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The 2nd Battalion of the 71st Regiment along with elements of the 749th Tank Battalion and the 776 Tank Destroyer Battalion were awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for their defense during the New Year's Attack now known as Nordwind.  The 71st garnered its 71st Unit Citation at Simserhof.  The 37th Panzer Grenadier Regiment of the 17th SS Division launched an attack to seize Sarrebourg and cut the main supply route of the 7th Army.  The plan was simple.  By sheer mass and numbers, overpower the defenders.  Despite overwhelming odds, the 71st contained eight enemy assaults and inflicted terrific casualties.  The Germans were forced to withdraw and change battle plans.

71st Reg. machine gunner in action at Sarrebourg France.


44th Infantry Division 71st Regiment Presidential Unit Citation Nordwindwaffen ss officer dead in snow france 1945Presidential Unit Citation may be awarded to units  for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy. The unit must display such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions so as to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same campaign. The degree of heroism required is the same as that which would warrant the award of a Distinguished Service Cross, 2nd most honored Army  award to an individual.  

Click on thumbnail for the full text of the Presidential Unit Citation

The 71st Regiment was founded in 1850, originally known as "The American Rifles". The storied history of the regiment includes fighting in these conflicts:   American Civil War (Gettysburg & Bull Run); Spanish-American War; World War I; and WW II. The Regimental Motto "pro aris et pro focis" may be interpreted as: "For our freedom and our homes"  and "For our country and our families."

Click on the thumbnail for a PDF document (over 225k in size) with the image of the full text history of 71st, published in the "Combat History of the 44th Infantry Division."

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