Heroes: the Army
"...The next morning we again attacked and as we were atempting to get into the apple orchard I was wounded in the leg by sniper fire which came from one of the apple trees..."
Elwood G. McLeod
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. F., 405th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942-1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Woodland, MI
Elwood G. McLeod: Letter - dated 23 May 1989:
From: Elwood G. McLeod, Charlotte, Michigan.
I also reported to Camp Swift, Tx. I recall the attack at Beeck, Germany on Nov. 21 -- 23, 1944. The day before Thanksgiving, sometime after 1200 hours we went into the attack and ran into dug -- in Tiger -- Royals from which we retreated and then also, dug -- in. Bill Helser was wounded in the arm by sniper fire in this attack and was sent back. The next morning we again attacked and as we were atempting to get into the apple orchard I was wounded in the leg by sniper fire which came from one of the apple trees. After I was wounded one of our medics dug a slit trench for me and pulled me into it, treating my wound as best he could under the circumstances. Before he left, he put my bayonet on my rifle and stuck it in the ground. It rained most of the day and with the fighting and the tank movement going on around me I was not really sure what all happened. I recall the fighting stopped sometime around late afternoon or early evening. About 2100 hours the moon broke thru the clouds and I saw silhouettes against the skyline and I started yelling hoping they were GI's. Fortunately, they were. As I recall, we were surrounded on 3 sides in this disastrous action. Being wounded early on Thanksgiving morning and spending the rest of the day and night in a slit trench until I was picked up by the medics, I can't tell you much more about the battle. I was flown by C-47 to Southhampton, England. From there taken by hospital train to Kidderminster, England and was hospitalized there until the middle of March 1945. Then transfered to a hospital ship, arriving in the USA around the l of April. I was a patient at Schick General Hospital in Clinton, Ia. and discharged on Memorial Day, 1945. In N.Y. last year I saw Al Hottin and Col. Eric Bishoff who was the 3rd Rug. Cmdr. I remember Sgt. Matuchefsky, as he tried to either break me or get me to go AWOL.
------ Elwood G. McLeod
The following was given to me for insertion in the Kitchen History papers by Lt. Jim Hansen, Longview, Tx. --
WASHINGTON, 25, D.C. 5 Feb. 1947
Training Centers -- Certain,discontinued----------------Section X
BATTLE HONORS -- Citation of units--------------------Section II.
II --- BATTLE HONORS -- as authorized by Executive order 9396 (sec. 1, 1948) Bul. 22, 1943) superceding Executive order 9075 (sec. III, WD Bul. 11, 1948) the following units are cited by the War Department under provisions of section IV, WD Circular 333, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows;
The 405th Infantry Regiment and the following supporting units, 1276th Engineer Combat Battalion:
Company A, 327th Engineer Combat Battalion;
Company B, (less one platoon), 327th Engineer Combat Battalion; Forward Observation Parties, 327th Field Artillery Battalion; Forward Observation Parties Company A, 3rd Chemical Mortar Battalion; are cited for outstanding performance of duty in action on 23 and 24 February, 1945, during the crossing of the Roer River at Rurdorf, Germany, and the establishment of a bridgehead in that vacinity. With only two possible crossing sites in the sector, one of which was rendered useless by the destruction of a dam and the resulting inundation of a large portion of the river valley, the regiment was forced to cross in column of companies on a one-company front. When leading elements started crossing in assault boats at 0330, 23 February, 1945, the enemy reacted quickly and laid down a terrific barrage on the single crossing site. Braving this deadly hail of fire and struggling against the treacherous current of the flooded river, the regiment succeeded in crossing by sheer courage and determination. Despite the loss of men and equipment in the icy waters, units assembled quickly on the far bank and started for their objectives. Traversing over 3000 yards of flat, soggy, partially innundated river valley, overrunning and capturing, frequently by hand -- to -- hand combat, a maze of strongly defended emplacements and trenches, passing through numerous mine fields and barbed wire entanglements, and constantly under direct fire and observation from the escarpment beyond, assault elements succedded in capturing the town of Tetz aand the high ground beyond the river valley. Beating off a strong counter attack, the regiment continued its attack, driving through the Tetz -- Boslar Valley and capturing the town of Boslar and the high ground to the northwest. Unable to proceed beyond Boslar because of withering fire from enemy tanks and infantry on the high ground to the northwest, the regiment dug in, with orders to hold at all costs pending the arrival of tanks, tank destroyers, anti tank guns and other supporting weapons, which had been unable to cross the river. Quickly launching a counter attack against Boslar, the enemy succedded in penetrating the forward possition, but, after a vicious fight, was forced to with draw. Later, another attack was launched against Boslar, but was stopped before it reached the town. Still later, a third attack was launched against the same sector, which was led by some 30 tanks and self -- propelled guns, followed closely by about 200 infantry -- men. Striking with great force, the enemy quickly overran the forward positions and penetrated as far as the Battalion reserve line. Forward elements and company supports, refusing to yield an inch of ground, allowed themselves to be over run and then emerged from their positions to engage enemy infantry from the front, flanks, and rear. Fierce fighting ragec through the town. Calling for artillery fire to be laid on their own positions, the defenders finally succeeded in clearing the town and forcing the enemy to withdraw. The enemy launched four additional attacks against Boslar during the night. These were thrown back before reaching the town and the fourth, altho penetrating it slightly, was finally repulsed by the same relentless, unwavering detremination and repeated individual feats of heroism which characterized the entire action. Throughout the remainder of the regimental sector, the enemy launched numerous smaller counterattacks, but all were thrown back with heavy losses. By dawn, all positions were completely restored and intact. Despite continuous and savage fighting without rest or respite for over 27 hours, members of the regiment climaxed a brilliant initial sucess by jumping off on at dawn in a continuation of the attack, which never failed to capture a single objective. The conspicuous gallantry, esprit de corps, indomitable fighting spirit, and determination displayed by the members of the 405th Infantry regiment and its supporting units are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army.
BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR;
(signed by) DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER,
Chief of Staff.
Edward F. Witsell
The Adjutant General
The Allies Drive for the Rhine
On March 12, 1945, LIFE magazine ran an article on the crossing of the Roer River. This article was by LIFE photographer, Geroge Silk who took some dramatic photographs of just one small part of the crossing. If you wish to read this article and see the haunting images, click on the link below.This article offers an insight into what the men of Co. F experienced.
Interested in some background information?
Check out the related links below...
United States Army, 102nd Infantry Division
102 Infantry Division
History of the 102nd Infantry Division
Attack on Linnich, Flossdorf, Rurdorf - 29 Nov -- 4 Dec 1944
Gardelegen War Crime
Gardelegen: April 13, 1945:
Massacre at the Isenschnibbe Barn
American Battle Monuments Commission: WWII Honor Roll
National World War II Memorial
Information and photographs were generously provided to World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words by Mr. Edward L. Souder of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The subjects of these essays are all members of Co. F., 405th Regiment.Our sincerest THANKS for allowing us to share their stories!
Original Story submitted on 19 September 2002.
Story added to website on 26 September 2002.
September 5, 2002.
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