BATTLE OF THE BULGE

m w w d by John Kline

Mlchael Toihumt

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WaWng t h Salient by I r i l Reed Wood and H m bg Pulgel Cave Vpr~ Bill 60 $1 Nigd Ceve Yprm-hbshtw Weby PeterMdham wriz~ Wtpsm W W by Nigel Cave

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Battleground Europe BATTLE OF THE BULGE SAINT VITH Michael Tolhurst LEO COOPER COMBINED PUBLISHING Pennsylvania .

Fhtpdlihdh1 W Reprinted 2000 by LEO w 1 m an imprint of Pen 8r $word Books Limited 4 7 C h I k b S ~$amkp*thWrWre . Copyright0 Mike T o h r a t mm ISBN U 55052 &? 5 A QP c a t a l p mcad of this bonk i s available fwmn t h ?BtCttsh Library For up-t~dateI n f o M i ~ non 0 t h titles pPodud under the L& Cooper tmpvint. p l m fdqhors~ or write to: Published under license in the United States of America by .

CONTENTS
Foreword by John Mine ....... , . . , ...........,.. Intmduction .,. .- . . . , . . . . . . . . . . .............
I * I * I * ~ , ~ ~ ~ C . + MM*, + ~ U , - ~

6

Glossary.... , .,+ ,+ .,

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Chapter 1 THE GOLDEN LIONS Birth of la Division................

Chapter 2 INTO THELINB A w i d in B~giuttt and t h 'Ghast'Front ,..,.. . , .. ..,..... ., -... 33
Chapter 3

THE GERMAN PLAN
Opmtio~ 'Watch on f h Mine'.........................................................
51

Chapter 4 THE ATTACK Satufhy 16 December 1944
Chapter 5 THE INEVITABLE Sumder

61

103

Chapter 6 THE AFTERMATH Prisoners o f War............. ....-................................................. ..
. A

123
..... 137

Chapter 7 TOURING THE BATTLEFIELD TODAY ...........

FOREWORD
Mike Tolhurst, author, and Pen & Sward Boob Ltd have done an exceIlent job in this military history guide covering the actions of the 106th Infantry Division during the 'Battle of the Bulge' in Baf tlepoud St Vith. I met Mike, through correspondence, in the early '903, He had been, and has been since, vacationing i n the Ardenna area. He understands h e 106th Infantry Division's positions as well as any person I have ever met. His intimate knowledge of the afea, gleaned over the years, mkes him a good authority and a great choice for authoring such a fine history guide as Baftlepsrnd St Vith. St Vith was the primary objective far the Germans as they bmke through the defences of the 106th Infantry Division, entrenched along the S h e e Wl, 16th December 1944. St Vith, a transportation hub with a failroad and five main mads, was a major objective ih the German Offensive timetable. Theh httk O d e s dictated that it should be taken on the first day o f battle. Had this been achieved +heiradvance to the Meuse River would have been open. The &mans never seized St Wth until days later. Tua much time, too many resburces had been wasted because of the stubborn resistance of thej106thMantry Division. What would have happened at Bastogne had those German troops, held up at St Wth, k e n available far use in the fight for that town? The German General Staff realized that once their timetable had been thrown out at St Vith they would be unable ta get back on schedule. Mike T ~ b m i ' suse of veterans' accounb makes his Wtofy ~ t ~WSOXML y Here you will r e d how it wm from the mldim.&f $oughttPle BaBh His intimate b~w1edg:e of h e Wtq is hvduable to those who wish to browse the are% to E e I md erne the happenings of t h w times. Whm you t a b &t? tpiiila and ma& thmi~& the battle n m you walrB e me,w d e r how the war was ever foughk t w e .It isj a b t a M d y beartW curnki-y It wsm a pity &at @

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The httk w a ~ the biggest pitched engagemenf of the Western Front. It shook the Western Alliance.January I%@).INTRODUCTION l'he purpose of Ws book is not to caduse the reader with m y complexitis arising hum the 'Battle of the Bulge' (December 1944 . P~o~)aganda d d the ictes fhat tt woukf p m m m hpregnmfde &trier to thr Alllee. I n &pbmbr 3944. h n @ m r y ' s plan to jump rrounrl W m n y ' s deimnces I SffAWm www. dso the most contwversid. incredible P m W M q GmMmq's wwtward m@romh from kllpnd to $wlf#rland ww the mueh rauntord SbgMed Une w West Wail. . nor get invalved with the politics or c~ntmvmial decisions made. but to give an idea. basically. invo1ving over one million men. It was HI4m's b t desperate gamble and was prababJy m e of the mast a s & n h h g episodes of World War TI. because of the vwb~ess o f the Megrwyld area. to cancentrate on am the p r t h of it. how fhe battle came about and.

'Home for Christmas.. It was a time of triumph and a t the same time deep m~onal humiliation. emher the Allies had forged ahead and had come bad against the 'Westwall' or 'Siegfried Line' as it was 4 . were now beginning It was decided to stop the offensive for the winter. They had been mnstant pressure since the D-Day landings six pmviousIy. and had been chased back into their own The end was in sight.was an the lips of the fighting men. en the line and allow the much-needed supplies to such part of the 'Westwall' was deep in the Belgian ."arat the Y e a r . Bitter fighting had found the Allied troops in amongst formidable obstacle. with overlapping i ~ d d s et nr kte$W&M bmtween 200 and 400 yard8 behlnd 'dragon's b t h ' ot ?he &qjftM L b . owing to the fact that the Americans e largest mass surrender or reversal of arms since xepfion of Bataan 1942) the Civil War (186146). the beginning of December 1944 it seemed to the Allies the Germans were on their last legs. p ~ h x e mci s maGhim gun posts. The long over-stretched supply originating from the Normandy beaches. and the mtIy captured port of Antwerp.. These defences began to be brenched In Sephrnkr the h r t M s t ~ t 4 o belng n In tha a m o f the Ardennm. and it finalIy broke the Germans.- . - confusion reigned..

whmifof 1944 draws In. I G I s trying to gd coshPartablo among t h To$&sls df ffik ~&hhms 5s >he.Qsman prtmnara stlearn b e k through the an*N-fa~k bbsMm nt athe 5legma Lthe in Septermtier4944. .

He dmt .w w : was upon &&&dam* The BriWt and Awrkm Gemmh were way &e waf dwlctp.

Sepp Dietrich. and his Sixth SS Panzer Army would charge through between Monschau and the Losheim Gap (a natural break in the otherwise hilly terrain which gave easier east-west access) and head straight for Antwerp. Hitler's plan was simple. the Seventh Army. under General Brandenberger to the south. In the centre. which by this time was being held by the green and untried US 106th Division. decided that. or salient. So under complete secrecy and unknown . These positions were occupied by Americans prior to the German attack In December 1944.Gwrmsn w n c n h bunker on top of Schnee Elfel showing heavy damage. But before Manteuffel could get to St Vith and Bastogne he would have to eliminate this furthest penetration. General von Manteuffel's Fifth Panzer Army was to capture the two major rail and road centres at St Vith and Bastogne deep in the Ardennes and then drive on to Brussels. Finally. In the north. if he could split the two factions there might be a chance he could sue for peace. This would then force a wedge between the British and American Armies. on h i s terms. was to provide flanking protection for the two northern attacks. under old Party bully boy and now SS General.

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GLOSSARY Anti Aircraft Armored Division Approx 10. Split Into t h e Batterfm .x 5Qa men). Organized into 'Troops'. 0 1 2 vehicb$ Meld Artillery Battallon [&ppn. containing M5 light Stuart tanks. M8 Arrnoured Cars and Jeeps. Division (Approx 1 4 . Cavalry (A small highly mechanized group used for reconnaissance and screening. AIB A T BATT BAZOOKA CAV CP CO ENG FAB Cofnmand Post ar Hgadquarters Company @pprox 193 men) Combat E@r &#Won (Appm 647 men). 2 5 3men with 2 . Attached to a Divisim.937 men Divided into 3 sections: Combat Command A (CCA) Combat Command B (CCB) Combat Command R (CCR) (Reserve) Armored Infantry Battalion (Fully mechanized i n f a n t r y usually carried in half tracks) Anti-Tank Battalion (Approx 871 men) American hand held anti-tank rocket.

Infantry Medical as in Medical Battalion (Approx 465 men) American Armoured Car. mounting a 37mm gun. max speed 56 mph. 6 wheels. . 4 crew.

Crew of 5. with a speed of 24 . ~ r ~ b e ' i h d infantry. There were many different variants.29 mph. m REGT SHERMAN Regiment United States (Approx 3118 men) M4 standard American tank used by every Allied nation.PANZER PURPLE HEART Garrmn fur O r o u r (Eg Tank). but most were armed with either a 75mm or 76mm . ~ a n#dd n fAward) for being woan$ed &laction.

wnt-t.towedtppaIwhichwasa3inch .of 3(Xmphwithaaauof5. as in the MI0 tank destwyar.hadamax:~. Tank destroyer.(Either the selfpropelled type.0rthe .anythQupto45asmBgtm and a small infantr). this nountad a 3i~chgun.

pSaI@i.k.. It was mounted on %m tanks.VGD m.much feared by the Allieg.'m:&. Gaae m.@ utility Gennan B8mm gun. or as a field piece in either the ground or anti- 1 . Came into rixb.

A large l h w w h e 1\3k. P y on Monday 15 Ma~ch. in front of No 2 Outdoor Theatre at F a ?J i t e h . . 19 I .1 % .C H AONE ~ THE GOLDEN LIONS (1943-1944) Birth o f a Division The b w a n d bat& k t i m m . ..

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