Discussion in 'All Anniversaries' started by CL1, Dec 15, 2017.
Battle of the Bulge - Wikipedia
16 Dec 1944 also was a Saturday!
'That's no spoiling attack!'
As World War Two was drawing towards its close, in late 1944, the Western Allies were infected with the over-confidence that flowed from the sweeping victories they had gained four months earlier, and that had carried them to the borders of the Third Reich. They were confident that the war would soon be over.
In mid-December 1944, American General Dwight D Eisenhower was also in relaxed mood. He had just received a fifth star, becoming General of the Army. And on the evening of 16 December, he was to meet General Omar Bradley, commander of US 12th Army Group, at his headquarters in Versailles, to discuss the Allied manpower shortage problem and then play a few hands of bridge.
But the German leader, Adolf Hitler, had been planning his last great offensive in the west. And as Bradley arrived for his game of bridge, reports were beginning to filter in of enemy activity in the Ardennes, a range of rolling, heavily-forested hills and steep-sided valleys in eastern Belgium and Luxembourg. Bradley dismissed the reports as nothing more than details of localised fighting, but Eisenhower immediately sensed danger, telling Bradley, 'That's no spoiling attack!'
BBC - History - World Wars: The Battle of the Bulge
The Malmedy massacre (1944) was a war crime in which 84 American prisoners of war were killed by their German captors near Malmedy, Belgium, during World War II. The massacre was committed on December 17, 1944, at Baugnez crossroads, by members of Kampfgruppe Peiper (part of the 1st SS Panzer Division), a German combat unit, during the Battle of the Bulge.
Malmedy massacre - Wikipedia
SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Peiper - Naive, Desperate or Suffering from Battle Fatigue ?
Stolpi has written volumes about the British participation in the Battle of the Bulge. I was fortunate to see the memorial at Malmedy during our tour in 2014.
German speaking Malmedy was German territory until 1920 as were Moreset, Eupen and St Vith when the population of these areas elected to be part of Belgium via a plebiscite following the ruling of the Versailles Treaty that the territory would be ceded to Belgium and officially part of Belgium from 1925.It had been Prussian from 1815 when it was a spoil of war after the defeat of Napoleon and given to Prussia.
Not surprisingly In looking at the events in December 1944,I noticed that there was a reference to a degree of some allegiance still for the old country.......postwar, there were repercussions for those who found themselves in the wrong uniform
Passed through Malmedy in 1998 and had a good look round the scene of the massacre.The area is now showing signs of development.On the back side of the memorial wall,if I remember correctly is a HGV depot and I would think is far different to the rural look it had in 1944.
Eisenhower and his staff at the Versailles Allied HQ were soon to have second thoughts on the Ardennes Offensive and the thought of a German commando attack at their HQ became a reality and resulted in added security.The offensive came as a complete surprise to the Allies and presented a problem for them in that there was no intelligence gathered on the plans for the offensive.The usual intelligence conduit was Ultra via wireless intercepts which dried up.The lack of wireless activity was due to Hitler ordering that no operational plans etc were to be communicated by wireless ...fortunately after the Ardennes offensive,the Germans once again resumed wireless activity.
Battle of the Bulge
Weather effects during the Battle of the Bulge.
BATTLE OF THE BULGE Terrain, Roads, and Climate Figure 1 depicts the Western Front as of 15 December 1944, showing the locations of the Ardennes and Eifel Mountains, various cities and rivers, and the armies. The area through which Hitler chose to launch his counteroffensive was, except for the Vosges, the most difficult terrain on the entire line of the Western Front. It consists of two major parts, the Eifel and Ardennes.
Ardennes - Battle of the Bulge, January 1945 | 51st Highland Division
CL1 - Thanks for reminding.
The Highland Division entered the fray on the 8th of January 45, taking over from the 53rd Welsh Division, which had been battling in ice and snow since January 4th.
Did some on the Highlanders last year on this site : Ardennes 1945, 51st Highland Div
Third Army G-2, Col. Oscar Koch was the exception and had actually painted an accurate picture of German dispositions, intentions and potential consequences. He briefed Patton about his findings and concerns on Dec. 9th 1944 but was ignored. Having the correct intelligence appraisal but failing to act on it seems to be a common thread. Perhaps the possession and reliance on Ultra intercepts made them less willing to trust conventional sources.
Third Army G2 Predicts Battle of the Bulge, 9 December 1944
Koch was a US born citizen,it appears of German extraction.I do not know if his family came from from the Belgian former German territory or not.
As regards Belgian loyalty,some residing in the former German territory, living as Belgians were still sympathetic to Germany, 20 years after the alteration of national boundaries.German is still the prime language in this Belgian territory and is nationally recognised as such.
I think the border was always fluid in terms of families settling either side of it.Interestingly my late brother in law's paternal Grandmother was German whose family,it is thought came from the former German territory and who prewar lived in Liege. He used to relate visiting her in Liege as a child in the 1930s.I would think the border between Denmark and Germany was as residency fluid after the 1864 war when Denmark had to give up land to Germany.In the Great War when citizens of the former Danish territory were conscripted into the German Imperial Army as Germans, a number deserted and sought refuge over the new frontier into Denmark.
Ultra was silent as regards a source of intelligence to the Allies about the Ardennes initiative since Hitler forbade wireless traffic in its preparation.The attack was sudden and with bad weather grounding PR elements,the Allies were taken by surprise.Overall, a gamble by Hitler which in hindsight,if successful would not have prised the Western Allies out of Europe but it did emphasize the plight of the Germans in that the attacks on their fuel industry and loss of the Romanian oilfields were beginning to bite.
My activities between 16 December 1944 to 1 January 1945.
On 16 December 1944 the Germans launched a massive attack on Allied forces in the area around the Ardennes forest in Belgium and Luxembourg during the Second World War.
Allied forces in the Ardennes consisted primarily of American troops - some new and inexperienced, others exhausted and battle-worn. The Germans had some initial success. They achieved complete surprise and pushed westwards through the middle of the American line, creating the 'bulge' that gave the battle its name. But this success was short-lived.
The quick arrival of Allied reinforcements and the Americans' tenacious defence of the vital road junctions at Bastogne and St Vith slowed the German advance. The offensive also required men and resources that Germany did not have. Fuel shortages were made worse by bad weather, which disrupted German supply lines. The weather, which had previously restricted Allied air support, eventually cleared and air attacks resumed. By the end of December, the German advance had ground to a halt.
On 1 January 1945, the German air force caused serious damage to Allied air bases in north-west Europe, but it sustained losses from which it could not recover. The Allied counterattack in early January succeeded in pushing the Germans back and by the end of the month the Allies had regained the positions they held six weeks earlier.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said the Battle of the Bulge was 'undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war'. It was also one of the bloodiest. The Allies could offset these losses, but Germany had drained its manpower and material resources. The Allies resumed their advance and in early spring crossed into the heart of Germany.
What You Need To Know About The Battle Of The Bulge
A crude German attempt to use false colours to disguise a Panzer in order to surprise US positions, Malmedy.
21 December 1944: Malmedy – lone infantryman beats off Panzers
The morning of 23 December broke clear and cold. "Visibility Unlimited" was what the air control posts happily reported all the way from the United Kingdom to tfie foxholes on the Ardennes front. To most American soldiers, this was a red-letter day, because the bombers and fighter-bombers would once more be streaming overhead. The Bastogne air drop began with the first of the carriers dropping its six para-packs at 1150. On 24 December, a total of 160 planes took part In the drop. Poor flying weather on Christmas day over Bastogne forced the scrubbing of virtually all flights, although 11 gliders did bring in a team of 4 surgeons and some fuel for the tanks. The biggest airlift day was the 26th, with 289 planes flying the Bastogne run. 1 The dramatic change of the 23d, brought on by cold, dry winds from the east, stripped the German armies of their immunity to air attack, but this was not the whole story. Because of the winds, snow began to drift in the Eifel hills, bringing traffic on the main supply roads west of the Rhine almost to a standstill. The GeIrmans found that horsedrawn snowplows were few and ineffective, and hastily erected snow fences were torn down by troops scrounging for firewood. No gravel was available, and a large number of engineer construction battalions had been moved west for employment as infantry. By the time power snowplows reached the Eifel, the Ameri
The morning of the 24th broke clear and cold on the Schwarz Erntz valley, bringing a mixed blessing. The thermometer stood at 20 0 F, and although the American foot sloggers suffered, the gunners and fighter-bomber pilots could rejoice. With two fire direction centers handling the corps artillery and with perfect visibility at the observation posts, the battalions fired salvo after salvo for interdiction and destruction. A few wooded areas and villages got special treatment: time-on-target artillery fire with white phosphorus, a killing device for which General Patton had built up some attachment among troops of the Third Army. During the day and night, the Xi1 Corps artillery fired 21,173 shells to support the attack on a 10-mile front. Excellent flying weather allowed the 405th Fighter Group to fly eight missions, dropping fragmentation and napalm bombs at points along the Sauer, then strafing and bonbing the road east of the river. For these 5 days, 23 to 27 December, the weather had favored the Americans, in the air and on the ground. Superior numerically in tanks, the Americans benefited more than the Germans from the sure footing the big freeze provided for armor. However, on 28 December, the sky was overcast with low stratus clouds. Tnis was followed a day later by arctic air from Scandinavia, which produced heavy snows, blizzards, and greatly reduced visibility at ground level. Vehicular movement was slow, the riflemen exhausted themselves wading through the drifts, and the wounded (those in a state of shock) died if left in the snow for half an hour or more. This was the state of the weather when, on 3 January, the Allies began their final counterattack.1 Tabl e 1 contains a summary
December 27, 1944], HQ Twelfth Army Group situation map.
[December 27, 1944], HQ Twelfth Army Group situation map.
In a quick glance at the situation maps from October to December 1944 the eye is drawn to an area with few unit symbols along the Allied and German front lines in the Ardennes. During the autumn of 1944, the American front line was typically held by four or fewer divisions. The December 16th situation map shows the front line in this sector thinly held by the U.S. Army VIII Corps comprised of the 106th Infantry Division, 28th Infantry Division, the reduced 9th Armored Division, and the 4th Infantry Division arrayed from north to south. The VIII Corps headquarters was located in Bastogne. The VIII Corps was holding the southern edge of the U.S. First Army front lines adjacent to the U.S. Third Army. Also notice that throughout the autumn until December 15, the maps show a similarly small number of German infantry divisions behind the Siegfried Line opposing VIII Corps. By 12:00pm on the first day of the attack, December 16, there were twice as many German divisions, including two panzer divisions, identified in the sector moving against VIII Corps. During the next four weeks the situation maps show many interesting developments as the battle progressed.
December 16, 1944
Full map - In a quick glance at the situation maps from October to December 1944 the eye is drawn to an area with few unit symbols along the Allied and German front lines in the Ardennes. During the autumn of 1944, the American front line was typically held by four or fewer divisions. The December 16th situation map shows the front line in this sector thinly held by the U.S. Army VIII Corps comprised of the 106th Infantry Division, 28th Infantry Division, the reduced 9th Armored Division, and the 4th Infantry Division arrayed from north to south. The VIII Corps headquarters was located in Bastogne. The VIII Corps was holding the southern edge of the U.S. First Army front lines adjacent to the U.S. Third Army. Also notice that throughout the autumn until December 15, the maps show a similarly small number of German infantry divisions behind the Siegfried Line opposing VIII Corps. By 12:00pm on the first day of the attack, December 16, there were twice as many German divisions, including two panzer divisions, identified in the sector moving against VIII Corps. During the next four weeks the situation maps show many interesting developments as the battle progressed.
December 18, 1944
Full map - Two distinct German advances appear. One in the north and one in the center of the sector. The northern advance is along the edge of VIII Corps’ area of operations adjoining V Corps. The advance in the sector’s center is pointed at VIII Corps’ headquarters in Bastogne.
December 19, 1944
Full map - The German drive towards Bastogne has almost reached the town while the VIII Corps headquarters has relocated to Neufchateau. Notice that the 101st Airborne Division is shown in Bastogne and the 82nd Airborne Division has moved to blunt the northern German advance.
December 21, 1944
Full map - The German main advance through the center of the Ardennes sector has moved in a narrow corridor northwest to Marche after bypassing Bastogne. The 84th Infantry Division has moved to block the German northwestern advance.
December 23, 1944
Full map - Bastogne’s envelopment begins as the German main advance widens and moves north and south of the town. However, the 4th Armored Division, 10th Armored Division, 26th Infantry Division, and the 80th Infantry Division from General Patton’s Third Army have moved against the southern flank of the German main advance.
December 25, 1944
Full map - The 101st Airborne Division is shown as encircled in Bastogne with three German infantry division and one panzer division deployed around the town. The distinct bulge in the American front lines that gave the battle its name has formed.
December 27, 1944
Full map - The encirclement of Bastogne is broken as the 4th Armored Division moves up from the south. With American units pushing from the north and south, the German advance stops and bulge is contained.
January 1, 1945
Full map - The reinforced British 6th Airborne and 53rd Infantry Division are shown moving against the western tip of the German advance. Notice that some German units that were identified in the bulge on earlier maps have begun to be listed as “Unlocated” in a box on the right portion of the map near Frankfurt.
January 3, 1945
Full map - Three German Panzer divisions are shown withdrawing from the front lines toward the interior of the bulge.
January 15, 1945
Full map - As the bulge is further reduced, notice the nine German divisions concentrated in western tip of the bulge.
January 18, 1945
Full map - The bulge caused by the German advance has been reduced to a slight curve in the front lines.
Well I guess theres only thing I can say ................................. NUTS
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