Chapter XIV

[1] The author has made an exhaustive (and exhausting) effort to read all the documents, journals, and reports belonging to each of the units mentioned-no matter how cursorily-in this chapter. Of course a great number of records were destroyed; this is particularly true of the artillery battalions. The journals of most of the engineer units are extant, but these vary greatly in value. Surprisingly, many of the ordnance and antiaircraft units provided records which helped considerably in unwinding the involved tactical situation in their particular area. Any reader wishing to delve further into the story should begin with the following records: the VIII Corps G-3 Journal and Artillery AAR; First U.S. Army, G-3 Journal; the 51st Engineer Combat Battalion S-3 Operations Journal (a model of what such a record should be); the very complete 158th Engineer Combat Battalion S-3 Journal; and the brief but graphic AAR of the 58th Armored Field Artillery Battalion (whose records were destroyed).

[2] The 51st held its main position for five days and was given a Presidential Citation. The Canadian Forestry Company which worked with the 51st pays high tribute to the battalion and its commander. See No. 1 Coy, Canadian Forestry Corps, Report of Operations, 16-21 December 1944.

[3] When the first German assault hit the 158th, Pvt. Bernard Michin took on an enemy tank with a bazooka at a range of ten yards, was badly burned by the explosion but destroyed the tank. Unable to see because of his wounds he located an enemy machine gun by sound, threw a hand grenade, and wiped out the crew. He was awarded the DSC.

[4] The difficulties which beset the 2d Panzer are well described in MSS # A-939 (Luettwitz) and B-456, 2d Panzer Division, 21-26 December 1944 (Oberstleutnant Ruediger Weiz) and also in the Third U.S. Army interrogation of Lauchert.

[5] The Panzer Lehr commander was well forward with his troops. For his recollections, which have proven to be excellent, see MSS # A-941 through A-943 (Bayerlein).

[6] In theory both Americans and Germans recognized the need for proper employment of their technically trained engineer troops. Model, for example, put out an order on 18 December positively forbidding the use of the German Pioneers as infantry. (LVIII Corps KTB, 18 Dec 44.) Doctrine and tactical exigencies, however, often proved contradictory during the Ardennes battle.

Table of Contents

Search CMH Online
Last updated 13 December 2005