General Robert T. Frederick became a two-star rank of major general in December 1944 and was given command of the 45th Infantry Division. Just 37 years old at the time, he was one of the two youngest division commanders in the U.S. Army during World War II. The 45th, which he led until September 10, 1945, saw heavy combat in French Alsace from December 1944 through to February 1945. In mid-March, it was assigned to pursue the final drive into Germany.
The division participated in heavy fighting in Aschaffenburg from March 28 to April 3 and then drove to Nuremberg, taken in heavy fighting from April 16–20. Moving south, the division crossed the Danube on April 26, and opened up the path for the U.S. 20th Armored Division to drive on Munich. Reaching Munich on April 29, the division shifted from combat to occupation.
The British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, declared that Robert Frederick was “the greatest fighting general of all time” and “if we had had a dozen more like him we would have smashed Hitler in 1942.”