier before the war. This wedge was through the heart of the
Ardennes, with Bastogne in the center. The axis of march of the American army was through
Luxemburg and thence along the valley of the Moselle River. On December 1 junction was made with
the British 2d Army on the north. The principal French sector was south of the Americans and included
Marshal Foch regulated the advance of the armies so that certain lines would be crossed
simultaneously on specified dates. The line to be crossed by the foremost elements on November 25
included Metz, Briey, Longwy, and Charleroi. Line No. 2, to be crossed on December 1, included
Saarbrucken and Sierck in the French sector, and coincided with the Luxemburg-German and Belgian-
German frontiers on the American, British, and Belgian fronts. The advance from this frontier through
Rhenish Prussia was regulated by similar lines.
The period from the time that the 90th Division took up the march on November 24 until
December 21, when Division Headquarters were established at Berncastel, Germany, was one of almost
daily marches. The marches were conducted practically the same as under peace-time conditions.
While all units put out advance-guards and observed all precautions for security, the dispositions seemed
more like training maneuvers than an advance into the enemys country. The strictest march discipline
was enforced, and great stress was laid on the correct formation of the column and the appearance of the
men and transport. Each regiment had a uniform style of pack, and the organizations vied with each
other in their attempts to present the smartest set-up.
From an operations standpoint, the principal features of the march were the securing of
information regarding routes and billets in time to prepare march tables, the selection of the best roads
without unduly scattering the command, the allotment of billeting areas near the roads, the distribution
of adequate road maps, and the marking of the routes. The area assigned the Division by the Corps
included two main roads. The general principle followed, therefore, was to assign one road to each
infantry brigade (the artillery followed later), and to route the 343d Machine Gun Battalion and the
315th Field Signal Battalion as billeting conditions dictated.