From the March 16, 1945 Edition of Stars and Stripes

9th armored division remagen

Insignia of the 9th Armored Division

EAST OF THE RHINE, Mar. 15–When they get around to writing the history of World War II there’ll be a lot of stuff about master plans and a lot more about men who brought the Allies victory, plan or no plan.

Some of these men will be sergeants, some will be lieutenants, others won’t even be Pfcs. Here’s one who is a general and who has won the hands down right to join the great of this war.

He’s the general who didn’t wait for orders, who seized and crossed the Ludendorff Bridge and gave the Allies their first bridgehead east of the Rhine.

His single star stands out brightly among the galaxy of rank born of this war for William M. Hoge, of Lexington, Mo., is commander of the Ninth Armored’s now famous Combat Command B. He answered opportunity’s first knock and sent his outfit over the Rhine while he had the chance–orders or no orders.

General william hoge 9th armored division wwii

Just Past Noon

Hoge’s tanks, infantry and other troops arrived at Remagen just past noon of March 7th after a day’s push from a village singularly named Ludendorff, about 15 airline miles from the Ludendorff bridge and more than double that distance over the country roads on which the drive was made.

He had been ordered to reach the Rhine, take Remagen and establish a bridgehead over the Ahr, a western tributary of the Rhine, a few miles south of Remagen. The orders made absolutely no reference to taking the Ludendorff Bridge or to gaining a bridgehead east of the Rhine.

Time Was Short

Learning from civilians that the Germans were scheduled to blow the bridge in less than an hour the general as good as scrapped his orders, sent his Remagen units across the Rhine, and brought his other forces to reinforce the bridgehead. After the operation had started he contacted his higher command and reported his action.

His early activities in World War II hardly pointed toward his being the general to make the crossing of Germany’s great western barrier. He was in charge of construction of the Alcan Highway, took command of the Ninth Armored’s Combat Command B in the Fall of ’42 but left that assignment about a year later to organize a special engineer group for the invasion.

He set up Omaha Beach on D-Day and ran it until he rejoined CCB in October.

For More Information Check Out:

Bridge at Remagen/Devil’s Brigade/633 Squadron

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  • Bill Getz says:

    A generation that had minds of independent thought not burdened by bureaucratic and socialist nonsense of the current generation. Hope and Patton, among others, were leaders of their time. Intuitive, intelligent initiative; get the job done. President Trump is a leader in this mold. That is why the present generation in the Washington swamp do not understand.

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