Occupation

The 100th Infantry Division was officially placed in Seventh Army reserve on 25 April 1945, after 175 consecutive days on the line. For the next ten days, they patrolled the area around Stuttgart, and actually moved elements of the 397th Infantry Regiment into the city itself. French colonial troops had been rampaging throughout parts of this historic capital of the German state of Württemberg, and it was up to elements of the 100th to restore order in the areas in which they "relieved" these Allied units. As a result, the subsequent occupation by the Division in the Stuttgart area was often greeted by the German civilians there with a mixture of apprehension -- at the presence of Allied troops -- and relief, at not being occupied by French colonials.

Two days after Germany's unconditional surrender on 8 May, the Division was ordered to occupy an area including about 2,400 square miles of southwestern Germany, from Heilbronn to Ulm. The missions undertaken during the spring and summer of 1945 were manifold and difficult.

First, all Division cantonments, command posts, and other positions had to be secured. There were also about 280 former enemy installations in the Division's zone, from barracks to supply dumps to power stations, that had to be guarded. In addition to the dangers of looting and other crime, there was the threat of the "Werwolf," a German resistance network that was supposed to conduct terrorist operations against the occupying Americans, even after the capitulation. Conceived and nominally coordinated by the SS, this movement was to have begun as early as late 1944, when the first sizable sections of German territory were seized by Allied units in the west. In reality, the German nation was so thoroughly defeated, and the vast majority of German civilians so destitute, that very little came of this brainchild of Heinrich Himmler. Nevertheless, like the threat of the Alpine Redoubt -- another Nazi pipe dream that very deeply concerned the Allied high command at the end of the war in Europe -- measures had to be taken to prevent the realization of this continued belligerence. About 3,000 Centurymen were committed 'round the clock to the tasks of patrolling and guarding these sites.

Guard detail of the 397th Infantry marches to duty, summer, 1945.

Three suspected "Werwölfe" captured by the 398th Infantry in Winnenden.

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