254th Infantry Regiment Colors


 

Presidential Citations

Colmar, France
By direction of the President of the United States of America, the Presidential Unit Citation is awarded to the 3rd Infantry Division with the following attached units: 254th Infantry Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division. Fighting incessantly, from 22 Jan to 6 Feb 1945, in heavy snow storms, through enemy infested marshes and woods and over a flat plain crisscrossed by numerous small canals, irrigation ditches, and unfordable streams, terrain ideally suited to the defense, breached the German defense wall on the northern perimeter of the Colmar bridgehead and drove forward to isolate Colmar from the Rhine. Crossing the fecht River from Guemar, Alsace, by stealth during the late hours of darkness of 22 January, the assault elements fought their way forward against mounting resistance. Reaching the Ill River, a bridge was thrown across, but collapsed before armor could pass to the support of two battalions of the 30th Infantry on the far side. Isolated and attacked by a full German Panzer brigade, outnumbered and outgunned, these valiant troops were forced back, yard by yard. Wave after wave of armor and infantry was hurdled against them but despite hopeless odds the regiment held tenaciously to the bridgehead. Driving forward in knee-deep snow, which masked acres of densely sown mines, the 3rd Infantry Division fought from house to house and street to street in the fortress towns of the Alsatian Plain. Under furious concentrations of suporting fire, assault troops crossed the Colmar Canal in rubber boats during the night of 29 January. Driving relentlessly forward, six towns were captured within 8 hours, 500 casualties were inflicted on the enemy during the day, and large quantities of booty seized. Slashing through to the Rhine-Rhone Canal, the garrison at Colmar was cut off and the fall of the city assured. Shifting the direction of attack, the division moved south between the Rhine-Rhone Canal and the Rhine toward Neuf Brisach and the Brisach Bridge. Synchronizing the attacks, the bridge was seized and Neuf Brisach captured by crossing the protecting moat and scaling the medieval walls by ladder. In one of the hardest fought and bloodiest campaigns of the war, the 3rd Infantry Division annihilated three enemy divisions, partially destroyed three others and captured over 4000 prisoners and inflicted more than 7500 casualties on the enemy (WDGO 44, 6 Jun 1945)
 
Jebsheim, France
By direction of the President of the United States of America, the Presidential Unit Citation is awarded to; Second Battalion, 254th Infantry Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division for outstanding performance of duty during the period 25- 29 January 1945, in capturing the heavily fortified and defended stonghold of Jebsheim, France, in the Colmar Pocket. Attacking in subzero weather through fierce winds and deep, numbing snow, the 2d Battalion met stalwart, determined resistance from machine guns in pillboxes, small arms fire, and heavy artillery fire. It was apparant that the Germans were stubbornly determined to hold this last stronghold in the Colmar Pocket, the key city of their well planned defense arc. The men of the 2d Battalion fought their way to the Blind River and waded the icy, swift-flowing stream under a devastating barrage. Slowly and grimly the men advanced, though suffering heavy casualties in the intense fire coming from three directions, took the concrete bunkers with the aid of tank destroyers and eliminated the resistance before the town which had previously turned back entire regiments. Penetrating the flaming town, the men fought bitterly against the desperate and determine defender, neither giving nor asking quarter. In 2 days of house-to-house, floor-to-floor, and room-to-room fighting, the town was lost and regained three times. While enemy 88-mm guns from the woods to the east poured fire on the unit, the exhausted and frozen men fought violently to gain the last portion of the city still held by the enemy. So fierce and determined was their attack that the enemy marched out of their strongpoints and surrendered. The fierceness of their resistance lends credence to their statements that Jebsheim was being used as a corps headquarters. With the fall of Jebsheim to the 2d Battalion, 254th Infantry Regiment, the hub of German resistance in the strong Colmar Pocket was broken and another vital portion of France was liberated. The indomitable courage, fortitude, determination and zeal of the men of the 2d Battalion, 254th Infantry Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division are a shining example to their fellow countrymen and reflect the highest credit on them and the armed forces of the United States. (WD GO 42, 7 May 1946.
 
Ensheim/Siegfried Line, Germany
By direction of the President of the United States of America, the Presidential Unit Citation is awarded to: First Battalion, 254th Infantry Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy. The First Battalion, 254th Infantry Regiment is cited for outstanding accomplishment in combat during the period 0100 hours, 15 March 1945 to 2400 hours 15 March 1945, near Ensheim, Germany in clearing the well-defended approach to the Siegfried Line in its assigned sector. In a twenty-three hour period the First Battalion cleared four enemy towns which stood as outpost to the Siegfried Line and which were defended fanatically by tanks, ground troops and tremendous batteries of artillery. Simultaneously attacking Hartingshof and Eschingen, elements of the battalion smashed their way into these towns and cleared them through sheer speed and relentless drive. One company of the Battalion held an estimated battalion of enemy on the outskirts of Neumuhlerhof for over eight hours, while the rest of the unit attacked the last and most strongly fortified town outposting the Siegfried Line, Ensheim. Here the battalion met seven tanks and an enemy who turned each house into a pillbox, each street into a miniature battlefield as they resisted with every ground weapon available. Counterattack followed counterattack, as the Germans poured reinforcements from the nearby pillboxes in an attemp to stop the slow but ever advancing troops. Finally, however, at nightfall, after the Battalion had eliminated three of their tanks, the German troops were forced to retreat to their concrete fortifications in the Siegfried Line. Because the First Battalion had achieved its mission so swiftly, darinly and courageously, the 254th Infantry Regiment became the first unit of the Seventh Army to breach the famed Siegfried Line defense. the heroic actions of the First Battalion, 254th Infantry Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division reflect great credit upon its members and the United States Army. (DA GO 14, 11 April 1997)
 
Siegfried Line, Germany
By direction of the President of the United States of America, the Presidential Unit Citation is awarded to ; Third Battalion, 254th Infantry Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy. The Third Battalion, 254th Infantry Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division is cited for outstanding accomplishment in combat during the period 0400 hours, 16 March 1945 to 1400 hours 20 March 1945, near Ensheim, Germany, in making the initial breach of the Siegfried Line. In the first phase of its four day battle, the Third Battalion struck with such speed and determination that the enemy was driven from their reinforced concrete pillboxes by assaulting elements who completely disregarded the torrent of fire poured at them by the defenders. The difficult task of the unit had only begun, however, when they took this emplacement studded knoll, to hold it at all cost was the order. The enemy realized that the position the Third Battalion held meant almost certain smashing of the Siegfried Line, and the Germans were determined to recapture their pillboxes. For three more days and nights the Battalion was ceaselessly shelled by all enemy artillery available. Counterattacks were made, thrown back and made again. Tenaciously, grimly the unit held, at times it seemed as if there was no hope of retaining the ground they had gained. Nevertheless, as each day passed and the attacks became more bitter, more ferocious, the determination of the men of the Third Battalion increased. They would not give ground. At last, on 20 March, largely due to the number of men the Third Battalion kept occupied, other elements of the regiment, inspired by the great display of courage shown by the members of the Third Battalion, broke through the Siegfried Line, unleashing the armor into to Rhine Valley. The heroic actions of the Third Battalion, 254th Infantry Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division, reflect great credit upon its members and the United States Army. (DA GO 14, 11 April 1997)
 
 

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