Battle of the Bulge 1944 (1): St Vith and the Northern by Steven J. Zaloga, Howard Gerrard

By Steven J. Zaloga, Howard Gerrard

The conflict of the Bulge used to be the most important and most expensive conflict fought by means of the U.S. military in global warfare II. The Ardennes combating used to be Hitler’s final gamble at the Western entrance, crippling the Wehrmacht for the rest of the conflict. within the first of 2 volumes at the Ardennes crusade Steven Zaloga information the struggling with within the northern zone round St Vith and the Elsenborn Ridge. 6th Panzer military, containing the majority of German Panzer power, was once anticipated to accomplish the leap forward right here. It was once the failure round St Vith that pressured the Germans to appear south in the direction of Bastogne.

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The continuing attack by the battalion from the 25th SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment along the Schwarzenbruch trail suffered heavy casualties on encountering the fresh 3/23rd Infantry, but the arrival of the tank destroyers settled the matter and overwhelmed the American positions. On reaching the edge of the woods, the Panzers came under fire from two M4 tanks of the 741st Tank Battalion, but both US tanks were quickly knocked out. By the end of the day, the Panzergrenadier battalion had lost so many officers in the intense fighting that “companies were being commanded by sergeants”.

As mentioned earlier, the tactics in the 5th Panzer Army sector for the initial assault differed significantly from those in the neighboring 6th Panzer Army sector and were based on infiltration prior to the main artillery barrage. As a result, the German infantry began moving in the dark at 0400hrs to infiltrate past the scattered defenses in the Losheim Gap. The morning was overcast with ground fog and rain that further aided this plan. Manteuffel firmly instructed his infantry officers that their A Kingtiger drives past US prisoners, mostly from the 99th Division, captured during the fighting on 17 December.

He decided that the American positions on the Schnee Eifel were so precarious that a single division could by-pass them, with the main thrust directed through the Losheim Gap to the north. The task was assigned to the 18th Volksgrenadier Division, which had been created from the remains of the 18th Luftwaffe Field Division destroyed in the Mons pocket in Belgium in September. While neither particularly experienced nor well trained, it had suffered few losses during its occupation duty at the front in the autumn.

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