Private Fritz J. Rohrborn

US Army - WW II

 


 Service number: 39011975

422nd Infantry Regiment - 106th Infantry Division

Born: 27  January 1918

Date of death: 7 January 1945 - Age 26 - Stalag IV-B - Mühlberg, Germany

Status: POW / DNB

 

 

 

Buried: Plot B Row 7 Grave 17 -  Ardennes American Cemetery


Awards:  Bronze Star


BIOGRAPHY

1941 

Fritz entered service on Oct 8th, 1941 in San Francisco, California, at the age of 23. 

He was 62 inch, weight 126 lbs.

1944 

The 106th Infantry Division went overseas Nov 10th, 1944 and arrived in England Nov 17th.

After two weeks of routine camp life they shipped to France, arrived Dec 6th, and from there crossed into Belgium on Dec 10th where the 106th relieved the 2nd Inf. Div., Dec 11th in St Vith.  After two days of organizing, the 106th began a twelve-mile eastern march into a hilly portion of Germany known as the Eifel, part of the Ardennes Forest lying across the continuous borders of France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and took up positions in Schnee Eifel, 12 miles east of St Vith, Belgium, the most exposed salient of the entire American front.

 

And just a few days after taking position, suddenly the 106th Infantry Division was engulfed in one of the largest battles of the war: the Battle of the Bulge. The attack began on Dec 16th at 5.30 AM with a tremendous artillery barrage, the sky flashed as flights of German “Screaming Meemies” with ear-splitting shrieks tore over the treetops on their way to destroy St. Vith. Wire communications failed and radio frequencies were jammed.

The ferocious impact of shells from fourteen- inch German railroad guns shook the earth as a coordinated artillery barrage fell on the line companies, unit command posts, road intersections, and artillery batteries, all the division’s strong points..

 

Two hundred thousand German troops—crack, battle-tested infantry—protected by six hundred carefully hoarded Panther and Tiger tanks, were attempting to punch a hole in the American line of eighty thousand troops. The weakest point in the Americans’ defence was the salient of the 423rd and 422nd regiments, because the 106th had replaced the 2nd without making a single strategic change. At 9:00 AM, a second German artillery barrage, which was reported to be “unbelievable in its magnitude,” began pounding the two regiments, trying to erase them from the forest floor.

 

The 422nd, along with the 423rd, was engulfed by the overwhelming weight of the German breakthrough spearhead in an attack that continued through nightfall. By mid morning the next day, the 422nd  423rd and 424th regiments were forced to withdraw. At 3:35 PM on Dec 18th the radio announced that all units of the two regiments were in need of ammunition, food and water. Because of the fog, parachuting supplies was out of the question. Cornered at last they gave up on top of a hill, weapons destroyed, marched out to the enemy. By 4.00 PM Dec 19th, they had surrendered to German forces and over the following days they were marched to Stalag IV-B, one of Germany’s largest prisoner-of-war camps.

 

Tens of thousands of American prisoners marched east, the temperature was about 0 degrees F, no food  or water. For those without overcoats and blankets it remained cold, frozen feet was the complaint of everyone.  The march continued until Thursday morning, Dec 21st, when the column arrived at a railroad siding of freight cars at Gerolstein, Germany. The guards threw open the doors of boxcars and ordered them to get in.  The Germans packed