NormandyNorthern FranceRhinelandArdennesCentral EuropeOfficial Site of the 35th Infantry Division Association
Welcome to the official site of the 35th Infantry Division in Europe during World War IIUnitsGeneral Paul BaadeAwards and DecorationsCasualties
Welcome to the official site of the 35th Infantry Division in Europe during World War II

By November 27th, the 35th Division and 6th Armored were just West of Puttelange, temporarily in Corps Reserve, resting and training replacements. In November offensive covering three weeks we had lost 349 killed, 1549 wounded and 115 missing. In addition to unknown casualties to the Germans, we had taken 2,309 prisoners. Still, before the division were the 11th Panzer and the 17th Panzer Grenadier Divisions. Immediately to our front were three rivers to cross – the Maderbach, Saar, and Blies Rivers – the latter being the German border. Seven miles ahead lay the City of Saarguemines, an industrial center of 15,000 people with many factory buildings and bomb shelters.

On December 4th, XII Corps launched an attack by the 80th and 35th Infantry Divisions and the 6th Armored to take the Saar River and beyond. On December 8th we crossed the Saar in assault boats, the expected German counter-attack stopped by TOT artillery fire and a strike by fighter bombers. On our right, the 26th Division successfully assaulted Maginot Line positions and on December 10th, the engineers had twelve vehicular bridges across the Saar River, in spite of heavy and continuous German artillery fire.

While the 137th Infantry continued to fight in Saareguemines and to mop up snipers and by passed pockets of resistance, the 320th and 134th Regiments fought their way another four miles to the Blies River, in spite of snow and bitter wind. Coming over a high hill we looked far down to a fast moving deep rushing river in flood stage, some 60 feet across, and up the other bank to an opposite high hill which was much higher than our side and looked down our throats – occupied by the enemy, an enemy now fighting for the sacred soil of their own country. Across the river were the 17th SS Panzer Grenadiers with the 38th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment, and the 11th Panzer Division, waiting. On the early morning of the 12th, the 134th Regiment crossed the river in plywood boats at Habkirchen. Heavy shelling and counter-attacks almost doomed the battalion that got across, but with supporting fire from the West bank, the survivors hung on.

To their right, upstream, the 320th Infantry attacked the Town of Bilesbruck and on the 13th sent one battalion over the Blies on a rickety engineer constructed foot bridge and seized Hill 312 overlooking Habkirchen. The fighting around Habkirchen cost the 134th Infantry one half of its remaining combat strength. The determination of the enemy to defend its own territory resulted in very few prisoners taken in the entire Blies River operation. Bitter resistance slowed the 320th Infantry advance from its bridgehead but Reinheim, Gersheim and Nieder-Gailbach were finally seized in house to house fighting. The G.I.’s fought their way up the hill on the East bank and nearly a mile further, on the approaches to the west wall, known to us as the Siegfried Line. Gen. Patton had planned to attack it on December 19th. Instead, everything suddenly came to a halt. On December 16th von Runstedt launched the huge and surprising German winter offensive. XII Corps was needed and was relieved by the XV Corps. The 35th Division, now at less than half strength, was relieved by the 44th Infantry and 87th Infantry Divisions and we loaded trucks for the icy ride to Metz. Ahead lay the Ardennes!

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By Maj. Norman C. Carey, Company A-320th Inf. Regt.

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