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3.  US Army Engineers – and the U.S. Navy
No crossing the river the size of the Rhine could be accomplished without extraordinary effort on
the part of the XII Corps engineers.  So special was this effort, and so successful, that the Third Army
Engineer published the confidential study of the whole Rhine operation.  Which was quoted in part and
the first section of this chapter.  The character of the crossing was like any one of the river crossings
made by XII Corps, and elsewhere described, only more so.  The magnitude of the task is outlined in a
single paragraph the Third Army study:
"the staging of the operation by the Corps was directed by the 1135th Engineer Combat Group,
and in accordance with the Corps Engineer's plan – approximately 100 storm boats and motors, 300
assault boats and motors, life belts and other pertinent items were assembled by the Corps in addition to
the T/E equipment of approximately 500 boats in 100 motors.  To back the operation with troops, one
heavy pontoon Battalion (minus one company) was initially attached to the Corps for use in rafting
operations, the remainder of the bit tie in and one other Battalion were subsequently attached.  To a
specially trained Engineer combat Battalion's having approximately 400 outboard motor operators, three
Treadway Bridge companies, to light pontoon companies plus a light equipment platoon and seven
battalions were attached as well.  Still another unit, one half of Naval Unit No 2, consisting of 12
LCVP's and their crews were attached and pioneered the use of Naval craft in a salt River crossing
Unique element of XII Corps' Rhine Operation was participation of the U.S. Navy.  The Third
Army History Team secured excellent combat interviews of the naval personnel involved, but perhaps
the most entertaining version of the affair as seen by our seagoing brothers-in-arms is to be found in the
"Atlantic War" volume of Commander Walter Karig's remarkable series of books on the Navy's Two-
Ocean War, Battle Report, Volume 2.  He tells the whole "yarn" of the inland operations of Naval Unit
No 2 in the words of its "Skipper," Lt Commander William Leide, USNR, from which the part about XII
Corps is excerpted:
"In early March Lt Gen Patton's forces broke through northwest of Koblenz and we were alerted. 
Someone decided that Lt General Patton was not to cross the Rhine at this time, so the alert was off. 
This was not particularly good for our morale.  After five months with the Army we were ready for
some naval activity.  The men had done everything from loading barbed wire on railroad trains to
painting over 15,000 directional signs.
"A couple of weeks later, at Third Army headquarters at Luxembourg, I was informed by
Brigadier General Conklin, head of the Engineers, that we were alerted.  He told me that the unit was to
be loaded and leave the following afternoon through a blazing Germany which had not yet been mopped
up.  I was informed that the road through which we were to pass was still in German hands but would be
captured by the following morning.
"On the 21st of March we were under way for Worrstadt, which was some 20 miles from
Oppenheim, Germany, where the Third US Army was all set for the assault.  My executive officer and I
reached the offices of XII Corps and were informed that a reconnaissance of the Rhine River had yet to
be made.  Lt (JG) D L Spalding, USNR, and I then played cops and robbers on the riverfront selecting
embarkation and debarkation points.  We were then briefed and introduced to the Commanding General
of the 5th US infantry division.  This famous division was charged with a mission of establishing and