134th Infantry Regiment Crest

134th Infantry Regiment

"All Hell Can't Stop Us"

35th Infantry Division emblem

1st Lt. Sorin Norman Holland, Jr.

(S. Norman Holland, Jr.)

Lt. Sorin Norman Holland, Jr

Company G

Bronze Star Medal Citation

First Lieutenant Sorin N. Holland displayed marked leadership ability as a platoon leader of Company G, 134th Infantry Regiment in Europe from January to May 1945. Although this period was often marked by unfavorable climatic and combat conditions, he led his men in a courageous manner. At Lehberg, Germany, his troops, inspired by their leader's own gallant conduct, made an outstanding attack under heavy artillery and mortar fire against a strongly defended German position.

Purple Heart Medal

Wounded in action March 28, 1945
General Orders 64, Headquarters 35th Infantry Division, 26 November 1945

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S. Norman Holland, Jr.

S. Norman Holland, Jr.


S. Norman Holland, Jr.


S. Norman Holland, Jr.

S. Norman Holland, Jr. on right, name of soldier on left unknown

S. Norman Holland, Jr.

S. Norman Holland, Jr.

S. Norman Holland, Jr.

S. Norman Holland, Jr. (right) with his parents S. Norman Holland, Sr. and Grace Thomas Holland

S. Norman Holland, Jr.

S. Norman Thomas, Jr.

Soldiers from the 134th Infantry Regiment with the mayor of a city in France (location unknown). S. Norman Holland Jr. is 2nd from the left.

S. Norman Holland, Jr.

S. Norman Holland, Jr. on far left. Names of other soldiers unknown

S. Norman Holland, Jr., far right. Names of other soldiers unknown.

S. Norman Holland, Jr.

S. Norman Holland, Jr.

Top row - left to right, Nita (Lt. Holland's wife), Gregg Holland (son), Norm Holland III (son) and Cheryl Brenner (daughter). Middle - S. Norman Holland, Jr. Taken at the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.

Top row - left to right, Devin Holland, Michael Brenner, and Philp Brenner (grandsons). Middle - S. Norman Holland, Jr. Taken at the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.

Lt. S. Norman Holland, Jr. and his wife Nita

Award of Purple Heart Medal

Battlefield Promotion

Letter to Nita Holland from a hometown friend telling of his meeting with Lt. Holland in France

Article from the Salisbury (Maryland) Advertiser

Almost Lost
By S/Sgt. Richard Beck, Company G, 134th Infantry, 35th Division

Reprinted from the original which appeared in the May 10th issue of The Salisbury Advertiser.

Dedicated to
1st Lt. S. Norman Holland, Jr.
By Mr. and Mrs. S. Norman Holland, Sr.

The Overshot Objective

(The Lieutenant Holland referred to is Lieut. S. Norman Holland, son of Mr. and Mrs. S. Norman Holland of this city.)

It was Easter morning, 1945, in a German city in the heart of the Rhine. A company of American foot sloggers were being awakened by the guard. "Oh, fellows," called the guard, "it's time to get up; chow is here." A few men jumped awake with a start, but the most of them had to be shaken because the men were pretty tired.

For six days they had been pushing the Heinies back. A hard six days of sweat and blood, sleeping only when they had stopped for a breath or got pinned down by enemy fire and were lucky enough to get in the cellar of some German home, and living off nothing but rations. Just the night before they had moved in to take the town that they now occupied.

They moved into the outskirts of the city without any trouble except for one shell that came in pretty close and a piece of the shrapnel hit one man. Other than that they had very little trouble. They moved through the outskirts and started up the main street into the main part of town. It was almost dusk and it was getting hard to see plainly. The lead platoon had advanced up one block of the main street when they came face to face with a German Tiger Royal Tank. The tank opened firing their machine guns straight down the street and firing their big gun, the well-known "88".

The men, as soon as the firing started, ducked into the buildings along the street. Not being able to move on the street in the light of day, the commanding officer gave the order by radio to pull back to the start of the street as soon as they could move. As soon as the night set in dark enough to move under the face of the German tank without being noticed, the doughboys moved out of the buildings they had taken safety in and moved down the street to their assigned points and set up for the night. So you can easily see why the men were tired and sleepy. The tank moved out during the night so the next day went very uneventful, up until 4 p.m., when the order came to move out.

Everyone was sitting around talking over the events of the night before when a call came over the sound power telephone giving the order for what was coming off that evening that will long be remembered by the men of Company G. "Easter Sunday Evening." The order was for the company to move out of the town to a railroad track at the far end of town, to move up the track one thousand yards and clean and secure the town to the right of the tracks. The order of march was First Platoon with machine guns attached, then the Second Platoon, Third Platoon and, bringing up the rear of the company, was Headquarters group, with two supporting companies following in the rear.

The battalion moved out on time, reached the railroad tracks and turned off the highway onto the tracks and started out for the objective. Everything went along as smooth as glass for the first 500 yards, and then a German tank started firing on them. The tank couldn't fire point-blank fire, because the Doughboys were protected by the high banks on either side of the tracks. All he could throw at the boys was time fire, but the tank really threw plenty of that. The Doughboys had been through a lot of shelling and they knew just what to do. Crouching close to the ground and hugging close to the bank, they moved up the railway without any trouble or anyone getting hurt. Under the fire of the German tank the lead of the company passed the town that they were supposed to stop and clear.

The officer in the lead platoon was so intent on leading the company through as much cover as possible so as not to have anyone in the company from getting hit that he never noticed he was passing his objective. After passing the town he kept moving straight up the tracks. The German tank off to the right of the track kept firing time fire at them but then a new fire was noticed. The head end of the column approached a road bridge passing over the tracks. When they had reached about 200 yards from the bridge there was a sudden barrage of artillery fire and every shot landed directly in the center of the bridge. The officer in charge knew that the fire was not coming from the tank that had been firing the time fire at them all the way up the track, but it looked more like fire from American guns. But he was convinced that it wouldn't be our own guns firing on a position that we were supposed to be in, so he decided that it must be from another tank off somewhere to the left that had been by-passed by some neighboring outfit on the left, and so he moved up the tracks, still not knowing that he had overshot his objective.

A few yards past the bridge and the tank on the right stopped firing and the only thing that was coming in was this new fire from the left, where it wasn't hitting on the tracks, though it was landing mostly to the left and right of the tracks. Only every once in a while a round would land on or near the track. One shell came in and landed in the middle of the track and, instead of bursting, it sputtered and started burning with a strong glow and a snow-white smoke poured out of it.

The shell was a signal fired by our own artillery to try to stop the company from moving on up the tracks. The company now had overshot the objective about 800 yards, but neither the platoon leader or the company commander realized it. The first platoon was led by a second lieutenant from Maryland who's named Holland. Lieutenant Holland kept moving on up the tracks. It was now just before dusk and he was speeding it up a bit so as to reach what he understood to be his objective. After moving on up three or four hundred yards, he came upon a rail yard that lay between an open hill on the right and a factory and mine on the left. There were a few tracks in the yards that had loaded box cars on them. The company was in open column formation, with Lieutenant Holland at the head of the right column, and T/Sgt. Deatherge at the head of the left file. T/Sgt. Deatherge, a boy from Indiana that everybody called Jim, and Lieutenant Holland brought the two columns closer together so that they could pass down the middle of the yards and have the protection an cover of the box cars on either side of them.

They moved through the yard and as they moved they noticed that all of the fire had stopped. Soon the line of box cars ran out and the men were out in the clear again. Everything was just as quiet as could be. The head end of the column had reached the slag piles that were on their left. They had no more gotten in line with the slag piles when T/Sgt. Jim spotted German soldier standing at the entrance to the mine, waving his hands. So, presuming that he wanted to surrender, Jim motioned to come out, but instead of coming out he turned to run. Jim opened up on him with a Grease Gun. The German fell down and Jim, thinking he had hit him, stopped firing. But the German wasn't hit. He got up again and started to run. Jim opened fire on him again and one of the men beside him, a kid from Louisiana called Pierre, opened fire on him also with a B.A.R, but the German had luck with him and he reached the entrance to the mines and got away.

Just about that time a German half-track came flying up the road. Leaving the mine, it ran past. Our boys then opened fire on it with small arms. It looked to me as if the Germans in it figured that the half-track wouldn't go fast enough to suit them because, when they reached a patch of woods about two yards from the mine, they stopped the vehicle, got out and ran into the woods.

About the same time that the half-track came up the road all Hell broke loose. A small volley of small arms opened up back to the rear of the company and the order was passed up to pull back, that the company was being attacked from the rear. But the order didn't get to the head of the column; it got about halfway up the first platoon and then a big German gun on the right of the tracks, just over the knoll of the hill, opened fire on us. The Germans were so surprised that they had to turn the gun around to fire at us. It was a big "88" dug-in emplacement and was so set that it could fire at us point blank.

When the big gun opened fire a German messenger jumped out of a dugout and started off on a motorcycle. But he didn't get the message there. When he started off one of the men named Anderson, from North Dakota, opened fire with a M-1 rifle at the same time and S/Sgt. Beck from Virginia opened fire on the messenger with a Thompson sub-machine gun. One of the two hit the messenger, and he fell off the motorcycle into the ditch on the side of the road and crawled back to his dugout under the cover of the ditch. Meanwhile the front half of the first platoon had taken cover behind a small bank in the middle of the railway yard. T/Sgt. Deatherge, seeing that the bank didn't give enough protection from the German shells, began to look around for better cover from the flying shrapnel that now filled the air like rain. Spotting a deeper bank between the railroad bed and the slag piles, Sgt. Jim ordered his men to make a run for the bank and jump over it. He started off and ran to the edge of the bank and jumped before he realized the depth of the bank, and his men followed. The bank was about 15 feet deep. Then they ran up the ditch to the end of the slag pile and around to the rear of the pile when they found a few buildings. Sgt. Jim disbursed his men, now under the protection of the slag piles, and ordered them to clear the buildings.

After the buildings had been cleared, Lieutenant Holland set up a light defense while Sergeant Huckaby, a boy from Alabama, and one of his men who is from Arkansas, named Goode, went outside of the buildings to try to contact the rest of the company by the walkie-talkie radio. After trying to contact them for about 45 minutes with no results, they went back into the house to tell Lieutenant Holland that they couldn't contact the company by radio. When he learned this, Sergeant Deatherge and Sergeant Huckaby decided to try and make their way back down the track to make physical contact with the company. The two sergeants worked their way back around the slag pile and down the ditch in the direction they had previously come. They went down the ditch until they thought they had gotten far enough down to be almost with the section of the yard that the boxcars were on, then worked their way up the bank and to the rail yard. By this time darkness had set in. When they reached the top of the bank the point-blank fire stopped suddenly. The sergeants started across the yard to get in the cover of the box cars when they saw a big explosion which they later found out was the explosion from the Germans, thinking they were surrounded, blowing up their gun. But that didn't end the shellfire because, being so far over their original objective, they were catching their own artillery. The two sergeants ducked under the box cars for cover.

Then, rather than get pinned down, they made their way down the yard by crawling under the cars. They called every few seconds, "Any G.I's?" hoping to find a man somewhere that could tell them where the company was. But they didn't find anyone until they got all the way through the yard and came upon a station house at the left of the tracks and saw lights flashing inside the building. Not knowing whether it was German soldiers or G.I.'s, the two sergeants decided to take a chance and rush the station, but they had no more than gotten started when they were stopped by the familiar "Halt!" They stopped in their tracks. A voice in the darkness said "Password!" The sergeants gave the password that they had used the night before and it was accepted. They were ordered to advance. When they advanced they could see an American machine gun staring them in the face with a G.I. laying behind it with his hand on the trigger. When he recognized the sergeants, they passed by him and entered the building. There they found members of the Second Platoon and, finding the location of the main body of the company, the two sergeants starting making their way further down the track to contact the company commander. When they found him they told him what had happened and convinced him that the artillery that was coming in was our own artillery. The company commander, Lieutenant Priest from California, taking a pipe out of his mouth, turned to the radio man, a boy named Wright from Kansas, and said: "Contact Bat. C.P. quick." The radio man got to work and in a few seconds he had his party on the air. Lieutenant Priest took the phone piece and started giving his position on the map and told them to lift the artillery fire in that particular zone. When the Colonel heard this he said: "Are you sure?" "Yes," replied Lieutenant Priest. "Get the hell back into your own sector," yelled the Colonel.

In a second the artillery fire stopped and the two sergeants moved back up the track. L When they arrived they got their men organized and moved back down the ditch beside the track to where the company C.P. was. As soon as the company had been gathered together as much as could be located, the unit moved back to the original objective and set up a defense to hold until the next order for the attack came. When Sergeant Deatherge and Lieutenant Holland started counting their men, they found that they were short seven men. They checked with the wounded men and found that none of their men were in the group. Thinking they may have been captured or killed, they marked them MIA. But the men weren't killed or captured; they had just been cut off from the rest of the platoon.

Two of the men - one a sergeant named Zuelke from California and another private first class named Worthington from Virginia, had taken cover in a German farmhouse above the slag piles. When the order was passed to turn back, Sergeant Zuelke and Worthington had received the message from a breathless runner and made a run for the front of the platoon, but were pinned down by shell fire and didn't reach the head of the column. The head of the column had moved across the tracks and jumped down the bank. Sergeant Zuelke and Worthington got pinned down again by 20 mm. ack-ack fire. When the fire lifted they had lost contact with the rest of the platoon so the only thing to do was make for a farm house on the left of the tracks, and went into the house and made a quick check for German soldiers, but didn't find any. They had been in the house about 15 minutes when the door burst open and in walked a German soldier. The two men stood there rifles in their hands, and the German soldier threw up his hands and explained to the G.I.'s that he had a wounded friend in the ditch out in the road, so Sergeant Zuelke guarded the German while Worthington, with help of the civilians, went out into the artillery fire and got the wounded German and brought him back in.

All night long the two men stayed awake to guard the prisoners, and when morning came Sergeant Zuelke started out alone to try to contact his outfit, but instead found the C.P. of another battalion. But it was all right. He got the medics and took them back with him to pick up the wounded German. He brought back his prisoners and, after turning them over to the battalion C.P., he returned to his outfit.

The other five men, when the platoon split, pulled back to a switch control house on the right side of the tracks. That is where S/Sgt. Beck and Pfc. Anderson fired on the messenger. After they had fired on him, they decided that the house they were in, without any basement, was too much of a target, so the five men worked their way around to the back of the corner of the building. Spotting the farm houses on the right of the tracks, the five men made a dash down the bank in the face of point-blank fire and ran for the houses. When they reached them, they went inside and cleaned them up and set up a light defense to wait for the fire to lift. They stayed there all night with very little sleep and the next morning they took a look around and saw a town about 300 yards to their rear, so after getting the men together, S/Sgt. Beck led them down along the ditch to the town without any trouble and when he reached the town found the battalion C.P. of another battalion other than their own. It was the same one that Sergeant Zuelke had found, and so they all returned to their own outfit.

When they arrived, the rest of the men of the first platoon were all very glad to find that they were all safe. The newly-returned men, after eating some food, sat down to swap stories with the rest.

There is one thing for sure, and that is the good Lord is really looking after this bunch of men, and they all agreed. Just then the order came to move. The men heaved a sigh as if to get a heavy load off their chest and turned to get on their equipment to start off for another adventure.

Lt. S. Norman Holland served in the 35th Infantry Division for 4 years, in the Army Reserves for 18 years, and was discharged with the rank of Captain. He and his wife Nita had 3 children; Cheryl, Norman, and Gregg. He attended the University of Maryland and after the war he served in various public capacities in and around Salisbury, Maryland including that of City Councilman, President of Maryland and Salisbury Jaycees, Chairman of the Salisbury District Boy Scouts, and Board of Trustees member of Wesley College and Asbury United Methodist Church. He passed away in 2004

Thanks to Lt. Holland's grandson, Devin Holland, for these pictures and the biographical information.

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