Bastogne/Bulge question.....

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by chipm, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. chipm

    chipm Member

    Before Dec 24, or whenever more supplies came in, what weapons were in Bastogne.?
    What i am wondering is, how did that Army, and the 101 Airborne, hold off the Tanks/Artillery of The Wehrmacht.?
    Pardon my over-simplification, but.......What was there to stop 20 German Tanks from driving into Bastogne and wiping the place out.?
    Did the usa have anti-tank guns and mines enough to hold off the German Armour.?
    Thank You
     
  2. Blutto

    Blutto Plane Mad

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  3. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Or have a look at this classic: https://history.army.mil/html/books/022/22-2-1/CMH_Pub_22-2-1.pdf

    Please note that the Germans were in a hurry - their objectives were the Meuse bridges. They bypassed Bastogne with their armoured units, when it became apparent that the town could not be taken on the run, leaving behind a skeleton force to besiege the Americans. Some say, the German forces surrounding the town were even outnumbered by the American forces within, which might be right, but note that the latter (especially the 101st Airborne) were very low on supplies as a result of their hasty commitment.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
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  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    10th Armored Division (United States) - Wikipedia
    At the same time, German forces moved westward with increasing momentum. Bastogne, a hub from which seven main roads diverged, was essential to the swift movement of Rundstedt’s panzers. Before dawn of 19 December five German divisions attacked CCB. Bazooka-armed American soldiers and a single platoon of tank destroyers fought a column of German Panzer IV tanks on the Houffalize-Noville highway, turning them back. More enemy armor followed and with the road blocked, the battle spilled into the snow-covered fields and woods. For eight hours, CCB alone withstood multiple German attacks before reinforcements arrived from the 101st Airborne Division, which had moved into Bastogne under the screen of the 10th’s actions.
    The Germans still maintained an advantage and the outnumbered Americans withdrew closer to Bastogne. The Germans sent pincers to the north and south. The night of 21 December, the pincers met and closed west of the city. In the surrounded city, the 10th assembled a mobile reserve force to strike in any direction.
    CCB endured the cold, artillery barrages and bombing while their supplies and ammunition dwindled. Fourth Armored Division tanks finally broke through on 26 December, but CCB continued to fight until 18 January.[2]

    After the battle, the 10th Armored Division's 21st Tank Battalion and Combat Command B were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their actions from 17 to 27 December 1944 Battle of the Bulge. The 101 Airborne Division was also honored with the Presidential Unit Citation for their actions at Bastogne. Years after the war, General Anthony McAuliffe said "In my opinion, Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division was never properly credited with their important role in the Bastogne battle."[1]

    TD
     
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  5. Korps Steiner

    Korps Steiner Senior Member

    I recommend the book the Tigers of Bastogne which gives the history of Col Bill Roberts CCB of 10 AD at Bastogne , unfortunately as a result of the Band of Brothers the role of the Armoured units which were defending the town even before 101 AB got there has been played down and forgotten even more and McAuliffe is completely correct in his assessment .

    Also forgotten are CCR of 9 Armoured Division , they were the first unit to defend Bastogne and Team Snafu made up of of men from many units , without the Tank and TD units of 10th Armoured the 101 would most probably not have held Bastogne in the first few days of the Battle or when the Germans attacked on the 3rd January North East of the town with two armoured Kampgruppe from the 12th SS Panzer Division and 346 VGD, only a counter attack by units of 6 AD into the flank of the Germans saved the Paratroopers .
     
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  6. vestingjager

    vestingjager Member

    Try 'those who hold Bastogne', very good read.
     
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  7. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    There was also a fair amount of artillery in Bastogne. This included the segregated 333rd and 969th FAB. I suspect the Bastogne garrison had more men, artillery pieces and AFVs than the attacking 26th VG Division.
     
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  8. vestingjager

    vestingjager Member

    the 463rd Parachute Field Artillery, a veteran unit closely related with the 82nd Airborne in Italy, went with the 101st Airborne to Bastogne. They were, together with the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion, the main factor for the failure of the German attack on Xmas Day.

    Further, don't forget that several other units, like parts of the 9th Armored Division, parts of the 28th Infantry Division and even Corps artillery units of 8th Corps were inside the perimeter.

    There was even a time that the big guns of the Corps Artillery were able to give fire support from OUTSIDE the perimeter!

    So, in fact, it was a real team effort, not always easy to manage but McAuliffe was the right man on the right place, once Roberts stood down.
     
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  9. Korps Steiner

    Korps Steiner Senior Member

    What is also forgotten is the sacrifice of the 28th Division in the towns and villages on Skyline drive above the Our river which bought the time for the 101 AB to arrive Bastogne , if they had not fought so long and hard to hold their positions then Bastogne would have been lost well before the Screaming Eagles got there .
     
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  10. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Steiner - I fully agree. In fact it was the 110 Infantry Regiment (-), of the 28th US Infantry Division, in position along the 'Skyline Drive', that took the full brunt of the 47th Panzer Korps Offensive in front of Bastogne.

    110th minus (-) since it had only two battalions forward, one - the 2nd Bn - was held in reserve.

    See also this classic: The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge (Chapter 8)
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
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  11. Korps Steiner

    Korps Steiner Senior Member

    I'm Guiding a Tour to the Southern flank of the Bulge next week Stolpi , beginning in Vianden and looking at the defence of the area of IR 109 and IR 110
     
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  12. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Steiner - Ah ... nice, I camped several times along the Our River, at a small camping site near the Dasburg bridge. Walked from there to Clervaux, Vianden and Ouren. Very beautiful scenery and interesting history.

    Wish I could join you on the tour! You'll probably visit Hosingen, Marnach ... the German artillery piece at Heinerscheid (is it still there?) ... and the Clervaux Castle with its Sherman tank and small Museum (which made an unerasable impression upon me as a young teenager in the mid-seventies and triggered my interest in Military History). The Diekirch Museum obviously will be on your program as well.

    Werner Ronke (a retired Colonel of the Bundeswehr) wrote a sublime essay on the preparations of 5.Pz Army for the Ardennes, entitled "Die Vorbereitung der Ardennen-Offensive 1944 zwischen Gemünd und Ormont", which appeared in Dec 1988 as a supplement to the magazine of Europäische Wehrkunde/Wehwissenschaftliche Rundschau. A 'must have' for any serious student of the Ardennes Offensive. It depicts the role of General Manteuffel in the preparations, battle plans and tactical deployment of his Panzer Army. I have a copy (17 pp. in German) and could 'beam it over' if you wish.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
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  13. vestingjager

    vestingjager Member

    Indeed, Bastogne was won by the sacrifice of the 110th Infantry Regiment.....And the Sankt Vith salient was shaped by the 112th Infantry Regiment. The breakthrough in the south was partly checked by the 109th Infantry Regiment.

    Steiner: be sure to visit Weiler/Putscheid where I Company/110th made its stand.
     
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  14. Korps Steiner

    Korps Steiner Senior Member

    We are staying in Vianden where 5 FSJ Div crossed the river and visit Wahlendorf and Reisdorf before we head to Diekirch looking at the defence of the 109 IR under Col Jim Rudder of Pointe du hoc fame then onto Schumans Eck and Clervaux and Heinerscheid the guns are still there. Weiler , Wiltz , Etttelbruck and over the border to the Westwall at Irrell plus Vielsam and St Vith with a further day at Bastogne , it really is such a beautiful and interesting area to visit .

    If you could beam over the document Stolpi that would be great thank you
     
  15. vestingjager

    vestingjager Member

    Hosingen is also a great place to visit, monuments to 28th Infantry Division, 17th Airborne Division and a tank crew of the 702nd Tank Battalion.
     
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  16. chipm

    chipm Member

    The 463rd Parachute Field Artillery........
    Never heard of them, not that i am a historian, but still.
    Jesus, they just about "forced" their way into Bastogne. No doubt they, nor anybody else, had any idea what was about to befall them.
     
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  17. vestingjager

    vestingjager Member

    Still, every airborne trooper I met who was there, had the same opinion: "We were paratroopers, we were supposed to fight while being surrounded by the enemy"....
     
  18. chipm

    chipm Member

    Yeah, and those guys said it as though their words had some kind of Historical Significance.
    It was all Brand New. They had no history of doing anything.
    Nobody ever WANTS to "Fight While Surrounded".....how stupid would that be.?
    Imagine being trained with That Paradigm in mind. :omg:
    I do not know if it was "Just" Bastogne or Bastogne at all, but their gallows humor is super-famous now........"Looks like they have us surrounded, the poor bastards". :)

    The huge invasions, the 4-5-6-700 Bomber Strings, the giant tank battles, thousand mile long fronts, rationed gasoline and aluminum, Movie Stars pimping war bonds, every young man, and a lot of the older ones in uniform, all that stuff.....we are not likely (hopefully) to see it or Bastogne ever again.
    It was a singular time and that makes it an Exceptional Piece Of History.
     
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  19. vestingjager

    vestingjager Member

    Man, those were a great bunch of people.

    I remember, me at 18, sitting on a terrace in Bastogne town square in september 1989, surrounded by 15-20 ex-paratroopers, some of the famous BoB, most of them just did the commemorative jump in Holland, having a strong Belgian beer and then the great stories surfaced.

    I miss them every day....
     
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