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GENERAL ORDERS WAR DEPARTMENT
No. 16 Washington 25, D.C., 5 February 1947


 
BATTLE HONORS.Š≥†authorized by Executive Order 9396 (sec. I, WD Bul. 22, 1943); superseding Executive Order 9075 (sec. III, WD Bul. II, 1942), the following units are cited by the War Department under the 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, 379th Field Artillery Battalion;

     Forward Observation Parties, Company A, 3d 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 vicinity. 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 large portions 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 were assembled quickly on the far bank and started for their objectives. Traversing over 2,000 yards of flat, soggy, partially inundated 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 succeeded in capturing the town of Tetz and the high ground beyond the river valley. Beating off a strong counterattack, 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 northeast, the regiment dug in, with orders to hold at all costs- pending the arrival of tanks, tank destroyers, antitank guns, and other supporting weapons, which had been unable to cross the river. Quickly launching a counterattack against Boslar, the enemy succeeded in penetrating the forward positions, but, after a vicious fight, was forced to withdraw. 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 infantrymen. Striking with great force, the enemy quickly overran 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 overrun and then emerged from their positions to engage enemy infantry from the front, flanks, and rear. Fierce fighting raged throughout 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. Three were thrown back before reaching the town and the fourth, although penetrating it slightly, was finally repulsed by the same relentless, unwavering determination and repeated individual feats of heroism which characterized the entire action. Throughout the remainder of the regimental sector, the enemy launched numerous smaller counterattacks during the night, 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 success by jumping off at dawn in continuation of the attack, which never once 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.
 

ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR:    
C. C. MARSHALL
Chief of Staff

OFFICIAL:    
EDWARD F. WITSELL
Major General
Acting The Adjutant General

 

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