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.
Separate names with a comma.