On the eve of World War II Maurice Rose was
a major and had gained experience in various
branches of the military. In 1942 he became Chief
of Staff 2nd Armored
Division . This division was nicknamed Hell on Wheels.
On December 15, 1942, Rose went with 2nd Armored Division to
North Africa to participate in the North African,
Campaign, in which the allieds fought against the German army.
Although it soon became clear the German army, commanded by
General Erwin Rommel, could not win this battle,
the Germans did not give up. Hitler had personally ordered that
they had to fight to the last man.
On May 13, 1943 the surrender was signed. Maurice
Rose played an important role in this. He was the one who led the
negotiations with the Germans and eventually oversaw the first massive unconditional surrender of German troops
in World War II.
As of July 10, 1943 Rose participated in the invasion
of Sicily with the aim of taking the island and
bringing the Mediterranean under Allied
control and hopefully bringing the Italian
army to its knees. After the Allies had taken Sicily,
it was possible to use it as a starting point for the
invasion of Italy, which began on September 3, 1944.
In November 1943 2nd Armored Division was transferred
to England to prepare for the invasion of Normandy.
On November 24, 1943
Maurice Rose was promoted
to Commanding officer of 2nd
Armored Division and was given
the the rank of Brigadier General, after he had been promoted to Lieutenant
Colonel and later Colonel.
On June 8, 1944 Brigadier General
Maurice Rose as commander of 2nd Armored Division on the
beaches of Normandyë (D-Day + 2). The weeks after
he and his men fought in Operatie Overlord.
On August 7 another promotion followed.
Generals Omar Bradley and Dwight D. Eisenhower personally
appointed him commander of 3rd Armored Division and
and so he was promoted to Major General. Despite Rose's ’
military successes in Tunisia and Sicily this promotion was
not without controversy. He had no university education and
his first appointment was as a reserve officer.
In the meantime, Operation Cobra
was in full swing. The Allied armies had taken Normandy and had headed to Paris.
During Operation Cobra the
3rd Armored Division
was nicknamed Spearhead
because they were always the first to go into battle.
The 3rd Armored Division continued through northern France to Belgium. On Sept. 2. they crossed the Franco- Belgian border at Mons. On September 15 after advancing through Charleroi, Namur, Verviers and Eupen they arrived at the German border just south of Aachen, the first allied division to do so.
Between September 1944 and January 1945 the 3rd Armored Division took part in the Battle of the Bulge Hürtgenwald.
Afterwards the division was given a well-deserved break of several
The man standing next to the jeep in this
video is very likely Maurice
Rose. He has two stars on his helmet (he
was a two star general) and his coat collar corresponds to photographs
of him. Unfortunately it is not easy to recognise him.
From February 25 the 3rd Armored Division was
back in the fight and moved steadily on to
Cologne which they took on 6 March. There was
little resistance from this completely bombed
city, where about 20.000 people were still living. Before the war the population
had been 770.000.
On March 25th the Division crossed
the Rhine and was assigned to the attack
on the Ruhr area, the heart of the
German war industry. In the attack
that Rose commanded on March 29,
1945, the division broke a record that
to this day has not been met:
they advanced 150 kilometers in a
single day, while under attack
by the enemy.
On March 30 Maurice Rose was driving with a small convoy through enemy territory near Paderborn, when they suddenly came under fire. Rose, his driver Glenn Shaunce
and assistant Robert Bellinger tried to escape in their
jeep, but they were cornered by
a German Tiger II-tank. The tank hatch opened,
a German soldier emerged and aimed
his machine gun at them.
What happened then is not clear.
Did Rose pull his gun out?
Did the German soldier aim to kill?
Or was he very nervous and decided
to pull the trigger? What is certain is that Maurice Rose was hit by several bullets and died on the spot. His helmet shows the impact of two bullets. Shaunce and Bellinger survived. The Germans did not realise that they had just killed a Major General. They left his body, and his troops found him a day later.
He died the way he lived. He did not stay safely
behind the front lines as many other senior officers did,
but always led from the front.
He knew that, that of course could be dangerous.
The day after his death
Maurice Rose was given appropriate
military ceremonial recognition
and was temporarily buried
A few days after his death, his widow
received a telegram from General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
He writes: He was not only one of our bravest and best but
was a leader who inspired his men to speedy accomplishment
of tasks that to a lesser man would have appeared almost
impossible. He was out in front of his division leading it in one
of it is many famous actions when he met his death.
In August 1945 he was transferred to the cemetery in
Margraten, where he eventually found his final resting place in Block C, Row 1, Grave 1. Although Rose is the highest military
rank of those buried in Margraten.
His cross is no different than that of all other soldiers.
In death all men are equal ...
Maurice Rose left a wife
- Virginia Barringer Rose - and two
sons. ‘Mike’ was 19
when his father died,
Maurice ‘Reece’ Roderick 4 years.