A scratch force of Volkssturm militia, veteran mountain infantry from the 2nd Mountain Division infantry from the 553d, and the 559th Volks-Grenadier Divisions, and the remnants of other units - backed by considerable quantities of rocket launchers, artillery, and antiaircraft guns in the direct-fire mode - banded together to defend the city of Heilbronn. Aided by a citizenry animated to great zeal by the mistaken RAF bombing of the city center not long before, the defenders fortified the already highly defensible city on the right bank of the Neckar using hundreds of tons of rubble from the shattered buildings. During a brutal eight-day battle, the 100th wrested this, one of the last remaining German strongholds, from its tenacious defenders, in a house-by house fight that tested every bit of the experience gained by the Division in its five months of combat to that point.

 

The rubble-strewn streets of Heilbronn
results of an errant RAF night raid aimed
at the nearby German rocket-launcher school -
provided hundreds of tons of ready building
material with which the animated populace
constructed bulletproof defensive positions.

 

A squad gets ready to cross the Neckar
into the hell that was Heilbronn,
April 1945.

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