From the “History of the 304th Infantry Regiment,” Forward:
Frank Knapp, Jr: Soldier, Chaplain’s Assistant, artist on the line from Normandy to Berlin: father-in-law!
Was that all the time which had elapsed? Six days in February and twenty days in March—a grand total twenty-six.
It did not seem possible; only 26 days. From the Sauer to the Rhine: from Luxemburg and through the vaunted Seigfried Line, across rivers and mountains, over the winding Moselle and, with another long leap, over to the river.
TWENTY-SIX days—and what was the cost? In records, in army files and tabulations, in cold figures of tactics and deployments, this would add up to unemotional columns of figures of KIAs and WIAs and MIAs, of battle-lost equipment, of supplies, of rounds of ammunition.
But the real cost was not there.
It was in the hearts and souls of the youngsters who within a short few months ago had been in school, normal and carefree, who had left all behind them and who nevermore, in heart and soul, after Orenhofen or Noviand or Maring or Hosten or Hotsthum or Alsdorf could ever be completely young again.
The cost was in the very smallest drop of blood, of blood to be shed on foreign soil—since, once the first drop has been shed, the value of it could not ever be exceeded by succeeding drops, a paradoxical truism if ever there was one.
This price, this cost was beyond measure.
And the soldiers, being just what that said — never stopped to measure this price.
Measure the price?—of what?—of proving that our way of life was right?
You couldn’t ever put a price on that!
And so they did the most natural thing in the world for soldiers to do. Being at the Rhine they set their vision on what lay beyond the Rhine.
They itched to get across it!
They itched to get at it!