On 14 August, the Keystone division got a new commander, Brigadier General James Wharton. However, no sooner had he taken command, than he was fatally wounded. In his place Brigadier General Norman Cota, who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, took command after returning to duty having been wounded in St. Lô.
After weeks of slow progress through hedgerows and cities, the Keystone men found themselves in a fast advance east, liberating towns as fast as they could move forward. They encountered the occasional German resistance nest and detach a regimental combat team or a battalion to deal with it and kept the rest of the division moving.
By 25 August, the division’s 110th and 112th Infantry Regiments had placed themselves on the Seine River to cut off German forces retreating from the Falaise Pocket. A battalion from the 109th had formed Task Force D with the 107th Field Artillery Battalion, C Company of the 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion, and a small detachment of tanks. The task force took Le Neubourg after several days of fierce combat. The rest of the 109th Infantry Regiment captured Elbeuf on the Seine and cut off the last of the retreat route of the German army in the area and the regiment took 500 prisoners of war.
After helping close the Falaise Pocket, the division joined the procession through the recently liberated streets of Paris before joining the race across France.
The Keystone division reached and crossed the Meuse River on 6 September and prepared for the final assault into the Reich. The battles in the Hürtgen Forest that were in store for them were some of the most difficult the division would face. But they would fight hard and earn the nickname ‘the Bloody Bucket’ by their German adversaries.