Segment 3


Zager recalls the Maginot line being easily conquered. They then came to the Siegfried Line. They advanced through these places and ended up at the Rhine river. They captured several towns along the way. The civilians had to forfeit weapons, telescopes, and anything else that could have military value and that be used against the Allies. All of these items were put into a big pile and burned, usually in the center of town.Right before they got to the Rhine River, a segment of Patton's Third Army was knocked out completely by a well placed unit of German .88 [Annotator's Note: German Flak 88 antiaircraft / antitank gun] gunners . This was about three to four miles from the Rhine. When the Rhine was crossed it was tough because of Germans and how they pre-sighted the Rhine.Zager had tanks attached to his battalion. The tanks were driven by an outfit of African-American tankers. When they were attempting to cross the Rhine, one of the spotters on the tank noticed two men in a church steeple across the river who appeared to be German artillery spotters. The tank driver turned to Zager and said, " watch this." The tank fired a shell at the church steeple, knocking it down and presumably killing the occupants.Zager was hit nearly at the same time by a German artillery shell, it was a glancing blow on the top of his shoe. The 71st Division made a name for itself and was eventually requested by Patton himself to join the Third Army.Engineers from Pattton's Third Army put down two pontoon bridges to cross the Rhine.


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