moved up and blasted the flak positions, and the infantry went forward,
employing marching fire.
It was soon evident, however, that the enemy's resistance was stiffening. There was almost continuous fire, and the companies were obliged to advance by bounds. Progress was slow but steady until the Battalion, having worked its way through the woods which lie south of the railroad tracks and within sight of Krefeld, cleared the slight defilade to the northeast and came out into a level open plain. Here the two lead companies, Company A and Company C, ran into a well-planned machine gun fire from the front and from both flanks. Company C, slightly ahead, had almost run out of ammunition, could not give an effective reply, and was obliged to pull back into the woods. Company A had not cleared the woods entirely, and consequently avoided the worst of this trap.
Company B was now committed in an attack up the railroad track on the left flank. Company A, with supporting tanks, delivered a frontal assault, while the 2d Battalion on the left was able to give some assistance. This combination was successful, and the enemy, who (as was customary throughout this campaign) seemed to have little stomach for an all out fight, gave up. The advance was resumed at 1730, with Company A on the right, Company B on the left, and the survivors of Company C in battalion reserve.
The advance directly towards Krefeld was considerably slower than that of the 2d Battalion since the 1st Battalion continued to meet with the vestiges of what must once have been an ambitious plan of defense. At length there was nothing left to oppose its advance but three tanks, stationed just outside Krefeld. These were immediately attacked by a bazooka team, which destroyed their supply vehicle and forced them to withdraw. The 1st Battalion then entered Krefeld and cleared its way block by block, going north of the railroad tracks and halting slightly east of the center of town. Being by this time completely out of touch with friendly troops, it formed a perimeter defense, and sent out patrols. One of these patrols reported the presence of tanks a few blocks away, but though they were heard grumbling and muttering to themselves all night, they did not venture to attack, and retired before daybreak.
The attack of the 405th Infantry on 2 March jumped off at 1000, and was directed up the
Neersen-Krefeld road, swinging to the south as it approached the city itself. The 3d
Battalion, having crossed the canal on the previous day and extricated all its vehicles
from the inevitable congestion in Viersen and over the bridges, was
the spearhead of this advance. The village of Münchheide on the extreme right
of the Division's attack was its first objective, and was reached at 1030 by an approach
march. Some German soldiers were found lurking in the basements, Otherwise Münchheide
was empty. At 1130 the advance was resumed, still in approach march, as far as Fischeln,
a southern suburb of Krefeld, where Company L ran into some tank fire coming directly down
the road from the city. The company was forced to deploy and to continue the fight from
house to house. By dark both lead companies were on this southeast outskirts of the city.
The problem of the tanks had not yet, however, been disposed of, for their supporting
infantry kept the bazooka teams away, and radio communication was so poor that the
Battalion was not able to call for artillery fires. At length contact was made with
some elements of the Second Armored Division in another sector of Krefeld, and their
supporting fire drove the tanks back into the city. The Battalion then secured the
southeastern edge of Krefeld in its sector and waited until daylight before pressing home
The 1st Battalion, moving out at 1000, ad-vanced in approach formation to Kapelle, turned
left, and continued up the Neersen-Krefeld highway. Its attack was to the left and somewhat
to the rear of that of the 3d Battalion. Some fire was received from the right flank
beyond Kapelle, but this was light, distant, and not sufficient to break up the
Battalion's approach formation. The Battalion did not deploy until 1200, when it was held
up at the juncture of the road from St Tonis and the road from Krefeld by heavy fire from
a neighboring steel works and from a water works just east of the