divisions. In addition, he could not reconcile surrender with the demands he placed on his officers and men throughout the war and his career. Rather than surrender and face trial for war crimes, he committed suicide.[16]. The 13th Infantry's thrust meant that the pocket south of the river was split into two enclaves, the larger to the west embracing the cities of Duesseldorf and Wuppertal. Already, US columns were taking the surrender of thousands of Germans, 17,000 by III Corps on March 26th alone. The human herd rolled in, held in POW cages that were little more than open fields. The act of resistance did accomplish a cancellation of further bombings on the city by another 800 bombers, through contact with the Americans. The First Army lost three times more, which would bring the U.S. casualties to 10,000. Suddenly and incredibly, the Allies were over the Rhine. The Allies were eager to get their hands on all German railway rolling stock and the U.S. pilots were banned from hitting this usual primary target, limiting the extent of Allied bombing operations. The pincers snapped shut, and the US Army had its greatest encirclement of the war. The commander of 3rd Armored Division, General Maurice Rose, assembled a task force under LTC Walter B. Richardson and gave a simple order, "Just go like hell." Bristling with modern equipment and vehicles—tanks, halftracks, self-propelled artillery—the US Army was both mobile and lethal. By the end of the month, the 9th Army and U.S. 3rd Army were close to linking up and completely encircling the German Army Group B. He eluded roadblocks when he could and blasted through others, making 45 miles in one day. Model's chief of staff Karl Wagener urged him to save the lives of German soldiers and civilians by capitulating. Casualty totals for the 15th Army units on the western edge of the pocket are not listed in the official U.S. The presence of SS troops was a common element in most instances of all-out resistance. While the bulk of the U.S. forces advanced east towards the Elbe river, some 18 U.S. divisions remained behind to destroy the isolated forces of Army Group B. In the Ruhr, the Wehrmacht proved unable to keep up with the Americans in a contest of maneuver, or to stand up to them in a pounding firefight. columns. The heavily outnumbered and outgunned Germans could ultimately do nothing more than delay the advancing enemy, who covered approximately 10 kilometers per day. Robert Citino, PhD, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy and the Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian... Institute for the Study of War and Democracy, 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II, Native Americans in the 45th Infantry Division, Curator's Choice: Nuremberg Trial Visitor, "The Grave Responsibility of Justice": Justice Robert H. Jackson's Opening Statement at Nuremberg, Understanding the 'Other Side': My Visit to Futa Pass Cemetery, "Straw" Vote Gives FDR the Lager: The 1944 POW Vote. Artillery units attached to US XVI Corps on the northwestern edge of the pocket, for example, fired no fewer than 259,000 rounds in fourteen days. Finally, US commanders had waves of fighters and fighter-bombers like the P-47 Thunderbolt or P-51 Mustang that made it nearly impossible for the Germans to move in daylight. As predicted, the going was slow, and 9th Army took a full week to chew through the Germans and the terrain, aided every step of the way by heavy US artillery fire and non-stop attacks by tactical air power. Often maligned as a dull "broad front" strategist—keeping all his armies moving forward in lockstep—Ike could spot a battlefield opening as well as any general in the war. By 17 April ammunition supplies would be exhausted, so the non-combatant troops would be allowed to surrender on that day. Doing so too early meant falling afoul of the Nazi authorities who were demanding a fight to the finish; doing so too late could mean a violent introduction to the American way of war. The men of the Wehrmacht could see no reason to carry on the unequal struggle. During Easter Week, the Americans solidified the ring around Army Group B, placing four corps around the perimeter. All too often, the local Nazi bigwig called upon his townsmen to fight to the death, then fled just before the Americans attacked. Düsseldorf was captured by Americans on 17 April without any notable fighting. It was April 1, Easter Sunday, just after noon. Already on 7 April the extent of the American advance to Central Germany had made any breakout impossible. Assuming that the other three corps kept pace, American guns may well have fired a million shells during the two-week battle.

closing the ruhr pocket

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