General Maurice Rose – KIA Marker (3rd Armored Division)
Just off the road, on the right side headed to Kirchborchen at Rose Point.
A flat marble inscribed marker.
The marker placed by local German citizens remembers Major General Maurice Rose the Commander of the 3rd Armored “Spearhead” Division during WW2.
During World War II, Rose served in three armored divisions. In North Africa, he served with the 1st Armored Division. During the campaign in Tunisia, Rose was the first officer to accept the unconditional surrender of a large German unit.
He was later Chief of Staff of the 2nd Armored Division, until he was assigned to command the 3rd Armored Division in August 1944, and promoted to Major General. After assuming command, Rose became known for his aggressive style of leadership, and for directing the Division from the front lines not far from his forward elements. Under his command, the "Spearhead," as his Division became known, drove over 100 miles in a single day, a record march for modern warfare, and played a key role in several campaigns. Notably, under Rose's command, the Division was the first unit to penetrate the Siegfried Line.
On 30 March 1945, a few miles south of the city of Paderborn in a rural forest area, Major General Rose was riding at the front of the Task Force Welborn column. The front of this column consisted of his own jeep, a jeep in front of him, a tank at the lead of the column, an armored car behind him, and a motorcycle messenger bringing up the rear. Suddenly they began taking small arms fire as well as tank and anti-tank fire. Along with the other men, Rose jumped into a nearby ditch with his Thompson sub-machine gun, as the lead tank took a direct hit and was destroyed. When they realized that they were being surrounded by German tanks, they re-entered their jeeps and tried to escape. They drove off the road and through a nearby field before heading back towards the road. Upon arriving back at the road, they realized it was occupied by numerous German Tiger tanks. The lead jeep gunned its engine and narrowly made it past the Tiger tanks and escaped to the other side. The driver of Rose's jeep attempted to do the same but one of the German Tigers turned to cut them off. As Rose's jeep was passing, the Tiger tank wedged the jeep against a tree. The top hatch of the Tiger tank flung open and a German soldier appeared pointing a machine pistol at the group in the jeep. Rose reached towards his pistol holster (either to throw it to the ground or in an attempt to fight back). The German soldier shot him several times with at least one round hitting Rose in the head. General Rose was killed at the spot "Rose Point" on the road toward Kirchborchen.
Rose was the highest-ranking American killed by enemy fire in the European Theater of Operations during the war. (Lieutenant General Lesley J. McNair was killed by friendly fire in Normandy in July 1944.)
General Rose is buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten, Limburg, Netherlands. (Grave C-1-1)
Source: Military Hall of Honor
Special thanks to Joakim Steinweden of the ,Association of the U.S. Army, GEN C. W. Abrams Chapter (Germany) and of the U.S. Military Vehicle Club e.V. for the photos and information concerning this memorial.
The text on the plaque is written in German and reads:
Unweit dieser Stelle fiel am 30./31. März 1945 Major General Maurice Rose von der 3 US-Panzer-Division “Spearhead.”
In den Kämpfen im Kreis Paderborn kurz vor ende des 2. Weltkrieges verlorn viele amerikanische und deutsche Soldaten ihr Leben.
Not far from this place, Major General Maurice Rose, of the 3rd US Tank Division “Spearhead,” died on 30/31 March 1945.
In the battle in the district of Paderborn shortly before the end of the 2nd World War, many American and German Soldiers lost their lives.