253rd Infantry Regiment- Page 6
Combat Infantryman and Combat Medic Badges
Presidential Unit Citations
US Army Eagle
Presidential Unit Citation Badge
Buchhof-Stein, Germany

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States and as Commander in Chief of the Army Forces of the United
States, I have today awarded

The Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for Extraordinary Heroism to the 2d Battalion, 253rd Infantry Regiment.

The 2d Battalion, 253d Infantry Regiment is cited for outstanding and gallant performance of duty in action against the enemy from 4
to 12 April 1945, in an area between the Jagst and Kocher Rivers northeast of Heilbronn. Germany. It was in this area that the enemy
committed his best available troops in defensive along open ridges; giving them almost perfect observation and fields of fire. The
Battalion was at an additional disadvantage due to severe dispersion of supporting fire. Early dawn on 4 April the 2d Battalion crossed
the Jagst River at Untergreisheim and quickly secured a bridgehead. The enemy employed a series of sharp counter attacks before the
battalion could consolidate, using devastating firepower of tanks directed at individual fox holes and penetrated forward defensive
positions. Inspired by the courageous leadership of the Officers, these counter attacks were all beaten back. Assisted by the 1st
Battalion, they then enlarged the bridgehead, but were still unable to establish a vehicular crossing over the Jagst River for two days
due to intense and accurate artillery fire. Finally, on 5 April, a bridge was completed and some armored assistance was secured. On
the evening of 5 April, three tanks were lost as the attack continued. On 6 April, against extremely heavy opposition, troops of the 2d
Battalion captured the town of Buchhof. Two enemy counter attacks followed causing heavy casualties within the Battalion, but both
attacks were beaten back. With only about 50 percent effective combat strength, the Battalion made ready to resume the attack on 8
April. the 2d Battalion was to secure the high ground overlooking Stein Am Kocher. Again it met formidable resistance, but pressed
the attack home with determination. Even after the tank support withdrew because of casualties and heavy fire, the 2d Battalion
fought its way forward. The cost in casualties was high but the tough core of SS resistance was broken. By this time the effective
strength of all line companies was whittled down to about 50 men. Four Company Commanders had been killed or wounded, most
companies had only a few Non-Commissioned Officers left and they had no company officers left. It took courage and determination
of the highest order to continue the attacks, particularly after the leaders were gone and especially after the tank support withdrew.
The 2d Battalion was relieved on 10 April, but with very little time to rest and regroup; the battalion was ordered to attack to the south
to cross the Kocher River. Though its ranks were thinned and its key personnel gone, the 2d Battalion had the spirit, determination
and punch left to continue the attack and make new gains, reaching and crossing the Kocher River to pursue the badly mauled 17th
SS Division. Oppossing the Battalion during these battles were two regiments of the 17th SS Division, the 17th SS Reconnaissance
Battalion and the Battalion Bitche. Reinforcing these elements were young, fanatic Nazis, former members of the 12th SS Division and
Hitler Youth. During this operation the 2d Battalion suffered 280 casualties: 54 killed in action; 211 wounded in action; and 16 missing
in action. But the 2d Battalion, with great determination and heroic achievement, ripped the fanatic 17th SS Division to shreds and
caused it to withdraw from the fight, thus preventing the enemy from gaining time to prepare the Danube defenses in the National
Redoubt area. The achievement of the 2d Battalion, 253rd Infantry Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division is a credit to all its officers and
men and added a glorious page to the history of the American Infantry.(Letter Hq DA, 22 March 00)
253rd Infantry Regimental Crest
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