The 104th Infantry Division landed in France on 7 September '44 and moved into a
defensive position in the vicinity of Wuustwezel, Belgium, 23 October '44. There
it relieved the British 49th Division & joined the First British Corps, First Canadian
Army. This relief made the 413th Infantry the first Regiment of the Division to take
its place in line, the first regiment of the American Army to relieve an allied unit
on the Western Front, as well as the first American Regiment to fight under the command
of an Allied Army on this front. The 104th went over to the offensive on the 25th,
soon liberating Zundert, Holland, gaining control of the Breda-Roosendall Road, and
overrunning the Vaart Canal defenses.
Leur and Etten fell as the Division advanced in a coordinated drive to the Mark River
at Standdarbuiten on 2 November '44 and established a bridgehead. Zevenbergen was
captured and the Maas River reached 5 November. The bulk of the Division moved near
Aachen, Germany (to relieve the First Division & join the U.S. Seventh Corps, First
U.S. Army), with some elements remaining to secure Moerdijk, Holland until 7 November.
Our job in Holland was over. We recovered our wounded, buried our dead and moved
on to our enemy's homeland
On 16 November the 104th attacked, taking Stolberg and pushing on against heavy resistance.
Eschweiler fell on the 21st and the enemy was cleared from the area west of the Inde
River, including Inden, by 2 December. Lucherberg was held against enemy counterattacks
on 3 December, and all strongholds west of the Roer (Ruhr) River were captured by
The 104th actively defended its sector near Duren and Merken from 15 December '44
to 23 February '45, and moved across the Roer taking Huchem-Stammeln, Birkesdorf
and North Duren (for details, see Operation Grenade).
On 5 March, after heavy fighting, it entered Cologne (Koln). After defending the
west bank of the Rhine, the Division crossed the river at Honnef, 22 March '45, and
attacked to the east of the Remagen Bridgehead.
The 413th Infantry overran the airfield east of Eudenbach on 23 March. After a period
of mopping-up and consolidation, the division began the offensive against the Ruhr
Pocket on 25 March and joined the 3rd Armored Division to eliminate scattered resistance
and participated in the trap of enemy troops in the Ruhr pocket.
The 104th repulsed heavy attacks near Medebach and captured Paderborn 1 April, '45.
Regrouping, it advanced to the east and crossed the Weser River on the 8th, blocking
enemy exits from the Harz Mountains. The Division then crossed the Saale river and
took Halle in a bitter five-day struggle 15 to 19 April. The sector to the Mulde
River was cleared by the 21st, and after vigorous patrolling, the Division contacted
the Red Army at Pretzsch 26 April.
Contact with enemy was lost on 5 May, completing 195 consecutive days of combat.
The 104th left Europe for home 27 June, 1945 and was stationed at Camp San Luis Obispo,
California, with anticipated deployment for further combat in the Pacific. On 30
August official word was received from higher headquarters that the Division would
not be needed in the Pacific