World War II:  With the 71st Division in Europe

  

The Fourteenth Regiment in World War II
Excerpted from the 84th Organization Day Program
August 14, 1945


On June 7, 1943, the 14th left Panama for San Francisco, California.  Camp Carson, Colorado, near Pikes Peak, became the 14th Infantryís camp on June l, 1943.  The 71st Light Division was activated July 15, 1943, and the 14th Infantry became one of the three colorful regiments comprising the 71st Lt. Div.  About February 10, 1944 the 71st Lt. Div. was ordered to Hunter Liggett Military Reservation in California for the most grueling maneuvers known in the United States Army, after which the list Div., of which the 14th is an active Regiment, moved to Ft. Benning, Georgia, on May 24, 1944.

The Regiment completed training as part of the 71st Light Division early in May 1944, shipped a large percentage of its personnel overseas as replacements, and departed for Fort Benning, Georgia, where the 71st Division was re-activated as a regular triangular division on May 26, 1944.  Normal garrison duties and field training took place during the months from June to December as the Regiment completed reorganization and training as a normal table of organization Regiment.

The Regiment moved to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey early in January of 1945 and sailed from the New York Port of Embarkation on the Navy Troop Ship "General J. R. Brooke" on January 26.  Men of the Fourteenth debarked at Le Havre, France, thirteen days later after a quiet crossing of the Atlantic and established themselves at Camp Old Gold, France.  By truck and rail the Fourteenth moved 350 miles southwest across France early in March to an assembly area in the vicinity of Deuze in the rear of the Seventh Armyís lines bordering the Sarre-Mosel Triangle.

On the nights of the 13th and 14th of March, the Regiment shifted by night 39 miles into a position guarding the right flank of the Fifteenth Corps.  The first battalion under the command of Lt. Col. (then Maj.) Samuel E. Hubbard made the Fourteenthís first contact with the enemy on March 16 as it relieved elements of the Third Battalion, 399th Infantry Regiment, on the right flank of the 100th Divisionís attack on the city of Bitche.  The battalion pushed outposts forward 1000 yards and took fourteen prisoners without suffering any casualties.

After helping mop up the Bitche area, the Regiment took part in the breaching of the Siegfried Line.  It jumped off at 1200 hours on March 22 to protect the 71st Infantry Divisionís right flank as it attacked.  The Division was on the right of the XXI Corps drive on Pirmasens.  During the afternoon and early evening of that day, the Regiment advanced, by truck and foot four miles through the Siegfried Line against light resistance.  Road obstacles, craters, and demolished bridges slowed the advance.

Two days later the Fourteenth lay on the west bank of the Rhine River near Speyer, Germany.  A feigned crossing of the river in strength, drew the enemyís attention from the Seventh Armyís successful main effort above Mannheim to the north on March 25.  Under cover of smoke, reconnaissance patrols from the Regimental I & R Platoon crossed the river in assault boats, returning without casualties.  At 0100 hours, March 26, the Second Platoon of "E" Company slipped across the Rhine in four assault boats, took mortar fire while crossing, and exchanged fire with the enemy for fifteen minutes after reaching the east bank.  The Platoon withdrew under cover of smoke after suffering seven casualties.

On March 29 and March 30, the Regiment covered 105 miles by motor, crossing the Rhine River on a treadway bridge at Oppenheim on the 30th.  Monthís end found it in position near Frankfurt-on-the-Main.

During its first twenty days in combat, the "Right of the Line" Regiment constantly found its positions on the right of the line.
 

1/14th Officers, August 14, 1945


During that period it moved by truck and by foot approximately 180 miles under combat conditions while helping in the clean-up of the Sarre-Mosel Triangle and the crossing of the Rhine River.

The Fourteenth served under three armies during the month.  It completed its final preparations for battle under the Fifteenth Army at Camp Old Gold, aided in the Sarre-Mosel clean-up under the Seventh Army, and jumped the Rhine and continued east under the Third Army.  Colonel Carl E. Lundquist assumed command of the Regiment on the 19th of March, relieving Colonel Donald T. Beeler.

The 6th SS Mountain Division was engaged by the Second Battalion and dispersed at Altenstadt on April 1.  Elements of that enemy force disintegrated in the next few days as the Regiment continued in fast pursuit northeast through central Germany from the vicinity of Frankfurt, reaching Meiningen on the edge of the Thuringer Forest.

The attack swung to the southeast on April 10 as the Regiment participated in the drive toward Bayreuth.  On April 14 the Regiment by-passed the right of the 11th Armored Division around Kulmbach to clear the approaches to Bayreuth so that the 71st Infantry Division could turn to the southeast clear of the Armor to advance on the important communications center.  By nightfall elements of the Fourteenth were fighting their way into Bayreuth, and by noon the following day had forced capitulation of the city.

From the 11th of April until the 22nd the Fourteenth attacked down the Bayreuth-Amberg highway, moving 55 miles in five days against determined delaying actions.  Lt. Col. Paul G. Guthrie fought his Third Battalion thirteen miles on the final day of the drive, engaging in a series of stiff fights to dislodge the enemy from defensive positions astride the highway, and by 2200 hours on the 22nd had occupied Amberg.

Three assault river crossings followed in rapid succession at the end of the month as the Regiment established bridgeheads across the Regen, Danube, and the swift Isar River.  The second crossing was made within thirty-six hours after the first.  The Regiment struck swiftly from Amberg on April 24, moving approximately thirty miles through enemy territory to reach Regenstauf where a key bridge was reported intact across the Regen River.  Heavy resistance and a blown bridge were encountered, and at 1230 the Second Battalion launched the Regimentís first assault crossing in strength across the Regen River on a broad front in fifty assault boats.  A heavy artillery and chemical mortar preparation preceded the attack.  Five minutes later one company was reported across and heavy fighting in progress.  At 2400 hours the enemy had been driven from position and the bridgehead secured.

Swift fighting toward the Danube followed the next day, and by nightfall the Regiment was again preparing for an assault boat crossing of a river.  The Second and Third Battalions launched the first waves of boats across the Danube at 0400 hours on the morning of April 26 following a heavy artillery preparation.  Heavy fighting raged that day on the southern bank of the Danube.  By nightfall the bridgehead was secured and enemy positions destroyed.

A German major general surrendered the city of Regensburg to the Fourteenth Infantry on the morning of April 27.  Unconditional surrender terms were signed at 1020.  Other units actually occupied the city as the Regiment withdrew to its original position in preparation to attack to the east along the Danube.

On April 30 the Regiment made a quick thrust towards the Isar River, advancing by motor and marching approximately fifteen miles while clearing towns and woods in the Regimental zone, and by 1700 hours had pulled into position to launch its third assault river crossing in six days.  The turbulent Isar River was crossed with three battalions abreast, the First and Second fighting their way across demolished railroad bridges while the Third crossed in storm boats.  By 2000 hours all three battalions were across and had consolidated a narrow bridgehead near Landau one and one-half by six kilometers.

The end of the month found the Regiment fighting on the south Danube plain and advancing toward the Austria border and the Linz gap to the east.  The Fourteenth completed a 400-mile drive in the final 40 daysí pursuit of the defeated German Army through southern Germany and Austria until contact was made with the Russian Army on the Enns River in the vicinity of Steyer, Austria.

Moving 115 miles from the bridgehead at Landau on the Isar River through the shattered elements of the withdrawing enemy forces in five days, the Regiment was on the tip of General Pattonís southeastern spearhead that had been thrust across the Danube River near Regensburg in the closing days of April, until the Enns River was reached at Steyer, Austria, on May 5.

On May 1 the Regiment attacked south along the Landau-Braunau highway to expand the bridgehead over the Isar River.  Fighting against sporadic resistance, the Regiment moved forward rapidly.  The 5th and 66th Regiments crossed the river during the morning and attacked on the north flank of the Fourteenth.

The drive gained momentum on May 2 as the Regimentís battalions leapfrogged 18 miles against light resistance to reach positions in the vicinity of Walburgskirchen.  Masses of Hungarian troops were encountered during the day as towns and woods were swept.  These enemy elements offered no resistance, cheerfully assisting the Regiment in freeing its vehicles when they bogged down on the poor roads encountered in that part of the country.

The regiment made a covered movement by motors and marching east to Ering on the third, to cross the Inn River on a dam captured by the 5th Infantry southeast of the town.  Movement of foot elements over the dam started at noon, the battalions closing into assembly areas in the vicinity of Altheim that night.

Combat team 14, completely motorized, struck swiftly down the Braunau-Lambach highway on May 4 to cut the Linz-Salzburg highway, only remaining escape route from central Germany to the Redoubt area in the Bavarian Alps; and to seize crossings of the Traun River north of Lambach.  Strong enemy delaying positions astride the highway were encountered at Horbach at noon and heavy fighting continued throughout the day as the Regiment smashed all resistance in cutting the escape route and securing crossing of the Traun.

Regimental Newspaper 1945

By 0005 hours on May 5 two bridges in the vicinity of Graben had been secured by the Second Battalion, but were found to be too weak for heavy traffic.  The Third Battalion advanced on foot across the bridges followed by it's vehicles less loads, and attacked northeast to cut Wels-Kremsmuster highway, and pushed east to Matzelsdors against sporadic resistance.  The First Battalion, moving north, crossed the Traun at Wels, and attacked southeast toward Sipbachzell where determined enemy resistance from SS units was broken and a large number of prisoners taken.

The Regiment moved into assembly areas in the vicinity of Droissendorf at 2000 hours.  The motorized battalions, hampered by 1600 prisoners taken during the days advance, plowed through narrow, muddy roads filled with columns of abandoned enemy vehicles as the daylight faded.  Orders were received to remain in positions the following morning as the Division readied the restraining line on the Enns River.  On May 7 the Regiment was officially notified that all hostilities between Germany and the United Nations would cease at 0001 hours, May 9.

Warís end on May 9th found the Regiment in the middle Danube plain at Droissendorf, Austria, faced with the problems of handling thousands of displaced persons and prisoners of war.  Temporary military government was established in the area with key control points at Bad Hall, Kremsmunster, Kemater, and Neuhofen.  Strict military control was thus established, the area completely screened, and arrangements made for the feeding and processing of the thousands of displaced persons and prisoners of war.

The Fourteenth remained in the vicinity of Droissendorf the remainder of the month.  The Regiment moved to the vicinity of Gunzburg, Germany in June to take up occupational duty.




Acknowledgements:
World War II:  With the 71st Division in Europe
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Last modified: February 06, 2015