Connecting the Troopers of Today with the Veterans of Yesterday.
Does anyone recall the number/name of the WWII German division that used to send reps to our reunions (and we to their reunions)? The story goes that shortly before the War ended in Europe, the Regiment and the division were opposite one another. The Division was a tough but decent opponent and refused a surrender offer (our appeal was the War was about over and it made no sense for them to keep fighting) on the basis that their honor precluded surrender. They did accept a local cease fire and we provided fuel, etc. to permit them to conduct a passage of lines through us to administrative positions in our rear. Shortly after the War ended, convoys of their wheeled vehicles with US escorts were dispatched to several locations, as a means of getting their troops closer to their home areas. This decency and professional respect was the basis of the relationship between the two units. At the Norfolk, Virginia reunion the two (?) German veterans in attendance announced their Division had agreed to hold no more reunions, and so ended the visitations.
Would that be the 11th Panzer Division, Edward?
We faced them near Luneville, France, September 1944, in one of the largest tank battles of WW II. We faced them again December 1944 - January 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge.
Near the end of the war, we protected the 11th Panzer Division from the Russians until they could surrender to the 90th Infantry Division, complete with all weapons and vehicles.
In 1946, while we were guarding the 11th Panzer Division, a parade was to be given to Eisenhower in Munich by the 2d Cavalry. Unknown to Eisenhower, many of the troopers in the formations of the 2d Cavalry were German POWs from 11th Panzer, used to fill the ranks.
Dave - 11th seems to ring a bell, but I'm not sure. All I recall is that we had faced them before and they were tough, but "fought fair"; also, that after the passage, the German officers and senior NCO retained their weapons and were responsible for their units' internal discipline in their "administrative": positions. Don't recall any mention of the 90th or another U.S. unit. but assumed at the time the 2d probably had the combat power of a "pocket" division and was large/powerful enough to handle this by themselves.. But it makes sense that both sides in a later formal surrender would have called for general to general involvement. Am hoping that someone who attended our early reunions or has access to the reports will recall the division the German attendees were assigned to.
Yes Edward, that would be the 11th Panzer Division.The reason the 90th Infantry accepted the surrender is because Patton had the 2d Cavalry scattered all over, sneaking in and out of Czechoslovakia.
Dave - Thanks again! Just got through reading :Giving Up the Ghost" by BG Raymond E. Bell. What a story! And, always refreshing to read accounts of common sense and military professionalism winning out over politics. Edward
You beat me to the punch, you sly old dog. I was going to send you the link to that story.
Always a pleasure. Always ready, sir!
I cannot add to this specific discussion other than to say I recall my wife and I attending social function at the invitation of the local Panzer Regiment in Amberg. I do recall that several of the Field Grade Officers were wearing Iron Crosses. When I introduced them to my wife they did in fact bow and click their heels. (Just as depicted in Hollywood)
This last Sunday at the carwash I noticed a young E-7 in his BDU's….I mentioned to him that I served in the 2nACR in Germany….he pointed to his right shoulder….could you believe this he served in the Regiment 2003-04 in Iraq and later at Ft. Polk with the 2nd ACR(Light)!!! I finished by service in 67 as a Basic Training CO BTW this 42 year E-7 is a recruiter for Army MD's and Dentists….about 14 a month and he said he always makes his quota. In the 2nd ACR he was both a medic and artillerymen. Dick Rees PS In San Diego you do not see too many Army types