The 61st AIB (-A Co), with A/3d Tk Bn and 1/A/55th Armored Engineers Bn attached, as part of TF Hankins, under command of Major Curtis L. Hankins, continued in the battle of Trier /L2129) as part of Reserve Command with the mission of continuing north and protecting the east flank of the Division. At 0810A orders were received to block and protect the division right flank Vic Lampaden (L253172). Team Holland was sent to Franzenheim (L243210) to secure the town and high ground to the east. Upon arriving Team Holland tied its defense with other friendly units in the Vic at 1700. Orders were received to push on north and take over a new sector protecting the right flank of the division. The positions were occupied by 2230A. CP opened Lampaden at 1220 and closed there at 1735A and was on the road moving to Irsch (255255) as period ended.
TF Hankins still as part of Reserve Command continued its mission of blocking and protecting the right flank of the division during this period in Vic Irsch.
TF Hankins continued till 1600A as part of CCR, blocking on division right flank Vic Irsch, at which time the TF reverted to CCA control and moved to Vic Trier prepared to move on orders. CP closed at Irsch at 1600A and opened in Trier at 1635A.
Enemy information March 1-3
TF Hankins continued to attack with Trier as the Division objective during this period. By this time, the enemy infantry was thoroughly disorganized. Artillery throughout the phase was used to good advantage by the enemy. Their selection of sites for antitank weapons was superior.
The task force received intense rocket concentrations while occupying Lampaden. On of the task force teams captured fifty five enemy soldiers in Irsch. Most of these prisoners were found sleeping, "waiting for the Americans to come".
Enemy forces, during the final stages of the campain to seize Trier, were identified as the remainder and stranglers of the 256th Mountain Division, Volkssturm Trier, 416th Infantry Division and numerous hastily formed battle groups.
Results of above operations:
assisted in the capture of Trier
Captured or destroyed:
1 Heavy Truck
8 Machine Guns
2 Light Trucks
1 Half Track
TF Hankins moved to assembly area Vic Avelsbach (L256288) at 0640A opening CP there at 0805A. Infantry of B and C/61st AIB dismounted and moved from the assembly area at 0910A moving to the Ruwer bridgehead area Vic (L269308) and began crossing at 1150A under heavy mortar, artillery and direct fire. Crossing was done by sending one squad across at a time. By 1430A the crossing of the dismounted infantry was completed. A/3d Tk Bn was held in the assembly area ready to support the attack and upon extension of the bridgehead would move across and give direct support. Due to the heavy enemy artillery, mortar, direct and SA fire the dismounted infantry was unable to pass thru TF Cherry who had crossed earlier and was stopped short of its objective. TF Hankins and Cherry coordinated the defense of the bridgehead. As period ended plans for the passing thru of a Bn/419th InfRgt were formulated.
TF Hankins continued in the defense of the bridgehead with TF Cherry and at 0520 elements of Bn/419th Inf arrived and prepared to pass thru and effect the relief of our troops. The relief was completed at 1933A and B and C companies pulled back to supporting positions and awaited orders to move to an assembly area as period ended. The CP remained at Avelsbach.
Enemy information March 4-5
During this period the task force had the objective of crossing the Ruwer River in the Vic of L269308, passing through elements of TF Cherry and seizing the high ground Vic L265322 and L269315.
The enemy in this sector strongly outnumbered our Armored Infantry which had to cross the river dismounted. The enemy fought stubbornly from well organized positions. Sniper fire was continously intense. Due to the unexpected strength and fighting quality of enemy troops, our task force infantry joined with the infantry fo TF Cherry to enlarge and hold the bridgehead.
A treadway bridge was established but was knocked out shortly after by enemy direct fire from 88mm AT guns. At this stage, our troups were relieved by elements of the 76th Infantry Division.
The town of Avelsbach was captured during this operation and ten prisoners were taken. Enemy forces contacted were part of the 2d Mountain Division.
TF Hankins was in supporting position at the bridgehead as period ended. Elements of the TF moved from their supporting positions to an assembly area Vic Trier, C/62st at 0010A and B/62st Armd Inf Bn and A/3d Tk Bn at 0120A. The CP closed at Avelsbach at 0500A and opened in Trier at 0545A. The balance of the period was spent in re-assembling the units of the TF into Tank-Infantry teams.
As the period opened TF Hankins was in the state of preparedness for immediate movements upon orders to attack north to Vic of Wittlich (L395595). Orders were received at 1330A which made reorientation of team commanders necessary. The new orders called for the task force to made a wide hook to the left, taking Hetzerath (L3342) then north to Wittlich. At 1555A the task force moved out from Trier following TF Cherry over the bridge at Trier. The column made good progress till it reached (L187428), where, because of bad roads and a bridge being out, the advance was slowed considerably. As the period ended, efforts were being made to find a bypass and to repair the road and bridge to make further movement possible. CP closed Trier at 1555A and opened (L167424), Idesheim at 2335A.
The repairing of the road and bridge continued till 0950A. At that time the road had been repaired sufficiently to enable the passing of the column. TF Hankins continued to follow TF Cherry till 1158A at Vic Zemmer (L254443) where our task force began the attack passing thru friendly units in multiple columns. Team Havlovitz attacked northeast taking Dierscheid (L298449) at 1700A, continuing on to capture Erlenbach (L320439) at 2015A. Team Hyduke attacking generally East, took Naurath (L290430) at 1816A. Because of bad roads and road blocks, Team Hyduke was unable to continue the attack; therefore it set up defensive positions for the night. Team Holland moved from Vic Zemmer following the route of Team Havlovitz to Dierscheid and set up defensive positions there and remained prepared to assist either of Teams Hyduke or Havlovitz in case of an enemy counterattack. Team Havlovitz set up defensive positions Vic Erlenbach. CP moved from Vic Idesheim to Zemmer opening there at 1447A and closing at 1945A. Upon closing the CP moved to Dierscheid and opened at 2330A.
As period opened, plans were made for continuing the attack at daylight. Team Havlovitz began the attack at daylight, taking Hetzerath at 0815A. Team Holland and Team Hyduke moved to Vic Erlenbach to be in support and prepared to continue the attack. A platoon of infanftry and section of tanks from Team Havlovitz were sent to capture the town of Rievenich and the bridge thereat. The detachment took the town at 1050A but the bridge had already been blown. Contact was established with TF Cherry by a patrol from Team Havlovitz at 1006A in Schlem. Elements of CCB, attacking from the South, gained contact with Team Havlovitz at 1055A. TF Cherry and TF Hankins coordinated the movements of teams over the bridge at Dorbach (L351478). The teams of the two task forces were alternated beginning with the first team of TF Cherry. Team Holland was the first to cross of this Task force, crossing at 1850A and was moving on to Wittlich as period ended. Team Hyduke was preparing to cross the bridge at 2400A. CP moved from Dierscheid at 1700A opening in Erlenbach at 1745A. An Advance CP moved from Erlenbach at 2145A and was moving on the road to Dorbach when the period ended.
TF Hankins continued its attack on Wittlich as period opened continuing the alternation of teams over the bridge at Dorbach with TF Cherry. Progress of the attach was slow due to bad roads and darkness. Only part of the lead team, Team Holland, was able to get thru on the original route. This force entered the town of Wittlich at 0830A and began organizing that portion of the town. Team Hyduke initially followed Team Holland till all vehicles became bogged down in the muddy road. After considerable amount of work, all vehicles of Team Hyduke and those of Team Holland that were unable to get thru were pulled out. A bypass was found which enabled them to follow the route that Task Force Cherry had taken to Wittlich. Team Havlovitz, in an attempt to gain the objective Wittlich, took a route to the right whicht aook that team through Altrich. Altrich was captured at 1210A. Upon gaining the North section of town, it was found that the bridges over the streams had been blown up by the enemy shortly before their arrival. Team Havlovitz then back tracked and took TF Cherry's route. Upon arrival each team organized its portion of the town. At 1620A the teams moved out, attacking East of Wittlich. Team Holland and Team Havlovitz took Bombogen (LA29547) dnd Berlingen (L35547) at 1820A. Team Hyduke attacking Southeast, took Wengerohr (L428527) and Wahlholz (L440523) at 1820A. Defensive positions were taken up during balance of the period. The CP opened in Drobach at 0530A and closed at 1330A, moved to Wittlich, opening there at 1600A.
TF Hankins continued to occupy positions gained on 10 March 1945 till 0800A and then upon orders flushed our sector to the Moselle River. This mission was accomplished by 1200A and defensive positions were again occuppied and improved so as to control that portion of the Combat Command's sector. An additional flushing mission was received and passed on to Team Havlovitz to flush the area south and east of his position to the river. Team Havlovitz completed this mission at 1940A.
TF Hankins continued to occupy defensive positions east of Bombogen-Wahlholz, prepared to assist TF Cherry in his attack on order or move to Division assembly area Vic Trier. At 1610A orders were received to move the command to the Division assembly area. The Task Force moved out at 1633A closing in assembly area Vic Euren (L196282) at 1935. The CP closed at Wittlich 1633A and opened Euren at 1900A.
TF Hankins spent the day in Euren rehabilitating, performing maintenance, and prepared to move on order in any direction to continue the offensive against the enemy.
At 0245A TF Hankins moved out from Euren on a new mission of passing thru Elms of the 80th Division in vicinity of Zerf. Team Havlovitz as advance team moved to Vic Wischeren gaining contact with friendly units in that town. Enemy Infantry cut off the rear Elms of Team Havlovitz just west of Weiskirchen and infantry of Teams Havlovitz and Hyduke was used to drive them off. This kept the infantry engaged and made it impossible for further movement till a company of Infantry from the 80th ID moved up to take over defensive positions to keep the road open. Upon arrival of friendly infantry, Team Havlovitz moved forward taking Thailen (L349045) at 1510A. Upon continuing the attack East, it was found that friendly units were moving across this route. Team Hyduke followed Team Havlovitz thru Weiskirchen (L335072) and attacked East along another route, taking Obermorscholz (L370065) and Untermorscholz at 1829A. Team Hyduke continued the attack East till it gained the hight ground West of Wedern (L392070). Darkness and bad roads held up further advance and defensive positions for the night were set up. Team Havlovitz, on finding his route jammed, followed Team Hyduke and occupied Obermorscholz. Team Holland and CP followed Team Hyduke's route to Vic Thailen as period ended.
Team Hyduke led off on the attack for TF Hankins taking Wedern (L392070) at 1002A. Finding the bridge out, the attached Engineers were put to work and a treadway bridge was constructed over the stream. Team Hyduke was the first to cross the bridge and established a bridgehead thru which Teams Havlovitz, going generally North and East, and Team Holland, taking a route generally South and East, passed. Attempts were made to find a bridge over the stream just West of Buweiler that would permit the continuing of the attack toward Kastel (L447083). Team Havlovitz found the bridges along his route blown. Team Holland gained a bridge intact Vic of Rathen taking the town of Buweiler (L415076) at 1505A and continuing on, reached Kastel (L447083) and occupied it at 1730. Because of the speed of the attack, he was able to gain the bridge intact and establish a bridgehead through whicht he task force passend on later operations. During the reorganisation of Team Holland and the setting up of the defense of Kastel and the bridgehead, the enemy launched a counterattack, the estimated strength of which was one platoon of tanks and a platoon of infantry. The counterattack was repulsed, destroying and capturing three tanks and killing and capturing most of the platoon of infantry. Team Havlovitz in the meantime had followed Team Holland across the bridge at Rathen, thru Buweiler, and gained the high ground west of Kastel and remained in support of Team Holland. Team Hyduke followed Team Havlovitz and took defensive positions Vic Buweiler. Teams Holland and Havlovitz consolidated and organized the defense of Kastel and the bridgehead for the balance of the period. CP opened at Thailen at 0010A closing there at 1300A moving to Wedern and opening there at 1445A. CP closed there at 1715A and opened in Buweiler at 1822A.
At 0230A Team Hyduke passed thru the bridgehead of Kastel and with the aid of artificial light attacked South and East for TF Hankins, taking Mettnich (L4505 = today part of Primstal) at 0535A, Selbach (L496045) at 0800A, and Gronig (L518018) at 0840A. At this point Team Hyduke overran the defense of an enemy SS battalion wich lead to the capture of the Battalion Commander and his staff. The team was involved in the cleaning out of the town of Gronig at this time so Team Havlovitz was passed thru and that team continued the attadk capturing Osenbach (L528014) at 1120A, Bliesen (L547999) at 1240A, being forced to stop at this point because of heavy artillery and direct fire. Team Holland was sent on a left hook from Bliesen toward St. Wendel (L590966) and was working his way to St. Wendel from the North when orders were received to disengage our troops, reassemble, and be prepared to continue the attack, bypassing St. Wendel. This was being done as the period ended. CP closed at Buweiler at 0915A moved along the route of advance till reaching Osenbach. CP opened Osenbach at 1830A.
Based on orders received TF Hankins continued the attack east at 0030A with the Reconnaissance Plat leading off, passing thru Gudesweiler (L543026) at 0125A, Namborn (L572027) at 0220A, Hofeld (L582016) at 0300A, Furschweiler (L595021) at 0355A, Grugelborn (L619027) at 0705A, and Hoof (L643990) at 1015A where the bridge was out. TF Haskell, moving on the right, captured a bridge intact Vic Saal (L648962). Mission of TF Hankins was changed to follow TF Haskell with mission of supporting this attack and being prepared to pass thru TF Haskell or attack along another route toward Kaiserslautern (L025940). TF Hankings followed TF Haskell's route to Tranweiler (L760963), at which point it was halted due to a bridge being out Vic Glan Münchweiler (L785970). TF personnel assisted in the installation of the bridge and as period ended was CP closed at Osenbach at 0940A and moved along the route of advance, opening in Tranweiler at 1900A.
TF Hankins moved out at 0150A with Team Havlovitz leading, following TF Haskell, and moving rapidly toward Kaiserslautern. TF Haskell bypassed Kaiserslautern, going to Enkenbach (L117985) where both task forces were ordered to turn around and take another route. This command turned around but TF Haskell was involved in a fire fight and could not immediately disengage from contact with the enemy. TF Hankins passed thru Kaiserslautern and followed Elms of the 10th Armored Division as far as Frankenstein (R176934) where TF Cherry turned South and this TF continued the attack to the East, Team Holland being the lead team. The Reconnaissance Platoon lead off moving at 2230A toward Bad Dürkheim (R310955). The advance was held up by an enemy supply column which the leading element came upon at 2330A Vic (R268960). Team Holland passed thru and proceeded to destroy and capture the column as the period ended. CP closed in Tranweiler at 0415 opening at Frankenstein at 2300A.
Team Holland contiued to destroy the supply column as the period opened for TF Hankins. The total number of vehicles destroyed in this operation has never been completely determined but it is estimated at well over 200. These vehicles and dead horses, together with vehicles previously destroyed by the Air Corps, blocked the road and made further movement on the road very difficult until our troops manually cleared the debris. The road was choked with enemy vehicles and dead horses in this operation for several miles. Upon clearing the road sufficiently to allow the passages of the task force, Team Holland continued the attack, taking Bad Dürkheim at 0630A and Maxdorf (R405983) at 0840A. At this point, the mission was changed and the task force was ordered to attack South and Southeast to Speyer. TF Hankins began the attack south and southeast in multiple columns with Team Hyduke on the right and Team Havlovitz on the left. Team Havlovitz, attacking on the left, took Fufsgonheim (R402960) at 1600A, Schaurenheim (R410935) at 1722A, and advance to Dannstadt ()R421916) was made where heavy resistance was met. The team was pulled back to the ground north of the town and took defensive positions and placed artillery fire on enemy positions. Team Hyduke, attacking on the right, took Ellerstadt (R382961) at 1650A, then continuing the attack went cross country to take Alsheim-Gronau (R387928) at 1720A, taking up defensive positions there in order to stay abreast of Team Havlovitz. CP closed Frankenstein at 0150A, moving along the route of advance, opening again at Fufsgonheim at 2000A.
TF Hankins jumped off on the attack continuing the offensive toward Speyer at 0800A, with Team Hyduke on the left and Team Havlovitz on the right. Team Hyduke took Assenheim (R398916) at 0815A, continuing southeast took Hochdorf (R3991) at 0846A. In the meantime, Team Havlovitz took Dannstadt at 0815A. Both attacking teams were then halted due to elements of the 12th Armored Division cutting across in front of their route of advance. At 1245A, orders were received to assemble the command Vic Maxdorf prepared to move on order. Task Force closed in assembly area at 1440A and at 1510A further orders were received to continue the offensive south to Landau. The task force took off immediately, tying in with TF Haskell at Rodersheim and follwing this task force to Vic Lachen (R336804) where TF Hankins branched off to the south and southwest. TF Hankins was preparing to attack as the period ended. CP closed Fufsgonheim 1420A, opened Vic Maxdorf at 1440A, closing there at 1610A and was moving along the route of advance as the period ended.
Continuing the attack southas the period ended, TF Hankins, led by Team Havlovitz, captured Kirrweiler (R313783) at 0255A with the infantry dismounted. Upon completion of flushing the town, the attack continued and upon reaching the Vic of Yenningen (R318760), the infantry again dismounted, taking the town of Yenningen at 0600A. From there the attack continued South. Fischlingen (R318817) was taken at 0740A and Essingen (R315706) was entered and under our control at 0847A. Heavy resistance was met south of Essingen from dug in infantry, mortars, and direct fire 88mm dual purpose guns. Team Havlovitz held up at Essingen and protected what we had. Team Holland, following Team Havlovitz, set up the defense of Fischlingen while Team Hyduke took over Yenningen. Plans were made for a night assault on enemy positions south of Essingen, this being decided as the best plan due to the terrain and the observation the enemy had in their favor. Team Havlovitz and Team Holland dismounted their infantry for this attack and at dusk jumed off on the attack with the infantry of the two teams abreast, Holland on the left and Team Havlovitz on the right. The high ground north of Offenbach (R330660) was in our hands at 2105A. Enemy resistance was strong. The infantry knocked out numerous dual purpose 88mm guns and captured pillboxes. The position was consolidated by the two teams and resupply ammunition was underway as the period ended. CP along the route of advance till it reached Yenningen where it opened at 0815A. Advance CP moved to Essingen, opening there at 1805A.
As the period opened, the three teams of TF Hankins coordinated for the attack on Offenbach. Team Holland and Team Havlovitz Infantry dismounted, attacking abreast left and right respectively, and the tanks of Team Hyduke in the center supporting the attack. The attack was jumped off at 017A and the town was taken at 0227A. The teams flushed the town and Rcn team was sent forward to contact friendly units coming from the south. The patrol contacted elements of the 14th Armored Division at Herxheim at 0934A. The patrol returned and the defense of Offenbach was set up. Rehabilitation and maintenance was carried on concurrently during the balance of the period. The task force was prepared to continue the offensive or go into an assembly area. The CP closed at Essingen at 1125A and opened at Offenbach at 1150A.
TF Hankins moved from Offenbach to an assembly area Vic Yenningen, across the IP at 0630 and arriving in assembly area at 0655A. The period was spent in reorganization, rehabilitation and maintenance. For this purpose, teams were broken up and platoons reverted to Company control. The CP closed in Offenbach at 0630A and opened in Yenningen at 0700A.
TF Hankins continued to rehabilitate, reorganize, and perform maintenance, remaining on alert status prepared to move on orders.
Orders were received to cross the Rhine River. A/3d Tk Bn reverted to 21st Tk Bn control during the march, crossing over the heavy bridge Vic (R475128). A/61st AIB reverted to our control for the march. 61st AIB left assembly area Vic Yenningen at 281230A, crossing the Rhine River and closed in assembly are Vic Sandhofen (R516057) at 281730A. A/61st AIB at this time reverted to 21st Tk Bn control and A/3d Tk Bn reverted to our control. Marrying the teams and orientation of the situation continued throughout the balance of the period. The task force remained on the alert prepared to move on order. The CP closed at Yenningen 281230A and opened Sandhofen at 281730A.
TF Hankins received orders to cross the Neckar River in Mannheim and pass thru bridgehead and attempt to break out between TF Haskell on the left and elements of CCB on the right. The Rcn Platoon, plus three light tanks/1/D/21st Tk Bn, was given the mission of selecting and finding this route. TF moved out from Vic Sandhofen at 1255A, following 419th Armored FA Bn. The 419th was preceeded by TF Haskell. TF Hankins, after crossing the Neckar River, went into a temporary assembly area Vic Friedrichsfeld (R610938). During balance of the period, Rcn was sent out to find a route to break out between TF Haskell and CCB's route. As period ended, Rcn elements reported finding a probable route and plane were made to take off on that route at daylight. CP closed at Sandhofen 1255A and opened Friedrichsfeld at 1910A.
TF Hankins, with Team Holland leading, started off at daylight on the attack south and east to Heilbronn. The attack progressed and Stilgen was taken at 1200A. Team Hyduke and Team Holland coordinated in the attack on Nussloch (R698810). They entered the town at 1633A. House to house fighting was in progress and Team Havlovitz was committed to help clear the town, then pass thru and attack toward Baiertal. By 2027A, Nussloch was entierly in our hands. Due to darkness, it was deemed unwise to continue the attack to Baiertal but patrols were sent to reconnoiter a route and establish contact with the enemy on the route to Baiertal. The patrols departed at 2315A. CP closed at Friedrichsfeld at 0630A, following along the route of advance, and opening at 1700A at Leimen (R693837).