134th Infantry Regiment
"All Hell Can't Stop Us"
Transcribed by Roberta V. Russo, Palatine, Illinois
The 137th Infantry continued to occupy and govern its assigned zone south of Hannover, Germany, from 8 - 16 May, 1945.
The 3rd Battalion moved its CP from Obernkirchen to Bokelch on 14 May. The companies remained in their original towns. The 1st Battalion with its CP in Rinteln, had Company A in the vicinity of Rinteln, Company D south and southeast of Rinteln, Company B west of Hameln, and Company C northwest of Hameln as far as the Autobahn superhighway, which ran through the Regimental zone.
The sector extending south from Hameln was taken over by the 60th Engineer Battalion.
The 137th Infantry turned over responsibilities for its zone to the 335th Infantry, 84th Infantry Division, prior to 2400, 17 May. On the morning of 18 May, the Regiment moved by motor 110 miles from its IP in Hameln westward to the Ruhr area in the vicinity of Recklinghausen, and relieved the 377th Infantry of the 29th Division.
The route taken by the 137th was from Hameln southwest through Bromberg, Hon, Paderborn, and Gesche, then west to Bochum and north through Herne and Recklinghausen to its new zone of occupation. The entire Regiment closed into the area by 1555, 18 May.
The 137th Infantry occupied approximately 400 square miles of the Ruhr from 19 - 31 May 1945. The southern boundary of the zone was but a few miles north of Essen and extended south of the Autobahn highway from Bottrop east to Heprichenburg. The zone extended as far north as Roesfled and east to Wassendorf to a point west of Dulmen. It included over 135 cities and towns, the most densely populated being Gelsenkirchen, Bottrop, Recklinghausen, Dorsten, and Haltern.
Regimental Headquarters was located south of Herten and the Autobahn, AT Company in Herten, CN Company in Dreul Nord, and SV Company in Stickenbusch. The 1st Battalion CP was in Bottrop along with Company A and Company C. Company B was in Gladbeck and Company D in Kirchhellen. The 2nd Battalion CP was located in Buer, Company E in Marl, Company F in Gelsenkirchen, Company G in Buer Erle, and Company H in Berten. The 3rd Battalion CP was in Waltrop with Company I, while Company K was in Oer-Erken-Schwick, Company L in General Blumenthal, and Company M in Recklinghausen. The 547th AAA Aw. Battalion was attached to the 137th Infantry in this zone. It occupied the northernmost sector of the zone and had its CP in Hullern.
The 137th posted guards on 55 Displaced Persons' camps containing some 44,000 Russians, Poles, Dutch, Italian, French, and Belgians, along with guarding 23 camps holding 7,290 ex-Allied PW's. The civilian population, according to the Military Government, amounted to one million people. Also under guard were six German military hospitals, a synthetic rubber plant, and all bridges in the zone.
In this zone, a transportation difficulty was encountered by the Regiment. This difficulty was overcome by assigning CN Company and AT Company installations to guard, so that their transportation could be utilized.
The civilian population was allowed on the streets from 0500 to 2100 daily. Vehicles could be driven by the Germans only if the Military Government had issued a permit for such. During the allotted hours, the civilians could circulate anywhere in the 35th Division zone without being disturbed. All schools and post offices remained closed.
Probably the biggest problem throughout the Ruhr was the lack of food. The congested industrial districts offer little of the garden space which is so prevalent in most other sections of Germany. The German civilians received scant rations while the Displaced Persons were being fed through the U. S. Army.
The problem of renewing public utilities in this zone was already solved when the 137th began occupation. Electricity and running water were provided throughout the zone.
The mission of the 137th Infantry Regiment during the month of June, 1945, was to occupy and govern a zone, west of the Rhine River and south of Coblenz, which included the four landkreis of St. Goar, Zell, Cochem, and Simmern.
The 137th Infantry departed from the Ruhr industrial area on the morning of June 1, 1945, and moved by rail and motor south to its newly assigned zone on the opposite side of the Rhine River.
The 35th Infantry Division during this period was a part of the United States 15th Army and the XXIII Corps. The 2nd Battalion of the 137th Infantry held the status of XXIII Corp reserve, but at the same time had nine security missions.
This section of Germany which the 137th Infantry occupied was of scenic and historic importance. The Regiment's extreme eastern boundary was 35 miles of the Rhine River from Rhens south to Bingham. The 3rd Battalion of the 137th Infantry had 41 miles of Moselle River winding through its sector. The entire valley country along both the Rhine and Moselle Rivers are dotted with many resort towns which had flourished during the prewar days.
Regimental Headquarters, along with Company B, was located in the resort town of Boppard, on the Rhine. Other units on the Rhine were Company A in St. Goar, Cannon and Anti-tank Companies in Oberwesel, and the 1st Battalion Headquarters in Bacharach. These units were all within the landkreis of St. Goar.
The Simmern landkreis was occupied by Company D, which was located in the town of Rheinbollen, 2nd Battalion Headquarters with Company G and Company H in Simmern, Company E and Company F in Kirchberg, and Service Company in Castellaun.
The 3rd Battalion occupied both the Cochem and Zell landkreisen. The Battalion Headquarters was located in Bad Betrich with the 35th Division Rear Echelon and Personnel Sections. Company I was in Kaisersech, Company M in Pommern, Company L in Zell, and Company K in Traben.
The Regiment's greatest difficulty was the wide zone it had to occupy and govern. The area covered approximately 1000 square miles. Extensive patrol missions over this area and military police type of duties necessitated the formation of a provisional Military Police Company. This provisional Company was formed from the Regimental Anti-Tank Company and the Battalion anti-tank platoons. The AT Company Commander was designated as Regimental Provost Marshal.
A training schedule was also carried on during June. Units of the Regiment who had a large number of men on security missions were still continuing their training by means of an accelerated program by which each man would obtain some form of training at the least.
Another difficulty encountered by the Regiment was maintaining communications over this widely scattered area. Some 450 miles of wire were being used to maintain communications from Regiment to the battalions and on to the companies. Commercial wire solved the problem wire teams faced - the problem of the lack of wire.
The athletic program shot ahead in June. A Regimental baseball team was formed of players from throughout the Regiment. This team would compete on a Regimental level. Four members of this team were chosen to play with the 35th Division nine on a Division level. Each company in the 137th Infantry organized both a softball and a volley ball team. Each battalion and the Special Units formed a league for these two sports. Each battalion and the Special Units had competed in track and field meets to qualify individuals to compete in the 137th Infantry track meet held in July. The 35th Division sponsored swimming meet was also held in July. Turning to the links, the Regiment had sent a five-man golf team to compete in the 35th Division golf tournament in Luxembourg. Tennis tournaments were to be held in July also.
The Information and Education program in the Regiment was very active during the month of June. Each battalion and the Special Units had a two-man mobile orientation team which delivered orientations to the companies within the allotted hour each week. Another hour each week was allotted for group discussion. Each platoon in the Regiment had a discussion leader for that purpose. Instructor training schools were held at regimental and battalion level during the month, and 120 potential instructors were trained.
Another function of the Information and Education Section was conducting Regimental-sponsored tours to points of both scenic and historic interest along the Rhine River. Among the points visited was the Stolzenfels Castle, in Kappelen on the Rhine. This historic structure was initially built in 1235, destroyed completely in 1689, and restored in 1842. These tours were conducted four days per week, one day allotted for each battalion and the Special Units.
There were no casualties for the month of June.
The missions of the 137th Infantry Regiment during the month of July, 1945, were: first, to continue occupation of its sector of Germany south of Coblenz and west of the Rhine River until July 4; second, to relieve the 28th Infantry Division Artillery in the Kaiserlautern area, west of the Rhine, on July 7; and third, to move from Germany into Belgium to provide security and an honor guard on July 15, at airfield B-58 northwest of Brussels, for the President of the United States. During the period July 10 - 31, the entire 137th Infantry was stationed at Camp B-60, Grimbergen, in the northern outskirts of Brussels. The Regiment began processing for redeployment on July 16 and continued through July 31, 1945.
The 137th Infantry relieved the 28th Division Artillery in the Kaiserlautern area on July 7, 1945. The Regimental and 1st Battalion CP's were located in Neustadt. Company A was located in Neidenthal, Company B in Ludwigshafen, Company C in Haardt, and Company D in Dannstudt. The 2nd Battalion CP, along with Company E, was in Frankenthal, Company F in Nisenbert, Company G in Kirchheis Bolandem, and Company H in Dumstein. The 3rd Battalion CP, with Company M, was located in Landstuhl, Company I in Hamstein, Company K in Rockenhausen, and Company L in Winnweiller. The AT Company was occupying Weitersweiller, CN Company in Lauterecken, and SV Company in Grunstadt.
The 137th Infantry moved by motor on July 10 from its zone in Germany to Camp B-60 at Grimbergen, Belgium. The Regiment now had the mission of providing an honor guard for the President of the United States when he arrived at Airfield B-58 on his journey to Potsdam for the Big Three Conference.
The President and his party debarked from the U.S.S. Augusta at Antwerp, Belgium, on July 15. The 137th Infantry, with attached troops, secured the President's route from 300 yards north of Boom to Airfield B-58 before he left by air for Potsdam.
The attached troops for this mission were the 707th MP Company, a British MP Detachment, a Chanor Base Section MP Detachment, and a Provisional Armored Car Company.
The 2nd Battalion, 137th Infantry, secured the route from 800 yards north of Boom to 200 yards north of Mutsaard, Belgium. The 3rd Battalion, 137th Infantry, secured the route from 200 yards north of Mutsaard to the gate at 5-56. The 1st Battalion, 137th Infantry, less Company B, secured the route from the gate at B-56 to the airfield, B-58. Security at B-58 included a cordon about the Presidential Party aircraft on the taxi strip, as approved by Mr. McGrath, U. S. Treasury Department Agent.
The guard of honor, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George O'Connel, consisting of two provisional companies of 150 specially selected men, received the President at B-58 at approximately 1300, July 15. The President was met by Colonel William E. Murray, Commander of the 137th Infantry Regiment, and then inspected the honor guard.
Beginning at 1800, July 14, CN Company of the 137th Infantry inspected and secured all bridges, culverts, overpasses, and canal crossings until the Presidential Party was safely at B-58. Company B, 137th Infantry, constituted a mobile reserve with one platoon reinforced at three locations along the route. Chanor Base Section furnished ambulances, wreckers and radio-equipped trucks along the route to B-58. The Regimental CP during this mission was the control tower at B-58.
The Regiment began processing for redeployment to the United States on July 16 at Camp B-60, where the Regiment remained through the remainder of July.
The 137th Infantry participated in the Presentation of Awards, Parade, and Retreat Ceremony held July 30 at the Palais de Justice in Brussels under the direction of Chanor Base Section.
A provisional battalion of the 137th Infantry commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Alert W. Frink constituted the Parade Battalion at this ceremony.
At the conclusion of the retreat ceremony, the Battalion passed in review before distinguished guests present in the reviewing stand. In addition to the color guard in the Parade Battalion, five men from the 137th Infantry also constituted the color guard which lowered the American flag during the retreat.
Major General Paul W. Baade, 35th Infantry Division Commander, visited Colonel William S. Murray at Camp B-60 on July 13, 1945. At 1245 General Baade had a meeting of the Battalion and Special Unit Commanders in Colonel Murray's office. There were no casualties during the month of July.
On August 8, the Regiment received a call from the Commander of the Port at Le Harve, France. After a picturesque motor move via Amiens, Arras, Abbeville, Dieppe, and St. Vallerie, the Regiment arrived at Camp Lucky Strike, 40 miles from Le Harve. The last days were spent in preparation for the movement home.
On August 22, the final call from the Commander of the port came, and the men of the 137th loaded on the SS Cristobal and sailed the following morning for America.
The Cristobal docked in Boston Harbor on August 31. Trains were waiting to speed the men to Camp Miles Standish.
Within a few hours special trains carrying 137th veterans had started on that final lap home for 45 days of rest and recuperation.
After 45 days the Regiment started to reassemble at Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky, finally closing about October 31.
Inactivation was quick and well ordered and finally completed on December 1.
PHOT0GRAPHS and Maps - Chapter 7
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