Panzerjäger Company

During World War II, the Panzerjäger company of the German infantry regiment was a fully motorized unit which consisted of four platoons, each with three antitank guns and a total of 12 light machine guns; a company chief (Oberleutnant) with company troop (13 men) using cars and motorcycles; and a combat supply train with one car, one large field kitchen, 3 trucks. It was main source of antitank defense in an infantry regiment during the entire war. The antitank guns were rapid-fire cannon-type weapons which fired antitank shells in flat fire, directly aimed using telescopic sights, primarily at enemy tanks but also at strongly fortified places, such as concrete bunkers and explosive shells at infantry targets.

Operation Veritable

Operation Veritable was a British military operation launched by the 21st Army Group, commanded by Bernard Montgomery, on February 8, 1945, during World War II. The objective of Operation Veritable was to capture the region between the Maas and Rhine Rivers in Dutch and German territory. It was carried out sucessfully with fierce fighting raging on until March 11, 1945. The intense and savage military engagement that Operation Veritable set off is called Battle of the Reichswald Forest, for it was in the Klever Reichswald forest near Kleve in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, that most of the fighting took place.

There was a section of the Siegfried Line that extended for several miles to protect the German territory at this point. The commander of the 90,000 German troops deployed at this line was Alfred Schlemm. Operation Veritable was initiated in the early hours of February 8, 1945. The next day after the British attack, the Germans blew the gates out of the largest Roer dam, sending water surging down the valley. The next day they added to the flooding by doing the same to dams further up stream on the Roer and the Urft. Although the valley downstream to the Meuse got flooded and stayed that way for about two weeks, the British 2nd and the Canadian 1st Armies were able to continue their advance with heavy fighting along the narrow neck of land between the Meuse and the Waal east of Nijmegen, but the US 9th Army was unable to advance until the waters subsided during the third week.

During the two weeks that the river was flooded Hitler would not allow Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt to withdraw East behind the Rhine arguing that it would only delay the inevitable fight. He ordered him to fight where his forces stood.

Operation Lumberjack (1945)

Operation Lumberjack was the codename for the World War II military operation launched by the US 12th Army Group on March 1, 1945, in western Germany. The objective of Operation Lumberjack was to reach the west bank of the Rhine River and seize key German cities which would be used by the Allied forces as springboards for the final offensives of the war. Commanded by American General Omar Bradley, the 12th Army Group was composed of the 1st and 3rd Army.

Operation Lumberjack was launched by General Bradley on March 1, 1945. Advancing from bridgeheads over the Erft River in the north, the 1st Army fought their way into Euskirchen on March 4, capturing Cologne on March 5. At the same time, in the south, the 3rd Army, under the command of George S Patton, marched through the Eifel mountain range to the west bank of the Rhine. Then, the 9th Armored Division of 1st Army pushed their way towards Remagen, a town lying on the Rhine, taking its railroad bridge, the Ludendorff bridge on March 7. The German Army units counter-attacked to destroy the bridge, but the Americans managed to hold them off until March 17, when the bridge finally collapsed. Nevertheless, the US engineers had already built several pontoon bridges across the Rhine, establishing a firm foothold on the eastern bank of the river. After fierce fighting, 3rd Army’s elements also managed to cross the Rhine on March 22, 1945.