Chapter VIII

[1] The Panzer Lehr Division carried the same organization as other German armored divisions. Its name reflected the division's original status as a tank training unit. The Fuehrer Begleit Brigade originally had been a special escort battalion for Hitler. It was expanded for commitment in the Ardennes to three panzer grenadier battalions, a panzer regiment, an artillery battalion, an antiaircraft battalion, and lesser units.

[2] The memoirs of the leading personalities in the Fifth Panzer Army, as collected in the German manuscript histories are detailed and uninhibited. They square in a remarkable manner with the recital of events in the American records. See especially MSS # B-151a, sequel to B-151, Fifth Panzer Army, Ardennes Offensive (General der Panzertruppen Hasso von Manteuffel); B-321, LVIII Panzer Corps in the Ardennes Offensive, 16 December 1944-11 January 1945 (General der Panzertruppen Walter Krueger); A-939, The Assignment of the XLVII Panzer Corps in the Ardennes, 1944-45 (General der Panzertruppen Heinrich von Luettwitz); B040, 26th Volks Grenadier Division in the Ardennes Offensive (Generalmajor Heinz Kokott). See also MSS # A-955, Report on the Campaign in Northern France, the Rhineland, and the Ardennes (Oberst i. G. Hans-Juergen Dingler); B-506, LVIII Panzer Corps Artillery, 1 November 1944-1 February 1945 (Generalmajor Gerhard Triepel); A-941, Panzer Lehr Division, 1 December 1944-26 January 1945 (Generalleutnant Fritz Bayerlein); A-942, Panzer Lehr Division, 15-22 December 1944 (Bayerlein).

[3] MSS # A-939 (Luettwitz); A-940, XLVII Panzer Corps in the Ardennes Offensive (Luettwitz); A-941 (Bayerlein); A-942 (Bayerlein). For the corps plans, see KTB: Christrose.

[4] Cole, The Lorraine Campaign, pp. 464-71.

[5] The official U.S. Army history describes this fighting by the 28th Infantry Division as "one of the most costly division actions in the whole of World War II.- MacDonald, The Siegfried Line Campaign, p. 373.

[6]The American sources for the initial phase of the defense in this sector are unusually complete. The 28th Division after action report shows the lines of withdrawal and is supplemented in detail by the 28th Division G-3 journal and telephone file. The 109th Infantry after action report and journal are intact and useful. (See also The Old Gray Mare of the 109th Infantry Regiment (Augsburg. 1953.) ) The 110 Infantry has not only a regimental after action report but one for each of its battalions; however the 110th journal is missing for the period prior to 24 December 1944. The 112th Infantry S-2 and S-3 journals have numerous overlays showing the action. Combat interviews provide good coverage for most of the major actions by the 28th Division. For the German sources see note 2, above. See also The Rise and Fall of the 2d Panzer Division (MS) edited by TUSA, 1 PW, May 1945; MS # P-032d (Generalmajor Hans Kokott).

[7] The road from Dasburg through Clerf is marked on the OB WEST operations map by a purple penciled line as far as Bastogne.

[8] An M16 half-track from the 44th Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion was responsible for the fact that this battery was still in position. Early that morning a German company had marched up to a crossroads where the half-track was standing, apparently intending to deploy for an attack against the battery. Seeing the vehicle, the enemy column paused. One of the crew thought fast and waved the Germans forward in friendly fashion. When the .50-caliber machine guns on the half-tracks ceased fire nearly one hundred German dead were counted.

[9] MS # A-940 (Luettwitz). The 70th Tank Battalion has a detailed unit journal in narrative form.

[10] The 110th Infantry action here is described in History of the 110th Infantry of the 8th Division, United States Army, World War II, 19411945 (Atlanta, Ga.: Albert Love Enterprises, 1945).

[11] There is no official record of the losses taken by the 110th Infantry during this phase of the battle. Estimates furnished the author by members of the regimental staff set the figure at about 2,750 officers and men.

[12] Events of this day are very obscure. Late in the afternoon an American tank platoon came to the edge of the village but retired, the commander reported, when no Americans could be found. This withdrawal was hastened by bazooka fire which crippled two of the tanks. The troops barricaded in the houses later reported that they had seen no American tanks but had hit two German tanks with bazooka shots. See MS by Maj. I. D. Warden and 28th Div G-3 Jnl.

[13] See below, pp. 393-95.

[14] MSS # B-321 (Krueger); A-873, Commitment of the 116th Panzer Division in the Ardennes, 12-16 December 1944 (Generalmajor Siegfried von Waldenburg); A-874, Commitment of the 116th Panzer Division in the Ardennes, 1944-45 (Waldenburg); B-027, 560th Volks Grenadier Division, 15-29 December 1944, and 12th Volks Grenadier Division, 1-28 January 1945 (Generalmajor Rudolf Langhaeuser). The Germans sited their searchlights five to eight kilometers from the American main line of resistance.

[15] It is quite possible that the German tank activity here was discouraged during daylight by the sharp-shooting Private Rosenthal, manning his tank destroyer in the 424th Infantry sector. See above, ch. VII, p. 153.

[16] During the fighting on 16 December Pfc. W. S. Rush stayed in the line at an exposed point, hurling grenades and firing his rifle although he was badly wounded. Rush refused to leave his post and died there of his wounds. He was awarded the DSC.

[17] Cota was acting on orders from the VIII Corps commander who wished to deny the enemy the use of Highway N 26, the main paved road from the south into St. Vith.

[18] The Americans lost four tank destroyers and eight armored cars. It would appear they were surprised by the speed of the German advance; the enemy assault was being made by bicycle troops.

[19] The so-called Parachute Army had developed originally as a partisan and personal creation of Goering. As a result it was ridden with politics. The account of Heilmann's difficulties is in MS # B-023, 5th Parachute Division, 1 December-12 January 1945 (Generalmajor Ludwig Heilmann).

[20] The American infantry gave high praise to the 687th for its part in this fight. Colonel Strickler later said of the gunners, "a magnificent job by some magnificent men." Recognized as outstanding even in this band was S/Sgt. William J. Bennett of Battery C, who was awarded the DSC.

[21] This gallant feat was recognized fully at the time by General Middleton and its importance later emphasized in the VIII Corps after action report for December 1944.

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