2ND RANGER BATTALION
The 2nd Ranger Battalion was activated on April 1, 1943, with headquarters at Camp Forrest, Tennessee. After additional training in Florida, the Battalion embarked for the European Theater and arrived in England in December of 1943. At Bude, Titchfield, and Folkstone, the 2nd Battalion trained for the coming invasion of France, and was given the impossible mission of scaling the high cliffs four miles west of Omaha Beach at Pointe du Hoe to destroy a fortified battery of six 155-mm Howitzers which were trained on the main landing sites.
On June 6, 1944 (D-Day), the 2nd Battalion (Companies D, E, and F) made assault landings on the cliffs, while the remainder of the Battalion landed with the 5th Battalion near Pointe de la Percee, a few miles to the East. In spite of the loss of two of their 11 landing craft and most of their supplies, the lead companies of the 2nd Battalion overcame enemy resistance and climbed the 10-story high cliffs to find that the emplacements were empty of guns. Advancing inland to cut off German routes to the landing areas, the Rangers continued to search for the missing guns. At about 0900, a two-man patrol, Sergeants Lomell and Kuhn from D Company, finally located five of them two miles from the beach area and completely unattended, but ready to fire! With Kuhn covering him, Lomell destroyed the sights of all the guns and placed thermite grenades on two others.
The Rangers accomplished their primary mission within two hours of landing, and then continued to hold the ground they occupied against a series of German counterattacks. Three days later, when the remainder of the battalion and other troops reached the lead companies, less than 75 of the original 225 Rangers who landed at Pointe du Hoe were fit for duty. The 2nd Battalion assisted in the capture of Grandcamp, mopped up, and patrolled through the remainder of June. They then participated in the Avranches breakthrough and helped clear the Le Conquet Peninsula, highlighted by breaking into the 280MM gun positions (batteries Graf Spee) and forced the surrender of the Le Conquet Garrison Commander and 814 men.
After capturing Kerlogue, on September 10, the Rangers advanced to Landerneau and captured Le Fret, taking 1600 prisoners and freeing 400 Allied prisoners of war. The Rangers moved through Belgium and Luxembourg and entered into the fighting for Huertgen Forest on November 14. On December 7th, they captured Hill 400 near Bergstein, which overlooked the German positions at Schmidt and Roer Dams.
On December 16, the battalion occupied Simmerath and held defensive positions against German counterattacks on the northern flanks during the Battle of the Bulge. On January 8, 1945, the battalion resumed the attack, advanced into the Siegfried Line at Schmidthof, and destroyed enemy fortifications and equipment before being given a brief rest. On March 2, the Rangers crossed the Roer River, South of Schmidt, and participated in the drive across the Cologne Plains, reaching Maychoss on March 7, and engaged in mopping up operations until March 26, when another attack was launched.
The battalion advanced through Sinzig and crossed the Rhine River near Neuweid, crossed the Lahn River at Diez, pursued fleeing German units to Langrafroda, and then mopped up enemy remnants through April 15th. After moving to Kassel, the Rangers searched and cleared the wooded area near Ostramona and reached Munich on April 25, where they rested for a few days. They then advanced to Pullenreuth and crossed into Czechoslovakia at Grun on May 6, when the final German surrender ended the War in Europe. After participating in five campaigns, the battalion performed a short tour of occupation duty before returning to the United States where it was inactivated on October 23, 1945, at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia.