Retreat from Pirmasens: The Last Attack
Faced with military pressure from the approaching Allies, German units in the vicinity of Pirmasens/Zweibrucken pulled back from their positions on the Westwall toward the Rhein.  As they convoyed on roads through the Pfalz forest, an incident of chaos broke out about nine miles east of Pirmasens.  A fighter plane bore down on the column of trucks, horse-drawn carts, and foot soldiers, attacking again and again until the convoy scattered, the soldiers running for their lives.

Buried relics of this March 1945 incident were uncovered in 2002 during road work between Lug and Spirkelbach in southwestern Rheinland/Pflaz.

A woman who lived through the attack as a young girl described her experience.  She and her family were in the forest near the highway when a US “Jabo”, or fighter plane, attacked. As the plane approached her family took temporary shelter under a rock, and she witnessed the devastation of the attack:

“The soldiers fled left and right from the road into the forest. One young SS soldier was crying as he ran up to seek cover with us under the rock.  A few trucks in the convoy were hit and burst into flames.  Many soldiers lost their life in the attack.  Later, the burned trucks, war equipment, and other debris were collected in a bomb crater and buried.”

During the recovery in August 2002,  a large collection of weapons, equipment and parts from the burned trucks were excavated during a road construction project.  The remains of an Opel Blitz with a trunk of communication equipment were discovered in the debris.  Inside were found many military staff items, for example, a melted jar of ink, a hole punch, and remains of the military action orders. The discovery of other readable documents confirmed the speculation that these items were from the attack on the convoy.  Also found were a camera and personal items, witnesses to this event over sixty years ago.

A number tag which was still readable identified the troops as belonging to the 17. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division “Goetz von Berlichingen”.   This mechanized armored unit withdrew from their defensive Westwall positions in March 1945, retreating toward the Rhine through the Zweibrucken/Pirmasens area as US troops entered the area.
A fascinating exhibit in the museum deals with an air attack on a convoy of the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division, the "Goetz von Berlichingen" unit. Displayed in a cleft of the tunnel (and beyond my photography skills), this rusted collection of miscellaneous artifacts has a common history. Additional news articles, information, etc. on the excavation of this site (in German) is available on the museum website under "Wissenwertes". Interestingly, the survivors of this unit (which was accused of shooting wounded US POWS in Normandy) may have received the same fate themselves according to the book Iron Fist: A Combat History of the 17. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division "Goetz von Berlichingen by Antonio Munoz. The veracity of either claim is unknown.
               English Translation of "Spring 1945"
Thanks to Museum Director Guenther Wagner
A P-47 Thunderbolt, a type of fighter plane that flew many missions in the KMC area from a base near St. Avold.
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