Map of Colmar Pocket

The Colmar Pocket, was a bridgehead some forty miles long and twenty-five miles deep on the west bank of the Rhine River, still held by the Germans in strength. The First French Army was holding a line surrounding the Colmar Pocket. As the German offensive in the Ardennes faltered, the German's launched Operation Nordwind, a pincer attack South out of the Bulge and North from the Colmar Pocket to cut off allied troops betwen them. In reaction, the American Third Division was temporarily assigned to the First French Army to help them destroy the German bridgehead on the west bank of the Rhine. The Third Division punched a hole through the German line as ordered and the French armor poured through  to occupy the city of Colmar. We never saw the French after the first day of the attack. When we had cleared the last German from the west bank of the Rhine, the French government awarded the entire Third Division the Croix de Guerre which authorized everyone in the Division, to wear the red and green fourragere over the left shoulder. Not to be outdone, the President of the United States awarded us a Division Distinguished Unit Citation, one of only four awarded during the entire War. I visited our old battle area many years later while on vacation in Europe. I saw several War Memorials to the gallantry of the French soldiers in liberating Alsace and never a mention of the Americans.

Rwcloer@aol.com

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