Memories of Captain Willi Arend, II. Battalion, Grenadier Regiment 115 of 47th Volks Grenadier Division:

The railroad transport of my II. Battalion, GrenReg 115, stopped at the eastern boundary of Eschweiler as far as I could see, north of the Autobahn. The station I which we disembarked was probably Station Frenz. At first, a deployment in the bunker area of the Westwall south of the Autobahn had been intended. I remember having visited some of the bunkers with an advance commando group. The plan was changed, however, and my battalion received orders to move into position in the Merode area, at the edge of a wide-open field, about 500 meters east of Merode Castle. I found the regimental command post in a cellar of a house in the lower part of the village. There my battalion received more precise orders as to what fortified position to defend. We were sent to a clearly defined area that ran west of the castle for several hundred meters in north- south direction. The companies moved into their positions at the edge of the large forest, which begins on the foothills west of the castle and expands south and west from there. I established my battalion command post in a tower of the castle. The first-aid unit was also located there.

The position was quiet at first. We had no contact with the enemy. There was only little artillery fire. Occasionally, reconnaissance planes appeared.

Two days later I received orders to attack westward through the forest in order to wrestle down the enemy. I myself have been part of a reconnaissance patrol the night before the attack in order to gain a personal impression of the situation on the enemy's side. We met advance guards of the enemy about 1 km west of our positions and were immediately taken under artillery fire. It was impossible to find out anything precise about the enemy's position, his strength, etc. due to the woodland that was very difficult to survey.

As we learned, there was no sufficient artillery support for our attack the next morning. Therefore we were advised to use all available anti-tank guns as artillery pieces in the attack even though there was a clear lack of experience with such a usage.

The attack was conducted westward into the woods and the enemy could easily spot it with help of aerial reconnaissance as we still built up our troops. Artillery fire started and made it very difficult for us to advance but we did not stop. Already in this early phase of the engagement, a grenade splinter burst through my left foot and made it impossible for me to walk. During a break in the battle I was brought to Merode Castle and from there I was taken to the hospital in Bad Godesberg via Düren at night.

The affiliation to GrenReg 115 had a very inexplicable character for me especially since I had been a soldier in France, and, even more so, in Russia, for two years.

(This may or may not be part of the same account...)

As I noticed, most of the remainders of the combat group of GrenReg115 had been captured on 12/17/1944. During the prisoner transport I met several comrades from the battalion. If I am not mistaken Captain Dohrmann was one of them. I did not know him well. Others I knew only by name.

My last field post number was 22258C. Two letters, dated 1/21/45 and 1/26/45 respectively to my parents were labeled:

Dienststelle 22258C and were signed by sergeant major Schoale and the company CO Stricker.