Editor's Note: The original edition of
"Scrap" Book, distributed in March, 1945, reviewed briefly and illustrated
in map 'and sketches the combat history of the 50th Infantry Division
!roan the time it started fighting in Normandy, on June 15, 1944. until it
jumped off from
Malmedy, Belgium, January 13, 1945, to drive, through rugged, snow
mountainous terrain, the German army from the territory it had gained in
the bold mid-winter offensive.
It told of the 30th's initiation to battle in the murderous hedgerows, its
veteran-like execution of the assault crossing of the !ire River and Mire
et Touts Canal to pave the way for the capture of St. Lo, ate heroic and
costly spearheading cal the war-shortening Std Lo Breakthrough an July 23,
its spectacular bottle of Mortain and St" Barthelmy when it thwarted four
German armored divisions spearheading an attempt to cut off General
Patton's newly arrived Third Army, and its chase of the stubborn
German armies during their withdrawal through Northern France, Belgium and
It told also of the attack through the Siegfried line into Germany, and of
the encirclement of Aachen which the 30th effected when it united
with the First Infantry Division to close the gap. It described the series
of "perfect" infantry attacks to expand the bridgehead in Germany and
build up American strength along the west bank of the Roer River and of
the spectacular eking over the 30th gorse the German 1st SS
Panzer Division (Adolf Hitler) when the told Hickorymen re rushed to
Belgium to aid the First U. , Army after Field Marshal Karl anon Rundstedt
launched his great counter-offensive into Belgium.
This issue of "ScrapBook continues, briefly, the story from here.
The fighting to pry the Germans out of
the Belgian Bulge in the rugged Ardennes forested mountains s as painful
as any the 30th Division had done.
For there Old Hickorymen had much more than the enemy to fight. There the
Germans were sitting inside looking out - looking down the throats
of the attacker which was bad enough, but to advance into their flaming
weapons 30th riflemen and their supporting elements had to struggle
through snow knee-deep on the level and in places up to their arm pits to
climb the mountains and rout the defenders.
Battle casualties were heavy, non-battle casualties - frostbite, trench
foot, exhaustion and pneumonia - the heaviest of any period, But the
battle against the Germans and the elements was successfully prosecuted
and after 11 days the 30th held the high ground looking down on St. Vith
and the Germans' last point of vantage in the Belgian Bulge was denied
With the Germans driven from Belgium the
30th was moved back to an assembly area in the vicinity of Lierneux,
Belgium, the first elements arriving there January 27, 1945. There the Old
Hickorymen enjoyed the Division's first period away from the fighting
front since it had entered combat more than six months before.
On February 2, 1945, the Division, in "top secret" orders, was alerted for
movement back to the Ninth U. S. Army, its aid mission in the First U.S.
Army having been completed, and with enforcement of utmost security
measures moved back to the Roer River area north of Aachen.
There the 30th practiced river crossing on the Inde River and "sweat out"
the decline of flood waters on the roaring Roer,
Still highly secret the 30th as the right flank unit of the XIX Corps and
the Ninth U.S. Army, benefited from the element of surprise when it
crossed the Roar River at 2:15 a.m. on February 23.
The operation was an engineer's headache and had caused much apprehension
among commanders and staff members.
Actually it wasn't a river crossing, but a crossing of a wide, boggy swamp
with a current of six miles an hour.
"'When this war is over, I'm going to explore the rivers of Germany to see
if there could possibly be a worse crossing site in the entire country,"
Lt. Col. Carroll Dunn, Division Engineer, had said during preparations for
Because it is at such an impossible place the crossing there was not
expected by the Germans and early opposition was light. After the surprise
element lost its effectiveness, the bridging work and troop crossing
continued uninterrupted by enemy action because of the skillful employment
of "manufactured fog".
In this spectacular assault crossing, two regiments attacked abreast. Each
had sent squads across the river in assault boats shortly after midnight
to aid the engineers and each regiment crossed two platoons in assault
boats when the artillery started its pulverizing preparatory fire.
Some troops charged into "booby-trapped" woods, all had difficult going
for several days when without rest they advanced from one objective to
The Division Artillery's barrage had driven the Germans to cover, in many
instances away from their weapons, and disrupted their communications to
ease the advance of the riflemen.
With this splendid support by the artillery and the tanks and tank
destroyers, the infantrymen fought east through Altenburg, Selgersdorf,
Krauthausen and Selhausen before turning north to blast their way past
Niederzier, Hambach through dense stretches of the mysterious Hambach and
Although originally scheduled to take only a limited objective, the 30th
was ordered to continue north and east and completed highly successful
attack after defeating the Germans in the Grevenbroich arid Kapellen
Spectacularly executing its part in the Roer River crossing the 30th was
secretly selected for the greatest river crossing of the many it had made
in Western Europe - the Rhine River crossing.
Under organized methods of deception the 30th keep its whereabouts unknown
to the enemy the 30th was moved back to the vicinity of Echt, Holland, on
March 6, and there on the Meuse River it staged the "dress rehearsal",
working with the Navy and the Engineers, for the assault it, with the 79th
Division, was to spearhead.
From an assembly area near Alpon at 2 a. m. on March 24, after the
greatest artillery preparation of the war in Western Europe the 30th
attacked across the Rhine, three regiments abreast. First elements crossed
in storm boats, followed by troops in assault boats and later while the
bridgehead was being established all types oŁ amphibious equipment and
engineering equipment were thrown into the operation.
The 30th crossed immediately south of Wesel and engaged in exhausting
fighting until it reached Dorsten,
Then from Dorsten it motorized and with the Second Armored Division and
the 83rd Infantry Division headed east estimation Berlin.
Fighting from there on was scattered. There was a scrap in the mountains
passes near Detmold and a battle for Brunswick after a dramatic conference
under the white flag of truce between Major General Hobbs, 30th commander,
and Major General Karl Keith, commander of the German troops in the
Brunswick garrison, failed to bring response to General Hobbs' demand for
unconditional surrender of the garrison.
The German general was captured later trying to flee the old Hickorymen who
had attacked and captured the city.
Prior to the capture of Brunswick, the picturesque towns of Hamelin, scene
of the Pied Piper legend, had fallen to the 30th.
The 30th's last major fight was in the taking of the large city of
Magdeburg on the Elbe River and then it went promptly into occupational
duties while awaiting the link-up with the Russian army which occurred May
5 east of Schoenebeck.
In the meantime Major General Kurt Dittmar, an official German military
news commentator, had surrendered to the 30th in Magdeburg.
Every before V-E Day the 30th's area had been extended as it took over
territory from other divisions moved back from the front for crew
assignments, and it worked into its peacetime job smoothly.
Late in May after the British moved in to occupy the Magdeburg-Oschersleben-Halberstadt-Aschersleben
area the 30th moved south, established its Division CP at Possneck and
occupied an area bordering Czechoslovakia.