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Drive Into Germany

 

From the 702nd Tank Battalion A.G.O. records: "Battalion engaged principally in Third United States Army drive into Germany.  During the month, activities for the battalion can be divided into two phases. From the 1st until the 13th of March 1945, this organization operated attached to the 76th Infantry Division and worked as a unit in their sector.  Resistance here was light, consisted mainly in extensive demolitions and heavy concentrations of light caliber artillery and nebelwerfers.  Anti-tank weapons were reported but rarely met and artillery and mines took the greatest toll of casualties.  In one freak accident, a medium tank, attempting to by-pass a bridge, hit a mine of undetermined size and became a total wreck with all crewmembers killed by the concussion.  The mine was believed to be an aerial bomb, considering the damage caused.  Units contacted during this operation were disorganized and confused by the many forceful American drives, and had broken up into combat units with very little centralized control. Major units identified were the 276th VG Division, the 560th VG Division and the 2nd Panzer Division, but they never organized any coordinated defensive sector.  During the second phase of operations, this unit was reattached to the 80th Infantry Division and moved to the vicinity of Saarburg.  Here a much superior type of German soldier was encountered.  They were trained mountain troops, members of the 2nd and 6th SS Mountain Divisions.  The power of the initial assault by the 80th Infantry Division broke up their defensive organization and robbed them of their will to fight.  From 17 March 1945 onward, the enemy was no longer able to develop any defensive potential and except for a few isolated incidents, retreated to other positions in disorder.  Hastily formed combat groups were thrown into our path, only to be overwhelmed, surrounded and captured.  Initial terrain difficulties were eventually overcome and in many places the assault took on the role of a road march.  At the Rhine River, the enemy attempted to halt the advance, using anti-aircraft men drawn from the Frankfurt Defense Area.  These were unable to accomplish their mission.  All attempts by the enemy, throughout the month of March, to contain our advance, were futile and in the end of the month saw this unit approaching the Germany city of Kassel, 250 miles from the starting point of Saarburg.  Due to the conglomerate hodgepodge of troops encountered late in the month, positive identification of units engaged was impossible.

 

 

At the beginning of the month, the battalion was attached to the 76th Infantry Division.  The Division was at this time engaged on the drive south to Trier and the Moselle River from the vicinity of Ferschweiler.  During the above mentioned operation, the companies were attached to the three regiments of the division as follows:  Company 'A' to the 385th Infantry; Company 'B' to the 304th Infantry, and Company 'C' to the 417th Infantry Regiment.  The company continued on this mission until the 76th Infantry Division reached the Moselle and contacted troops of the 10th Armored Division on 3 March 1945, at which time the battalion was assembled in the vicinity of Meckel and attached to the 17th Armored Group to form a Task Force to be known as Task Force Onaway.

 

Task Force Onaway was composed of the following troops:

 

Headquarters 17th Armored Group

702nd Tank Battalion

76th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop

Two Battalions of Infantry

One Company of Engineers

One Company supported Tank Destroyers

One Platoon of Military Police

One Battalion of Light Artillery

 

 

 

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