Ike sees Yanks, French assault Rhine in games
Stars and Stripes September 29, 1951
WITH THE FRENCH 1ST ARMY. Sept. 28 (S&S) — Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower and two of his top NATO deputies watched "Operation Jupiter" explode into full-scale action today with French and U.S. assault crossings of the Rhine River along an 80-mile front and a French parachute attack.
The SHAPE commander was accompanied from his Paris headquarters by Gen Alphonse Juin, commander-in-chief, Allied Ground Forces, Central Europe, and Gen Albert M. Gruenther, SHAPE chief of staff.
They watched the opening of the French-run games from a French navy boat in the Rhine near Speyer as French infantry swarmed across to the river's east bank.
Then Eisenhower, accompanied by his deputies, motored to St. Leon, about 15 miles north of Karlsruhe, where 560 French paratroopers of the March Bn, 25th Abn Div, spilled from U.S. Air Force C119s in an attack to widen the Rhine bridgehead.
Meanwhile, along the winding Rhine front where nearly 150,000 French, American and accompanying British, Dutch and Belgian units are massed, assault crossings were forced at six other points in addition to the Speyer area.
These assaults were to set up bridgeheads and permit bridging operations by engineer units in order to speed the buildup on the Rhine's west bank.
On the center front, 1st Div units of Maj Gen John E. Dahlquist's V Corps spearheaded the river crossing at two separate points. The 26th Inf Regt crossed at a site two miles south of Worms after Rangers of the 6th Ranger Co had feinted the enemy out of place with a trick assault two miles below the scheduled site.
Fifteen minutes after H-Hour the 26th Inf had its entire attack force across, awaiting an expected counterattack by the 2d Armd Cav Regt, which is filling the role of aggressor from "Redland."
Six Miles North
A similar assault was made six miles north of Worms by the 16th Inf Regt at Rhein-Durkheim. Engineers immediately swung into action at both bridgehead sites to build bridges to ferry across 1st Div supplies, supporting artillery and tanks of the 2d Armd Div, which began moving from their reserve assembly area near Kaiserslautern.
Dahlquist praised the speed of the crossing by his 45,000-man V Corps, declaring:
"The assault was fast, and that is what makes or breaks crossings of this type."
Five other bridgeheads were carved on the Rhine's east bank by the French I and II Corps, which are on the north and south flanks of the V Corps.
At the parajump site, where Eisenhower met French Gen Augustin Guillaume, maneuver director, the Supreme Allied Commander kept his eyes glued on the sky as, 14 C119s of the 433d Tp Carrier. Wing. each carrying 40 French paratroopers, roared overhead.
Also with Eisenhower and his deputies at the drop zone was British Air Vice Marshal E. C. Hudleston, who is attached to the SHAPE staff
Eisenhower spent the night in Wiesbaden as guest of Ma Gen Truman H. Landon. deputy CG, USAFE, Mrs. Landon was a host at a dinner for Eisenhower's official party, including Juin and Gruenther.
In the southern assault of the river by the 1st Div, the 6th Ranger Co crossed a half mile south of the principal assault area 30 minutes before jumpoff time, drawing the opposing force away from the area to be hit by the 26th Inf,
The "Redland" troops in the sector were only a screening force — 2d Bn, 2d Armd Cav. After the defenders had moved their tanks upstream to meet the Rangers' thrust, the 26th threw its amphibious assault boats into play. The first assault wave of the 26th had completed its crossing only 15 minutes after H-hour; and the entire regiment was across the river within an hour, preparing for an expected counterattack by the 2d Armd Cav.
The 2d Armd Cav's 1st and 3d Bns were in reserve behind their screening force.
Opposing the French I and lI Corps crossings were Moroccan and French troops and a force of British frogmen who apparently will attempt to destroy the seven bridges being built to keep the heavy armor of the U.S. 2d Armd Div and the French 2d Armd Div from spanning the natural defensive barrier.
In the French paratroop attack, the 433d Tp Carrier Wing had flown: the troopers from Rhine-Main into the "'Jupiter" operation. The planes, however, also were participating in "Operation Cirrus."