On April 1st, 1945, the Ruhr pocket was finally closed.
Among the many thousands of German soldiers caught in this enormous
trap were the men and machines of Schwere Panzerjäger Abteilung
654 (literally. Heavy Tank-hunter Battalion 654). They were unaware
that the pocket they had been ordered to fight to the last and had been
shut tight, sealing their fate. Also on this day, parts of the tattered
remnants of the 654th were starting out for an attack, attempting to
clear the village of Medebach. Four Jagdpanthers, from Kampfgruppe Paffrath,
along with some troops from 3 Panzergrenadier Division, attacked the
American forces holding the village, knocking out four enemy tanks and
two trucks, whilst losing two of their own irreplaceable tank destroyers.
Meanwhile, two Jagdpanthers screened the flank of the attacking force
in some woods near a neighbouring village, where, at around 15:00 hours
they spotted an enemy truck column. Charging out of the woods, the pair
of Jagdpanthers, with their small band of supporting Panzergrenadiers,
attacked. The lightly armed half-tracks and trucks were decimated by
the powerful tank destroyers, 12 of the American vehicles being reduced
to twisted wrecks, while the remaining eight were no doubt eagerly plundered
of their rations and petrol supplies before being driven away.