Thursday 30 April 2015

Bad Schmiedeberg, April 30th 1945

It's now exactly 70 years since American and Soviet forces simultaneously arrived in the town of Bad Schmiedeberg. The US troops were a fighting patrol consisting of two tanks and one truck load of infantry from the 2nd Battalion, 413th Infantry Regiment of the 104th Infantry Division and Company B of the 750th Tank Battalion. The Soviet troops were from the 118th Ukrainian Division.

My father, Pte Thomas Tunney, ex-16th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry and his friend, Driver Benny Lewis of the Royal Army Service Corps, were the only two British prisoners of war left in the town by this time and witnessed their arrival and subsequent celebrations in the town square.

I had hoped, over the 11 years this website has been functioning, that somebody out there might have further detailed memories or even photographs of this event.

This hasn't proved to be the case thus far--I still live in hope! However, back in 1998, I did hire a researcher in Washington DC to find the requisite After Action Reports of the 104th Infantry Division for this day and this information, plus my father's eyewitness account, can be read beginning on this page of the site:

This is the exact quote from the 30/4/45 After Action Report which is also on the website:


‘The division assumed responsibility for an additional sector to the south, relieving elements of the 69th Infantry Division. All regiments patrolled east of the Mulde River, and contact with the RUSSIAN Allies was continued on the Elbe River. The division defended its sector, checked rear areas and conducted training, maintenance and rehabilitation.’

413th Infantry

‘Continued to maintain defensive position; 1st and 2nd Battalion patrolled in platoon strength motorized to Elbe River. 2nd Battalion contacted RUSSIANS, 118th Infantry Division, at BAD SCHMIEDEBERG (4554). 1st Battalion contacted RUSSIAN outposts at DOMMITZSCH (5650). No resistance going out or coming back.’

750th Tank Battalion

‘2 tanks from each platoon of Company B supported patrols from 1st and 2nd Battalions, 413th Infantry.’

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