Day by Day in the Ruhr Pocket ...
At noon on the 16th of April in Wuppertal, the Third Battalion received orders to move to Gummersbach, where they were to be under 18th Corps (Airborne) control and assigned the mission of guarding the PW enclosure there. That afternoon the battalion traveled by truck to Gummersbach. They arrived there at 2300 and immediately assumed the duty of guarding the 60,000 prisoners. At 1120 on the 17th battalion received orders to be prepared to move to Dierdorf the following day. The new mission of the battalion was to guard communication lines and supply routes. They reverted to regimental control and on the 18th of April proceeded by motor to the vicinity of Dierdorf and were billeted in the town of Herchbach. Blue Battalion, in addition to accomplishing its security mission, instituted a training program which was in operation for three days when further orders altered the new program. They were to command a large area, part of which was then occupied by the 112th Infantry. On April 22nd the movements necessitated by these orders were completed and the battalion was attached to the 311th Infantry. Company M moved to Bonn, Company L to Konigswinter, Company K moved to Horhausen, and Company I remained with Headquarters in Herschbach.
The companies set up check points and maintained road patrols in their respective areas. The movements of all civilians and civilian vehicles were closely watched and numerous arrests were made for violations of security regulations.
On the 27th of April the battalion once again assembled at Herschbach, entrucked and departed for a new security mission in the vicinity of Frankenburg. Company M was not included in this move, having been ordered to remain in Bonn for another week.
Late afternoon on April 27th Battalion Headquarters was established in Fritzlar Germany a fair size town 18 miles south of Kassel. Headquarters Company and Company I were also billeted in Fritzlar. Company L was assigned to the town of Borken and Company K was located in the resort town of Bad Wildungen. Checkpoints and patrols were established and the battalion assumed responsibility for the security of a large area of Kreis Fritzlar Homberg. On the 29th two CIC teams reported to the battalion and plans were made to screen all the towns in the area. Company M was relieved in Bonn and returned to the battalion on the 3rd of May, and was billeted in Homberg. Training, screening and sundry operations continued until May 7th, during which time the battalion was responsible for the arrest and detention of many security violations and prisoners of war.
General Parker announced on May 7th that Germany had surrendered. The news was greeted calmly by all. The men paused briefly to think of all that had happened during the last six months and then applied themselves to the new tasks before them.
On the 8th 2030 a German plane landed near Wehren with 21 German soldiers and 1 civilian. Battalion Headquarters Company men captured the plane and its occupants and determined after questioning that the prisoners had escaped from Czechoslovakia and attempting to go to Cologne, along the Rhine River.
The war with Germany ended officially at 0001 on the 9th of May but it was necessary that training and security missions continue. The battalion observed V-E Day on the 13th with an appropriate ceremony. Lt. Col. Lutz, then acting Regimental Commander, delivered the principle address followed by Chaplain Voelzke and Mr. Robinson, the Regimental Red Cross Director. Music was furnished by a quintet from the Regimental Glee Club. On May 14th the battalion moved from FritzIar to the Kreis Waldeck area. Gen. Parker visited the area on May 20th and was present at a battalion review. Chaplain Voelzke officiated at the Memorial services held in Waldeck on the 30th of May.
The Third Battalion inaugurated a sports program with company teams in volleyball and softball organized into a battalion league. Battalion and Regimental field meets were held on successive Saturdays.
The first week in July Blue Battalion again changed their location, this time to Kreis Wolfhagen. L Company occupied Breitenbach, K Company, Martinhagen; M Company, Balhorn; I Company, Altenstadt; Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Ippinghausen. A full time training program was instituted to prepare the men for eventual participation in the fighting in the Pacific.
On Sept. 2nd World War 11 ended. The men of the Blue Battalion were able to completely relax once more. Happiness was in the hearts of all but it was sobered by the memory of all they had been through and by the memory of all their fallen comrades. Emphasis was now placed on occupation duties and eventual return to civilian life. Training time was cut down and a full I and E program and athletic program were carried out. A Battalion Newspaper was published weekly and the appearance of the men was improved with the issue of ETO jackets to all. Recreational facilities were increased and the sports program augmented to include boxing, basketball and football.
During the last week in September the men were told that the next move would be to Berlin. Instruction in various occupation duties was carried out with particular emphasis placed on riot and guard duties. This movement was postponed several times, but finally on the 12th of November, the Third Battalion with the 1st Battalion of the 310th relieved the 504th Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division in Berlin, Germany.