securing a bridgehead. Imagine our consternation when we were told that the jump off time was 2200
the same night. Our boats were still enroute.
"'Far Shore' was established at 0305 with Lt (JG) H S Szalach, USNR, as the far shore control
officer. Ensign O Miller, USNR, was the near shore control officer and farther downstream Ensign R D
Carter, USNR, took his post. Lt (jg) Spalding, my executive officer, crossed the river and directed these
operations. As soon as the preponderance of the boats were launched and dawn was breaking we were
heavily shelled by enemy artillery. The shelling was the inaccurate and did no damage.
"The launching of the boats was not a signal for intense activity. In fact my executive officer
and I had to solicit business from the infantry Joes who were still paddling across the river. By 0700 a
full-scale business was underway, contacts had been made with a traffic control officers and an endless
stream of infantryman and light combat division vehicles was crossing the river.
"The turn-around was speedier than anticipated. Crews were reduced by one half and a German
Hotel requisitioned so the man could be housed. A six-hour on, six-hour off watch was instituted, but
the officers stayed on continuously.
"With the advent of daylight we were subjected to more artillery fire which again was very
inaccurate. The vaunted German accuracy with the 88 mm was not in evidence. We were strafed four
times during the day and casualties were light. The Germans were merely indulging in nuisance raids
and accomplishing nothing as far as slowing down of traffic was concerned.
"Three of the LCVPs were employed in the building of bridges, laying nets and booms, and one
of them pushed what is known as a heavy pontoon ferry bringing across 70 tank destroyers and tanks in
less than 30 hours. The number of infantry crossed in 48 hours was in excess of 15,000 men. This does
not take cognizance of the tremendous loads of prisoners and wounded which the craft were bringing
from the far shore."
The Navy's part in XII Corps' crossing of the Rhine was highly thought of by XII Corps
personnel, and many in the Corps headquarters who were present at the crossing during all phases of the
operation were amazed to see how these capacious craft with their skilled crews expedited the build up
of an unassailable bridgehead. General Patton, in addressing a letter of commendation to Commander
Leide, spoke also for the men of XII Corps headquarters and units when he wrote: "Please except for
yourself and pass on to the officers and men of your command the sincere appreciation and admiration
of all elements of the Third U.S. Army for this superior work accomplished by your units. "
From the foregoing recital it will be seen that until the completion of the bridges the XII Corps
Rhine Crossing had all the aspects of the true amphibious assault on a hostile shore. As summed up by
the the 5th Infantry Division history: "By this time (afternoon of 23 March 45) the Rhine bridgehead had
taken on the appearance of Normandy transplanted into Germany with beachmaster, beachhead dumps
of ammunition and supplies, DUKW's, Weasels, and LCVP's, pushing back and forth transporting
ammunition and supplies to the assault troops pushing inland. "
The parallel in the early phases of the attack was so close that it was seriously recommended at
one time that the assault waves in the operation should be authorized a bronze arrowhead to be worn
with their battle stars on the ETO Campaign ribbon.