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The Heart Of Germany


From the 80th Division G-2 reports:


"April, 1945 proved to be the most active, productive and colorful month of the 80th Division's history. The course of combat carried the division north from Wiesbaden to Kassel, with its great arsenal; thence south and east to Gotha and along the Reichsautobahn at breakneck speed through the rail center of Erfurt; Weimar (birthplace of the German republic) with its Buchenwald concentration camp; Jena with its Zeiss works; Gera, key traffic center of Germany; and to the outskirts of Chemnitz, German's textile capital.  Then a switch to the south brought us to rest in the Nazi shrine of Nurnberg.  From there we attacked south to Regensburg; crossed the 'Blue' Danube and continue pursuit south across the Isar River vicinity Landshut.


Enemy resistance was comprised of elements and remnants of a few veteran divisions and innumerable miscellaneous units, slapped together in one last defensive effort before capitulation. Key terrain features were defended with suicidal resistance to the last.  It is noteworthy that German artillery was almost non-existent.  Several moderately heavy concentrations were received during the attack of Kassel but elsewhere only light and scattered artillery was received.  Considerable tank activity was experienced during the first half of the month. Enemy air activity was a daily occurrence.  Major use was made of demolitions, road cratering, blown bridges, defended road blocks and mines in a effort to prolong the coming of the inevitable hangman's noose. During April the 80th doubled its previous P.W. total count, processing 32,318 prisoners through the division cage. Worthy of note in this connection was the utter disregard by P.W.’s of security consciousness - enlisted men and officers alike."


L-R: Dan Jones, Stan Nortavage,Earl Rex And Captain Ford.


The 80th Division G-2 report describes April Fools' Day, 1945:


"April 1st found the 80th Division south of Kassel on the Third U.S. Army and XX corps left flank. Opposing our forces were elements of the 166th and 356th Infantry Divisions, plus many miscellaneous units including replacement, anti-aircraft and Landesschuetzen battalions.  Fierce resistance from enemy small arms, automatic weapons, mortar and direct fire weapons met our attacking forces north of the Eder River.  Towns and key terrain features were used as strong points.  The enemy made use of blown bridges and other defensive works to slow our northward advance to Kassel.  Niederzwehren, Wellerode, Dennhage and Guzhagen were captured during the day."


From the 80th Division G-3 reports:


"During the month of April, 1945, the 80th Infantry Division played a major role in the dividing and conquering of Germany.  The beginning of the month found the 80th following the 6th Armored Division to the outskirts of Kassel, where the division passed through the armor and assaulted the city.  The 2nd day of the assault brought the surrender of the enemy garrison by the German Commander.  The 80th Infantry Division then moved to Gotha and again advanced to the East in conjunction with the 4th Armored Division.  The armor bypassed the major points of resistance to reach the Fulda River near Chemnitz. Author's Note: This is incorrect, and had to have been either the Chemnitz or the Zschoppau Rivers. The Fulda is a couple hundred kilometers to the west.  The 80th Infantry Division pressing close behind the armor, captured Erfurt, Weimar, bitter resistance was encountered from small, but fanatical elements of the Army and the Nazi Party.


Weimar was surrendered by the Buergermeister on receipt of our ultimatum. The drive to the East was halted on order from higher headquarters on the outskirts of Chemnitz.  On the 17th of the month, the 80th Division moved south and occupied Nurnberg, until recommitted on the 29th of the month, south of Regensburg.


Advancing south from the bridgehead, across the Danube River at Regensburg, the 80th Division reached the Isar River and at the end of the month had seized crossings of the Isar River and was prepared to continue the advance to the South. During the march, the 80th Division was attached to XX Corps.  The 633rd A.A.A. A.W. (Mbl.) Battalion, the 702nd Tank Battalion and the 811th T.D. Bn. (S.P.) were attached to the 80th Division.  A total of thirty-two-thousand-three-hundred-eighteen prisoners of war were taken by the 80th Division during the month of April.



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