Czech Republic / Monument
The 2nd Infantry Division Memorial pays tribute to the US 2nd Infantry Division, recognised as a liberating unit by the US Army's Center of Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1993. The Division advanced to Pilsen on 8 May 1945.
The soldiers established their command post in Neukirchen shortly before noon. According to an American officer present in May 1945, the German 11th Panzer Division (fully armoured and made up of 12,000 soldiers) surrendered to the US 90th Infantry Division before the soldiers took control of their new sector on the front. German tanks, trucks and armoured vehicles moved through the American positions throughout the night.
However, the attitude of the 11th Panzer Division was astonishing. Its soldiers seemed to be among the best in the German army. Unlike other battle-scarred Wehrmacht units, they surrendered in a very orderly fashion, looking clean and rested. A multitude of vehicles and artillery pieces were handed over to the American troops, including tanks and self-propelled guns, as well as hundreds of armoured cars, trucks and Jeeps. The many weapons and munitions, which could have led to a devastating battle, were deposited in designated areas.
This memorial to the 2nd US Infantry Division was proposed by Dr Pershing Wakefield, a veteran of the Second World War who served with the Division. This is what he had to say about Pilsen:
"The liberation of Czechoslovakia was the best part of our arduous journey from Omaha Beach, via Normandy, Brest and Germany. Our friends welcomed us into their homes without the slightest hesitation. We celebrated this great victory together. The players of the HC Škoda ice hockey club in Pilsen now wear the "Indianhead" symbol and are nicknamed the "Pilsen Indians" in honour of the 2nd Infantry Division" (The Division's logo is a head wearing the Native American feather headdress).
Klatovská tř. 1151/68, 301 00 Plzeň 3-Jižní Předměstí, Czech Republic