Among the many notable accomplishments of the 44th Division, is the capture, during hostilities, of the highest ranking Waffen SS Officer during the war, SS-Standartenführer Hans Lingner, the Commanding Officer of Waffen SS 17th Panzer-Grenadier Division "Götz von Berlichingen." The Division Commander was a pet of Hitler, once served as the Chief of Staff of the Fuehrer's Life Guard or "Leibstandarte", the 1st SS Panzer Division. Lingner served with "Leibstandarte" France in 1940, the Balkans, in 1941, Russia in 1941 with and France in 1944, as acting Commander of the 17th SS. He had been wounded four times and is the officer to the left in the photograph taken in Russia.
Lingner was last seen by the Germans at Moronville Farm on January 10 at 3:20am together with his aide Jund, Unterscherführer Weissenborn, and his driver. Their destination, units engaged in an attack south of Rimling. A German patrol discovered the commander's armored car with a dead machine gunned driver that morning, south of the Schlossberg. Lingner's vehicle was stuck in a snow drift. The captured German sergeant Weissenborn had been in Rimling only once before. He then proceeded to maneuver his commander too close to the front-lines.
A patrol from "A" Co. of the 114th Infantry Regiment, led by T/Sgt. Dunnuck, penetrated the front lines of the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division earlier that night. Sgt. Robert Brindle, Marshalltown, Iowa and Pfc. Harry Lee Daffin Jr., Baltimore, Maryland were also part of this patrol. The patrol discovered the lost Waffen SS commander close to 'no-man's land.' His armored car sideways and immobile - in a snow-drift, the consequence of a failed u-turn attempt. A brief and deadly fire-fight ensued and the snatch made. The patrol averted German sentries and returned with the biggest catch of its kind in the war. Capturing a division commander of the fearsome Waffen SS, behind enemy lines, and evading capture to bring theis commanding officer and his two aides back to the 44th, is an act of heroism and moxie. This took guts.
Standartenführer Lingner refused to talk to anyone below his rank despite being captured by four enlisted men. Interrogators, Captain James Hayes, 2nd Lt Jack Levy and T/Sgt. Frank Mossback, were the first to get the real facts about Colonel Lingner and his aide-de-camp Untersturmführer Jund. As a captive, the Waffen SS commander proved himself far more a song-bird than a war-eagle, to the delight of American Army counter-intelligence. More about the valuable information Lingner provided to the Yanks is forthcoming.
The 44th locked horns, in battle, with the 17th SS on numerous occasions. Three times the artillery destroy the 17th SS command post, and once, the 44th totally destroyed the infantry of the 17th SS in battle