You are on page 1of 106

ARCHIVES

CGSC
FT LEAVENWO TH KtiK4

MONOASSIG PH
p. r

APR
PO Ri.G.iSTRY.

7 1953

ir
MONOG PHi~

pg a

pt:

ACCESSION NO

THE GERMANS OPPOSITE

lI CORPS

IN SEPTEMBER 1944
BY
LUCIAN HEICHLER

THIS MONOGRAPH MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED, EITHER IN WHOLE OR IN PART, WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE CHIEF OF MILITARY HISTORY

The. German opposite VII Corps in


Chi off-s

Sep 44. Nomp

1--1-t
1

-B -ib>y

-52

AXZ

a-l:

7,"

This Document
IS A HOLDING OF THE

ARCHIVES SECTION

DISTRIBL
DE

LIBRARY SERVICES FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS

STORY,

DOCUMENT NO. R-16436.3oB COPY NO.


CGSC Form 160 13 Mar 51 Army-CGSC-P3-1966-20 Mar 53-5M

UNqCLASSIFI[Q

CHAPTER III

TrH

GLE1ANS OPPOSITE VII CORPS IN SEPTEMBER 1944

Part of a Study of the German Side Undertaken in Support of The Siegfried Line by Charles B. MacDonald (OCMH: In Progress)

Based Entirely on German Records, This Chapter is Intended to Complement Charter III of The Siegfried Line: ""VII Corns Penetrates the Line"

by

%2VL

)~a

c~,

Lucian Heichler

Research Section Office of the Chief of Military History Washington, D. C. December 1952

~~

,;SSFED

UTabe ASof Con s

Table of Contents Page Introduction ...................


..... 1

Defense of Aachen and the Stolberg Corridor

..
. . . . . 41

The DXXXI Corps Situation in Mid-September 1944 LXXXI Corps: Counterattack and Stalemate . . .

S.

50

LXXIV Corps: Defense of the Lammersdorf Corridor and the West VIall ................

.....

87

APPENDIX:

Map of the West Wall in the LXXXI and LXXIV Corps sectors

UNCLASSIF IED
Introduction

In the early years of World War II

the German Army amply

demonstrated its ability to exploit victory to the fullest. After the tide had turned against the Germans, it became ap-

parent that they also possessed the more outstanding ability to quickly recover from a defeat before their opponents could thoroughly exploit their success. The German Seventh Army exemplified this faculty late in the summer of 1944. Less than a month after suffering an was crushed and battered

apparently decisive defeat in which it beyond recognition,

Seventh Army established a coherent front September

line from the Maas River to the Sohnee Eifel Range in 1944. Committed in

this wide are and supported by a motley the army's remaining

conglomeration of last-ditch reserves,

elements successfully defended the approaches to the Reich. During its withdrawal from Falaise to the West Wall, In the

Seventh Army passed through three distinct phases. first stage --

the rout following narowly averted annihilation Seventh Army ceased to exist as an Its shattered remnants were attached On that date

in the Falaise Pocket -independent organization.

to Fifth Panzer Army until 4 September 1944.

Seventh Army was apparently reconstituted under the command of General der Panzertruppen Erich Brandenberger. The army

then passed through the phase of delaying action while it

U~rsa~$

lED UMC ~i~e~SYI


reorganized its line.

forces and re-established the semblance of a front

Despite persistent orders from above to defend every foot General Brandenberger realized that a fairly rapid with-

of ground,

drawal was called for, if his forces were to reach the West Wall ahead of American spearheads.*

MS

# B-730 (Brandenberger).

The delaying action ended officially on 9 September 1944 when Seventh Army was charged with the defense of the West Wall in the Maastricht - Aachen - Bitburg sectors. Along with the fortifications this

the army took over all headquarters and troops stationed in area.

Of Seventh Army's three corps, LXUXI Corps was assigned the northern sector of the West Wall, from the Herzogenrath - Dueren switch position to the Rollesbroich - Huertgen Forest sector. LXXIV Corps was committed in the center, from Roetgen to Ormont,

and I SS Panzer Corps was to defend the West Wall in the Schnee Eifel sector, from Ormont to the boundary with First Army at Diekirch.*

Order, Seventh Army to all corps, 9 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Anlagen, Befehle: Heeresgruppe, Armee, usw. [Orders: Army Group, Referred to hereafter as LCXXI Corps Army, etc.], 5.VIII. - 21.X.44. usw. Armee, Heeresgruppe, KTB, Befehle: See also Appendix, map of the West Wall.

With this transition from the second to the third phase of operations -from delaying action to firm resistance based on the

u~~L~s~'INN

fit.i

fortified cositions of the WVest Wall -came to an end,

the withdrawal from France

and the defense of Germany began. force on

When U.S. VII Corps launched its reconnaissance in

12 September 1944, Seventh Army was in the midst of this process of transition. While some of its elements had already occupied others were still fighting a de-

their assigned West Wall so~tors,

laying action well forward of the bunker line.

UNCLASSIFIED
B

Defense of Aachen and the Stolberg Corridor

On 12 September 1944 the forces of LJ

I Corps, under the

command of Generalleutnant Friedrich-August Schack, were committed from Breust on the Maas River eastward to Hombourg and Moresnet, thence south along the West Wall to the boundary with LXXIV Corps (Eupen - Roetgen - Zuelpich - Bonn).*

Noon Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 12 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Anlagen , Tagesmeldungen [Daily Sitreps], 6.VIII. - 21.X.44. Referred to hereafter as LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

Four badly mauled, understrength divisions were committed in the LXXXI Corps front line. In the northwestern sector, between 275th and 49th Infantry Divisions In the southeastern half of

the Maas River and the Aachen area, held the line against U.S.

XIX Corps.*

For an account of these two divisions, see Lucian Heichler, Chapter IV, The Germans Facing XIX Corps, OCMH (in progress).

the LUXI Corps zone, opposite U.S. VII Corps, 116th Panzer Division and 9th Panzer Division faced the U.S. 1st Infantry and 3d Armored Divisions. The sector of 116th Panzer Division was defined in the northwest by the boundary with 49th Infantry Division: Hill - along the West Wall to Bardenberg. Hombourg - Schneeberg

In the southeast the

boundary with 9th Panzer Division extended from Welkenrath via Hauset

U CLASSFIED

1111
and Brand to Stolberg.*

"5

The organic strength of 115th Panzer Division,

Order, LTJXI Corps to all divs, 2230 on 12 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Anlagen, Befehle an Dive, [Orders to Divs], 3.VIII. - 21.X.44. Referred to hereafter as LCX=I Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.

und:r the command of Generalleutnant Graf Gerhard von Schwerin, organized in Regiments -two armored regiments --

was

60th and 156th Panzer Grenadier and the

the 116th Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion,

116th Panzer Artillery Regiment. Commanded by Generalmajor Gerhard Mueller, 9th Panzer Division Its

had only arrived in the LXXXI Cors zone on 11 September 1944.

sector extended from the boundary with 116th Panzer Division to the boundary with LXXIV Corps (see above). Brandenberger its first According to General

wave had consisted of but three companies detachment of either 10th or 11th

of panzer grenadiers (advance Panzer Grenadier Regiment), of artillery.

an engineer company, and two batteries

General Schack amalgamated these elements with the Since

remaining forces of 105th Panzer Brigade (Major Volker). its

attachment to LXXXI Corps on 3 September 1944 this tank brigade

had lost most of its armored infantry battalion and all but ten of its tanks. Instead of committing the weak elements of 9th Panzer the West Wall, L'I Corps had found it necessary to

Division in

send these forces into the front line. day of action -as was to be expected --

Badly mauled on their first the remaining elements

of Kampfgruppe 9th Panzer Division had assembled in Eynatten during the night from 11 to I September. They were to fight a delaying

N LA .iAIED

action back to their West Wail sector while all other elements of thle division still enroute from their assembly area at Kaiserslautern were to be committed immediately in the West Wall upon arrival.*

MS

B-730 (Brandenberger).

In addition to the units enumerated above,

IXXDI Corps also

commanded 353d Infantry Division (Generalleutnant Paul M-ahlmann). This division was exhausted and possessed very few organic contingents. Far too weak to be committed in a front line sector,

its headquarters and remaining elements were moved to the assigned W'est Wall sectors of 116th and 9th Panzer Divisions to establish liaison with the various headquarters and local defense units in the rear of LXXXI Corps. On 9 September 1944 Seventh Army had attached to LXXXI Corps the Wfehrmachtbefehlshaber [Military Governor] for Belgium and Nortnern France with his staff and troops, the Kampfkommandant* of Aachen

A term whicn is difficult to translate. Literally, it means "combat commander" but is used to describe a military officer appointed to organize the defense of a city or rear area. See ivS # T-121 (Zimmermann et al.), pp. 1820ff.

(Colonel von Osterroth), the 253d Grenadier Training Regiment of 526th Reserve Division,* and a strange assortment of independent

The other two regiments of 526th Reserve Division, 416th and 536th Grenadier Training Regiments, were attached to LXXIV Corps while the division headquarters at Euskirchen remained directly subordinated to Seventh Army.

UriLAS

H[ED

battalions representing the proverbial bottom of the barrel.

Some

of these were "Luftwaffe Fortress Battalions";* others were called

Luftwaffe ground troops hastily organized in infantry battalions usually without sufficient training, poorly armed, and of combat value, according to German postwar accounts, such as little M.S # B-730 (Brandenberger).

Landesschuetzen Battalions (the termra is

vaguely equivalent to "home

guard") which were quite inadequately armed, without heavy weapons, and composed of men "as old as the hills".*

Order, Seventh Army to all corps, 9 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Befehle: Heeresgruppe, Armee, usw.; Quotation from ETHINT 18 (Schwerin). Landesschuetzen Battalions were usually composed of men fifty to sixty years old.

The situation in the LXXXI Corps area was canplicated further by tne presence of police and Hitler Youth detachments who attempted to make themselves useful by doing such work on the 'WestWVall fortifications as they saw fit, but refused to co-operate with the military. The various independent battalions described above were subordinated to 353d Infantry Division prior to their commitment with the front line divisions. in Chief, Army Group B) By order of Field Marshal Model (Commander and 19th Luftwaffe

the newly arrived 8th, 12th,

Fortress Battalions were attached to 353d Infantry Division on condition that they would be employed only in defense of the West Wall. The division reported that by 1800 on 12 September 1944 the Schill Line --

eastern and more strongly fortified bunker belt of the West Wall -would be occupied by the 19th Luftwaffe Fortress Battalion, mitted in com-

the area northwest of Wuerselen (northeast of Aachen), the area northwest of Stolberg,

3d Landesschuetzen Battalion in

12th Luftwaffe Fortress Battalion in the vicinity of Stolberg, and 2d Landesschuetzen Battalion south of Stolberg. The 8th Luftwaffe

Fortress Battalion was designated 353d Infantry Division reserve.*

Tel Conv, Seventh Army to LXXXI Corps, 0110 on 12 Sep 44, and Mng Sitrep, 353d Inf Div, 12 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Anlagen, Kampfverlauf [Operations), 2.VIII. - 21.X.44. Referred to hereafter as ULXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Tabulation of Troop Trains Arrived 9 Sep - 31 Oct 44, Seventh Army KTB, Anlagen, Semi-Annual Report of Seventh Army Transport Officer, 1.VII. - 31.XII.44.

General Schack learned on 12 September that the first full'strength divisions (12th

of three

Infantry, 183d and 246th Volks Grenadier

Divisions) destined to reinforce the Aachen area during September 1944 would arrive in the LXXXI Corps sector in a few days. Hitler

had ordered 12th Infantry Division (Colonel Gerhard Engel), just rehabilitated in East Prussia after service on the Eastern Front, to begin entraining for the Aacnen sector at 0001 dn 14 September.*

Mng Sitrep, A Gp B, 12 Sep 44, OB VEST KTB (Text), 1. IX. - 30. IX.44. Referred to hereafter as OB WEST KTB. For additional order of battle data, such as strength information, see The LXXXI Corps Situation in Mid-September 1944, pp.4lff.

Southwest of Aacnen the forces of 116th Panzer Division enjoyed an uneventful night from 11 to 12 September 1944. This enabled them

U'NLA 5

[SFE
9

FIEU9
at 0800 on 12 September to occupy positions along the railroad from Hombourg to Moresnet, and from Moresnet along the Gueule Creek via Hergenrath to Hauset.* The object was to establish a coherent

Eng Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, 12 Sep 44, and Daily -Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, 1900 on 12 Sep 44, LIXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

defense line which, based on a railway tunnel and a creek, would facilitate antitank defense. The division committed the 156th

Panzer Grenadier Regiment on the right, between Hombourg and Moresnet, and the 60th Panzer Grenadier Regiment on the left along

the Gueule.

The 116th Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion was dis-

engaged and recommitted at daybreak north of the Gueule with the mission to establish contact with 9th Panzer Division at Eynatten.*

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, 0810 on 12 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

The forces of 116th Panzer Division found their mobility greatly restricted by the work of over-eager German demolition engineers who had destroyed all Gueule Creek crossings from Moresnet to north. of Eynatten and had blocked all roads leading to the West Wall with the exception of the Moresnet - Gemmenich - Aachen road.*

I TVlX, 116th Pz Div to L=XXI Corps, 0155 on 12 Sep 44, Corps KTB, Anlagen, Meldungen der Divisionen [Division Sitreps], Referred to hereafter as LXXXI Corps KTB, 25.VIII. - 1.X.44. Meldungen der Div.; Tel Conv, LXXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, 0810 on 12 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

LIX

on~ew~ifsL

IE

10

These obstacles seriously interfered with General von Schwerin's intention to withdraw to the West Wall on 12 September. But during

the morning General Schack ordered von Schwerin not to occupy his West Wall sector before receiving special orders from IXXXI Corps, and to hold out in possible. * front of the West Wall generally as long as

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, 1000 on 12 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

The lull enjoyed by 116th Panzer Division was shattered at noon on 12 September when American tanks probed German defenses north of Montzen and Hombourg.* Shortly thereafter the storm

Rad, 116th Pz Div to LXXXI Corps, Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

1155 on 12 Sep 44,

LXXXI

broke over the heads of the Germans.

The

American reconnaissance At the same time

was followed up by a tank attack toward Hombourg.

American armor crossed the railway between Hombourg and Moresnet.*

Sitrep, 116th Pz Div to LXXXI Corps, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

1200 on 12 Sep 44,

LXXXI

American infantry pushed up the road from Hombourg to Voelkerich and Bleyberg. While the 156th Panzer Grenadier Regiment fell back American troops crossed the Gueule Creek bethe early afternoon and infiltrated

before these attacks,

tween Moresnet and Hergenrath in

a3~: SDsE

SS IF UNC A
the lines of the 60th Panzer Grenadier Regiment.* General von

Sitrep, 116th Pz Div to LXXI Corps, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

1330 on 12 Sep 44,

LXXXI

Schwerin was forced to withdraw about 1530 in

a northwesterly The peculiar

direction from Moresnet along the Gueule Creek.*

KTB,

Daily Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, Kampfverlauf.

1900 on 12 Sep 44,

LT; I Corps

direction of this withdrawal was probably necessitated by the fact that German engineers had blocked the roads leading northeast. While the U.S. 1st Infantry Division launched its drive on

Aachen and broke through the lines of 116th Panzer Division, the U.S. 3d Armored Division jumped off from Eupen toward Eynatten and the sector of 9th Panzer Division. West of the Eupen -

Roetgen in

Aachen road the Americans took Lontzen and Walhorn; east of the road tney pushed into Raeren.* From Walhorn they launched a tank attack

Sitrep, 353d Inf Div to LXXXI Corps, Corps KTB, Kampferlauf.

1200 on 12 Sep 44,

IXXXI

toward Eynatten, which fell into American hands at 1345.

Elements

of Kampfgruppe 9th Panzer Division tnere withdrew northeastward.*

TWX, 9th Pz Div (105th Pz Brig) to LXXXI Corps, 1417 on 12 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.; Sitrep, 9th Pz Div to LXXII Corps, 1425 on 12 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

INGLASIED

12

These elements and the local defense units under the command of 353d Infantry Division were unable to interfere seriously with American operations. Later in the afternoon General Schack was

disturbed by a civilian report that American forces had occupied Rott at 1800, the Wvest conveying the impression that they had broken througn of Rott.* The rumor that the Americans were

"Wall south

KTB Entry,

1800 on 12 Sep 44, TLXI Corps KTB,

Kampfverlauf.

just south of Rott caused panic among the men of a Luftwaffe antiaircraft artillery unit committed at Rott. The 3d Battery (889th

Regiment) of the 7th Flak Division smashed the optical equipment of their three 20-mm. guns, equipment, antiaircraft guns, abandoned their positions, The cause of the false

and belongings, and fled.*

Tel Cony, Seventh Army to LXJCI Corps, UCOXI Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.

0050 on 22 Sep 44,

alarm seems to have been an American armored reconnaissance patrol on the Aachen - Monschau road.*

Tel Cony,
Corps KTB,

LX.KII Corps to 353d Inf Div, 2150 on 12 Sep 44,


der Div.

L3IXI

Meldunge n

In the evening of 12 September 353d Infantry Division reported American armor converging on Roetgen from the west. Elements of

the 253d Grenadier Training Regiment observed American tanks and jeeps, followed by strong infantry detachments on personnel carriers

"m L 31 ie

U u
moving along the Raeren - Roetgen road.*

13
Two American tanks and

Ibid.

four armored cars accompanied by infantry pushed into Roetgen. platoon of the security company in Roetgen (328th Replacement

One

Training Battalion of 253d Grenadier Training Regiment) was pushed into the southern part of the town. Intensive infantry fighting

developed as American armor advanced to the northern periphery of Roetgen. Keeping out of the range of German entitank weapons, the

tanks fired into West Wall bunker embrasures,

while American in-

fantry guns laid down a heavy barrage in front of the obstacle wall. Low-flying aircraft attacked the obstacles and defense positions. By 1900 the volume of American artillery and tank fire began to dwindle. The Germans remained in possession of all West Wall An hour later German reconnaissance found that

fortifications.

the Americans had left Roetgen.*

Sitrep, 328th Repl Trng Bn to LXXXI Corps, 12 Sep 44, L~C;I Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.; Daily Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 2230 on 12 Sep 44, LXIXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

At 2000 on 12 September American tanks and infantry advancing between the Hergenrath - Aachen and the Eupen - Aachen roads tcward the Scharnhorst Line -fortifications -the first (western) band of West W1all two

captured Bunker 161 at Brandenberg Hill, Forces under the Kampfkommandant

miles north of Hauset.

of Aachen

were immediately committed in

a counterattack to wipe out this

UNC LASII[ED

14

American penetration of the West Wall.

They failed in this endeavor At the

but were able to stop the American attack. temporarily.*

Eng Sitrep, 353d Inf Div, 0445 on 13 Sep 44, and Tel Conv, Seventn Army to LXXXI Corps, 1140 on 13 Sep 44, LXCXI Corps KTB, ihg Sitrep, LXXI Corps, 0555 on 13 Sep 44, Lm=I Kaapfverlauf; Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

same time American armored cars and a few tanks also reached the West Wall about half a mile southeast of Schmidthof and apparently decided to laager there for the night.*

Ing Sitrep, 353d Inf Div, 0445 on 13 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

Late in the evening of 12 September General Schack issued an order to his divisions which defined their assigned West Wall sectors and outlined the further conduct of operations. The 116th Panzer Division was charged with defending the city of Aachen. The Kampfkiommandant of Aachen with attached troops was as were all elements of 8th, 12th,

subordinated to 116th Panzer Division,

353d Infantry and 526th Reserve Divisions in the sector:

19th Luftwaffe Battalions and the 453d Grenadier Training Battalion (253d Grenadier Training Regiment).* The armored elements of 116th

TWX, A Gp B to OB WEST, 2350 on 22 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Anlagen3 Referred Operations-Befehle [Operational Orders], 1.IX. - 30.IX.44. to hereafter as A Gp B KTB, Operations-Befehle; Daily Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, 1925 on 21 Sep 44, LI~XI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

U LA

3 FIE

lG L,

S[D

15

Panzer Division were to fall back to the West Wall only in the face of superior American pressure while the attached forces would move into the fortifications ahead of the main body in order to complete the improvement of the positions.*

Order, LXXI Corps to all divs, Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.

2230 on 12 Sep 44,

LXXI

The 9th Panzer Division, with attached remaining elements of 105th Panzer Brigade, was assigned to the defense of the-sector between 116th Panzer Division and the boundary with LXXIV Corps -the Stolberg Corridor and northern Wenau Forest. All elements of

353d Infantry and 526th Reserve Divisions in this sector of the West Wall were attached to 9th Panzer Division. These were Headquarters

253d Grenadier Training Regiment (Colonel Feind) ana the 328th and 473d Replacement Training Battalions.* The division was authorized

Tel Conv, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 1500 on 15 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Sitrep, 9th Pz Div to IXXXI Corps, 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div. The geographic location of the 9th Panzer Division sector fated this division to bear the brunt of the Battle of the Stolberg Corridor. Never possessed of organic elements sufficient for an adequate defense, the division also sustained very heavy losses in this action. Thus it had to be shored up regularly by all kinds of reinforcements, sometimes of a very dubious value. The designation "9th Panzer Division" became a collective term for a veritable hodgepodge of unrelated armor, antitank, infantry, and artillery units.

to withdraw its organic elements to the West Wall only in the face of overwhelming American attacks. In the West Wall the main effort

U CLASSIFIED
of resistance would center around the roads leading toward the fortifications from the south and south'est.

16

The divisions were ordered to station strong outposts forward of the MLR, equipped with heavy infantry weapons and antitank guns, who were to do all in their power to delay the American advance. In the sectors of 116th and 9th Panzer Divisions this outpost line was to extend from west of Germenich - west of Hauset - east of Raeren to west of Roetgen. The 353d Infantry Division received orders to relinquish control of the Scharnhorst Line and all elements committed tnere to 116th and 9th Panzer Divisions. Three Landesschuetzen Battalions

(1/9, 11/6, and III/6) remained temporarily attached to 353d Infantry Division for special assignments.*

Landesschuetzen Battalions I/9 and III/6 were attached to 9th Panzer Division two days later.

Following its arrival in the LXXI Corps zone the anxiously awaited 394th Assault Gun Brigade (six or seven assault guns) was to assemble in the vicinity of Brand. In corps reserve, this assault

gun brigade would be ready to participate on snort notice in counterattacks with both 116th and 9th Panzer Divisions. Artillery Group Aachen, composed of the artillery regiments of 116th Panzer and 353d Infantry Divisions and the Flak Gruppe Aachen*

Antiaircraft Artillery Group Aachen, a reserve antiaircraft regimental headquarters.

INCL ASSFI E
was placed under the command of Colonel Pean (Commander, 116th Panzer Artillery Regiment) witn 49th Infantry, and received orders to collaborate

17

closely

116th and 9th Panzer Divisions in

co-ordinating

its fire with the main effort of defense.*

Order, LXII Corps to all divs, KTB, Befehle an Div.

2230 on 12 Sep 44, LX3XI Corps

The night from 12 to 13 September passed quietly. small hours of the morning the 8th, 12th,

During the

and 19th Luftwaffe Fortress order

Battalions were attached to the Kampfkommandant of Aachen in to be committed at daybreak in

a counterattack against the American

penetration of the Scharnhorst Line at Brandenberg Hill south of Aachen.*

Mng Sitrep, Kampfverlauf.

353d Inf Div, 0445 on 13 Sep 44,

D~UXI Corps KTB,

At 0600 on 13 September 116th and 9th Panzer Divisions assumed command of their new West Wall sectors. units in the front line, 'With some local defense

General von Schwerin disengaged the organic badly in need of regrouping and

forces of 116th Panzer Division -some rest -in

order to assemble them in the Richterich - Yuerselen That move made it impossible to commit

area northeast of Aachen.

these forces against the penetraticn at Brandenberg Hill before afternoon. "In addition, if the enemy continued to advance and any event, he could

exploit his success, which had to be expected in

not be prevented from entering the town [of Aachen] from tne south

LA Lt iUt

18

by noon.

"*

ETHINT 18 (Schwerin); Daily Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, 13 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

During the night from 12 to 13 September the city of Aachen had been in the grip of chaos. Since General von Schwerin was to he drove into Aachen the evening He found

assume control on 13 September,

before on the way to his command post at Laurensberg. the population in panic. too familiar in Europe -on the other foot. It

was the picture Hitler had made all for the first time, the shoe was had

but now,

"Women,

with small children and babies,

loaded their last possessions on small hand carts and prams and walked into the night without having ahy idea where to go; they were driven only by fear and the threats of the Party that every person who did not leave the town would be shot as a traitor...."*

EThINT 18 (Schwerin).

Stirred by humane motivations and worried about the effect of the panic and the jammed roads on the morale and mobility of his troops, von Schwerin decided to put an immediate stop to the disorganized flight.

When he sent his officers out to contact the


they returned to him

police with orders to halt the evacuation,

with the shocking news that the entire police force and all government and Party officials had left Aachen; not one police station

SGLASSBI~ED
ra~

19

was occupied.*

Thereupon General von Schwerin took matters into

Ibid.; Report, MIodel to 0B3 VST, 2230 on 15 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Operations-Befehle; Ltr, Gen Mattenklott to Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler, 15 Sep 44, LX II Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div. General der Infanterie Franz TMattenklott commanded Wehrkreis VI, the military district which included the Aachen area.

his own hands.

He sent his officers out once more to persuade the In so doing he exposed

frantic populace to return to their homes.

himself to the grave charge of having countermanded a Fuehrer order commanding the evacuation of Aachen. In the morning of 13 September

the city was nearly calm again; for the time being all signs of panic had disappeared. All buildings housing the Party and municipal

administration were deserted. South of the city Kampfkommandant Colonel von Osterroth launched another 'counterattack against the American penetration at Brandenberg. Osterroth's attempt of the night before to restore the situation had failed. The Americans were now in possession of Bunkers 160 All

and 161 and were feeding additionalforces into their salient.

morning attempts by the weak forces under the command of Colonel von Osterroth to seal off the penetration remained inconclusive.*

ETHITT 18 (Schwerin); Tel Cony, Seventh Army to LJ=I Corps, 1140 on 13 Sep 44, LXX!I Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, 13 Sep 44, LEXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

As mentioned above, General von Schwerin's organic forces were executing a maneuver which prevented them from participating

~LhI

ILDa

UNCLASSIFIE
in the fighting southwest of Aachen before late afternoon. lieved that the American penetration at Brandenberg Hill would

20
He be-

develop into a main effort attack against the city, and he knew that the Luftwaffe battalions would be no match for their opponents. Convinced that the Americans would have Aachen occupied in of hours, a matter

von Schwerin privately thought this the best solution for After much searching through empty public buildings,

the old city.*

ETmTT 18 (Schwerin). In desiring to spare Aachen the terrors of becoming a battleground, von Schwerin deviated sharply from Hitler's avowed determination to turn the city of Charlemagne into a fortified stronghold where each house would be fanatically defended to give the Allies a foretaste of what to expect inside Germany.

von Schwerin finally found one man still of the telephone service.

at his post,

an official

To him General Schwerin entrusted a letter,

written in Ehglish, which the official promised to take to the commanding officer of the American forces as soon as they had occupied Aachen. The letter read as follows:

I stopped the absurd evacuation of this town; therefore, I am responsible for the fate of its inhabitants and I ask you, in the case cf an occupation by your troops, to take care of the unfortunate population in a humane way. I an the last German Commanding Officer in the sector of Aachen. Signed: SC.F7BRIN*

Ibid.; Rpt, Model to 03 IEST, 2330 on 15 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Operations-Befehle. Consequences to Count von Schwerin arising from his interference with the evacuation of Aachen and the discovery of this letter by the Nazis will be discussed later in this study.

rtean.vhile, Gradually it

however,

the tactical situation had changed.

dawned on the Germans that the Americans were not going

UtLA~ffl0

UOCLASSFIEP
-1
21

to exploit their opportunity to walk into Aachen but that they intended, rather, to envelop the city by driving up the Stolberg By noon on 13 September sealing off the American

Corridor in

the direction of Esdaweiler.

von Osterroth's men had finally succeeded in salient south of Aachen.

Colonel von Osterroth thought he could the assault guns of

hold the line against the American tanks if

394th Assault Gun Brigade just detrained at the Aacnen-Nord Railway Station could be committed against them.* LXXXI Corps ordered

T17X, Col von Osterroth to 116th Pz Div, 1315 on 13 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Meidungen der Div.; Daily Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, 13 Sep 44, LIXXI Corps KTB,Tagesmeldungen.

116th Panzer Division to wipe out the American penetration at Brandenberg Hill at all cost.* Unwillingly von Schwerin ordered

Rad, LeXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

1230 on 13 Sep 44, LXXI

his division, which had just arrived in the Richterich - Wuerseien assembly area, to turn around, march back to the other end of Although some re-

Aachen and assemble there for the counterattacc,. placements had arrived in the morning,

and the battalions had an the fighting power of

average strength of about three hundred men, the division was stiil low.

Only about thirty tanks and assault and the troops were tired and battlewearyo*

guns were operationally fit,

ETHINT 18 (Schwerin).

UNCLASSIF E

U9t4(N

''

&

22

Von Schwerin ordered the 156th Panzer Grenadier Regiment to march through the city while the 60th Panzer Grenadier Regiment bypassed Aachen on its soutnern periphery. At 1600 the division jumped off It made some

against the American salient at Brandenberg Hill.*

Ibid.; Daily Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, Kamnfverlauf.

13 Sep 44,

LXXI Corps KTB,

headway against American armored reconnaissance which had advanced to the outskirts of the city. the German MLR, The armor withdrew to the break in

and 116th Panzer Division was able to close the

gap, without attempting to recapture the American-held pillboxes after darkness had set in.*

Ibid.; Rad, 116th Pz Div to IXXI Corps, 2235 on 13 Sep 44, Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.; Daily Sitrep, A p B, 0100 on 14 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Anlagen, Tagesmeldungen, 1.IX. - 15.X.44. Referred to hereafter as A Gp B KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

MLXXI

Shortly after noon on 13 September U.S. resumed its drive up the Stolberg Corridor.

3d Armored Division South of Rott the

Americans cracked a number of bunkers and at 1225 achieved a penetration in the MLR. Rott, American armor advanced up the road toward its path.* Less than an

filling in the antitank craters in

Sitrep, 9th Pz Div to LIXeI Corps, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

1225 on_13 Sep 44, LDOXI

hour later U.S. forces were within one mile of Rott, and 9th Panzer

jMCLA r

IE

Division mustered all its available be launched from Kornelimuenster.

forces for a counterattack to General Mueller asked the

LXXXI Corps Operations Officer to move all available corps reserves to Xornelimuenster.* Realizing that the Stolberg Corridor, rather

Tel Conv, Gen Mueller to LXXXI Corps, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

1340 on 13 Sep 44,

LXXXI

than the Aachen],

Aachener Stadtforst [Aachen Municipal Forest south of was the scene of the VII Corps main effort in his sector,

General Schack ordered 116th Panzer Division to transfer half the assault guns of 394th Assault Gun Brigade to 9th Panzer Division at Kornelimuenster. *

Tel Convs, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 1420 on 13 Sep 44, and LXXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, 1430 on 13 Sep 44, LXXCI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

The 3d Armored Division drive up the Stolberg Corridor was in two-pronged, with one group attacking/the direction Schleclheim Kornelimuenster, the other toward Rott and Mulartshuette. At 1630 forces

ten American tanks appeared before Rott while other U.S.

had already bypassed the village and were located east thereof.*

Tel Conv, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

1630 on 13 Sep 44,

LXXXI

Headquarters and headquarters company of 9th Panzer Division sped

.y^^^^^SH^H~tt^

unc
to Rott in

I
Other forces of

24

an effort to hold the line there.*

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

1730 on 13 Sep 44,

LXICI

the division attempted to screen off at ziulartshuette by means of obstacles and demolitions. In the early afternoon American tanks and infantry penetrated a German strongpoint south of Schleokheim and continued /their advance toward that village.* A race was now on between U.S. armor

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 1420 on 13 Sep 44, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

LXKXI

and three assault guns of 394th Assault Gun Brigade driving on Kornelimuenster from different directions. At 1600 eight American

tanks were observed on the road from Nuetheim to Kornelimuenster. The German assault guns were expected in Kornelimuenster at 1800.*

Ibid.

They arrived on schedule,

and a battalion of 9th Panzer Division,

reinforced by these three assault guns and a few 75-mm. antitank guns which the division had picked up, began to establish a line of resistance from the northern periphery of Schleckheim via the northern edge of Nuetheim to the southern periphery of Kornelimuenster.

Of

the first

eight U.S. tanks,

four were knocked out by Panzerfaust,*

Hand-operated antitank grenades.

llNC1ASSHIED

25

but fifteen more tanks wheeled off to right and left to roll up the 9th Panzer Division line.*

in

an effort

Tel Conv, LIXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 1830 on 13 Sep 44, LXIKI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, 9th Pz Div, 13 Sep 44, L XI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

At 1845 fifteen U.S.

tanks broke through the line of bunkers while American infantry advanced

and 'dragons teeth at Oberforstbach,

along the road north of the Aachen Reservoir (Langfeld - Nuetheim Kornelimuenster). Five American tanks attacked Bunker 109 on this Somewhat

road about halfway between the reservoir and Nuetheim.*

Tel Conv, LXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 1915 on 13 Sep 44, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

IX0XI

later the Germans reported American forces before Kornelimuenster, near Mulartshuette, and in Hahn. At Rott Headquarters Company of

9th Panzer Division and 105th Panzer Brigade launched a counterattack in an effort to halt the American drive on Mulartshuette.*

Daily Sitrep, 9th Pz Div, 13 Sep 44, meldungen.

LXXI Corps KTB,

Tages-

German engineers hastily began to demolish all crossings over the Vicht River between Stolberg and Zweifall.*

Tel Cony, LXCrXI Corps to 9th Pz Div,


Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

2030 on 13 Sep 44,

LIXXI

At LXXXI Corps headquarters American intentions emerged more


... I E

26

clearly.

The corps operations officer called General Mahlmann of

353d Infantry Division to inform him that "... the enemy will probably launch a drive bypassing Aachen from the penetration area near Kornelimuenster and Hahn [Schill Line]." ... toward the second band of defenses

The three Landesschuetzen battalions under the

command of 353d Infantry Division were alerted to stand by for action.* I=KXI Corps also ordered 116th Panzer Division to transfer

Tel Cony, LXXI Corps to Gen Mahlmann, 2040 on 13 Sep 44, LIXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

the 8th Luftwaffe Fortress Battalion and one battery of artillery to 9th Panzer Division.*

Tel Conv, L XXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, 2320 on 13 Sep 44, UXOXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

As 13 September 1944 drew to a close, the American advance against the LXXCI Corps sector had been checked temporarily. salient north of Hauset was wiped out. The

The penetrations on both

sides of Walheim had been sealed off in the line Kornelimuenster Hahn. The southern prong of the 3d Armored Division attad which

had advanced across Rott, had been checked at Iulartshuette.*

Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 0100 on 14 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

The night from 13 to 14 September 1944 passed quietly in the entire LXXXI Corps sector. The Germans observed strong American

UNL IED27
infantry and armored forces assembling in area but found Oberforstbach unoccupied.* the Schleckheim - Walheim

Lag Sitrep, Tagesmeldungen.

LXI I Corps,

0650 on 14 Sep 44,

LXXXI Corps KTB,

In the southern outskirts of Aachen American reconnaissance in the morning of 14 September probed the 116th Panzer Division front line at "Bildcnen" toward Bunker 189 and Grenzhof. Then

American infantry with strong artillery support jumped off against the entire division front and broke through the bunker line in many places. The bunkers were bypassed singly and fought down from

flank and rear by U.S. infantry while American tanks followed up the attack.* After noon the bunkers at "Bildchen" and "Koepfchen"

Daily Sitrep, 116th Pz -Diy,'C14Sep 44, L Tagesmeldungen.

XI Corps KTB,

(southwest and south of Aachen respectively) were in

American hands.

The 116tn Panzer Division forces were now defending a semicircle around Aacnen, from Vaelser Quartier west of Aacnen to the boundary with 9th Panzer Division southeast of the city. Their intentions

were to defend this line and to counterattack southward whenever possible. *

Rad, 116th Pz Div to LXXXI Corps, Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

1255 on 14 Sep 44, LXXXI

liB HE Iy 4A1
N a n^^ I

LwiL~ly
A short time later the division was forced to admit that all attempts to regain the belt of bunkers had failed because the densely wooded terrain (Aachen Municipal Forest) made adequate tank support and artillery observation impossible.*

Rad, 116th Pz Div to LeXXI Corps, 1340 on 14 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

As American forces drew closer to the city, the panic in Aachen reached a new high. were "catastrophic." turned to Aachen. According to General von Schwerin conditions No police or civil authorities had yet re-

The old museum director of Aachen, accompanied

by a few city officials who had stayed at their posts, came to see von Schwerin to tell him that a group of leading citizens had chosen him, the museum director, to form a provisional city government. The general gave orders for the evacuation to proceed, provided rail and motor transport were available, but emphasized that it would only result in clogging up vital thoroughfares. In addition to having to cope with the frantic civilian population, 116th Panzer Division, which on 14 September assumed direct command of all German elements in its sector, also had trouble with the Luftwaffe. In totaldisregard of the division ~iatiaircraft

commander's orders the Luftwaffe attempted to pull its batteries out of Aachen. in

Field Marshal Gerd von Rtndstedt (Commander reminding Luftwaffe antilike everybody else,

Chief West) himself had to interfere,

aircraft troops that they were to take orders,

iaLu&iH[D

Sae29

from the superior headquarters to which they were attached.

General

von Sonwerin also complained that his Luftwaffe fortress battalions had a tendency to desert their positions in the face of even minor attacks.*

Tel Cony, LXXI Corps to Gen von Schwerin, 0930 on 14 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Rpt, A Gp B to OB WEST, 1200 on 14 Sep 44, OB VWEST KTB; Rad, 116th Pz Div to LXXXI Corps, 1310 on 14 Sep '44, L XK Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.; ETBINT 18 (Schwerin); MS # B-058 (Voigtsberger). Generalmajor Heinrich Voigtsberger commanded the 60th Panzer Grenadier Regiment. When Count von Schwerin was relieved of the command of 116th anzer Division on 15 September 1944, General Voigtsberger became acting division oommander until the new commanding officer, Generalmajor Siegfried von Waldenburg, arrived on 19 September.

Early in the afternoon of 14 September strong American infantry and armored forces rolled up the bunker line from tne direction of Brand, Niederforstbach and Oberforstbach. By 1500 they had

gained a line extending from Beverbach Creek via "Linzenshaeuschen" (on tne Eupen - Aachen Road) to Friedrichsberg Hill. Panzer Division, The 116th

attempting to hold the line from the West Wall to from there to north of Friedrichsberg

south of Vaelser Quartier,

Hill - "Linzenshaeuschen" - Beverbach Creek, had lost contact with 9th Panzer Division on its left, southeast of Aachen. The Germans

noted that their opponents were employing new tactics to crack West Wall bunkers: the Americans would launch strong infantry

attacks covered by smoke screens while the tanks followed to back up the attack and to support the infantry in knocking out the bunkers

u 'y ^ i

l ^^j^

.30

one by one. screens.*

The Americans made heavy use of artillery and smoke

Tel Conv, LXXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, 1500 on 14 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, 14 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

Southeast of Aachen in

the sector of

9th Panzer Division the

American combat commands resumed their drive up the Stolberg Corridor in the morning of 14 September. Having taken Oberforstbach and

Niederforstbach, at 1100.*

they captured Kornelimuenster at 1030 and Breinig

American tanks were observed shortly after noon con-

Daily Sitrep, Tagesmeldungen.

LXXXI Corps, 2100 on 14 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB,

tinuing northeastward from Kornelimuenster toward Buesbach.*

About

TWX, 116th Pz Div to LEXxI Corps, Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

1250 bn 14 Sep 44,

LXXXI

the same time the Germans reported an American tank driving from Mulartshuette northeastward toward Zweifall.* A few hours later --

Rad, 116th Pz Div to LXXXI Corps, Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

1420 on 14 Sep 44, LXXXI

at 1715 -Zweifall. first

American infantry, tanks,

and armored cars entered

After fifteen minutes the infantry had captured the 330, 334, 335, and 336) in the second

four bunkers (Bunkers

ANN 0sfl E

UMCL + rFIE
band of West Wail fortifications, and the task force continued eastward through the breach in the direction of Vicht and Mausbach.*

Tel Convs, LXXI Corps to 353d Inf Div, 1715 and 1720 on 14 Sep 44, and LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 2000 on 14 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 2100 on 14 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

In view of the American breakthrough at Zweifall LXXXI Corps ordered 9th Panzer Division to take command of the second band of the West Wall along with the Landesschuetzen battalions (III/6 and 1/9) committed there. Headquarters 353d Infantry Division would be disReinforced by the three

engaged to receive another assignment.*

Tel Convs, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div and 353d Inf Div, 1740 on 14 Sep 44, IXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

assault guns of 394th Assault Gun Brigade, 9th Panzer Division married these assault guns to a company of motorized infantry and committed these forces in a counterattack against the American tasK force LXXXI Corps issued strict orders to 9th

driving on Mausbacn.*

Tel Convs, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 1745 and 1810 on 14 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

Panzer Division to throw back the Americans before the end of the day and to regain full controlof the second belt of West Wall bunkers.*

EXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, Tel Cony, L Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

2000 on 14 Sep 44,

LXXI

4ier

IE

32
The front line of 9th Panzer Division now extended from the southern edge of Brand - southern edge of Buesbach - east of Zweifall to. the West Wall east of Roetgen.* At 1800 the Germans reported

Evg Sitrep, A Gp B, 1930 on 14 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Anlagen, Referred to Letzte Meldung [Final Sitreps], 10.VIII. - 30. IX.44. hereafter as A Gp B KTB, Letzte Meldung.

that at least two hundred American tanks had assembled in Kornelimuenster. Walheim. Additional columns were seen moving north fron

Up front the American spearhead reached the southern Apparently the Americans then de-

outskirts of Stolberg at 2000.

cided not to continue their advance toward Stolberg and Eschweiler that evening.* Instead, they worked on their encirclement of Aachen

Sitrep, 9th Pz Div, KanpFverlauf.

2030 on 14 Sep 44,

LXXXI Corps KTB,

in the area between Aachen and Stolberg. Late in the afternoon American forces broke through the 116th Panzer Division line between Beverbach Creek and Lindert, two miles west-southwest of Brand, and stabbed into the flank of the 60th The 116th Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion

Panzer Grenadier Regiment. was committed in

support of the division's flank southeast of the

Aachen Municipal Forest.*

Daily Sitrep, Tagesmeldun gen.

116th Pz Div,

14 Sep 44,

LXI Corps KTB,

L Af~

H[ .as

American tanks and armored cars driving north from the Walheim - Oberforstbach - Niederforstbach area pushed through Brand at 1830.* Less than an hour later -at 1915 -American

Sitrep, 9th Pz Div to LXI Corps, 2030 on 14 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

tanks captured Eilendorf and the steel plant at Rothe Erde ["Red Earth"] east of Aachen.* The city was now ringed on three sides.

Daily Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 2100 on 14 Sep 44, IEI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

LWXXI Corps received reports that sizeable elements of 116th Panzer Division, Antiaircraft Group Aachen. and the Kampfkommandant were withdrawing to the northeast, supposedly in line with an order issued by Colonel von Osterroth. General Schack immediately ordered

that all withdrawing elements be rallied and committed in a counterattack from the u''erselen area southward toward Rothe Erde.

Contact between 116th and 9th Panzer Divisions was to be re-established at all cost through the efforts of all able officers of the 116th Panzer Division Headquarters. A rear area fortress engineer head-

quarters received orders to block the Autobahn to Cologne.*

Rpt on Situation in Aachen area, Gen Schack, 2145 on 14 Sep 44

LXXI Corps KTB, Kamnpfverlauf.


By special repeat order from Hitler Aachen was to be evacuated -if necessary, by force' The 116th Panzer Division was ordered to

S34

support the evacuation measures by regulating traffic. would also be available after 0100 on 15 September. finally returning to Aachen.*

The police

They were

Tel Conv, L~ I Corps to 116th Pz Div, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

2345 on 14 Sep 44,

The mission of 116th Panzer Division on 15 September was to hold the Schill Line at all cost and to make an effort to wipe out the American' penetrations at Rothe Erde and Eilendorf. In spite

of General Schack's orders the projected counterattack against this salient had not yet been launched at daybreak.*

NLg Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 0550 on 15 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

The semicircular front around Aachen remained intact from Vaelser Quartier to Steinebruect in tne morning of 15 September but buckled just east of Steinebrueck when American infantry and armor pushed the 116th Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion back to Re-

the railroad leading out of Aachen northeast of Burtscheid.

inforced by the 34th Machine Gun Battalion, which had been rallied after an earlier attempt to withdraw, the reconnaissance battalion established a defense line along this railway embankment.* The

LXXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, 0100, Tel Conv, on 15 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

0840 and 1130

U~gtLArIH

UN; I

ED

35

attackers did not immediately attempt to breai

through this line.

The Americans devoted a large part of the day to the concentration of strong forces in the area south of Burtscheid. Judging from

the movements they observed and from American artillery fire, the Germans estimated that at least one infantry division was assembling south of Aachen.*

Daily Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

2100 on 15 Sep 44,

LXXXI Corps

East of the city, in

and south of Eilendorf, American tanks

and motor transport also continued to assemble until, according to German estimate, U.S. forces there had been brought up to the In view of the American all-

strength of about one armored division.

build-up the Germans expected that VII Corps would launch its out attack against Aachen on 16 September.*

Although ground operations

Ibid.

seem to have been limited to reconnaissance while this build-up south and east of Aachen was in progress, Aachen and suburbs to heavy fire.
the

American artillery subjected The West Wall bunkers north and

south of/Aachen - Stolberg road in particular received strong rocket projector fire.*

Tel Conv, LXXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

0915 on 15 Sep 44,

U1NCLASSIFiI F
At 1530 on 15 September American infantry began to infiltrate the bunker line south of Rothe Erde in Hill.

$36

the direction of Geisberg

The Landesschuetzen battalion there abandoned its positions,

but seven German assault guns held the line behind the pillboxes.*

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 1540 on 15 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Evg Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 1700 on 15 Sep 44, LIXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

At 1700 American forces jumped off in the "Buschhaus" northeast in

simultaneous attacks from

toward Burtscheid, and from Eilendorf north and

the direction of Verlautenheide and Geisberg Hill. Thirty American

The defenders were able to repulse both attacks.

tanks rolling northward from Eilendorf were forced towithdraw in the face of concentrated German artillery fire; the Germans claimed the destruction of two U.S. tanks.*

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, on 15 Sep 44, LXIXI Corps KTB,

1718 on 15 Sep 44,

iXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, 2100


Tagesmeldungen.

In turning back the American drive on the Aachen suburb of Burtscheid, the Germans had narrowly prevented the invader from

venturing into the streets of tne old Imperial City for the first time. To 116th Panzer Division General Schack relayed the Hitler "In the

order demanding the fanatic defense of "Fortress Aachen": event of an enemy penetration of Aachen, be defended.

each and every house will

A strategic withdrawal from the southern to the out of the question."*

northern periphery of tne city is

ddLAJRN

lE

37

TWX,

LXXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, 1718 on 15 Sep 44, LXXXI

Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.

Shortly after midnight on 15 September General Schack had repeated his order to 9th Panzer Division that the Americans must be forced out of the second band of West Wall bunkers near Iausbach at all cost. During the remaining hours of darkness 9th Panzer was

Division made ~such preparations for the counterattack as it capable of.

One replacement battalion was en route to the division; In the small

in addition ten tanks were moving up to the front.

hours of the morning the Landesschuetzen battalion committed on the division's southern wing (probably 1/9) abandoned its it positions;

was necessary to move up another battalion (probably 328th Reorder to plug

placement Training Battalion) from Scheveriuette in the gap.*

Tel Cony, IXOXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 0015 on 15 Sep 44, L XII Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Rad, 9th Pz Div to LXXXI Corps, 0353 on 15 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB,Meldungen der Div.

The division launched its attack against the American salient at dawn and was able to drive away U.S. armor south of Mausbach. assault; two

Some bunkers were apparently recaptured in the first bunkers remained in American hands.*

Two hours later the division

TWX, 9th Pz Div to LXXXI Corps, Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

0534 on 15 Sep 44,

LXXXI

U CLASSIFI ED37
headquarters had no news on the outcome of the counterthrust toward Vicht and Zweifall otner than the report that the two bunkers south of Mausbach had not been captured yet.* For the third time

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 0740 on 1.5 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

LXXXI Corps ordered:

"9th Panzer Division armor will attac There is no

the time

enemy and throw him back behind the West Wall. to lose'"*

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 0925 on 15 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

In the early afternoon the division was able to report that as a result of its counterattack all bunkers of the MHR from northeast of Buesbach to Zweifall were once more in German hands. An American

attack on Buesbach had been repulsed by four tanks of 105th Panzer Brigade and four assault guns of the division's antitan committed there earlier in the day.* cmnpany

The German success, however,

Tel Conv, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 0015 on 15 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Noon Sitrep, A Gp B, 1400 on 15 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Letzte Meldung.

was very shortlived.

Throughout the day 9th Panzer Division had In the

watched the American build-up with growing apprehension.

early morning the division had expressed concern about the assembly of two hundred U.S. tanks in Kornelimuenster to which more were

steadily being added.

At 1500 a German runner reported a contanks in Breinig.*

centration of eighty U.S.

Tel Convs, LXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 0015 and 1500 on 15 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps K'B, Kampfverlauf.

In the early afternoon the German attack bogged down in the face of the American artillery preparation. artillery, Under the heavy American

tank, and mortar fire the division sustained serious The Germans sensed

losses and was unable to execute any movements. that the American attack was imminent.*

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 1655 on 15 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, 9th Pz Div, 1910 on 15 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

At 1550 on 15 September American tanks and infantry jumped off from their assembly area at Breinig and headed for Mausbach. A furious battle ensued in which the Americans lost six tanks, were finally able to capture Mausbach and Weissenberg Hill. An but

attempt to continue the drive was stopped by a German counterattack launched from Gressenich.*

Tel Convs, IXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 1600 on 15 Sep 44, and LXXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, 2045 on 15 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, 9th Pz Div, 1910 on 15 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

At 1600 the Americans threw a second punch against 9th Panzer Division. Forty tanks jumped off from the Eilendorf - Brander

E0

ICLS

FID

39

Forest assembly area and rolled east. faced the German obstacle wall.

Fifteen minutes later they

Although they were unable to achieve

a penetration there, 9th Panzer Division-had to report that "our infantry was smashed in the Mausbach area as well as east of Eilendorf. "*

Tel Cony, LI~CI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 1650 on 15 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kempfverlauf; Evg Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 1700 on 15 Sep 44, Daily Sitrep, 9th Pz Div, 1910 on 15 Sep 44, LEXXI Corps KTB, Tage sme ldun gen.

On the extreme left [southern] wing of 9th Panzer Division, where the 328th Replacement Training Battalion had occupied the Scharnhorst Line, American forces also achieved a penetration at 1730 and captured one strongpoint. In the right and central sectors

of 9th Panzer Division weak organic elements of the division, 105th Panzer Brigade, and two training battalions (473d Replacement Training Battalion and March Battalion Zorn) held the second belt of West Wall fortifications except for the American penetrations east of Eilendorf and at Mausbach.*

Daily Sitrep, 9th Pz Div, 1910 on 15 Sep 44, and Daily Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 2100 on 15 Sep 44, -KXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

In the 116th and 9th Panzer Division sectors the front lines had not changed mucn over the previous day. Nevertheless, fighting

had been extremely bitter on 15 September, and botdsides had suffered heavy losses. The 9th Panzer Division alone had accounted

&&LM
U L 8

SIHFED

4 P8WA SFH P
for forty-two U.S. tanks.*

Noon Sitrep, A Gp B,
Meldung.

1345 on 16 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Letzte

The Germans had also sustained serious casualties.

Army Group B

issued an order for all battleworthy elements of 9th Panzer Division still in the assembly area at St. Wendel to move up. to the front

immediately. *

Order, Seventh Army to LXXXI Corps (relaying Order, A Gp B to Seventh Army), 2340 on 15 Sep 44, L I Corps KTB, Befehle: Heeresgruppe, Armee, usw.

ULINtA

rIU10

UiIN~i

Sf

The LXEXI Corps Situation in Mid-September 1944*

The following study of the German situation in the LXKI Cors sector omits mention of 275th and 49th Infantry Divisions. Although subordinate to LXXXI Corps, these divisions did not participate in operations against U.S. VII Corps at this time. Several days later 275th Infantry Division was shifted to the southern wing of LXXI Corps to plug a gap between LXXXI and LXXIV Corps. The division will ie described when it enters into this story. See below, p. 73

On 16 September 1944 the organic fighting forces of 116th Panzer Division consisted of the 50th and 156th Panzer Grenadier Regiments and the 116th Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion: a total

of five battalions with a combat strength* of roughly 1,600 men.

The term "combat strength" is employed here in translation of the German Kampfstaerke, defined to include only men actually engaged in the fighting or in immediate support of front line fighters forward of a battalion command post. The term Gefechtsstaerke, rendered as "fighting strength," applies to all men who fight or support fighters forward of a regimental headquarters. See: Gen Order Nr. 1/2000/44 g., 25 Apr 44, OKI/Gen St d H/Org Abt.

In addition the 12th and 19th Luftwaffe Fortress Battalions, the 453d Grenadier Training Battalion, and possibly other elements were attached to the division. The 302d Infantry Training Battalion,

en route to the front, was about to join these forces under the command of 116th Panzer Division. Division armor on 16 September was reduced to two Mark IV tanks and one Panther (Mark V). The division had one assault gun

left; four assault guns of 394th Assault Gun Brigade were attached. Five assault guns of 217th Assault Gun Brigade and elements of 902d

6 LA ~

IIC

42

Assault Gun Brigade were en route to the division.

In other anti-

tank weapons the division possessed nine 75-mm. antitank guns, of whLich one was self-propelled. Five additional 75-mm. antitank

guns were said to be en route from Koenigsberg in East Prussia. The 116th Panzer Artillery Regiment had three batteries of 150-mm. howitzers and one battery of 105-mm. howitzers. 150-mm. howitzer batteries were attached -Two other

2d Battery, 992d

Artillery Regiment and 3d Battery, 997th Artillery Regiment.*

Tabulation of Armored Vehicles, 116th Pz Div, 16 Sep 44, and T~ [Weekly Strength Report as of 1200 on 16 Sep 44], LXXXI Corps to Seventh Arpy, 22 Sep 44, LXX I Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.; Tabulation of Tanks and Antitank Weapons, IXII Corps, 2200 on 17 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; Report on Trip, Gen Brandenberger to A Gp B, 16 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Befehle Heeresgruppe, !rmee, usw.; Tel Cony, FM Model to CofS, Seventh Arm , 1350 on 16 Sep 44, and Tel Conv, LXXXI Corps to Cmdr, 13th Luftwaffe Fortress Bn, 1850 on 17 Sep 44, and Entry, 17 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf. The 116th Panzer Division also expected the 13th Luftwaffe Fortress Battalion and tne 107th Panzer Battalion. The latter, though intended for the Aachen sector, was shifted instead to the Arnhem - Nijmegen area when Operation MARKET-GARDEN got underway. As for the 13th Luftwaffe Fortress Battalion (645 men), it was either never attached to 116th Panzer Division despite orders, or remained with that division for only a few days before appearing on the roster of units of 9th Panzer Division.

Since its arrival in the LXXXI Corps area General Mueller's 9th Panzer Division had been reinforced by additional rganic units as well as by the attachment of miscellaneous other forces. On

15 September 1944 the committed organic strength of 9tbPanzer Division consisted of the Battalion Schemm* made up of the remaining elements

Schemm seems to have been the commander of 11th Panzer Grenadier Re giment.

CL 'A

F~f

UN

E43

of 10th and 11th Panzer Grenadier Regiments.

This battalion had

a combat strength of 5 officers and 136 enlisted men. Between 11 and 15 September 1944 the following'infantry battalions had been attached to 9th Panzer Division: Headquarters of 253d Grenadier Training Regiment with 328th Replacement Training Battalion and 473d Replacement Training Battalion; Landesschuetzen Battalion I/9; Landesschuetzen Battalion 11I/6; 8th Luftwaffe Fortress Battalion; Replacement Battalion Nagel; Replacement Battalion Zorn; Remaining Elements of 547th Security Battalion. Of organic armor and. antitank forces 9th Panzer Division had the 2d Company, 33d Panzer Regiment, with fifteen Panthers (of

which only eight were operationally fit), and elements of 50th Antitank Battalion with six assault guns and about fifteen 75-mm. antitank guns. Attached were remaining elements of 105th Panzer

Brigade with five Panthers and three assault guns, the 105th Panzer Grenadier Battalion, and three assault guns of 394th Assault Gun Brigade. In addition 9th Panzer Division expected six assault guns

of the 217th Assault Gun Brigade and ten tanks which were supposedly en route to Dueren. The organic artillery of 9th Panzer Division consisted of two batteries of 150-mram. howitzers, the 2d Battalion, 102d Panzer Artillery Regiment with three batteries of five 105-mm. each, howitzers

and one reinforced battery of the 287th Flak Battalion with and three

one 88-mm., three 37-mm.,

20O-mm.

antiaircraft guns,

two

of which were quadruple-mounted.

ULnilEU "" I

U r:AiSf rFr
Attached to 9th Panzer Division artillery were one battery of 12th SS Panzer Division with five 105-mm. howitzers and the 490th Heavy Howitzer Battalion* --

44

three batteries with a total of

The Germans call 150-mm. howitzers "heavy howitzers" [schwere Feldhaubitzen ].

nine 150-mm. howitzers. As for engineer forces, the 2d Company, 16th Panzer Engineer Battalion was attached to 9th Panzer Division.*

Strength Rpts, 9th Pz Div to X~ I Corps, 16 and 21 Sep 44, and Comments on Strength Report of 9th Pz Div, LXXXI Corps G-3 Off, 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Meldingen der Div.; Tabulation of Tanks and AT Weapons, LXXXI Corps, 2200 on 17 Sep 44, DJXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; Report, Gen Brandenberger to A Gp B, 16 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Befehle: Heeresgruppe, Armee, usw.; Tel Conv, LXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 1500 on 15 Sep 44, and Tel Cony, FM Model to CofS, Seventh Army, 1350 on 16 Sep 44, and Entry, 17 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; TWX (Weekly Strength Report as of 1200 on 16 Sep 44), LXXiI Corps to Seventh Army, 22 Sep 44, and Tabulation of Armored Vehicles, LXXXI Corps, 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Befehle an Div. usw.; TWX, A Gp B to OB lEST, 2350 on 22 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Operations-Befehle.

To sum up:

on 15 September 1944 9th Panzer Division with

attached units had an infantry combat strength of roughly 2,500 men, approximately 200 machine guns, 13 Panther tanks, 12 assault guns, about 15 75-mm. antitank guns, 15 150-mm. howitzers, Zu 105-mm. howitzers, 1 88-mm., 3 37-mm., and 3 20-mm. antiaircraft guns.

As a result of the highly inadequate signal communications, the frontage of 9th Panzer Division had proved too wide for effective exercise of command. To remedy this condition LXXXI Corps committed

LE1E[1lflE

iNCLBSSITIED

45

Headquarters 353d Infantry Division with two companies of Landesschuetzen (possibly Landesschuetzen Battalion II/6) in the southern half of the 9th Panzer Division sector. The new boundary between

9th Panzer and 353d Infantry Divisions extended from Schevenhuette Jaegerfahrt (north of Zweifall) - Vennwegen - Hahn - Schmidthof to Raeren. In the south the new sector of 353d Infantry Division was

defined by the boundary between LXXXI and LXXIV Corps.*

Tel Convs, LX CI Corps to 353d Inf Div, 2310 on 14 Sep 44, and 1510 on 15 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 2100 on 15 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

For the defense of this sector some elements of 9th Panzer Division were attached to 353d Infantry Division: Headquarters of

253d Grenadier Training Regiment under Colonel Feind with the 328th Replacement Training Battalion, Replacement Battalion Nagel, re-

maining elements of the almost completely smashed Landesschuetzen Battalion I/9 and of the 547th Security Battalion, a heavy weapons company, about eight 75-mm. antitank guns and one battery of three With these forces the combat strength of 353d The 9th Panzer

150-mm. howitzers.

Infantry Division rose to roughly seven hundred men.

Division was left with a combat strength of 56 officers and 1,941 enlisted men, organized in two Kampfgruppen under the command,

respectively, of Major Volker and Colonel Max Sperling (presumably commander of 33d Panzer Regiment).*

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Divi,-1500 on 15 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf;TWX (Weekly Strength Report as of 1200

uJiLLAf HEP

UNCLASSFI IE

4
46

on 16 Sep 44), A Gp B to OB WEST, 2400 on 22 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Operations-Befehle; Sitrep, 9th Pz Div to LXXXI Corps, 16 Sep 44, and Report, Maj Volker to 9th Pz Div, 22 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

The rear area functions of 353d Infantry Division were assumed by Gruppe Jungklaus, a rear area headquarters subordinate to LEXXI the communications

Corps, with orders to rally all stragglers in

zone and to begin work on a blocking line between the Geilenkirchen Rheydt Rail Line and the left boundary of LXXXI Corps -Position or Schlieffen Line.* the Roer

Order, LXXI Corps to Gruppe Jungklaus, LXXXI Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.

1830 on 15 Sep 44,

Late in

the evening of 15 September General Schack received elements of 12th Infantry Division

the cheering news that the first

would arrive at Juelich and Dueren during the night and. that the transport of the entire division would be completed some thirty hours later.* LJXXI Corps ordered the division to assemble in the

Tel Cony, Seventh Army to LXXXI Corps, LXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

2015 on 15 Sep 44,

Aldenhoven - Pattern - Inden area.

eamersdorf - Eschweiler - Laurensberg

As elements of the division arrived, they were to be readied

immediately so as to be available at any time for counterattacks in a southerly and southwesterly direction. Corps, however, assured

mnessF~

UNCLASSiFiED

47

Colonel Gerhard Engel* that there was no intention to commit his

Colonel Gerhard Engel, Commander of 12th Infantry Division, was military adjutant to Hitler from 1937 until 1944. In 1944 he joined the 12th Infantry Division to command the 27th Fusilier Regiment and then rose to the position of division commander. At war's end he had attained the rank of brigadier general.

division before it

was fully assembled, unless developments compelled

a piecemeal commitment of these forces.*

Order, IXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 2300 on 15 Sep 44, Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.

LXXXI

Arriving among the exhausted and understrength forces of LXXXI Corps, 12th Infantry Division made a deep impression on both Here was the first full-strength,

military and civilian population. rested and fresh division,

composed of young,

healthy and wella long time.

trained men, that the Germans in

the West had seen in

The appearance of this division greatly boosted the morale of the troops and the civilians in the area.

Organized along the lines of a "Type 1944 Infantry Division", 12th Infantry Division numbered 14,800 men, of whom roughly one This infantry the 48th

quarter (about 3,800 men) were combat strength.

strength was divided among the 27th Fusilier Regiment, and 89th Grenadier Regiments,

and the 12th Fusilier Battalion. twenty authorized

The division was fully equipped except for its

assault guns (Field Marshal Model ordered seventeen assault guns of 102d Assault Gun Brigade attached to 12th Infantry Division).

UC LASSIFI
.

48

~48

The 12th Artillery Regiment had its

authorized strength of nine

batteries of 105-mm. howitzers and three batteries of 150-mm. howitzers. 75-mm. The division's antitank battalion possessed twelve

antitank guns.

In view of the desperate situation in the Aachen area, Field Marshal von Rundstedt had requested they 12th Infantry Division be moved at top speed. Thanks to this priority and the prevailing

misty, rainy weather the division had been able to travel across Germany (from East Prussia to the Aachen area) undetected and un-

attacked by Allied aircraft and had thus maintained intact the all-important element of surprise.*

Report, A Gp B, 1335 on 14 Sep 44, OB WEST KTB; Tel Conv, FM Model to Seventh Army, 1350 on 16 Sep 44, LX0CI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; TWX (Weekly Strength Report as of 1200 on 16 Sep 44), " IXI Corps, 22 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.; Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 0230 on 17 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Tagesmeldungen; MS

# A-971 (Engel).
In his "Order for the Conduct of Operations and Order of Battle in wrote: the West Wall" of 16 September 1944 General Brandenberger

"The enemy is

expected to continue to make his main effort Seventh Army will de-

in the penetration area east of Aachen....

fend the positions from northeast of Maastricht to Aachen and the West Wall to the last man and the last bullet. achieved by the enemy will be wiped out. The penetrations

The forward line of

bunkers [Scharnhorst Line] will be regained...."*

Order, Seventh Army to all corps, Befehle: Heeresgrupoe, Armee, usw.

16 Sep 44,

UC=K I Corps KTB,

49

Specifically the mission of LXXXI Corps was twofold. its forces were to wipe out American penetrations This achieved,

First,

of the Schill

Line east of Aachen.

the Germans would counterforces out of the area east

attack on a large scale to throw U.S.

and south of Aachen and to regain full control of the Scharnhorst Line. For this purpose 12th Infantry Division had been attached For greater effectiveness the LIXI Corps sector 353d Infantry Division with attached elements was

to LXXXI Corps. was shortened:

now subordinated to LXXIV Corps so that the new boundary line between the two corps extended now from Eupen via Zweifall and Dueren to Cologne. Thus on 16 September opposite U.S. VII Corps General Schack had at his disposal 116th and 9th Panzer Divisions and the elements the area. After 1Eth

of 12th Lnfantry Division now arriving in Infantry Division was fully committed,

intentions were for 116th

Panzer Division to be disengaged and assembled around Eschweiler as-corps reserve. Then 9th Panzer Division also would be relieved

and assembled in the area southeast of Dueren at the disposal of Seventh Army.*

Ibid. As matters turned out, this relief did not take place until 246th Volks Grenadier Division arrived on the scene.

L i; ASSF IFED

gt
LCXXI Corps:

A LASSIFIF

Counterattack and Stalemate

After a strong artillery preparation during the night from 15 to 16 September American forces infiltrated the 116th Panzer Division lines south of Verlautenheide in ,the morning of 16 September and achieved a penetration by capturing several bunkers just south of the village. The division charged bitterly, "Local

defense units and stragglers committed in West Wall fortifications have no combat value, no ability to stand their ground...."* While

MAng Sitrep, LIXXI Corps, 0520 on 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; Mng Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, 0545 on 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

the Americans pushed into Verlautenheide and captured the village, another U.S. armored force jumped off from south of Eilendorf and

drove eastward into Atsch at 0515.*

Noon Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 1445 on 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; Tel Cony, CILXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 0550 on 16 Sep 44, LXKXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

In the Stolberg Corridor American tanks and infantry assembled during the night between Mausbach and Diepenlinchen while heavy American artillery fire hit the area north of Mausbach and the vicinity of Eschweiler. The Germans also reported American tanks

southwest of Schevenhuette and at a hunting lodge south of Zweifall (LXXIV Corpo). From these signs the Germans predicted "a very wide

push north and northeastward" at daybreak aimed toward Eschweiler.*

'

ib

U "L ?1 I I B E
Tel Conv, L;XCI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 0325 on 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Mg Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 0520 on 16 Sep 44, L.KXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

51

At Mausbach and Weissenberg Hill there was little ground activity during the morning.

American

The Germans stopped some re-

connaissance patrols probing northeastward from Mausbach toward


IWerth

and Gressenich.*

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 1400 on 16 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Noon Sitrep, LXXI Corps, 1445 on 16 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; TVX, 9th Pz Div to LXXXI Corps, 2100 on 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

Early in the morning of 16 September the eagerly awaited first elements of 12th Infantry Division arrived. The situation was now

too critical for LXXXI Corps to keep its promise to Colonel Engel to give him an opportunity for assembling his entire division before it was committed. In view of the American penetration in the

Verlautenheide - Atsch area and the imminently expected drive on Eschweiler, General Schack ordered the 27th Fusilier Regiment to As soon as its

go into action straight from the railroad station.

1st Battalion and antitank company had detrained at Juelich, they were moved to the Verlautenheide means of transport available -buses, and the like. area by all military and civilian personnel carriers, arriving in mail trucks, Dueren, 're-

The 3d Battalion,

ceived orders to move from Eschweiler

to the edge of the woods The 12th Infanty

southwest of Schwarzenbruch (Wuerseler Forest).


.3 5 f. 9 <r g ^ .

AUS]FIFP
Division artillery was not expected until 2200 on 16 September. Until then the 27th Fusiliers had to rely on co-operation with 9th and 116th Panzer Division artillery.*

52

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 0850 on 16 Sep 44, and Order, LIXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 1015 on 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

In the sector of 116th Panzer Division the counterattack of the 27th Fusilier Regiment took U.S. VII Corps forces by surprise and was successful. The 1st Battalion pushed the American spear-

head out of Verlautenheide and captured the strategically important high ground around this village. The battalion continued its drive

toward Eilendorf and recaptured most of the bunkers along the Verlautenheide - Eilendorf road. however, the attack bogged down in Before reaching Eilendorf, the face of American resistance.*

Tel Conv, ULXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 1800 on 16 Sep 44, and Tel Conv, IX!XI Corps to 116th Pz Div, 2130 on 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

Shortly after noon on 16 September the Americans resumed their drive toward Eschweiler. converged on Buesbach, A two-pronged attack from west and south American forces

capturing the village.

exerted pressure against the Stolberg area with attacks on Hamm, Schneidmuehle, itself. From the salient at Mausbach and jumped off in Muensterbusch and the southern outskirts of Stolberg

VYeissenberg

Hill U.S.

armor

a northerly and northeasterly direction.

In bitter

U CLASS F ED

tV.iI
tank battles which lasted throughout the afternoon VII Corps forces achieved their deepest penetration of the Stolberg Corridor to date when they captured Diepenlinchen and Gressenich, Schevenhuette. * Krewinkel and

Evg Sitrep, LKXXI Corps, 1700 on 16 Sep 44, and Daily Sitrep, LXXI Corps, 2140 on 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; T'X, 9th Pz Div to LXXXI Corps, 2100 on 16 Sep 44, IXXXI Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

The 3d Battalion of 27th Fusilier Regiment had moved rapidly through Escbweiler toward the endangered lion captured Atsch at 1330.* Stolberg area. The batta-

Continuing south, the battalion was

Evg Sitrep, LDXXXI Corps, Tagesmeldungen.

1700 on 16 Sep 44,

LXXXI Corps KTB,

able to regain control of Buesbach --

but only for a few hours. In the face of the

By evening Buesbach was once more American. strong American assault in

the Stolberg Corridor the forces of

27th Fusilier Reginnt did not suffice to re-establish a coherent German front from Stolberg to Zweifall and to wipe out the American bridgeheads across the Vicht River. The big German countertnrust

had to wait until 12th Infantry Division could move its own artillery and its other two infantry regiments into the combat area. In the meantime 27th Fusilier Regiment could do no more than seal off the latest American penetrations with the aid of the remaining elements of 9th Panzer Division. In view of the very critical

&"

vuA fl

54

situation in this sector German forces were consolidated under one coTrland. Renamed Kampfgruppe Sperling, the remaining elements of 9th Panzer Division temporarily lost their division status. Effective

2000 on 16 September, Kampfgruppe Sperling was attached to 12th Infantry Division with the proviso that its forces would be released once 12th Infantry Division was fully committed.*

-L I

Tel Cony, XXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 1725 on 16 Sep 44, I Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Order, LXXXI Corps to all divs, 2000 on 16 Sep 44, LX..XI Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.; Report, Gen Brandenberger to A Gp B, 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Befehle: Heeresgruppe, Armee, usw. There was another motive for attaching the elements of 9th Panzer Division to 12th Infantry Division. In the morning of 16 September 1944 General Brandenberger had visited the 9th Panzer Division command post and had asked routine questions regarding the German G-2 estimate of the American situation in the division sector, the location of the 9th Panzer Division front lines, disposition and strength of 9th Panzer Division forces, etc. In attempting to answer these auestions General Mueller revealed himself as ignorant of the situation in his own sector, whereupon General Brandenberger relieved him of his command on a charge of incompetence. The senior regimental commander, Colonel Max Sperling, assumed command of 9th Panzer Division until evening of 16 September. In this study the designation 9th Panzer Division will continue to be used in reference to these units.

Colonel Engel now commanded the former sector of 9th Panzer Division from the Verlautenheide area to the LDXXI Corps southern boundary. By capturing the strategic high ground of Verlautenheide,

12th Infantry.Division had established a coherent front on its right and had firm contact with 116th Panzer Division. On the left,

however, the German flank lay exposed all the way to Schevenhuette.

L~eSS~

The most important immediate task was to establish contact with the northern wing of 353d Infantry Division in area. the Zweifall - Huertgen

The combat mission of 12th Infantry Division .was to launch

a major counterattacx from the Eschweiler - Wenau line to regain the second band of West Wall fortifications from Geisberg Hill to Zweifall.*

KTB,

Order, LXI Corps to all divs, Befehle an Div.

2000 on 16 Sep 44,

LXXXI Corps

South of Aachen, minor American attacks toward the city on 16 September were warded off by the 60th Panzer Grenadier Regiment. A small American penetration south of Steinebrueck was wiped out when the 453d Replacement Training Battalion counterattacked late

in the day and recaptured two bunkers.*

Daily Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, 2350 on 16 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

Police and Party had returned to Aachen during the night from 14 to 15 September, and the evacuation was once more in full swing.

General von Schwerin was in big trouble.

When U.S.

forces had failed

to capture the city contrary to his expectatior(

his compromising

letter to the American comrander had fallen into the hands of Nazi officials. Because of boththis letter and his effort to stop the von Schwerin was relieved of his command before Hitler's "People's Court." Rather

chaotic exodus from Aachen, and ordered to stand trial

N I AS S IFI

56

than comply, von Schwerin decided to remain with his division until the fall of Aachen. He felt that his men would know how to protect While his senior regimental commander,

nim against Nazi henchmen. General Voigtsberger,

assumed the duties of division commander until von Schierin hid out in a

the arrival of General von Waldenburg,

farmer's home in Kohlscheid, northeast of Laurensberg.

The recon-

naissance platoon of 60th Panzer Grenadier Regiment s~urrounded the farmhouse with a cordon of machine guns. No police detachment

trying to arrest their division commander would have escaped alive. WVhen the capture of Aachen did not materialize, General von Schwerin

finally decided to present himself at Seventh . Army headquarters to appear before a military court.*

Report, FM Yodel to OB 1VEST, 2330 on 15 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Operations-Befehle; Tel Cony, G-1 to G-3, IXXI Corps, 1045 on 16 Sep 44,. and Tel Cony, Seventh Army to LXXXI Corps, 1945 on 17 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; 201-File on Generalleutnant Graf Gerhard von Schwerin; ETHINT 18 (Schwerin). Apparently Field Marshal von Rundstedt interceded on General von Schwerin's behalf and even proposed -- in vain -- that the latter be reinstated as Commanding General of 116th Panzer Division. After some months in the OK Officer Pool [doghouse], von Schwerin was appointed Commanding Officer of 90th Panzer Grenadier Division and later Commanding General of LX~II Panzer Corps in Italy.

Early in the morning of 17 September the 27th Fusilier Regiment of 12th Infantry Division, committed in the Verlautenheide - Stolberg area, resumed its attack to regain the West Wall positions southeast In this endeavor the regiment failed. After gaining the regiment

of Eilendorf.

insignificant ground and recapturing a few bunkers,

bogged down in the face of heavy American artillery fire and suffered

U#GLF IED

57

UNCLASSIFIED
considerable casualties. It also ran short of ammunition and was In the forced to assume a defensive role for the rest of the day. defense it was more successful.

Its 1st Battalion strengthened the

contact with 116th Panzer Division at Verlautenheide, while the 3d Battalion, on the left, came to the aid of the remaining elements of 9th Panzer Division and 105th Panzer Brigade who had orders to hold Stolberg at all cost. Between Verlautenheide and Stolberg the

27th Fusilier Regiment, 9th Panzer Division and 105th Panzer Brigade repulsed all American attacks launched from the Eilendorf area on 17 September and thus enabled the other regiments of 12th Infantry Division to carry out their counterthrust against the Mausbach salient without danger to their right flank.*

Tel Convs, LXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 0845, 1150, 1340, and 1610 on 17 Sep 44, L2MXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Evg Sitrep, CCXI Corps, 1620 on 17 Sep 44, and Daily Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 2145 on 17 Sep 44, LKXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; MS # A-971 (Engel).

During the morning hours of 17 September first the 48th and shortly afterwards the 89th Grenadier Regiments detrained in Dueren.

With these forces 12th Infantry Division was supposed to recapture Mausbach and to restore a coherent German front from Stolberg to Zweifall.*

Tel Cony, Seventh Army to LXXXI Corps, 1150 on 17 Sep 44, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

LXXI

The 89th Grenadier Regiment received orders to assemble southeast of Eschweiler and to launch its attack via Hastenrath - Scherpenseel
PAC~
'ITD

II t

toward Werth,

Weissenberg Hill and Diepenlinchen.

The mission of Venau - Hamich, capture

48th Grenadier Regiment was to move through Heistern -

and to jump off from Hamich toward Gressenich and Krewinkel, Mausbach and reach the Stolberg - Vicht road.*

MS # A-971 (Engel).

According to orders the 48th Grenadier Regiment jumped off from Hamich and captured Gressenich, holding it counterattacks against immediate American The battalion

from the direction of Schevenhuette.*

Evg Sitrep, tLCXI Corps, 1620 on 17 Sep 44, and Daily Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 2145 on 17 Sep 44, LXWXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

on the left attacked toward Krewinkel but ran into determined resistance and developed a temporary ammunition shortage so that it was forced to halt its attack.* The battalion on the right, driving

Tel Conv,

IXKXI Corps to 12th Inf Div,

1305 on 17 Sep 44,

LXXXI

Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.


toward the Mausbach - Diepenlinchen line, good luck. it had a stroke of unusually

At a point halfway between Mausbach and Diepenlinchen

smashed into the flank of an American attack launched from Mausbach Coming from an

apparently in the general direction of Eschweiler.

unexpected direction the assault took the Americans by surprise. The 48th Grenadier Regiment was able to knock out nine U.S. tanks and to capture fifty-seven Americans including one colonel (a

4NLAASSJtFEP

59

regimental commander,

according to German sources).

But after

achieving this success the German attack bogged down just east of Diepenlinchen in the face of tenacious American resistance.*

Daily Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 2145 on 17 Sep 44, Tagesmeldungen; MS # A-971 (Engel).

LEXXI Corps KTB,

The 89th Grenadier Regiment had meanwhile launched its attack from the Hastenrath - Scherpenseel area. all its forces to assemble there, it Instead of waiting for only umped off at noon with/one

battalion in order to meet the threatening American drive on Eschweiler. The battalion pushed south through ,Werth; in exceedingly bitter fighting it captured Weissenberg Hill at 1330 and reached the eastern There it also encountered

periphery of Diepenlinchen an hour later.

such strong American resistance that its attack bogged down.*

Sitrep, 12th Inf Div to LXXI Corps, 1340 on 17 Sep 44, and Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 1535 on 17 Sep 44, LXX{I Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Evg Sitrep, ILXII Corps, 1620 on 17 Sep 44, and Daily Sitrep, LXI Corps,2145 on 17 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; MS # A-971 (Engel).

In view of strong American pressure from Krewinkel and probably also the threat to its left flank from Schevenhuette and the 1 Wenau Forest (U.S. 9th Infantry Division), 12th Infantry Division decided main effort Permission was

to shift its weight from right to left and to make its through Krewinkel rather than through Diepenlinchen.

asked and granted to call off the attack while the German forces

U CLASS IFt
regrouped.*

60

Tel Convs, IXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

1610 and 1730 on 17

By this time the second battalion of 89th Grenadier Regiment and additional artillery and antitank forces had arrived on the battlefield.* Thus reinforced the Germans resumed their attack

Tel Cony, 3DOLI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 1940 on 17 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, LXCXI Corps, 2145 on 17 Sep 44, I~OI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

at dusk.

The main effort drive on the left

pushed through the

Krewinkel woods into Krewinkel, south from

while on tne right the forces pressing

Veissenberg Hill and the vicinity of Diepenlinchen


This achieved, 12th Infantry

penetrated the northern part of Mausbach. Division halted for tne night.*

On 18 September 27th Fusilier

Tel Cony, L~I Corps to 12th Inf Div, LXCI Corns KTB, Kampfverlauf.

2230 on 17 Sep 44,

Regiment was to continue its efforts to capture additional bunkers near Muensterbusch, while the 89th Grenadier Regiment, which had suffered heavy casualties, would regroup and hold its line.*

MS

-#

A-971 (Engel).

The day's events proved that 12th Infantry Division would not find it easy to dislodge the Americans from their salient beyond the
3s rs

61

Schill Line,

Once tney had recovered from tne initial

surprise of the Americans

being nit by unexpectedlyr formidable German forces, lost no time before launching powerful,

well-supported counterattacks.

After American artillery had shot the Germans out of Mausbach and Diepenlinchen during the night, two American task forces launched

an attack at midnight from tne M.ausbach area toward Stolberg. ,'hile a hail of artillery fire pounded the 1st Battalion of 48th Grenadier Regiment east of Tausbach with apparent intent to secure the American right flank, U.S. forces advanced to tne southern and They captured Hamn.erberg Hill,

southeastern outskirts of Stolberg. Burghoizerhof,

and the W'est 5Wall bunkers along the Vicht River as and continued their drive toward Donnerberg

far as Dinsfeld at 000 Hill.*

Tel Conv, LLXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 0400 on 18 Sep 44, LXXXI Corrs KTB, IFampfverlauf; Mng Sitrep, LX2XI Corps, 0605 on 18 Sep 44, 1DX.I Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 19 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

Another U.S.

combat command jumped off toward Stolberg frca

the Brander Forest and drove as far as the church in Muensterbusch, just west of Stolberg.* Perceiving the threatening double envelopment

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 1500 on 18 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kanpfverlauf; Evg Sitrep, LCXXI Corps, 1625 on 18 Sep 44,
DOO Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

of Stolberg,

Colonel Engel decided not to continue the Mausbach anyway)

Krewinkel attack (which no longer looked like an easy thing,

ii:>IHF

62

in

the morning of 18 September,

but rather to shift his main effort LXXI Corns irnediately

against the Americans driving on Stolberg. approved his new intentions.*

Tel Convs, LXXXI Coros to 12th Inf Div, Sep 44, LXJDI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

0400 and 0425 on 18

As a result German resistance in

the Stolberg area stiffened.

Though the Germans were unable to gain more than insignificant ground, they successfully stopped all American attacks. During the

morning the 27th Fusilier Regiment repulsed a minor American attack against Verlautenheide, on Geisberg Hill. while German artillery hit U.S. positions

The American drive on Donnerberg Hill was thrown

back with heavy losses; the German counterattack recaptured two bunkers on Hammerberg Hill. The Germans in Stolberg also repulsed

an American attack against the southern periphery of the town at 1200, but not before some streets of Stolberg had become a battleground for the first time.*

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 1500 on 18 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Evg Sitrep, L=0XI Corps, 1625 on 18 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

Near Diepenlinchen on 18 Septemberlmerican forces badly mauled the 89th Grenadier Regiment. Its 1st Battalion had orders to attack

through Diepenlinchen and penetrate the woods west of that village. Earlier in the morning strong American forces had moved into

UNC

IF

63

Diepenlinchen after U.S. there.

artillery had swept the Germans out of the face

The Ist Battalion suffered very heavy casualties in

of the American batteries. ceeded in

After a bitter battle the Germans sucbut under murderous artilRelentless

capturing Diepenlinchen again,

lery fire their attack bogged down just west of the village.

American fire reduced the 1st Battalion of the 89th Grenadier Regiment to one hundred men -about a fifth of its initial combat strength.*

Mng Sitrep, LKXII Corps, 0605 on 18 Sep 44, and Evg Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 1625 on 18 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 1500 on 18 Sep 44, LXIXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

At 1730 an American counterattack was able to capture Diepenlinchen once more. An American attack from Schevenhuette tovward Gressenich

was repulsed.*

00 on 18 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Daily Sitrep, LXXI Corps, Tagesmeldungen; Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 0200 on 19 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Tagesme ldungen. According to MSS # A-971 (Engel) and B-816 (Schack) the 2d Battalion of the 48th Grenadier Regiment launcned an attack toward Schevenhuette just before dawn on 18 September and surprised American Thus troops there just as they were being relieved by new forces. the Germans were able to capture Schevenhuette in furious house-to house and hand-to-hand fighting. By an immediate counterattack, however, the Americans surrounded the two German companies in Schevenhuette; the Germans dug in but were unable to hold out. After suffering heavy losses, they finally fought their way back to their By evening Schevenhuette was in American hands again own lines. and continued to threaten the flank of 12th Infantry Division. The story of the above operation has been relegated to this footnote because the writer entertains serious doubt as to whether it ever took place. It seems highly probable that Generals Schack and Engel, on whose postwar accounts this story is based, confused it with a very similar operation which definitely took place on 22

~~~LA6

6ME

Ei ) &6#

September. The German contemporary documents contain no record of any German operations in Schevenhuette on 18 September beyond one solitary hint, in one document, of a later date, which speaks of "... losses sustained in Schevenhuette on 18 September...." But for this single straw, the writer would have simply dismissed the story as one of many historical inaccuracies to be found in the German postwar accounts -- and it may well be just thatL

In the evening of 18 September the 12th Infantry Division front line extended from the southern periphery of Verlautenheide - Harmm western edge of Stolberg - Hammerberg Hill - Niederhof - Weissenberg Hill - Gressenich.* By evening the division had also assembled its

Daily Sitrep, LXXXI Corps,

2100 on 18 Sep 44, LIXXI Corps KTB,

Tagesmeldungen.
fusilier battalion and its engineer battalion. Diepenlinchen would continue -The attack on

"perhaps a regrouping period of

twenty-four hours will be required first...."*

Tel Cony, LXXI Corps to Col Engel, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

2045 on 18 Sep 44,


/

LXXXI

Late in

the evening of 18 September the Germans outlined their Since all

plan for further operations against the Mausbach salient. Stolberg was the key to 12th Infantry Division operations,

elements of 9th Panzer Division would be comnitted against the American forces w"ich had penetrated the factory areas north and west of Stolberg. After careful reconnaissance the 12th Infantry

Division engineer battalion would jump off at daybreak on 20 September 1944 through the woods toward Schevenhuette.

MOW.~lSE

UNCLASSIFE B
65 With both flanks (Stolberg and Schevenhuette) thus secured,

both battalions of 89th Grenadier Regiment were to attack southwestward across Diepenlinchen. The Fusilier Battalion supported by

ten PAnthers would proceed southeast from the Stolberg area and wheel into the West Wall toward Mausbach. Then all forces were to

converge and attack along the West Wall (Vicht River) toward Zweifall.*

Tel Cony, LXXII Corps to 12th Inf Div, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

2230 on 18 Sep 44, LXXXI

On the Aachen front American forces made no serious attacks toward the city on 17 and 18 September. Aside frema minor attacks

at Steinebrueck and Burtscheid, which were repulsed by 116th Panzer Division, they contented themselves with an almost ceaseless barrage of artillery fire against German positions in and around the city.

The scene of American operations against 116th Panzer Division was shifting northward where U.S. XIX Corps was engaged in Chapter IV]. its effort The division's

to envelop Aachen from the north [Cf.:

armor situation was improved on 18 September by the addition of fifteen assault guns of the 902d Assault Gun Brigade. also counted a new American jeep among its vehicles -The division a German No

prisoner of war had escaped his captors in the stolen jeep. doubt the man was cock of the walk in his company that day.*

Daily Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, IXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

17 Sep 44,

and 1925 on 18 Sep 44,

U CLASSFIE

66

The events of 19 September 1944 -fighting on the Western Front --

similar to many days of

were shaped by the fact that the

Germans were in the habit of attacking early in the morning, while the Americans chose the afternoon to launch their operations. The main actions of the day took place in the Stolberg area. At 1100 forces of 9th Panzer Division and 12th Infantry Division were able to recapture the factory belt west of Stolberg as well as three bunkers on Hammerberg Hill southeast of that town. in the area continued past noon.* Sporadic fighting

Tel Conv, LXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 1200 on 19 Sep 44, LMXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Evg Sitrep, LXXI Corps, 1620 on 19 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

Shortly thereafter the Americans began the usual very heavy artillery preparation signalling their impending attack. operation in The American

the afternoon of 19 September was two-pronged and aimed On the [American] left strong infantry

at an envelopment of Stolberg.

and armor jumped off from a Muensterbusch - Buesbach base line in a northeasterly direction toward Stolberg. in recapturing the factory area and in This attack succeeded

achieving some penetrations On the [American] right

in the western part of Stolberg proper.

other U.S. forces launched their attack from the woods northwest of Mausbach and captured Niederhof, on Hammerberg Hill. Burgholzerhof, and some buners

In the face of heavy American artillery fire

ranging as far as Hastenrath elements of one 12th Infantry Division battalion and six Panthers launched a flanking counterattack from

~M@%BSI

LU

INCLASSFIED
the woods southwest of Hastenrath and drove down the road via Hochwegerhof toward Niederhof.*

Tel Convs, LXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 1800 and 2010 on 19 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Knmpfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 2215 on 19 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

This counterattack apparently was less than successful,

for

during the night American troops supported by five tanks were able to extend their gains northeastward when they captured Hochwegerhof (about one mile north of Diepenlinchen) at 0200 on 20 September.*

Mng Sitrep, LXXI Corps, Tagesmeldungen.

20 Sep 44,

LXXXI Corps KTB,

West of Stolberg, tinued: late in

on the other hand, the see-saw battle con-

the evening of 19 September German troops managed Two of these were located near the rail-

to retake three bunkers.

road running along the southeastern edge of the W'uerseler Forest (just east of Hamm and Kohlbusch) while the third was at the western end of that forest.*

Ibid. sector The Aachen/was rather quiet on 19 September.

Early in

the morning

116th Panzer Division reported increased American reconnaissance activity northwest of Rothe Erde, but aside from that the Americans artillery limited themselves to harassing/fire against the German MLR and rear

L iL

HA

68

areas for the remainder of the day.*

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, 0415 on 19 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kanpfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 2215 on 19 Sep 44, 3X1 Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

All day on 19 September the fate of the 12th Infantry Division counterattack, planned for the morrow, hung in the balance. For

one thing, the division faced a serious ammunition shortage. Delivery of at least 6,100 rounds of 105-mm. ammunition was essential Since

before the division could carry out its projected attack. LXKXI Corps was unable to supply this ammunition, Seventh Army for help. it

turned to

The army transport officer reported that

an ammunition supply train was expected at Dueren during the night fran 19 to 20 September, but that its contents were unknown.*

Tel Conv, LX:XXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 0200 on 19 Sep 44, and Tel Convs, Seventh Army to LXXXI Corps, 0310 and 04)0 on 19 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf. It is not clear whether or not this train evetually helped to ease the shortage, since the attack was called off, anyway, and the reasons are complex, involving, among other factors, a change in command at the corps command level.

To complicate matters further,

9th Panzer Division, whose forces

were needed to help restore the situation around Eilendorf, was short of fuel. still Nevertheless, in the evening of 19 September plans

called for 12th Infantry Division to go ahead with its attack,

although General Schack remarked that "the attack by 12th Infantry Division tomorrow morning will have little success."*

UNCLASS

SEC

69

Tel Convs, Gen Schack to CofS, LXXXI Corps, 1100 and 2230 on 19 Sep 44, and LXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 2010 on 19 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

In addition to its other problems 12th Infantry Division already faced a personnel shortage. In the morning of 20 September Colonel General der Infanterie In stressing the

Engel oriented his new corps commander,

Friedrich J. M. Koechling* about the situation.

On 20 September 1944 General Schack was relieved as commander of LYJKI Corps (in connection with the Schwerin affair) and was replaced by General Koechling.

gravity of his situation, Colonel Engel stated that only four hundred men of the 89th Grenadier Regiment were still available for the defense of the sector east of Stolberg. One engineer company

of 12th Infantry Division, intended to close the gap near Duffenter (American salient at Hochwegerhof) had not arrived and its whereabouts were still unknown. In view of the critical operational and logistical situation the new corps commander countermanded General Schack's order for a large-scale 12th Infantry Division attack on 32 September and stated

that, "in view of the heavy losses sustained and the mightymaterial superiority of the enemy, he will, in the future, order an attack only when it promises more success; aside from that the main mission will be to hold the line and to avoid unnecessary losses."*

Tel Cony, Gen Koechling to. Col Engel, 0700 on 2u Sep 44, LXXII Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf. K,

lEPE

UN ~iiPF

EDf

70

All nignt long American medium and heavy guns shot harassing fire against the entire LXXI Corps sector. In the sector of ll6th

Panzer Division an American combat patrol, favored by the early morning mist, attached the German MLR south of Burtscheid at 0800 on 20 Aside from that, action in the Aachen

September and was repulsed.

sector was again limited to an artillery duel which lasted all day.*

Daily Sitrep, Tagesmeldungen.

116th Pz Div,

20 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB,

Between Muensterbusch and Gressenich the forces of 12th Infantry Division spent a very busy day trying to defeat American endeavors to envelop Stolberg and to push further up the Stolberg Corridor toward Es chwe ii er. American operations on 20 September began with an armored infantry drive from Diepeninchen northeastward toward Werth. Fearing

a penetration at the boundary between 89th and 48th Grenadier Regiments, Colonel Engel ordered an immediate counterattack. launched at noon on a fairly broad front, This attack,

succeeded not only in closing

turning back the American attack toward Werth but also in

the gap between Stolberg and Duffenter and sealing off the American penetration at Hochwegerhof east of Duffenter. The 12th Infantry

Division established a coherent front line from the southern edge of Stolberg - Duffenter - eastward on tne Duffenter-Werth road as far as Hochwegerhof - southward to Weissenberg - southern periphery of Gressenich - northern periphery of Schevenhuette.*

UJJ

U AlED L

IIEC LAS-SltL1

Tel Convs, LXXXI Carps to 12th Inf Div, 1140 and 1400 on 20 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 2155 on 20 Sep 44, I3XI Corps KTB, Tsgesmeldungen..

Later in the afternoon American forces embarked on the inevitable daily assault on Stolberg. German-held town. Again they attacked on both sides of the

West of Stolberg American forces achieved a Driving north-

penetration at the site of the Stolberg Gun Factory.

ward from the Buesbach area American tanks and infantry attacked Donnerberg Hill, held by one and a half companies of the 12th Engineer Battalion.* The engineers were able to halt the American

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 1845 on 3) Sep 44, DIXI Corps KTB, Kampfrerlauf.

attack at first, Donnerberg Hill.

but soon U.S.

forces had thrown a ring around one from the northwest,

Two German combat patrols,

the other from the northeast tried to crack this ring but failed. American forces fanned out from Donnerberg Hill: U.S. infantry at-

tacked from Donnerberg Hill westward toward Stolberg while U.S. tanks sat on the western slope of the hill below.* spewing fire at the city

Tel Cony, .XXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

2010 on 20 Sep 44,

In the meantime

other American forces had driven north from

the vicinity of Muensterbusch and soon their tanks were plowing up

6,LAIS'E

72

the small vegetable gardens west of the Stolberg factory belt.*

As

Tel Conv, LIXI Corps to 12th LXKII Corps KT B, Kampfverlauf. The gardens mentioned were in type gardens cultivated by factory This institutuon is found all over called "Schrebergarten."

Inf Div, 2010 on 20 Sep 44, all likelihood smal "Victory" workers and owned communally. Germany in peace and war and is

the day changed to night, American troops entered Stolberg, and the situation developed into confused, fighting in the city.* disorganized house-to-house

Ibid.

At dawn on 21 September American armor was observed

assembling

south of Donnerberg Hill preparatory to a renewal of the attack.*

Tel Cony,
Corps KTB,

LXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 0700 on 21 Sep 44, LiXXI

Kampfverlauf.

When it

came the Germans were ready and stopped the American attack, support, at 0800.*

launched mostly by infantry with some tanks in

Ibid.; Noon Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

1120 on 21 Sep 44,

LXXXI

Two hours later U.S. forces in battalion strength attacked northeastward toward Duffenter. In conjunction with this drive

American troops captured the remaining bunkers on Hammerberg

NLA CU SS

fIE

I NO P.LA S IF I F ;
Hill.* With this strategic height in American hands, southern

Noon Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, 1120 an 21 Sep 44, LIXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; Tel Conv, LXXXI Corps to Col Engel, 1530 on 21 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampf erlauf. According to the 9th Panzer Division official report on the Battle of Stolberg, 23 September 1944, IXXXI Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div., U.S. forces on 0- September 1944 had knocked out eight of the twelve bunkers on Hammerberg Hill by means of demolition charges and heaviest caliber artillery fire. In most instances the bunkers had had to be destroyed along withtheir garrisons, which had refused to surrender.

Stolberg was extremely vulnerable to a U.S.

assault from the east.

In the event that the southern half of the town could not be held, the German forces in Stolberg (9th Panzer Division with attached

units) proceeded to establish a switch position across the center of the town, from the Stolberg Mill west of Stolberg cutting across

tne town to the road

junction southwest of Duffenter.

The Germans were able to repulse one attack against the southern edge of Stolberg and knocked out two U.S. tanks in the process.

Late in the afternoon the expected major attack came out of the east, and came so fast that the forces of 9th Panzer Division (Kampfgruppe Volker) in the southern part of Stolberg were cut off before they had In very

had a chance to withdraw northward to the switch position. bitter fighting in

the streets of Stolberg these elennts finally

battled their way out of the pocket and joined Kampfgruppe Schemm at the defense line cutting across Stolberg. Half of Stolberg was now in in U.S. hands and the attacks, mounting West of the town strong

intensity, continued into the evening.

LA

L U~sE

74

American forces achieved new penetrations in

the factory belt while

to the east the Americans gained the western slope of Donnerberg Hill -as on the previous day -and immediately wheeled northwestward

to attack the switch position which barred their way into northern Stolberg. American successes on both sides of Stolberg threatened to envelop the Stolberg

.ill -

Duffenter Line,

and the Germans feared Later in the evening

the final collapse of their Stolberg front.

the American envelopment (especially the prong west of Stolberg) forced them to withdraw to a new switch line cutting across the northern sector of Stolberg from the vicinity of Schneidmuehle-Atsch soutneastward to the village of Donnerberg.*

This account of operations in the Stolberg area on 21 September 1944 is based on the following sources: Tel Convs, LXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 1530 and 2015 on 21 Sep 44, LUXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, IXXXI Corps, 21 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; Off Rpt on Battle of Stolberg, 9th Panzer Div, 23 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

South of Aachen the 156th Panzer Grenadier Regiment of 116th Panzer Division consolidated its free some reserves. defense line on 21 September to

The front line of the regiment was re-establishe d

to extend from Vaelser Quartier (probably point of contact pdth 60th Panzer Grenadier Regiment) - half a mile north of Hill 321 half a mile north-northeast of the Steinebrueck railroad station. This move disengaged the 453d Replacement Training Battalion which was to take over a part of the 12th Infantry Division sector in

accordance with LXXXI Corps orders. of 27th Fusilier Regiment,

In relieving the 1st Battalion

453d Replacement Training Battalion of

116th Panzer Division took over the sector from Verlautenheide to the railroad overpass one mile west-southwest of Verlautenheide in the evening of 21 September. From there the LXXI Corps front line

continued past the northern edge of the Stolberg factory belt, along the switch position across northern Stolberg to the northern edge of Donnerberg Hill; from there via Duffenter along the DuffenterWerth road to half a mile west of Werth - Weissenberg Hill - western and southern edge of Gressenich - nortnern edge of Schevenhuette. The new boundary line between 116th Panzer and lath Infantry Divisions extended, in the combat zone, from Eschweiler (12th Infantry

Division) via the railroad overpass one mile west-southwest of Verlautenheide to Brand (116th Panzer Division*

TMng Sitrep, LIXXXI Corps, 0525 on 21 Sep 44, and Daily Sitrep, 116th Pz Div, 1925 on 21 Sep 44, and Daily Sitrep, LIXXI Corps, 21 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; TVX, LKXXI Corps to 116th Pz Div, 1520 on 21 Sep 44, and TRX, LXXXI Corps to all divs, 1515 on 21 Sep 44, L=XXI Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.

Immediately following its Battalion,

relief by the 453d Replacement Training

the 1st Battalion of 27th Fusilier Regiment was moved by

motor transport to Eschweiler where it was to assemble for a counterattack, to be launched out of movement with intent to close the gap between Stolberg and Donnerberg. During the night considerable

reconnaissance activity took place on both sides. numbers of U.S.

The Germans spotted in tanks everywhere and noted much digging/and improvement

'I CLA D S IFIE

tiSM

A
At

76

of positions in

the vicinity of Hochwegerhof and Niederhof.*

Daily Sitrep, 12th Inf Div, 22 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; Report, 12th Inf Div to ICXXI Corps, 0430 on 22 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

0330 12th Infantry Division repulsed an attack by five U.S. cars against Bunker 708 on Donnerberg Hill. two. of the armored cars.*

armored

Panzerfaust destroyed

Mng Sitrep, LXXI I Corps, Tage smedungen.

0505 on 22 Sep 44,

LXXXI Corps KTB,

At 0730 on 22 September one American armored company (one tank and a few armored cars) was able to exploit the early morning fog to bypass the Stolberg switch position between Stolberg and Donnerberg and to push north as far as Zinkhuette (zinc mine) east of Stolberg.* and Birkengang

Noon Sitrep, 12th Inf Div, 1120 on 22 Sep 44, and aily Sitrep, 12th Inf Div, 22 Sep 44, LIXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; Off Rpt, Battle of Stolberg, 9th Pz Div, 23 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

At the same time,

U.S. forces launched repeated attacks with and southeast toward After the unBunker 708, ten

about fifty tanks from the south, southwest,

Duffenter and the southern slope of Donnerberg Hill. successful attempt earlier in the morning to capture

U.S. tanks lumbered up to tne bunker and surrounded it.

They stayed

there for several hours without being able to crack the pillbox.

U ASIFIEP L

NAL ASSIf IE0

77

Massed German artillery fire finally destro.red one tank and forced the rest to withdraw. German fire was also effective against

American assemblies south and southwest of Donnerberg Hill.*

Ibid.

The Germans who had but one Panther and one assault gun on Donnerberg Hill this morning were afraid the counterattack of 1st Battalion, gap. 27th Fusilier Regiment, would come too late to plug the This detook a

The 9th Panzer Division cried for antitank weapons.

division, which had been promised relief days ago, was still fending the battered ruins of Stolberg as best it terrible beating in the process. could; it

In only forty hours --

from 1800

on 20 September until 1200 on 22 September 1944 -lost 841 men, 18 of whom were officers.*

the division had

Tel Cony, LXXI Corps to 9th Pz Div, 0850 on 22 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps K B, Karnpfverlauf; Sitrep, 9th Pz Div to LXXXI Corps, 22 Sep

44, LXXI Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

At noon on 22 September the factory belt west of Stolberg was once again in American hands. With its last reserves 9th Panzer

Division established an antitank defense line facing west and running parallel to the main streets of Stolberg. American attacks at

Don nerberg and southwest of Duffenter continued.*

Tel Cony, LXXXI Corps to 12th Inf Div, 1230 on 22 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

LV

SSIHi78
In the nick of time the reinforced 1st Battalion of 27th Fusilier Regiment arrived from its assembly area at Eschweiler and in a surprise attack descended on the U.S. forces which had penetrated Attacking at

to Zinkhuette and Birkengang early in the morning.

1300 the German battalion jumped off from the woods east of Birkengang on a broad front toward Birkengang and the village of Donnerberg. Despite heavy American fire the Germans were able to recapture these places rapidly and to continue their attack against the Americans on the western slope of Donnerberg Hill.* Once more 12th Infantry

CLXXI Corps, 1630 on 22 Sep 44, L;KI Corps KTB, Evg Sitrep, Tagesmeldungen; Daily Sitrep, 12th Inf Div, 22 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

Division defended a coherent front line. All through the afternoon American forces continued to hurl themselves against the German line, but in vain. 1430 U.S. Jumping off at

forces attacked from the south into the city at Stolberg.

The exhausted elements of 9th Panzer Division were able to repulse them in bitter street fighting. At 1700 twelve U.S. tanks renewed

their efforts to break through the switch position in the city and achieved a local penetration. fast. But on the whole the Germans held

On that day they inflicted on the Americans the loss of ten and two 210-mm. self-propelled guns in the

tanks, two armored cars, Stolberg soctor.*

Daily Sitrep, 12th Inf Div, and Daily Sitrep, LXXXI Corps, Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen; Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 22 Sep 44, ;II 23 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Tagesmeldungen. 0315 on
'1Bek~~sEm.

79

While the battle for Stolberg reached a climax in

intensity,

the central sector of the 12th Infantry Division front was quiet except for a German artillery barrage aimed at smashing U.S. centrations in the Diepenlinchen - Mausbach area.* con-

At the eastern

Tel Conv, DLXI Corps to 12th Tnf Div, 1230 on 22 Sep 44, LIXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

end of the front, however,

fighting was as bitter as in

Stolberg,

with the difference that here the Americans, on the defensive, also demonstrated the ability to stand their ground and to inflict terrific punishment on the attacking enemy. Before dawn on 22 September the 2d Battalion of 48th Grenadier Regiment had jumped off from Gressenich on a mission to wipe out the American bridgehead at Schevenhuette.* Following a thorough

See footnote,

pp.

63 - 64.

artillery preparation the two German infantry companies executed an elaborate enveloping maneuver and attacked Schevenhuette from the northeast and southeast. perimeter The American outposts on the eastern

of the village offered such tenacious resistance that the them to the last man. Upon penetrating the

Germans had to kill

eastern part of the village, in

the Germans were immediately engaged

such bitter and bloody fighting that they sustained murderous

losses.

VT.hen

all efficers of the battalion had been killed or wounded,

the Germans were forced to discontinue the attack and to withdraw

CLASSFE

0~

ufc 3ass

.IFED
which they had briefly

80

from the eastern part of Schevenhuette, captured. Back in

Gressenich the survivors reported that U.S. fully

forces had converted Schevenhuette into a veritable fortress,

secured by minefields and barbed wire and tenaciously defended by 600 - 700 men.*

Daily Sitrep, 12th Inf Div, Tage smel dungen.

22 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB,

On the basis of this experience General Koechling decided that the gap between Gressenich and the boundary with LXXIV Corps merited special attention. The arrival several days earlier of 183d Volks commitment in the Geilenkirchen area on possible to disengage the

Grenadier Division and its

the northern wing of LXXXI Corps made it

remaining elements of 275th Infantry Division and to commit them, somewhat reinforced, to close the gap on the corps' southern wing.*

Tel Conv, Seventh Army to L=XXI Corps, 1130 on 17 Sep 44, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Daily Sitrep, L=XI Corps, 22 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

L0XI

The 275th Infantry Division (Generalleutnant the night from 22 to 23 September in

Hans Schmidt) spent

disengaging its forces from These elements antitank

the front and moving them to Dueren for assembly. consisted of about 1,800 men combat strength, guns, one organic batter;r

eleven 75-mm.

of 105-mm. howitzers and three attached In its new sector in the Wenau

batteries of 105-mm. howitzers.*

TWX, (Weekly Strength Report as of 1200 on 16 Sep 44), LXXXI Corps to Seventh Army, 22 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.

.J

h ii

Forest the following forces were to join the division: guards company, one battalion of Flemish troops,

one SS

formerly attached

to Gruppe Jungklaus,

Ka.pfgruppe Riedl, and the personnel of 668th The 275th Division artillery was reinforced

Heavy Antitank Battalion.*

Having lost its weapons, this battalion was to be equipped with short-range antitank weapons (bazookas and Panzerfaust) until the arrival of new guns. No information is available about the composition of Kampfgruppe Riedl. Division con-

by the so-called "Russian Artillery Group" of 49th Infantry sisting of two batteries eqUipped with Russian 76.2-mm. cannon and one battery with Russian 122-mm. guns.

infantry

The division received orders to commit its organic troops and Kampfgruppe Riedl in the front line to plug the gap between 12th while the

Infantry Division and 353d Infantry Division (LXXIV Corps)

troops attached from Gruppe Jungklaus were to improve the bridgehead positions at Dueren. Division were: in The new boundaries of 275th Infantry

the north with 12th Infantry Division --

Arnoldsweiler - Birkesdorf - Schlich - Schevenhuette - Vicht; to the south with LXXIV Corps:: south of Dueren to south of Zweifall.*

Order, LXXXI Corps to 275th Ihf Div, 1730 on 22 Sep 44, LKXI Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.

On 23 September 1944 275th Infantry Division established its command post at Dueren and occupied its new sector. Late in the

afternoon its troops had all but closed the gap, having secured

UNCLASOFE l

U CLASS FI[U
contact with 12th Infantry Division, but were still

82

marching

the

Wenau Forest for contact with elements of 353d Infantry Division.*

275th Inf Div to Cores KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

TrX,

XXXI Corps,

1930 on 23 Sep 44,

LXXXI

The day brought localized fighting in sectors,

the Aachen and Stolberg

as did the days to follow, but all actions remained inThe German front, as established on 22 September, held

conclusive.

against all attacks. The crescendo at Stolberg on 22 September in fact marked the end of the VII Corps "reconnaissance in sector. YWall, force" in the DCKI Corps

The Americans had deeply penetrated both bands of the West but on the whole the

especially in the Stolberg Corridor,

Germans had scored a defensive success in denying VII Corps a decisive breakthrough via Eschweiler to Juelich, Dueren and Cologne.

The Germans had both emotional and materialistic incentives for offering such tenacious resistance in this particular area. were defending the famous Virest 'rall, their ow historic cities as Aachen. They

nome soil and such

At the same time the contested area

was highly industrialized and contained many vital war production plants. For instance, a plant in the little town of Weisweiler

(two miles east of Eschweiler)

produced 40% of the national output "From

of an alloy essential tcfthe entire German steel production.

this point of view also the situation demands that the enemy penetration east of Aachen be wiped out...." wrote General Brandenberger in a

VNLASSIFIED

83

report to Field Marshal Model.*

TV X, Gen Brandenberger to A Gp B3,1100 on 29 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Anlagen, Lagebeurteilungen - Viochenmeldungen [Situation Evaluations - Weekly Sitreps], 15.V. - 11.X.44.

1Much

of the credit for the German defensive success undoubtedly Had the exhausted 'tall about mid-

belongs to German communications and logistics.

elements of ICOI Corps vtich fell back to the West September

been left to shift for themselves, there can be no doubt

that American forces would have broken through to Cologne in a very short time. But in spite of the extremely heavy losses the Germans

suffered, their situation on 23 September was actually much better than it had been one week earlier. In the space of that week the Germans had accomplished the extraordinary feat of moving three full-strength divisions to the Aachen area. Of these divisions, the 12th Infantry and 183d Volks A third, the

Grenadier Divisions had arrived and been committed.

246th Volks Grenadier Division, entrained on 23 September in Bohemia with the mission to relieve -Divisions.* at long last -116th and 9th Panzer

This relief was scheduled to get under way on 23 September,

Order, A Gp B to Seventh Army, 1315 on 23 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Operaticns-Befehle.

even before the arrival of 246th Division, with replacement units going into the line. The 116th Panzer Division received orders to

assemble in the Juelich - Dueren area as Army Group B reserve.

84

Thanks to the relative quiet in the sector of 116th Panzer Division during the week from 16 to 23 September, this division had

not sustained any appreciable losses and had been rehabilitated to some extent while still in the line. Attachment of six battalions There were five

had more than doubled its organic combat strength.

times asmany tanks and assault guns as there had been a week earlier. The fuel situation, on the other hand, was critical, with division

reserves down to about five hundred gal Ions; as a result divisi on armor and motor transport were nearly immobilized.*

T\" (Weekly Strength Report), ILE I Corps to Seventh Army, 1200 on 23 Sep 44, [LXXI Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.; TWX, 116th Pz Div to LXXI Corps, 2300 on 22 Sep 44, IXXXI Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

On 23 September 9th Panzer Division also received orders to disengage its Division.* forces but to leave its armor with 12th Infantry The 9th Panzer Division, with 105th Panzer Brigade and

Tel Conv, LXXMI Corps to 12th Inf Div, Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf.

1330 on 23 Sep 44,

LXXXI

miscellaneous attached units, had taken the worst beating of all the German divisions in the area. Seotember -men. In one week -from 14 to 22

the division had lost 21 officers and 1,040 enlisted

These casualties made up over two thirds of the combat strength

of Kmnpfgruppe Sperling (9th Panzer Division less forces attached to 353d Infantry Division on 15 September 1944 On 22 September 1944

the combat strength of the Kampfgruppe was down to 35 officers and

'J rJL .,Y L

ED

85

796 enlisted men.

These forces were exhausted and suffered from as evidenced by the fact that they abandoned and were The out-

severe combat fatigue,

their positions frequently even when supported by armor, quite impervious to dire threats from their superiors.

standing factor responsible for the heavy Geran casualties and the shattered combat morale of the survivors, observers, according to German

was the murderously efficient American artillery fire. three weeks of

Some units had been wiped out almost completely in fighting. Thus, for example,

the 105th Panzer Grenadier Battalion

had gone into the line on 3 September 1944 with 22 officers and 716 enlisted men. men -Most of this strength -11 officers and 611 enlisted leaving the battalion

had been lost from 3 to 22 September,

with 11 officers and 105 enlisted men.*

TWX, (Weekly Strength Report as of 1200 on 23 Sep 44), IOXXI Corps to Seventh Army, 24 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.; Rpt, Maj Volker to 9th Pz Div, 22 Sep 44, LXXI Corps KTB, Meldungen der Div.

The 12th Infantry Division had also taken terrible punishment during the week from 16 to 23 September. In that single week the from a combat strength

division had lost half of its combat strength: of 3,800 men it was down to about 1,900.

According to General Engel two days

the heaviest casualties had been incurred during the first (17 and 18 September) on the Aachen front.

In those two days of

German counterattack the 89th Grenadier Regiment had lost one third of its combat strength. The 2d Battalion of 48th Grenadier Regiment

UWL

~I

IE

86

lost half of its strength in Schevenhuette.

The heavy losses were

due chiefly to the massed and well-directed American artillery fire and to the bloody street and house-to-house fighting in Verlautenheide, Stolberg, and Schevenhuette.*

TX (Weekly Strength Report as of 1200 on 23 Sep 44), LXXI Corps to Seventh Army, 24 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.; IMS f-A-971 (Engel).

In summing up his division's first

week of action on the

Western Front General Engel writes that the division adjusted rapidly to the different conditions in that theater. He finds the

reasons for the relatively successful defense in the high morale and physical fitness of 12th Infantry Division.*

IMS 7 A-971 (Engel); Tel Cony, Seventh Anmy to IX=I on 21 Sep 44, LEXXI Corps KTB, Befehle an Div.

Corps,

0940

~nkss~~

LXXIV Corps Defense of the Lammersdorf Corridor and the West Wall

Although the Battle of the Stolberg Corridor definitely constituted the VII Corps main effort from 12 to 23 September 1944, this study of tne German side would not be complete without an account of the forces facing U.S. 9th Infantry Division and 4th

Cavalry Group in the Lamnmersdorf - Monschau - Elsenborn area. This sector of the West Wall had been assigned to LXXIV Corps, under thie command of General der Infanterie Erich Straube.* VThen

Order, Seventh Army to all corps, 9 Sep 44, ILXXI Corps KTB, Befehle: Heeresgruppe, Armee, usw.; MS # B-730 (Brandenberger).

VII Corps launched its reconnaissance in force on 12 September, the elements subordinate to LXXIV Corps were still the West Wall fortifications. fighting forward of

These forces consisted of the ex89th Infantry Division commanded

hausted remnants of two divisions, by Colonel Roesler, Wolf Trierenberg.

and 347th Infantry Division under Generalleutnant

The 89th Infantry Division had hardly any organic forces left. Its 1055th Infantry Regiment had been completely destroyed in France. Of the 1056th Infantry Regiment about 350 men were all that remained. The division had lost its men, engineers, entire artillery in France. The artillery

signal and service troops had long ago been absorbed

into the infantry. Shortly before 89th Infantry Division reached the West Wall, LveSSFL

ug

s8

a so-called "Ost-Bataillon" [East Battalionj of Russian "volunteers" was attached. This battalion consisted of 400 - 500 men, was well-

trained, fairly well equipped and possessed four Russian 122-mm. howitzers. In addition a Landesschuetzen battalion vhich had done Belgium was attached to the division. Like

railway guard duty in

all such battalions it was composed of middle-aged, untrained, and poorly armed men. A little later the division also received two companies composed of stragglers and one platoon of military police. The West Wall sector assigned to the division lay in the northern half of the LXXIV Corps sector. The division boundary in

the north was identical to the LXXIV Corps boundary with LXXI Corps: Zuelpich - Schmidt - Roetgen. In the south the 89th Division

boundary with 347th Infantry Division extended from south of Schleiden via Arenberg to about Camp d'Elsenborn. Until the arrival

of 89th Infantry Division the West Wall was occupied by the 416th Grenadier Training Regimnent (526th Reserve Division). This regiment

consisted of 1,200 - 1,500 infantry replacements of all shades of value and fitness. comical. Its artillery situation wasso poor as to appear

The regiment boasted one German 105-mm. howitzer and one, There was only one prime

Italian medium (ca. 150-mm.) hcwitzer. mover to pull both guns.

After two days in action the Italian piece

ran out of ammunition and from then on served psychological warfare as a "phanton gun".

Whenever the prime mover was nct needed for

more important rurposes, the Italian howitzer was hitched on and dragged around the front to be shown off to the enemy.

89

When 89th Infantry Division took over the West Wall sector, 416th Grenadier Training Regiment was attached to the division.*

the

Intent on building up its strength to two infantry regimentsagain, 89th Infantry Division maintained the regiment as a unit and later made it organic. On that occasion the 416th Grenadier Training Regiment received the designation of the late 1055th Infantry Regiment.

In addition to this regiment,

the 5th, 9th,

and 14th Luftwaffe Fortress In antitank

Battalions were attached to 89th Infantry Division.

weapons the division had fourteen 75-mm. antitank guns.*

TVaX, A Gp B to OB V5EST, 2350 and 2400 on 22 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Operations-Befehle; _SI B-793 (Neitzel). Colonel Hasso Neitzel was Operations Officer, 89th Infantry Division.

The southern half of the LXXIV Corps sector was assigned to 347th Infantry Division. The remaining organic combat strength of

this division consisted of one hundred men of the 860th Infantry Regiment and thirty men of the 861st Infantry Regiment. September 1944 this little bicycle company. On 10

band was reinforced by forty men of a

These elements were organized into a Kampfgruppe probably commander of 860th

under the connand of Colonel von Rochow, Infantry Regiment.

After reaching the yest +Wall, Kampofruppe von 860th Infantry Regiment, and

Rochow was redesignated 3d Battalion,

was gradually rehabilitated to serve as nucleus for a full-strength regiment. still Besides these infantry elements 347th Infantry Division infantry cannon.

possessed two organic self-propelled 150-mm.

ICA

SNCLASSIF

o90

When 347th Infantry Division took over its West 1Wall sector,
the 536th Grenadier Training Regiment (526th Reserve Division) with about 1,200 infantry replacements, the 7th Luftwaffe Fortress Battalion, and the "Stomach Battalion"* were attached to the division. It also

All officers and men of the Stomach Battalion suffered from ailments of the digestive tract and received a special diet. German testimonies regarding its value in combat differ so widely as to contradict one another.

received additional artillery with the 76th Artillery Reserve Battalion (six 105-mm. howitzers and three 150-mm. howitzers). In antitank

weapons 347th Infantry Division possessed seventeen 75-mm. antitank guns. *

KTB Entry, 1320 on 12 Sep 44, LOXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; TW~, A Gp B to OB 'EST, 2350 and 2400 on 22 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Operations-Befehle; IJS 7- B-563 (Trierenberg).

The 347th Infantry Division may be dealt with very briefly here because it saw very little action during the last half of September 1944. On 14 September Kampfgruppe von Rochow was able to break out

of an American encirclement near Camp d'Elsenborn, throw American forces out of Rocherath, and assume command of its West

-Wall sector.

Aside from reconnaissance and combat patrol activity centering around Losheimergraben, the sector remained quiet enough for the division to devote itself to the urgent task of rehabilitation and reorganization. *

Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 0200 on 15 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Tagesmeldungen; MS

# B-563 (Trierenberg).
UIULWSSIFIE

91

The sector of 89th Infantry Division was the scene of U.S.

9th

Infantry Division's effort to drive through the Lammersdorf Corridor and gain the Roer River in September 1944. On 12 September the isolated groups, were

elements of 89th Infantry Division, split up in

committed from west of Muetzenich to southwest of Kalterherberg. Both flanks of the division were exposed but American pressure was so minor that Colonel Roesler saw no compelling reason to withdraw to the YWest YWall.* On 13 September the division reported that

MS j

B-730 (Brandenberger).

American armored spearheads advancing along the Eupen - Monschau road toward Monschau had reached the edge of the woods north and south of Neu-Hattlich.* The next day other U.S. forces pushing north

Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 0100 on 14 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Tagesmeldungen

from Buetgenbach in

the sector of 347th Infantry Jivision reached Elements of 89th

the southern periphery of Kalterherberg at 1100.

Infantry Division established a screening line in Monschau and Hoefen*

Noon Sitrep, A Gp B, 1400 on 14 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB,

Letzte Meldung.

Vrhile fighting began in

Kalterherberg,

89th Infantry Division repulsed

an American attack on Lammersdorf.*

Evg Sitrep, A Gp B, 1930 on 14 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB,

Letzte Meldung.

MUMASlsE

ui A,
The U.S.

a P

,:

a;,

t~ ~~P

'

I IL~t
Konzen fell

9th Infantry Division's push had begun.

into American hands,

and along the Eupen - Muetzenich road American

armored units attacked toward the Zollhaus [customs house] at Muetzenich.*

Daily Sitrep, A Gp B,

0a)0 on 15 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

An American pincer movement aimed at the capture of Monschau emerged clearly, with one prong driving east on the Eupen - Monschau road while the other pushed up on the Buetgenbach - Kalterherberg road. Both drives made progress on 14 September. In the evening

of 14 September American forces captured the customs house at Muetzenich and crossed the German border. Kalterherberg and continued in U.S. infantry captured

a north-northeasterly direction toward

Monschau while behind them American tanks and armored cars rumbled up the winding road from Kalterherberg to Monschau during the night from 14 to 15 September.*

Mng Sitrep, A Gp B, 0800 on 15 Sep 44, A Gp B iTB, Letzte Meldung.

On 15 September 89th Infantry Division decided to withdraw all its elements to the West Wall. The 416th Grenadier Training Regiment

(later redesignated 1055th Infantry Regiment) was committed in the northern half of the division sector -Lammersdorf - Monschau area --

while the remaining elements of the 1056th Infantry Regiment were committed in the Hoefen - Alzen sector. The Russian battalion secured

d TL ASS

rF
93 353d Infantry Division.

the division's northern flank and boundary with

The Landesschuetzen were committed on the southern flank and boundary with 347th Infantry Division. The Luftwaffe Fortress Battalions

were not considered battleworthy and, hence, were employed to man the Schill Line, combat zone.* at this time still well to the rear of the division

MS

B-793 (Neitzel).

The American pincers continued to close on Monschau.

Late in

the afternoon on 15 September American forces which had advanced up the road from Kalterberg entered Monscnau. While a battle

ensued in the town, American armor on the Eupen - Monschau road crossed the railroad tracks east of Muetzenich and headed for a juncture with U.S. forces in Monschau.*

Noon Sitrep, A Gp B, 1400 on 15 Sep 44, and Evg Sitrep, A Gp B, 1900 on 15 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Letzte Meldung.

The town fell to the Americans during the night from 15 to 16 September, and 9th Infantry Division achieved its first penetration

of the West Wall when its forces thrust northeastward from Monschau toward Lmgenbroich. Then the Germans rallied to the defense. They

recaptured Konzen and Bicierath and reported that they had knocked out one American tank at Muetzenich.*

Mng Sitrep, A Gp B, 0810 on 16 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB,

Letzte Meldung.

LLASSIFIED

94

On 16 September 353d Infantry Division with its attached to LKXIV Corps.*

sector was

In the sector of 89th Infantry Division

Noon Sitrep, A Gp B, 1345 on 16 Sep 44, Meldung. See above, p. 45.

A Gp B KTB, Letzte

the day was uneventful except for an American attack west of Lammersdorf which the Germans repulsed. In the Monschau area the

Americans were apparently busy consolidating their gains and contented themselves with continuous and very heavy artillery fire on the German MLR (West Wall).*

MS

Evg Sitrep, A Gp B, B-793 (Neitzel).

1915 on 16 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB,

Letzte Meldung;

During the night U.S.

forces renewed their attack in the northern

sector of 89th Infantry Division and this time succeeded in penetrating Lammersdorf. saw fighting In the south American troops entered Hoefen.
-vhich

The see-

now began lasted for several days.

In the small

hours of the morning on 17 September the Germans launched counteratcacks to wipe out these penetrations.* In both areas they achieved

Mng Sitrep, A Gp B, 0730 on 17 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB,

Letzte Meldung.

initial successes. By morning on 17 September their counterattack had regained the first line of bunkers near Larersdorf.* At noon, however, the

Noon Sitrep, A Gp B,

1300 on 17 Sep 44, OB WEST KTB.

_tLHs NY

-95
Americans renewed their drive north of Lamnersdorf with strong infantry and armor and achieved fresh penetrations in Line. Another U.S. attack, the Scharnhorst

at Pa-stenbach south of Lamnersdorf, was

repulsed. *

Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 0400 on 18 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

At Hoefen fighting was very bitter. several times during the day.

The village changed hands

By evening elements of 89th Infantry Their counter-

Division had captured the southern part of Hoefen. attack continued:

on 18 September in the morning only one bunker American hands; by noon the Germans had

north of Hoefen remained in

regained the complete bunker line at Hoefen and had captured fourteen Americans.* But their success was shortlived. At 1600 on 18

Ibid. Noon Sitrep, A Gp B, 1530 on 18 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Letzte I eldung.

Sc:ptember fifteen to twenty American tanks broke through the MLR at Hoefen from the north and achieved a penetration east and south of Hoefen. The Germans were able to seal off this penetration byevening.

In the north of the 89th Infantry Division sector two American battalions supported by tanks launched an attack about 1700 and broke through the West Wall at Lammersdorf, in penetrating three miles There

a south-southeasterly direction to the Kall River valley.

this penetration also was sealed off.*

The Americans renewed their

Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 0230

on 19 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB,

Tagesmeldungen.

A6LAjf I Er

UGASS

FI IE

96

attack southeast of Lammersdorf at 0930 on 19 September but ran afoul of a German fortified road block established during the night at the road junction half a mile southeast of Lammersdorf. this attack ground to a halt,. was also repulsed. Here

Another American attack at Paustenbach

There 89th Infantry Division destroyed two U.S.

tanks and recaptured a ounker.*

Noon. Sitrep, A Gp B, 1420 on 19 Sep 44, and Evg Sitrep, A Gp B, 2045 on 19 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Letzte ieldung.

The Germans noted that the Americans were building up their strength in Monschau. Additional forces including fourteen tanks

had moved into the town.*

Evg Sitrep, A Gp B, 2045 on 19 Sep 44, A Gp 3 KTB, Letzte VMeldung. The Germans were very well-informed about what was going on behind the American lines in this sector. In NS S B-793 Colonel Neitzel gives a rather amusing account of the constant traffic across tne German MLR into and out of American-held territory. German soldiers in civilian clothing paid regular visits to Rbet en and Monschau. From the American prisoner collecting point at Roetgen these visitors usually managed to bring back one or two German prisoners of war From Monschau every move the along with some American rations. Americans made was reported back to the G-2 section of 89th Infantry Division.

On 20 September U.S.

9th Infantry Division launched two armored The Germans repulsed both and inflicted Action in the LXXIV Corps sector

attacks against Paustenbach.

heavy losses on the attackers.*

Evg Sitrep, A Gp B, 1800 on 20 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Letzte Meldung; Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 0200 on 21 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

dJ

tdiU"F97

shifted to the north where tne Battle of the Stolberg Corridor fanned out southward to draw 353d and 89th Infantry Divisions into its orbit. At 1630 on Z0 September American tanks jumping off from southwest of Zweifall penetrated to the monument located about three miles east of that village. Both 89th d 353d Infantry Divisions immediately The Americans,

launched a counterattack against this salient.*

Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 0200 on 21 Sep 44,

A Gp B KTB,

Tagesmeldungen.

however,

were not to be dislodged easily.

On 21 September a U.S.

tank attack in

the woods east of Zweifall threw the Germans back to A few American

the Weisser-Veh Creek one mile west of Huertgen. tanks reached Germeter.

To help restore the situation as soon as possible,

Seventh Army

ordered 341st Assault Gun Brigade shifted from LCKXI Corps to 353d Infantry Division. During the night from 21 to 22 September the one infantry

division intended to move this assault gun brigade, and one engineer battalion,

one artillery battery and five 75-rm.

antitank guns to the area with plans to counterattack on 22 September.*

Tel Cony, LJXXI Corps to 353d Inf Div, 1720 on 21 Sep 44, LIXXI Corps KTB, Kampfverlauf; Order, Seventh Army to LXXXI Corps, Heeresgruppe, Armee, 1940 on 21 Sep 44, LXXXI Corps KTB, Befehle: A Gp B KTB, Letzte Sep 44, usw.; Evg Sitrep, A Gp B, 1840 on 21 A Gp B KTB, 44, Meldung; Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 0110 on 22 Sep Tagesme ldungen.

ifwll U0L A.' S~

I CLASSiFIE
The German counterattack to wipe out the first American

98

penetration of the Huertgen Forest apparently did not make any spectacular headway on 22 September. On the second day of the attack

(23 September 1944) the forces of 353d Infantry Division pushed the Americans back. to within three miles southeast of Zweifall and recaptured one bunker. Three American tank attacks lauocned in the

Rollesbroich - Huertgen Forest three miles northeast of Larmersdorf were beaten back. As for the Russian "Volunteers" comrmitted here,

the first encounter with U.S. tanks proved to be too much -for them. After an appeal by several Russian deserters who rode American tanks into the Rollesbroich Forest and broadcast to their countrymen over a public address system, two thirds of the Russian battalion went over to the Americans in a body. This incident decided the Germans

that they were through experimenting with "Osttruppen" [Eastern Troops]. The remaining Russians were moved to the rear where they were disarmed and employed as laborers.*

1'rIg Sitrep, A Gp B, 0830 on 23 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Letzte Meldung; Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 0200 on 24 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Tagesmeldungen; MS # B-793 (Neitzel).

During the last week of September American combat activity gradually died down in the LXXIV Corps sector. drive for the Roer had been stopped. No one -The first American friend or foe -as

yet anticipated the tragic significance which the name "Huertgen Forest" would acquire in the bloody battles for the Roer River Dams of October and November 1944.

GPO

83.50397

GERWVAWYM

THE WEST WALL IN THE LXXXI A] LXXIV CORPS SECTORS 1st Band of West Wall "SCHARNHORST LINE" 2d Band of West Wall "S CHILL LINE" Roer Position i""SCHLIEFFEN LINE"

0.

Switch Positions National Boundaries

N
MB\SSEt \E

%a~ '

Cai,
J) 'Ee 66#_n..

/ 1:=50,QO0

*1