By Allyn Vannoy In early 1945, while the American First Army was focusing on the dams of the Roer River near the German-Belgium border and Patton’s Third Army was probing the Eifel and clearing the Saar-Moselle triangle, the First Canadian Army was about to open their offensive as part of Operation Veritable in a drive southeast up the left bank of the Rhine from the vicinity of Nijmegen. A few days later, the Ninth U.S. Army, from positions along the Roer River northeast of Aachen, was to launch Operation Grenade, an assault across the Roer followed by a drive to the Rhine. The Ninth Army became operational on September 5, 1944, under Lt. Gen. William H. Simpson, West Point class of 1909. The Ninth had seen considerable fighting in the Brittany Peninsula in September and in the drive from the German border to the Roer River in November and early December. It was positioned on the right flank of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s 21st Army Group, just to the north of Lt. Gen. Courtney Hodges’s First Army. During the December fighting in the Ardennes, the Ninth responded by doubling its frontage to 40 miles and switching to a defensive posture. By mid-January 1945, as the Battle of the Bulge was nearing an end, the Ninth Army returned to its former frontage near Aachen and prepared for offensive operations. Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower concluded in February 1945: “One more great campaign, aggressively conducted on a broad front, would give the


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