443rd AAA Bn in World War II

CENTRAL EUROPE CAMPAIGN

MILITARY GOVERNMENT

With only the 443rd Battalion attached, the 36th Division moved to the Kaiserlautern area to garrison, police and support Military Government in areas west of the Rhine in that sector, prepared to move elsewhere on 24 hours notice. So on 1 April 1945 veterans of the 443rd were in their first rear area assignment, occupation duty. Troops were housed in spotless German houses and buildings. Fraternization was "verboten" and the monotonous drudgery of classes and training caused many to agitate for combat action again.

During the military government duty men were in motorized patrols with checkpoints to reduce German travel to a minimum and to pick up German soldiers in civilian clothing. Great amounts of enemy ammunition and equipment were seized. On 2 April the 443rd Battalion S-3 issued instructions regarding the setting up of check points and conducting patrols as well as a process for "screening" all towns in the area assigned to the Battalion. All male civilians were questioned and anyone not having a Wehrmacht discharge was treated as a prisoner of war. All displaced persons were registered. Travel passes were issued to persons whose work made it necessary for them to travel up to 3 km out of town. One old woman was given a pass so she could follow her occupation of gathering fallen sticks in a nearby forest and selling them. Towns assigned for screening were:

Headquarters - Sembach
Battery B - Rohrbach
Battery D - Neuhemsbach
Battery A - Wattenberg
Battery C - Baalborn

Lt. Col. Larson, during a TDY of five days in Paris, was awakened by a French chambermaid who tearfully broke the news that "President Roosevelt is dead". During this period both officers and men were able to have several days leave for rest and recuperation in Paris, London or the Riviera.

But on 22 April the 36th Division was relieved by the 28th Division and the 36th Commander General Dahlquist sent the following commendation to the officers and men of his command:

"A month ago the Division was given a new and unfamiliar task — support of Military Government and security of the Army rear area. The task has been well done. Conduct has been exemplary. Personal appearance, military courtesy and discipline has been outstanding. The German population in this area knew, prior to our arrival, of our reputation as hard fighters. They are now impressed with the fact that we are well trained and disciplined.

"The Division is returning to a role with which we are familiar — combat. We have had a good rest. We have been able to put our arms and equipment in first class shape. The conditions under which we return to the fight will be the best we have ever had.

"I wish to express to every officer and enlisted man, in the Division and attached troops, my appreciation for the excellent work during the period just finished. I know that, in the fighting still to be done, each officer and man will contribute his full share to the success of the 36th Division".

— John E. Dahlquist, Major General, U.S. Army

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