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First Name: Maurice

Last Name: Rose

Birthplace: Middletown, CT, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Date of Birth: 26 November 1899

Date of Death: 30 March 1945

Rank: Major General

Years Served: 1917-19; 1920-45
Maurice Rose

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Maurice Rose
Major General, U.S. Army

Maurice Rose was born on 26 November 1899 in Middletown, CT.

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

Commissioned into the U.S. Army Infantry in 1917, 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 WWI 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.

World War II

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, Rose was the first officer to accept the unconditional surrender of a large German unit.

He was later Chief of Staff of the 2nd Armored Division, until he was assigned to command the 3rd Armored Division in August 1944, and promoted to Major General. After assuming command, Rose became known for his aggressive style of leadership, and for 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 30 March 1945, a few miles south of the city of Paderborn in a rural forest area, Major General Rose was riding at the front of the Task Force Welborn column. The front of this column consisted of his own jeep, a jeep in front of him, a tank at the lead of the column, an armored car behind him, and a motorcycle messenger bringing up the rear. Suddenly they began taking small arms fire as well as tank and anti-tank fire. Along with the other men, Rose jumped into a nearby ditch with his Thompson sub-machine gun, as the lead tank took a direct hit and was destroyed. When they realized that they were being surrounded by German tanks, they re-entered their jeeps and tried to escape. They drove off the road and through a nearby field before heading back towards the road. Upon arriving back at the road, they realized it was occupied by numerous German Tiger tanks. The lead jeep gunned its engine and narrowly made it past the Tiger tanks and escaped to the other side. The driver of Rose's jeep attempted to do the same but one of the German Tigers turned to cut them off. As Rose's jeep was passing, the Tiger tank wedged the jeep against a tree. The top hatch of the Tiger tank flung open and a German soldier appeared pointing a machine pistol at the group in the jeep. Rose reached towards his pistol holster (either to throw it to the ground or in an attempt to fight back). The German soldier shot him several times with at least one round hitting Rose in the head. It is believed that the German tank crews never had any idea that the man they killed was a general because sensitive documents, as well as Rose's body, were not removed from his jeep.

Rose was the highest-ranking American killed by enemy fire in the European Theater of Operations during the war. (Lieutenant General Lesley J. McNair was killed by friendly fire in Normandy in July 1944.)

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Legion of Merit with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze Star Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
World War I Victory Medal
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Stars World War II Victory Medal
Croix de Guerre with Palm (Belgium)
Legion of Honor (France)
Croix de Guerre with Palm (France)

Distinguished Service Cross Citation (Synopsis)

Major General Maurice Rose (ASN: 0-8439), United States Army, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross 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.

General Orders: Headquarters, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 86 (November 25, 1944)


● The Army transport USAT General Maurice Rose was named in his honor.
● The Rose Medical Center in Denver, CO, is named in his honor.
● The Maurice Rose Army Airfield was in Bonames, north of Frankfurt, Germany.

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 World War II war correspondent and later a 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.

Death and Burial

Major General Maurice Rose died on 30 March 1945 in Germany. He is buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten, Limburg, Netherlands.

Honoree ID: 3022   Created by: MHOH




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