Rose, Maurice, MG

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
57 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Major General
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
00GC-Commanding General
Last MOS Group
General Officer
Primary Unit
1944-1945, 3rd Armored Division
Service Years
1915 - 1945


Major General

Eight Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

23 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Fallen Army Profile is not currently maintained by any Member. If you would like to take responsibility for researching and maintaining this Fallen profile please click HERE
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Near Paderborn, Germany

Casualty Date
Mar 31, 1945
Hostile, Died
Gun, Small Arms Fire
World War II
Location of Interment
American Cemetery - Netherlands, Netherlands
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Belgian Fourragere Wound Chevron (1917-1932) Infantry Shoulder Cord Netherlands Orange Lanyard

Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961 French Fourragere

 Unofficial Badges 

Armor Shoulder Cord

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II FallenWWII Memorial National RegistryHistorical Soldiers
  1945, World War II Fallen [Verified]
  1945, WWII Memorial National Registry
  1945, Historical Soldiers [Verified]

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
89th Infantry Division1st Armored Division2nd Armored Division3rd Armored Division
  1917-1918, 89th Infantry Division
  1942-1943, 1st Armored Division
  1943-1944, 2nd Armored Division
  1944-1945, 3rd Armored Division
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1915-1919 Mexican Service Campaign (1911-1919)
  1918-1918 Meuse-Argonne Campaign/Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Phase 1
  1942-1943 WWII - Africa Theater of Operations/Tunisia Campaign (1942-43)
  1943-1943 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Sicily Campaign (1943)
  1944-1944 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Normandy Campaign (1944)/Operation Overlord/D-Day Beach Landings - Operation Neptune
  1944-1944 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Normandy Campaign (1944)/Battle for Carentan
  1944-1944 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Normandy Campaign (1944)/Operation Overlord/Battle of St. Lo
  1944-1944 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Northern France Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Northern France Campaign (1944)/Falaise Pocket
  1944-1945 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
  1944-1945 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Ardennes Alsace Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of the Bulge
  1945-1945 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)/Advance to the Rhine
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

This is to Certify that
The President of the United States of America
Takes Pride in Presenting




The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Maurice Rose (0-8439), Major General, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 3d Armored Division, in action against enemy forces from 6 to 9 September 1944. Major General Rose's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 3d Armored Division, and the United States Army.
Headquarters, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 86 (1944)

The Legacy of Major General Maurice Rose
and the World War II "Spearhead" Division


 3rd Armored Div.
soldier in Germany,
World War II.

Of Allied ground forces battling the Third Reich,
the 3rd Armored Division, under the command
of Gen. Rose, was the:

FIRST -  To fire artillery into Germany (9/10/44)

FIRST -  To cross the German border (east of
Eupen, south of Aachen - 9/12/44)

FIRST -  To capture a German town (Rötgen,
west of Bonn - 9/12/44)

FIRST -  To breach the Siegfried Line (9/13/44)

FIRST -  To advance across the Siegfried Line
in force (south of Aachen - 9/15/44 )

FIRST -  To shoot down a German plane with
guns emplaced on German soil (9/18/44)

FIRST -  To capture a major German city -
Cologne (on the Rhine River - 3/5/45 )

FIRST -  Invasion of Germany in force since
the armies of Napoleon

RECORD HOLDER -  For the longest
one-day advance through enemy territory in the
history of mechanized warfare - 101 miles
through central Germany (3/29/45)


Major General Maurice Rose (November 26, 1899 - March 31, 1945) was a United States Army general during World War II and veteran World War I. The son and grandson of Rabbis, General Rose was at the time the highest ranking person of Jewish descent in the U.S. Army. He was married twice and had two sons.

The Third Armored Division official history of World War II, published after Rose had been killed in action states "He was over six feet tall, erect, dark haired, and had finely chiseled features. He was firm and prompt of decision, brooking no interference by man, events or conditions in order to destroy the enemy."

Early career


Rose first enlisted in the ColoradoNational Guard as a Private in 1915 hoping to serve with General John "Black Jack" Pershing's expedition into Mexico. He was later discharged when it was found out that Rose falsified his age.

He was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry on Aug. 15, 1917, after attending an officer's training camp, and was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant in December, 1917. He served with the American Expeditionary Force and won the Purple Heart and the Silver Star.  He served with the 89th Infantry Division in France. He was wounded at St. Mihiel, and saw combat in all of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.


He briefly left the Army after the war, for a short stint as a traveling salesman. He soon returned to the peacetime army as a captain, and continued his Army career during the interwar period, gaining experience in the theories and practices of Armored Warfare.

General Rose was discharged from the Army in June, 1919, but was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Regular Army on July 1, 1920. He was promoted to captain on March 18, 1926; to major on Jan. 1, 1936 and to lieutenant colonel on Aug. 18, 1940.


World War II


Named Chief of Staff of the Second Armored Division in January, 1942, he went overseas in December of that year and fought in the North African campaign. He remained with the Second Armored Division until June, 1943, when he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.

During World War II, Rose served in three armored divisions. In North Africa, he served with the 1st Armored Division. During the campaign in Tunisia, General Rose was the first officer to accept the unconditional surrender of a large Nazi unit.


He was later the Chief of Staff of the 2nd Armored Division, until he was assigned to command the 3rd Armored Division in August, 1944, and given the rank of Major General. After assuming command, Rose became known for his aggressive style of leadership, and directing the Division from the front lines not far from his forward elements. Under his command, the "Spearhead", as his division became known, drove over 100 miles in a single day, a record march for modern warfare, and played a key role in several campaigns. Notably, under Rose's command, the Division was the first unit to penetrate the Siegfried Line.

On March 31, 1945 a few miles south of the city of Paderborn in a rural forest area, General Rose rounded a corner in his jeep and found himself surrounded by several German tanks. As he withdrew his pistol to surrender, a young German tank commander, apparently misunderstanding Rose's intentions, shot the General. In retaliation, 110 Germans not involved in the incident were allegedly murdered by the Americans.

In Modern Memory


General J. Lawton Collins aka "Lightning Joe Collins", regarded Maurice Rose "as the top notch division commander in the business at the time of his death." However, Rose never gained the prominence of many of his contemporaries, for any of several reasons, including the fact that he did not survive the war, and as an intensely private man, he rarely if ever sought personal publicity.

His biographers have stated that he is "World War II's Greatest Forgotten Commander". Andy Rooney, a WWII war correspondent and later 60 Minutes commentator, wrote the following about General Rose in his book "My War":

Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose, who had been with the Second Armored Division at Saint-Lô, was now the commander of the Third Armored and he may have been the best tank commander of the war. He was a leader down where they fight. Not all great generals were recognized. Maurice Rose was a great one and had a good reputation among the people who knew what was going on, but his name was not in the headlines as Patton's so often was. Rose led from the front of his armored division.

The Rose Medical Center in Denver, Colorado is named in his honor. The Maurice Rose Army Airfield was in Bonames, north of Frankfurt, Germany.

Selected Awards and Decorations

  • Distinguished Service Cross
  • Distinguished Service Medal
  • Silver Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Legion of Merit with an Oak leaf Cluster
  • Bronze Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster
  • French Legion of Honor
  • French Croix de Guerre with palm
  • Belgian Croix de Guerre with palm
  • World War II Victory Medal (Posthumously)

The article below appeared in The New York Times
five days after the death of Gen. Rose on 3/30/45.



By Harold Denny, War Correspondent
By wireless to The New York Times


LONDON, April 3, 1945 - The death in action of Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose, announced in Washington yesterday, has deprived the American Army of one of its most skilled and gallant officers. He was a man of rare personal charm besides.

General Rose was young for his rank, and war correspondents, including this writer, who accompanied him when he spearheaded the First Army's drive across Belgium and in Germany, felt that he was marked for an even more brilliant future.

General Rose was a driver, as every successful general must be, but he was also a leader in the literal sense and he was customarily in the thick of battle - in an open jeep equipped with a two-way radio. He required the utmost effort from his men but he never asked them to do anything that he was unwilling to do and they loved him as well as respected him.

He took command of the Third Armored Division in the midst of the Normandy break-through and galvanized it into a striking force that certainly had no superior anywhere.

He was an exceptionally handsome man, with a fine military bearing and polished manner, unusual in this rough and ready time. He could fling his forces at the enemy with incredible speed yet he never seemed to be hurried and was never rattled even when his division was fighting for its very survival in last winter's Ardennes break-through by the Germans.

He added a strong force of fighting vehicles to his division headquarters and led it into action as a combat element. He always placed his headquarters close to the front line so that he could visit his units without wasting time. Often the fighting swirled around his very headquarters.

This writer witnessed one such occasion when General Rose came back in a few minutes and instructed his subordinates, and then his tanks advanced, knocked out the enemy strong-point, and forged on to the center of the city.

In exposing himself, as he so frequently did, General Rose not only knew that he was encouraging his men, but he felt that by seeing the actual fighting himself, the could make decisions more quickly and correctly and thus keep down his casualties.



Gen. Rose & the 3AD in Combat
By Website Staff



The quality of Gen. Rose's leadership in combat can best be summed up by what the 3rd Armored "Spearhead" Division accomplished under his command, which began on 8/7/44 in Normandy. The high points included the following, in chronological order:

  • The 3rd Armored Division, together with British forces, closed the Argentan-Falaise Gap on 8/19/44, putting an end to the Third Reich's last great counter-offensive in France. The U.S. VII Corps, with the 3AD normally in lead positions, then began a relentless advance across northern France.
  • Together with the 1st Infantry Division (Big Red One), Spearhead defeated a German Corps in the area of Mons, Belgium, in one of the most decisive battles of the Western Front.
  • The Division liberated Liege, Belgium, and a number of small towns in western Belgium, while continuing to advance toward the German border as the lead force of the U.S. First Army.
  • On 9/12/44, Spearhead became the first Allied force to enter Germany, the first to capture a German town (Roetgen), and, on the following day, the first to breech the infamous Siegfried Line.
  • The 3AD was a key force in the severe fighting of the Battle of the Bulge counteroffensive, first in checking and then in destroying or forcing the surrender of pockets of sizable German forces.
  • The Division achieved the first Allied capture of a major German city - Cologne on the Rhine River on 3/5/45.
  • The Division performed the longest one-day advance through enemy territory in the history of mechanized warfare - 101 miles through central Germany on 3/29/45.
  • Spearhead forged more than half of the ring in the encirclement of the Ruhr Pocket in Central Germany, which resulted in the largest single capture of enemy forces in all of WWII (Europe & Pacific) - 374,000 German Army soldiers.
  • And it was at this point that Gen. Rose was killed on 3/30/45, while the 3AD carried on under the able leadership of Brigadier General Doyle Hickey. Major combat lay ahead, but the war in Europe would soon end with Germany's formal surrender on 5/8/45.
  • Gen. Rose had commanded the 3AD for seven months and three weeks. His final resting place would be the American Military Cemetery in Margraten, The Netherlands.



Brief Sketch of
Gen. Rose's Military Career

By Website Staff



In his U.S. Army career, which spanned 1916 to 1945, Maurice Rose served in both World War I & II. In France in WW I he saw combat as a 19-year-old first lieutenant with the 89th Infantry Div. in the Argonne and at St. Miheil. He was wounded (scrapnel and concussion), spent 3 weeks in a hospital, but returned to his unit against doctor's orders. He was promoted to captain in 1920, shortly after war's end

In WWII, he served with the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions in North Africa, including combat with the 1st in the battle for Tunisia in 1943, where he earned his first Silver Star. Back with the 2nd Armored Div., he was promoted to Brigadier General just before the invasion of Sicily, where his unit was the first to enter the island's capital, Palermo. With the 2nd Armored in Normandy in June, 1944, Gen. Rose's unit beat back a major German force near Carentan. As captured documents later revealed, this action may have saved the whole Normandy beachhead.


On August 7, 1944, Gen. Rose was given command of the 3rd Armored Division, receiving his second general's star several weeks later. What then followed was his daring and legendary leadership of the "Spearhead" Division, as its troops aggressively advanced and engaged German forces in northern France, Belgium, Germany, in the Battle of the Bulge, and finally in the heart of Germany itself. In the course of that action, the 3rd Armored achieved a remarkable string of "Firsts" (described in section above).

On March 29, 1945, in central Germany, Rose's troops made the longest one-day advance by any Allied Division during the war. Tragically, the next day, Rose was killed in action while trying to locate a forward 3rd Armored unit that had been cut off by German tanks. He was only 45 years old. WWII in Europe was to end five weeks later.

Cheated by his untimely death of the national fame he deserved, Gen. Rose was buried in the American Military Cemetery in Margraten, The Netherlands. In this large and majestic cemetery, the remains of over 8,300 U.S. servicemen fallen in WWII rest in peace. To this day, the grounds are lovingly cared for by the people of Margraten.

Maurice Rose
November 26, 1899(1899-11-26) �?? March 31, 1945 (aged 45)
Place of birth Middletown, Connecticut
Place of death Near Paderborn, Germany
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1917-1919; 1920-1945
Rank Major General
Commands held 3rd Armored Division
Battles/wars World War I
World War II

Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose was commander of the 3rd Armored Division when he was killed in March 1945, just a few weeks before the end of World War II in Europe. Rose had served in all three of the great U.S. armored divisions: the 1st, known as �??Old Ironsides,�?? the 2nd, �??Hell on Wheels,�?? and, finally, the 3rd, �??Spearhead.�??

Rose was known as stern and ruthless in destruction of the enemy, but was deeply admired by his men. He was always at the front of the battle, directing activities from his jeep.

Rose had enlisted in the Army in 1916, serving on the Mexican border. He attended officer�??s training courses at Fort Riley, Kans., and was deployed to France, where he served with the 89th Division and was wounded in battle at St. Mihiel.

On the night of his death, Rose and two other men rounded a bend and literally ran into a German tank. The German tank commander ordered the Americans to surrender, and when Rose made a motion to drop his weapon the German apparently panicked and shot him, but the other two escaped.

About the North Africa Geman surrender:

General Rose also figured as a negotiator the first time the "unconditional surrender" principle was applied to the Germans on a large scale. This was in Tunisia at the time of the collapse of Nazi forces there.

The tall, black-haired Rose then was a colonel, chief of staff to Maj. Gen Ernest N. Harmon, commander of the First Armored Division.

The First Armored had captured Bizerte, and Harmon had just launched his tanks in what he intended as the final blow to break German resistance in Tunisia.

A German envoy from Gen. Fritz Krause came through the lines in a white-draped wagon to ask terms. General Harmon known as "old Gravel Voice;" gave it to him straight - "unconditional surrender, with no effort to escape by sea or sabotage equipment."

General Rose, resplendent in dress cavalry breeches and boots, was delegated to carry the word to Krause. Followed by an American half track with radio equipment, he and the German envoy made their way through the lines with First Armored tanks mopping up all around. They arrived at Krause's headquarters in a shower of explosives from American fighter bombers.

. . .

Twenty minutes later General Rose messaged his commander:

"Sir, General Krause accepts your terms of unconditional surrender."

His answer from "Old Gravel Voice" was:

"Well, how about that bastard up north - does he still want a fight?"

That was code for General Willibald Borowiecz, German commander in the adjoining sector.

Boroowiecz showed up in person at General Harmon's headquarters to give up while General Rose was on the way back.

Copyright Inc 2003-2011