In Memory of
U.S. Army Private
Robert A. Bohland
Watertown, South Dakota
Killed in Action on January 26, 1945 in France
Robert A. Bohland graduated from Watertown High School in
1937. He was inducted into the armed services in 1944 in Minnesota.
He trained with the tank corps. He was a member of the
756th Tank Battalion. He was killed in action on January 26, 1945 in
France. The following is an excerpt from the citation awarded to the 3rd
Infantry Division which contained the 756th Tank Battalion.
“fighting incessantly, from 22 January to 6 February 1945, in
heavy snow storms through enemy-infested marshes and woods, and over a flat
plain crisscrossed by numerous small canals, irrigation ditches, and
unfordable streams, terrain ideally suited to the defense, breached the German
defense wall on the northern perimeter of the Molmar bridgehead and drove
forward to isolate Colmar from the Rhine. Crossing the Fect River from Guemar,
Alsace, by stealth during the late hours of darkness of 22 January, the
assault elements fought their way forward against mounting resistance.
Reaching the Ill River, a bridge was thrown across but collapsed before armor
could pass to the support of two battalions of the 30th Infantry on the far
side. Isolated and attacked by a full German Panzer brigade, outnumbered and
outgunned, these valiant troops were forced back yard by yard. Wave after wave
of armor and infantry was hurled against them but despite hopeless odds the
regiment held tenaciously to its bridgehead. Driving forward in knee-deep
snow, which masked acres of densely sown mines, the 3d Infantry Division
fought from house to house and street to street in the fortress towns of the
Alsatian Plain. Under furious concentrations of supporting fire, assault
troops crossed the Colmar Canal in rubber boats during the night of 29
January. Driving relentlessly forward, six towns were captured within 8 hours,
500 casualties inflicted on the enemy during the day, and large quantities of
booty seized. Slashing through to the Rhone-Rhine Canal, the garrison at
Colmar was cut off and the fall of the city assured. Shifting the direction of
attack, the division moved south between the Rhone-Rhine Canal and the Rhine
toward Neuf Brisach and the Brisach Bridge. Synchronizing the attacks, the
bridge was seized and Neuf Brisach captured by crossing the protecting moat
and scaling the medieval walls by ladder. In one of the hardest fought and
bloodiest campaigns of the war, the 3d Infantry Division annihilated three
enemy divisions, partially destroyed three others, captured over 4,000
prisoners, and inflicted more than 7,500 casualties on the enemy.”
He is buried at the Epinal American Cemetery in Epinal,
France. He was awarded the Purple Heart.
This entry was
respectfully submitted by Bonnie Bjork, Pierre, South Dakota, August 7, 2002.
Information for this entry was obtained from the American Battle Monuments
Commission and the Watertown High School yearbook.