French forces link with paratroops
Stars and Stripes September 30, 1951
WITH THE FRENCH 1ST ARMY, Sept. 29 (S&S) — French and American armor rumbled across the Rhine today to bolster and spearhead five-nation infantry forces in a push gaining almost 20 miles on the east bank of the river in "Operation Jupiter's" second day.
Ferrying operations were in full swing tonight at all seven bridgeheads as French Gen Augustin Guillaume, the maneuver director, rushed to get the bulk of his 150,000-man Allied force across the river before midnight.
The seven bridgeheads had been carved out by the infantry last night and today.
To speed the flow of military traffic, LCTs (landing craft, tank), manned by French, American and British sailors, were bringing over vehicles.
In all, some 30,000 vehicles — ranging From Jeeps to massive 46-ton Pershing tanks — will have crossed the river before the French-operated games come to an end tomorrow.
Maj Gen Williston B. Palmer's U.S. 2d Armd Div had pushed across most of its tanks and halftracks by nightfall. Supporting units of the 2d Armd were close behind, approaching the V Corps bridge sites near Worms in huge convoys.
Some 8,000 V Corps vehicles, including those of the 1st Div, which had finished the crossing early this morning, are crossing the, Rhine in the gigantic ferrying operation.
Along the southern third of the 80-mile front that stretches almost from Karlsruhe to Frankfurt, the French I Corps' 2d and 4th Inf Divs linked up with a force of more than 500 paratroopers who had jumped into the mock battle at St. Leon, near Karlsruhe.
In the French II Corps area — the northern third of the front — the French 1st Armd Div crossed at two bridge sites to back up the French 3d Inf Div and units from Britain, Belgium and The Netherlands.
The Dutch regimental combat team had assaulted the Rhine some 15 miles from Darmstadt in just 40 minutes.
Along the V Corps sector, infantrymen and tankers of the 16th and 26th Inf Regts launched an attack at 6 this morning which had carried the Yanks almost 10 miles into the mountainous Odenwald by nightfall. The hard-driving 16th Inf was reported to have overrun and "boxed in" defending units several times.
The crack 18th Inf Regt was moving into the line for the first time in the exercise to relieve the 26th, which is going into reserve.
Heavy artillery cover was provided by 1st Div Arty and 2d Div Arty.
The outnumbered 2d Armd Cav Regt, representing "Redland" forces, .fell back gradually, employing delaying tactics.
The 2d Armd Div's combat commands were being massed behind the front line and had not been committed to battle.
The 547th Engr (C) Bn was reported unofficially to have set a new record for spanning the Rhine with the construction of a bridge near Worms. The 109th Engr (C) Bn built the second bridge at Rhine-Durkheim.
The 2d Armd had units on the extreme north and south flanks of, the American sector, keeping contact with French I and II Corps frontline units.
The Rhine River Patrol, which had a major role in the river crossing, established a command post near Rhine-Durkheim.
Rhine Patrol fleet units were out in force. Units of the Rhine Patrol's labor service units manned the craft which transported the 1st and 2d Armd Divs across the river.
U.S. Navy officers visiting the crossing sites said they were "highly impressed with the operations," particularly by the seasoned way in which the ground forces handled the crossing problem.