By Frank Chadwick In November 1944, an American infantry division underwent its baptism of fire in the worst conditions imaginable and acquitted itself with honor beyond anyone’s expectation. The final outcome of the campaign, however, was determined by the heroic action of only 100 men who found themselves in a hopeless situation and simply would not give up. The men of the 84th Division—the Railsplitters—were, to use the GIs’ own language, “green as grass,” fresh off the boat from the States, and they were not going to a quiet sector to get combat experience on the cheap. Their first combat mission was to assault and reduce the Geilenkirchen Salient, a chunk of the German Siegfried Line that featured dragon’s teeth, minefields, and layer after layer of concrete pillboxes surrounded by trenches, foxholes, and barbed wire, which Lt. Gen. Brian Horrocks, commander of British XXX Corps, described as the most formidable fortifications on the entire German front. Operation Clipper If the GIs had been expecting their first sight of Germany to be picturesque, they were disappointed. The area around Geilenkirchen, the flood plain of the Wurm and Roer Rivers, was depressingly drab, worn, and ugly. Nondescript shabby little villages and gray industrial towns dotted a landscape unbroken by any terrain features likely to catch the eye. There were a few scattered woods and orchards, but the ground was mostly cabbage and sugar beet fields now turned to sticky brown mud b
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4 thoughts on “King Company at Bloody Lindern”
On Dec 1 My Father’s (1Sgt Foster Bell) Company, E as part of 2nd Bn 333, was ordered to take the high ground NE of Lindern which they did. F 333 advanced too far and were cut off and captured. They lost 2 platoons after a truce was called in order to remove casualties, but the German “medics” took notes of their positions. E 333 later took up position in an orchard on the East side of Lindern. An account of this is in 2Lt Cobb’s book “War Class” (they did not graduate but were commissioned). He was a classmate of Lt Garlington at the Citadel and a replacement Platoon Leader in E333.
I was able to contact a few of the men who served under my Father and did expensive correspondence with some, particularly Jack Hyland who became a writer for Dick Clark after the war and worked at WFIL in Philadelphia. We emailed 5 times a week for 4 years until he died. I also met him at the reunions and also Alan Howerton and we also corresponded. I miss them a lot
Lt. Creswell Garlington, Jr., was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his gallant actions at Lindern.
The photo of the men walking behind the British tank through a ruined neighborhood, I believe, is actually of Co A, 333rd, clearing out Geilenkirchen on 19 Nov 44. My father, James N. Doyle, was a 2Lt of the 1st Plt of Co A in that initial attack. I have visited that neighborhood and the buildings have all been restored. I’m sure it was representative of the neighborhoods in Lindern at the time.
My uncle, PFC WILLIAM G. STAUDT JR, whom I was named after, was KIA on November 29th 1944 in Gereonsweiler Germany. He was part of the 335th Infantry Regiment 84th Infantry Division. He is laid to rest in the American War Cemetery Margraten, Netherlands.