Commanded by 1st. Lt. Roy “Buck” Rogers
Of the 407th Infantry Regiment
Early in January of 1945, Colonel James C. Reed, Commanding Officer of the 407th Infantry read an article in the Infantry Journal which offered a solution to a perplexing problem. The article dealt with night patrolling on the Anzio beachhead, executed solely by men who would do nothing else. Based on the idea that such a group would supplement the Battalion patrols, Lt. Roy L. Rogers of anti-tank company and Lt. Earl Aamot of the I & R platoon were designated to organize and lead this patrol in combat. The first roll call was answered in Ubach, Germany by 42 men representing every company in the regiment. The men came as volunteers, with the knowledge that their mission would be reconnaissance and combat patrols behind enemy lines. In order to ensure the success of the Battle Patrol (the title used in the Infantry Journal), the CP was established in a rear area where the men were able to have hot meals, beds and every other convenience denied them on the line. It was felt that the best work could be done by men properly trained, briefed and in top physical and mental condition.
In East Ubach the Battle Patrol underwent intensive training with Lieutenants Aamot and Rogers. Classes in German, stressing important military expressions were held. Weapons of both German and Allied make were fired daily to familiarize every man with their operation. Other subjects taught included demolitions, mines and booby traps, assault boat operations, enemy fortifications, compass and map reading, aerial photos, German organization, equipment and camouflage. Problems and practice patrols were run at night.
At the end of January, the Battle Patrol had completed its training and awaited its first assignment. Soon, reconnaissance patrols were sent out nightly, in front of Brachelen and all along the Roer River between Linnich and Rurdorf, gathering information for the impending push across the river. On one such combat-reconnaissance patrol, Lt. Rogers and two squads led by S/Sgt. Rufus Wilkes and Sgt. Chris Lorenz penetrated as far back as a German CP in Imbush and in a fire fight killed five Germans. Returning, the patrol stormed an enemy bunker, killing all of the occupants and capturing two. These two PWs were the first captured and brought across the Roer by any unit of the Ninth Army.
Although the river was flooded to three times its normal size during the period between 12 and 23 February, patrol activity increased as the impending offensive neared. The Division CG, desiring specific information concerning the installations on the East bank of the Roer, ordered Lt. Rogers’ patrol to bring back a prisoner. The seven men knocked out two MG nests, killed three Germans and brought back four PWs. By this time the 407th Battle Patrol had become known as Rogers’ Raiders.
On the night of the Roer crossing, 23 Fevruary, Rogers and the two squads of S/Sgt. Enoch Hood and Alben Charpentier crossed the river 30 minutes before the first assault waves and cleared away 500 yards of river bottom. While the rest of the Raiders remained on the West bank and fired overhead cover, the 18 men accounted for 14 German dead or wounded and 8 captured, thereby securing the 407th bridgehead. From the Roer to the Rhine, the Raiders made night contact patrols, locating enemy positions in preparation for the next day’s attack. At Krefeld-Linn, Rogers’ Raiders was disbanded and the men were sent back to their companies, with the hope that they would impart valuable combat tips to their comrades.
When the Regiment moved on line on the Rhine early in March, the Raiders consisting of 17 of the original men, were reorganized. Once again, combat-recon patrols were sent across the Rhine to determine enemy disposition and secure vital information. In each case, they met with success. Outstanding among them was the patrol of Sgt. McLean, Pfc. Latter and Pfc. Wilbur which brought back a prisoner in a three-man rubber boat, the first PW taken across river in that sector.
Once across the Rhine, the Raiders worked with the I&R platoon, engaging in motorized patrolling and mopping-up operations. After the Regiment took up positions on the Elbe in the last days of the war, Lt. Aamot led a six-man patrol across the river and then went seven miles into enemy territory. This was the Raiders last offensive operation, with the mission of locating the lost Charlie Company and bringing back PWs.
So ended the short but active career of the Rogers’ Raiders. Shorn of all glowing terms and publicity, their combat record can stand in its own light – no fatalities, only one man captured; and on the other side of the ledger, countless enemy killed or made prisoner.
(The above words are copied verbatim from “A Combat Record of the 407th Infantry Regiment – AUX ARCS”- Published in Coburg, Germany – no date – no press given – no restrictions.)
If you or anyone you know was in Roger’s Raiders and you have something to add to this, please do not hesitate to contact the webmaster with the information.
|1st Lt.||Rogers, Roy||AT|
|Pfc||Franson, Don E.||C|
|Pvt||Fisher, Milton M.||MED|
|Pfc||Whittle, James B.||I|
|Pfc||Wilber, Willard L.||G|
|1st Lt.||Aamot, Karl||HQ|
|Pfc||Bellay, Joe F.||C|
|Pfc||Rice, Glenn H.||MED|
|Pvt||Harbarth, Paul L.||MED|
|Pfc||Morris, Roger E.||F|
|Pfc||Milby, Walton E.||G|
|Pfc||Williams, Fred R.|