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The FReeper Foxhole Remembers The Battle of The Bulge - Dec. 16th, 2002
| Wesley Johnston
Posted on 12/16/2002 5:38:35 AM PST by SAMWolf
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The Ardennes Offensive:
Dec. 16, 1944 - Jan. 25, 1945
Overview of the Battle of the Bulge
Note: Since all the mentions of this army and that army can become confusing, German units are given in italics, and American units are in normal type.
The Battle of the Bulge began with the German attack (Operation Wacht am Rhein and the Herbstnebel plan) on the morning of December 16, 1944. Two later attacks on New Year's Day 1945 attempted to create second fronts in Holland (Operation Schneeman) and in northern France (Operation Nordwind).
The overall German plan is laid out in the map above (from Hugh Cole's official history "The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge", Map IX). In the original plan, three Armies (the Sixth Panzer Army [referred to by Hitler as Sixth SS Panzer Army but not formally designated as SS at the time - Cole, p. 76], Fifth Panzer Army, and Seventh Army) would attack.
In a revised plan on November 1, 1944, the Sixth Panzer Army, for political reasons [Cole, p. 34], was given the official role of making the main effort and capturing Antwerp.
The Fifth Panzer Army was not designated as the main force in name, but it actually had the responsibility of hitting the center of the American lines, promptly capturing the highly strategic rail and road center of St. Vith, and driving on to capture Brussels.
The Seventh Army in the south was to peel off as it moved west and then turn and form a defensive line, in order to form a buffer area to prevent U.S. reinforcements from hitting the Fifth Panzer Army.
In the offical order signed by Hitler on November 10, 1944, the Fifteenth Army was added [Cole, pp. 34-36]:
The Fifteenth Army "was not to be employed until the Allies had reacted in force to the German attack, and in any case could not be expected to launch a large-scale attack until the Allied front east of Aachen had been drastically denuded of troops."
In fact, on December 13, 1944, the US 2nd Infantry Division began an attack in the Fifteenth Army area that further nullified any effect the Fifteenth Army might have in the attack.
With the exception of the critical road and rail center at St. Vith, the main towns were to be bypassed by the attacking panzer (armored) forces, so that the speed of the attack would not be slowed. Rear echelon infantry would clean out the bypassed towns. The military goal was to capture Antwerp and cut off the Allied troops to the north. The political goal was to cause division among the Allies and destroy the Allied coalition.
The terrain was the dense Ardennes Forest. The weather was chilly mist and fog, so that Allied air support was nullified until December 23. (In fact, one of the German plans was named Herbstnebel or Autumn Mist.) In addition, ground visibility for the troops was often very low, due to the trees and fog. The dense forest had very few roads, none of which were large. Traffic jams on both sides of the front were a major problem for both Armies.
The only railroad on the entire front to cross from Germany into Belgium came to St. Vith, Belgium, making St. Vith, which was also a major road junction the most vital initial prize the Germans sought, in order to allow supplies to flow to support the remainder of the attack. It was no accident that St. Vith was right in the very center of the Fifth and Sixth Panzer Armies: St. Vith had to be the main line of supply for both Armies. The German plan called for capture of St. Vith by 1800 on December 17 by Fifth Panzer Army, but the defenders held at St. Vith until late on December 21. This led the German Fifth Panzer Army Commander, Gen. Hasso von Manteuffel, to recommend to Hitler's adjutant on December 24 that "the German Army give up the attack and return to the West Wall." Manteuffel's reason for this recommendation was "due to the time lost by his Fifth Panzer Army in the St. Vith area." [Manteuffel press conference of 22 December 1964 in Watertown, NY]
Hitler did not accept Manteuffel's recommendation, and the German supplies began to run out. German columns ran low on gas and ammunition well before reaching even their first major goal: the Meuse River. On December 23, the weather cleared, and Allied planes finally filled the skies in support of the besieged American troops. (Some of the GI's had wondered why they saw German planes before that, despite the conditions, but saw no American planes.)
Slowly but surely the Allies -- from the North, the West, and the South -- closed the salient, the Bulge. The First US Army troops from the north met the Third US Army troops from the south at Houffalize, Belgium on January 16, 1945. St. Vith was recaptured on January 23, 1945. The ending date of the Bulge is considered as January 25, 1945, since this was the date on which the lost positions were officially thought to have been completely regained. In fact, as a series of letters in the VBOB "Bulge Bugle" have noted, some positions were not regained until after January 25, 1945.
In the largest battle ever fought by the U. S. Army, with 600,000 GI's involved, it is difficult to place one unit or location ahead of another in importance. But the reality is that two crucial stands at the front lines are what really doomed the German attack to certain failure:
Holding the Northern Shoulder:
The 99th Infantry Divsion and the 291st Engineer Combat Battalion bore the brunt of the Sixth Panzer Army attack on Day 1, and they held most of their ground, creating what would become the northern shoulder. (Keep in mind that the southern shoulder was one that the Germans themselves intended to form with their Seventh Army -- which they pretty much succeeded in doing.)
Holding St. Vith:
The 7th Armored Division and the 106th Infantry Division, with elements of the 9th Armored Division and 28th Infantry Division, held St. Vith four days beyond the German timetable. Even the German Fifth Panzer Army commander recognized that the attack was doomed as a result.
It is significant to note that the 7th Armored Division was near Aachen, Germany when the German attack began. The 7th Armored Division had to move 60-70 miles to the south on Day 2. If the 99th Infantry Division and 291st Engineer Combat Battalion had not held on the northern shoulder, the 7th Armored Division never would have reached St. Vith. Even when the 7th Armored Division had reached St. Vith, it was the troops on the northern shoulder and the newly arrived 82nd Airborne Division that kept a very narrow escape route open for the virtually surrounded defenders of St. Vith. But once the defense of St. Vith was set up, that defense also bolstered the defense of the northern shoulder, as both defenses forced the German columns off of their planned routes and led to considerable congestion as the Gemran columns were then funneled in between the northern shoulder and the St. Vith salient.
But what about Bastogne?
In popular thinking, the Battle of the Bulge is synonymous with the Battle of Bastogne. This is very unfortunate, since it ignores the real military keys (holding the northern shoulder and holding St. Vith) to the defeat of the Germans. Journalists hungry for some sign of American success at stopping the German onslaught played up the defense of Bastogne, where Gen. Anthony McAuliffe (101st Airborne Division) said "Nuts" to a German surrender demand and where the Third US Army (10th Armored Division) broke through the German Seventh Army's buffer to reach the surrounded town on Day 3 of the Battle of the Bulge. This was truly heroic stuff.
But from a military strategy point of view (and this can easily be seen on the map above), while Bastogne was a strategically important major road junction for sustaining the attack, it was on the periphery of the attack and well behind the initial front lines. The German plan was to have the panzers bypass Bastogne and let the later echelons of infantry and artillery units clean it out. And the panzers did succeed in bypassing Bastogne, so that their plan in that sector was on schedule. As a source for rallying U. S. spirits, the defense of Bastogne and McAuliffe's "Nuts" were a success.
But from a strategic perspective, the German fate had already been sealed at St. Vith, when they could not take that critical supply center on Day 2 - nor on Days 3, 4, 5, and most of 6. Bastogne did not become surrounded by forces intent on taking it until the night of December 21, Day 6 of the Battle of the Bulge. And the famous "Nuts" did not come until December 22, Day 7. Heroic as the deeds of the defenders of Bastogne were, the defense of Bastogne is a very important secondary element but not one of the true strategic keys to the German failure.
Since the battle was so complex, it is important to consider some basic organizing themes.
KEYWORDS: ardennes; bulge; freeperfoxhole; wwii
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Some Ways of Organizing the Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge itself was often very chaotic and disorganized. It spread across an 80-mile front and invloved hundreds of thousands of people over the course of a month. So there is a mass of detail about such an event. These are a few ways of organizing this data, so that the relative place of any one person or unit or town can be seen in one or more perspectives of the whole.
Axes of Attack (Geographical - North/South)
Hitler's plan (the attack was conceived and directed by him, and not by Von Runstedt) was for the main assault to be in the center, carrying through to Antwerp, Belgium, cutting off the British, Canadian and Ninth US Army troops to the north. On the right and the left, the plan was to protect the flanks of the assault force and prevent American reinforcements from coming to the aid of their comrades in the central axis of the attack.
Stages of the Battle (Chronological)
Another principal is that events fall into roughly five periods:
Dec. 16: The initial attack (and events leading up to it); shoulders form
Dec. 17-21: The fall of St. Vith and destruction of Kampfgruppe Peiper; shoulders hold
Dec. 21-28?: The last of the offensive: the battle at the tip of the Bulge; shoulders hold
Dec. 29-Jan. 16: Closing the western center of the salient
Jan. 17-25: Closing the rest of the salient
posted on 12/16/2002 5:38:35 AM PST
To: souris; SpookBrat; Victoria Delsoul; MistyCA; AntiJen; SassyMom
The coldest, snowiest weather in memory in the Ardennes Forest on the German/Belgium border.
Over a million men, 500,000 Germans, 600,000 Americans (more than fought at Gettysburg) and 55,000 British.
3 German armies, 10 corps, the equivalent of 29 divisions.
3 American armies, 6 corps, the equivalent of 31 divisions.
The equivalent of 3 British divisions as well as contingents of Belgian, Canadian and French troops.
100,000 German casualties, killed, wounded or captured.
81,000 American casualties, including 23,554 captured and 19,000 killed.
1,400 British casualties 200 killed.
800 tanks lost on each side, 1,000 German aircraft.
The Malmedy Massacre, where 86 American soldiers were murdered, was the worst atrocity committed against American troops during the course of the war in Europe.
The 106th Infantry Division, average age of 22 years, suffered 564 killed in action, 1,246 wounded and 7,001 missing in action at the end of the offensive. Most of these casualties occurred within the first three days of battle, when two of the divisions three regiments was forced to surrender. The largest mass surrender of American troops in the European Theater of Operations
In it's entirety, the Battle of the Bulge, was the worst battles - in terms of losses - to the American Forces in WWII.
| 'To the German Commander,
The American Commander.'
-- General Anthony McAuliffe - Response to the German demand for the surrender of Bastonge
'This is undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever-famous American victory.'
-- Winston Churchill
posted on 12/16/2002 5:40:43 AM PST
Great thread today! the numbers of soldiers involved in this is staggering and I was only used to hearing of such forces on the Eastern Front, or from WWI.In my travels in Luxembourg, you can see the locals have not forgotten the valiant American efforts and that small country is dotted with memorials and cemetaries honouring those who fought and died.
posted on 12/16/2002 6:13:29 AM PST
On This Day In History
Birthdates which occurred on December 16:
1485 Catherine of Aragon Spanish princess/1st wife of Henry VIII
1622 Kurt S Adeler Danish admiral/ship builder
1652 Giovanni Maria Casini composer
1685 Charles Cressent France, cabinetmaker (Régence)
1734 Georg Peter Weimar composer
1742 Gebhard Leberecht Fürst Blücher von Wahlstatt German fieldmarshal
1748 Ferdinand-Philippe-Joseph Staes composer
1770 Ludwig van Beethoven Bonn Germany, composer (Ode to Joy)
1775 Jane Austen England, novelist (Pride & Prejudice)
1775 François-Adrien Boieldieu composer
1777 Janos Fusz composer
1809 Peter P van Bosse Dutch attorney/liberal minister of Finance
1812 William Grose Bvt Major General (Union volunteers), died in 1900
1819 Robert Selden Garnett Brigadier-General (Confederate Army), died in 1861
1822 Charles Edward Horsley composer
1825 Henry Heth Major General (Confederate Army), died in 1899
1825 Robert Prescott Stewart composer
1827 John A C Oudemans Dutch geographer/astronomer
1828 John Beatty Brigadier-General (Union volunteers), died in 1914
1830 John Frederick Hartranft Bvt Major General (Union volunteers), died in 1889
1834 Léon Walras French economist (border use theory)
1847 Augusta Mary Anne Holmes composer
1850 Fred Morley cricketer (legendary Notts & England bowler 1880-83)
1851 Theodoor H de Meester Dutch premier (1905-08)
1857 Edward Emerson Barnard Tennesee, astronomer (Jupiter's 5th satellite)
1862 Eugène Demolder Belgian writer (Sous la robe)
1863 George Santayana Spain, philosopher/poet/humanist (Last Puritan)
1863 Ralph Adams Cram US, gothic architect (Cathedral of St John the Divine NYC)
1865 Victor Rousseau Belgian sculptor
1869 Albert F Pollard British historian (Dict of natural biography)
1879 William Duncan Scotland, actor (Thunder Trail)
1882 Sir John Berry Hobbs England, 1st cricket player knighted (1953)
1882 Walther Meissner German physicist (Meissner effect)
1882 Zoltán Kodály Kecskemét Hungary, composer (Psalmus Hungaricus)
1883 Max Linder Caverne France, actor/comic/director (Max Prend un Bain)
1888 Alphonse Juin French marshal
1890 Harlan Sanders founder/CEO (Kentucky Fried Chicken)
1892 A "Shon Nènè" Morales Antillean/Netherlands very old lady
1892 Cameron Prud'Homme Auburn CA, actor (Rainmaker)
1893 Vladimir Golschmann Paris France, conductor with Immortal Downbeat
1895 Lidj Jasu emperor of Ethiopia
1897 Jacobus Petrus Duminy cricketer (three Tests for South Africa 1927-29)
1897 Paul Neuhuys Belgian playwright (Le Canari et le Cerise)
1899 Sir Noel Coward playwright (In Which We Serve-1942 Academy Award)
1899 Harold Walter Bailey philologist
19-- Dori Brenner [Levine] New York NY, actress (Rhoda Gold-7th Avenue)
19-- Patti Deutsch Pittsburgh PA, comedienne (Ace Trucking Co, Laugh-in)
19-- Ross Kettle actor (Santa Barbara)
19-- Terry Carter [John E. DeCoste] Brooklyn NY, actor (McCloud, Battlestar Galactica)
1900 Victor S Pritchett literary critic/author (Myth Makers)
1901 Margaret Mead Philadelphia PA, anthropologist (Coming of Age in Samoa)
1903 Hardie Albright Pittsburgh PA, actress (Silver Streak, Scarlet Letter)
1903 Rafael Alberti Spanish poet (El hombre deshabitado)
1904 Edward Morris Bernstein economist
1904 Norbert E Fonteyne Flemish writer (Guest house Vivès)
1905 Piet Hein poet/inventor
1906 John Morrison politician/landowner
1906 Lord Margadale English Conservative parliament leader/large landowner
1907 Ray C Bliss (R) Ohio State Republican Chairman
1907 Syd Curnow cricketer (South African batsman in 7 Tests 1930-32)
1909 Henricus Verbunt civil servant/resistance fighter
1909 Lall Singh cricketer (scored 15 & 29 in India's 1st Test match)
1910 Freddie Brown Peru, cricketer ("Lettuces! Hearts as big as ")
1910 Robert Noehren composer
1910 Stanojlo Rajicic composer
1915 Georgy Vasilevich Svirdov composer
1916 Theo Bitter Dutch painter/set designer
1916 Udom Patpongsiri property developer
1917 Arthur C[harles] Clarke sci-fi author (2001, 2010, Childhood's End)
1918 Henry Clarke fashion photographer
1919 Manke Nelis [Cornelis Pieters] Dutch folk vocalist (Small Yodel Boy)
1922 Pierre Chany writer/cycling journalist
1923 Tip [Silvio A] Marugg Antillian writer (Weekend pilgrimage)
1923 Werner Haentjes composer
1926 James McCracken Gary IN, dramatic tenor (Rodolfo-La Bohéme)
1926 Alfred Koerppen composer
1927 G Randall P D Garrett US, sci-fi writer (Takeoff (too)!)
1927 Peter [Malcolm] Dickinson Zambia, sci-fi author (Heartsease)
1928 Peter Nailor civil servant/historian
1928 Philip K[indred] Dick US, sci-fi author (Hugo-1963, Blade Runner)
1929 Ian Board barkeeper
1932 Rodion Konstantinovich Schedrin Moscow, composer (Humpback Horse)
1937 Joyce Bulifant Newport News VA, actress (Marie-Mary Tyler Moore Show)
1937 Jim Glaser Spalding NE, singer (Glaser Brothers-Getting to Me Again)
1937 Joe Farrell rocker
1938 Michael Greer Durham NC, actor (Bobby Gentry Show)
1939 Liv Ullman Tokyo Japan, actress (Cries & Whispers, 40 Carats)
1940 Dimitri van Toren Dutch vocalist/composer
1941 Lesley Stahl Lynn MA, White House correspondent (CBS-TV)
1941 Vittoria Mezzogiorno Italian actor (L'homme blessé, Tre fratelli)
1943 Steven Bochco producer (Hill St Blues, LA Law, St Elsewhere, NYPD Blue)
1943 Tony Hicks rocker (Hollies-The Air That I Breathe)
1943 Anthony Hicks rock guitarist (Hollies)
1944 John Abercrombie rocker
1946 Adriaan van Dis Dutch TV host/writer (Promised Country)
1946 Benny Andersson Stockholm Sweden, singer (ABBA-Money! Money! Money!, Dancing Queen)
1946 Fred Borgman Dutch 2nd chamber member (CDA)
1947 Vincent Matthews US, 400 meter dash (Olympics-gold-1972)
1947 Ben Cross England, actor (Chariots of Fire, Far Pavillions)
1949 Billy Gibbons Houston TX, jazz guitarist (Moving Sidewalks, ZZ Top)
1950 Caroline Munro Windsor, actress (Golden Voyage of Sinbad) [or 1/16]
1950 Ieremia Tabai President of Kiribati (Gilbert Islands) (1979-91)
1952 Elayne Boosler comedienne (Night Court)
1952 Joel Garner cricketer (two-metre West Indian pace bowler 1977-87)
1953 Filip Bolluyt Dutch actor (Daybreak)
1953 Joel Garner Barbados, bowler
1954 Joslyn Y Hoyte-Smith Barbados, 4X400 meter hurdler (Olympics-bronze-1980)
1955 Carol M Browner US Administrator (EPA)
1955 Graeme Stevenson cricketer (England medium pacer 1980-81)
1958 Bart Oates NFL center (New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers)
1959 Alison La Placa New Jersey, actress (Duet, Catherine-John Larroquette Show)
1959 Steven Irvine rock drummer (Lloyd Cole & The Commotions)
1961 Kelly Tough Vancouver British Columbia, playmate (October 1981)
1962 Maruschka Detmers Schoonebeek Holland, actress (Devil in the Flesh)
1962 Melanie Smith Scranton PA, actress (Emily-As the World Turns)
1962 William "The Refrigerator" Perry NFL defensive back (Chicago Bears)
1962 Jon Tenney actor (Brooklyn South)
1963 Benjamin Bratt California, actor (Detective Reynaldo Curtis-Law & Order)
1963 Brian Clark Brandon Man, Canadian Tour golfer (1994 Morden Pro-Am)
1963 Cathy Johnston-Forbes High Point NC, LPGA golfer (1990 du Maurier)
1963 Silvio Diliberto WLAF kicker (Amsterdam Admirals)
1964 Billy Ripken Havre de Grace MD, 2nd baseman (Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers)
1964 Evelyn Conley San Francisco CA, WPVA volleyballer (US Open-7th-1989)
1964 Gail Harris Dewsbury England, actress (Virtual Desire)
1964 Heike Drechsler Gera German Democratic Republic, sprinter (1988 world record)
1965 Cynthia Lynne White Oklahoma City OK, Miss Oklahoma-America (1991-top 10)
1965 Brent Franklin Barrie Ontario, Canadian Tour golfer (1992 Japan Open-2nd)
1965 Chris Jones Utica NY, outfielder (New York Mets)
1965 Moe Elewonibi NFL/CFL tackle (Philadelphia Eagles, British Columbia Lions)
1965 Page Dunlap Harrisonburg VA, LPGA golfer (1994 Atlanta Women's-8th)
1965 Romallis Ellis Washington DC, lightweight boxer (Olympics-bronze-1988)
1966 Clifford Robinson NBA center (Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers)
1967 Donovan Bailey Manchester Jamaica, Canada 100 meter runner (Olympics-2 gold-96)
1968 Darryll Lewis NFL cornerback (Houston/Tennessee Oilers)
1968 Paul Scherrer actor (Children of Corn II, Free Spirit)
1968 Wendy Doolan Sydney Australia, LPGA golfer (1991 British Amateur Champion-2nd)
1969 Charles Mincy NFL safety (Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
1969 Craig White cricketer (England all-rounder 1994-95, AIS graduate)
1969 Martin Ulrich hockey defenseman (Team Austria 1998)
1971 Michael S McCary [Boss] Philadelphia PA, rapper (Boyz II Men)
1971 Catherine "Cathy" Symon Washington DC, rower (Olympics-96)
1971 Kristen Kane Jacksonville FL, diver (Olympics-96)
1973 Kristie Boogert Rotterdam Netherlands, tennis star (1996 Paris)
1979 Nicole Werra Miss Wisconsin Teen USA (1996)
Deaths which occurred on December 16:
0714 Pippin II of Héristal, Duke/prince of France, dies
0875 Ado of Vienne French archbishop of Vienne, dies at about 75
0882 John VIII Italian Pope (872-82), dies
0999 Adelheid the Saint German empress of Otto I/saint, dies at about 68
1404 Albrecht of Bavaria duke of Bavaria, dies at about 74
1670 Dorothy 1st English marquis of Halifax, dies
1672 John II Casimir Vasa cardinal/king of Poland (1648-68), dies at 63
1673 Juan de Padilla composer, dies at 68
1719 Adrian "Aart" van Wijck Dutch theologist (anti-jansenism), dies at 78
1774 François Quesnay French personal physician of Louis XIV, dies at 80
1781 Georg Simon Lohlein composer, dies at 56
1783 Johann Adolf Hasse Dutch operatic composer (Sesostrate), dies at 84
1790 Ludwig August Lebrun composer, dies at 38
1816 Vincenzo Galeotti [Tomazelli] Italian dancer/choreographer, dies at 73
1821 Claire countess the Rémusat/Vergennes/author (Salon), dies at 41
1833 Friedrich August Kanne composer, dies at 55
1852 Andries H Potgieter South African/Transvaal explorer, dies at 59
1852 Henri-Jean Rigel composer, dies at 80
1858 Richard Bright British Dr (Bright's disease/nephritis), dies at 69
1859 Wilhelm Grimm writer (Grimm's Fairy Tales), dies at 73
1861 Karol Joseph Lipinski composer, dies at 71
1870 Stanislaw Duniecki composer, dies at 31
1871 Willibald Alexis German writer (Schloss Avalon), dies at 73
1874 Abraham Capadose physician/missionary, dies at 79
1897 Alphonse Daudet French writer (Tartarin sur les Alpes), dies at 57
1914 Ivan Zajc composer, dies at 82
1916 Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin a powerful Russian monk is murdered at 45
1920 Ma Mua-Ming-Hsin the Benovelent, Chinese muslim rebel (holy war), dies
1921 Charles Camille Saint-Saens French composer (Carnival of the Animals), dies at 86
1922 Eliezer Ben-Yehuda [Perelmann] Latvia/Palestinian writer, dies at 67
1922 Gabriel Narutowicz 1st President of Poland (December 7-16, 1922), assassinated
1923 Pongrac Kacsoh composer, dies at 50
1927 Hugh Archibald Clarke composer, dies at 88
1931 Gustave J Waffelaert Flemish theologist/bishop of Bruges, dies at 82
1935 Thelma Todd actress (Horse Feathers, Bohemian Girl), dies of 30
1940 M Eugène F T Dubois geologist/paleontologist (Wadjakmens), dies
1940 William Wallace composer, dies at 80
1944 Glenn Miller US jazz composer/orchestra leader (Danny boy), dies at 40
1945 Fumimaro Konu Japanese prince/PM (1937-39, 40-41), commits harakiri
1949 Traitsjo Kostov Bulgarian communist vice-premier, executed
1950 Otto Vrieslander composer, dies at 70
1960 Anna Luther silent screen actress (Sinners in Silk), dies at 63
1961 Boris Semyonovich Shekhter composer, dies at 61
1961 Cato Engelen-Sewing Dutch soprano singer/primadonna, dies at 93
1965 William Somerset Maugham English author (Razor's Edge, Of Human Bondage), dies at 91
1973 Syd Barnes cricketer (13 Tests for Australia 1938-48), dies
1974 Kostas Varnalis writer, dies
1976 George a goose that lived to 49 years 8 months, dies
1978 Blanche Calloway US singer/dancer/radio hostess, dies at 76
1980 Harland "Colonel" Sanders founder Kentucky Fried Chicken, dies at 90
1982 Anthony C B Chapman England, formula 1 racer, dies at 54
1983 Kusan Sunim found Milae Sa temple/Bulsung Sa Zen in Korea, dies at 74
1985 Dick Pollard cricketer (England fast-medium bowler 1946-48), dies
1985 Merv Waite cricketer (2 Tests for Australia 1938, 1 wicket average 190), dies
1985 Paul Castellano Organized-crime chief, shot dead at a New York NY restaurant
1987 Albert P Morano (Representative-R-CT, 1951-59), dies at 79
1988 H "Stork" Hendry cricketer (11 Tests for Australia 1921-29), dies
1989 Aileen Pringle actress (Age of Consent, Convicted, Night Parade), dies
1989 Lee Van Cleef US actor (Good, Bad & Ugly), dies at 64
1989 Silvana Mangano Italian actress (Death in Venice), dies at 59
1991 Fred D Scott actor (2 Gun Troubador), dies
1992 Anton [Tom] Koolhaas Dutch writer (Snow White), dies at 80
1992 Rinus Terlouw Dutch soccer player/trainer (Sparta), dies
1993 Bentri Seddik Algerian court judge, murdered at 46
1993 Kakuei Tanaka premier of Japan (1972-74), dies at 75
1993 Moses Gunn actor (Roots), dies of asthma at 64
1993 Ratu Penaia Ganilau President of Fiji (1987-93), dies at 75
1993 Richard Auwerda Dutch journalist/writer (Volkskrant), dies at 68
1994 Mary Durack poet, dies at 81
1994 Samuel Lipman music critic, dies at 60
1995 Nina Verchinina dancer choreographer/teacher, dies at 85
1996 Jean-Pierre Levy resistance leader, dies at 85
1996 Joe Coral bookmaker, dies at 92
1996 Quentin Bell artist author/teacher, dies at 86
1997 Nicolette Larson singer (Lotta Love), dies from brain seizure at 45
1997 Richard Warwick actor (Johnny Dangerously, Sebastine, If), dies at 52
On this day...
0882 John VIII ends his reign as Catholic Pope
0882 Marinus I begins his reign as Catholic Pope
1431 King Henry VI of England crowned king of France
1538 King François I orders renewed pursuit of Protestants
1577 Danzig surrenders to troops of Polish king István Báthory
1617 Spanish viceroy Hernando Arias de Saavedra founds provinces Río de la Plata (Argentina)/Guaira (Paraguay)
1631 Mount Vesuvius, Italy erupts, destroys 6 villages & kills 4,000
1653 Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of England, Scotland & Ireland
1659 General Monck demands free parliamentary election in Scotland
1689 English Parliament adopts Bill of Rights after Glorious Revolution
1740 Prussian Libya falls to Silezie
1761 Russian army occupies Kolberg
1767 Van Ritter von Glucks opera "Alceste" premieres
1773 Big tea party in Boston harbor-Indians welcome (Boston Tea Party)
1809 Napoleon Bonaparte divorces Empress Josephine by the French Senate
1811 Most violent & prolonged quakes in US begins in Midwest region; 8.0 earthquake shakes New Madrid MO
1817 Leaders of Molukkas uprising hanged in Ambon
1824 Great North Holland Canal opens
1835 Fire consumes over 600 buildings in New York NY
1838 Boers beat Zulu chieftain Dingaan in South Africa
1857 Earthquake in Naples, Italy
1858 Dutch government decides to vacate Schokland Island
1862 Kingdom of Nepal accepts its constitution
1864 Battle of Nashville ends after 4400 casualities
1877 Anton Bruckner's 3rd Symphony in D, premieres
1880 Republic of South-Africa forms
1884 Great Britain recognizes King Leopold II's Congo Free State
1886 Rift at Dutch Reformed Church over "Doleantie"
1890 Negro Methodist Episcopal Church founded in Jackson TN
1892 Commencement of 1st Sheffield Shield cricket game, South Africa vs New South Wales
1893 Anton Dvorak's "New World Symphony" premieres
1897 1st submarine with an internal combustion engine demonstrated
1900 Boer army under General Kritzinger take Cape colony
1903 Majestic Theater, New York NY, becomes 1st in US to employ women ushers
1905 "Variety", covering all phases of show business, 1st published
1907 Great White Fleet sails from Hampton Downs on its World Cruise
1907 Eugene H Farrar is 1st to sing on radio (Brooklyn Navy Yard NY)
1908 1st credit union in US forms (Manchester NH)
1909 US pressure forces Nicaraguan President José Santos Zelaya from office
1912 1st US postage stamp picturing an airplane, 20¢ parcel post, issued
1912 Austria-Hungary engage in conflict with Serbia
1913 Charlie Chaplin began his film career at Keystone for $150 a week
1914 French offensive in Artois (Pétain)
1915 Albert Einstein publishes his "General Theory of Relativity"
1918 Jack Dempsey KOs Carl Morris in 14 seconds
1920 Over 180,000 die when 8.6 earthquake destroys 15,000² miles (Kansu China)
1922 Mutual Association of Eastern Colored Baseball Clubs formally organizes
1922 New South Wales all out for 786 against South Australia Cricket
1924 Noel Coward's "Vortex" premieres in London
1926 WOW-AM in Omaha NE begins radio transmissions
1926 Darius Milhaud's opera "Le Pauvre Matelot" premieres in Paris
1926 Kenesaw Mountain Landis renewed 7-years as baseball commissioner
1927 Cricket 1st-class debut of Don Bradman, New South Wales vs South Australia
1929 1st NHL game at Chicago Stadium; Chicago Blackhawks beat Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-1
1930 Golfer Bobby Jones wins James E Sullivan Award
1931 German SPD begins Eiserne Front against fascism
1932 Heavy earthquake ravages Kansu China, 70,000 killed
1933 Abe de Vries & Sipke Castelein win Elfstedentocht
1936 John Monk & Fred Finklehoff's "Brother Rat" premieres in New York NY
1938 Bradman scores 143 South Australia vs New South Wales, 11 fours 91 singles
1939 Bradman scores 251 South Africa vs New South Wales, 271 minutes, 38 fours 2 sixes
1940 British air raid on Mannheim
1940 Joe Louis KOs Al McCoy in 6 for heavyweight boxing title in Chicago
1941 Sarawak occupied by the Japanese
1942 Hitler orders combat against partisans in Russia & Balkan
1943 "Tamiami Champion" trains collide, kills 73 & injures 200
1944 Battle of the Bulge begins in Belgium
1944 General Eisenhower's clerk Rickey marries corporal Pearlie
1944 German V-2 strikes Antwerp bioscope (638 kill)
1944 US 2nd Infantry division occupies "Heartbreak Crossroads" Wahlerscheid
1945 Cleveland Rams win NFL championship
1948 "Lend an Ear" opens at National Theater NYC for 460 performances
1949 Sukarno becomes President of Indonesia, Mokammed Hatta premier
1950 Truman proclaims state of emergency against "Communist imperialism"
1950 "Let's Make an Opera" closes at John Golden Theater NYC after 5 performances
1953 1st White House Press Conference (President Eisenhower & 161 reporters)
1953 Charles E Yeager flies over 2,575 kph (1,650 mph) in Bell X-1A (first man to fly at nearly two and one-half times the speed of sound)
1956 "Fanny" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 888 performances
1958 Bogotá warehouse fire kills 82
1959 Snow falling in Lowarai Pass West Pakistan kills 48
1960 134 die as United DC-8 & TWA Super Constellation collide over Staten Island, New York NY
1960 "Wildcat" opens at Alvin Theater NYC for 172 performances
1961 "Evening with Yves Montand" opens at John Golden NYC after 55 performances
1962 Constitutional Monarchical Hindu State of Nepál adopts new constitution
1962 New York Giant YA Tittle sets NFL season touchdown pass record at 33 with 6 touchdowns vs Dallas (41-31)
1962 David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" premieres
1964 US performs nuclear test at Pacific Ocean
1965 Gemini 6 returns to Earth
1965 Pioneer 6 launched into solar orbit
1965 Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, becomes King of Tonga
1966 Beatles release "Everywhere it's Christmas" in the UK
1966 Jimi Hendrix Experience releases its 1st single, "Hey Joe", in the UK
1967 Wilt Chamberlain of NBA Philadelphia 76ers scores 68 points vs Chicago
1968 KFIZ TV channel 34 in Fond du Lac WI begins broadcasting
1969 "War is Over! If You Want It, Happy Christmas from John & Yoko" posters begin appearing
1969 British House of Commons votes 343-185 abolishing the death penalty
1970 1st successful landing on Venus (USSR)
1970 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1971 Bangladesh (East Pakistan) declares independence from Pakistan
1971 Don McLean's 8+ minute version of "American Pie" released
1972 Miami Dolphins become 1st undefeated NFL team (14-0-0)
1973 O J Simpson becomes 1st NFLer to rush 2,000 yard in a season
1973 US kidnap victim Paul Getty III freed
1974 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1974 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakhstan/Semipalitinsk USSR
1975 1st broadcast of "One Day at a Time" on CBS TV
1975 Bill Veeck buys 80% of White Sox from John Allyn
1976 Government halts swine flu vaccination program following reports of paralysis
1976 Andrew Young named Ambassador & Chief US Delegate to UN
1976 Charlie Finley's $10 million damage suit against Bowie Kuhn begins
1976 Liberian tanker stranded at Nantucket, 180,000 barrels oil in sea
1978 Ronald Reagan denounces President Jimmy Carter's recognition of China People's Republic
1979 68th Davis Cup: USA beats Italy in San Francisco (5-0)
1979 QB Roger Staubach's last regular season game with the Dallas Cowboys
1980 President-elect Reagan announces Alexander Haig as Secretary of State
1981 Dutch Van Agt's 2nd government falls
1982 Tom Seaver agrees to new contract with Mets
1983 Riverside CA judge denies cerebral palsy victim Elizabeth Bouviato request to starve herself to death in a county hospital
1983 Yogi Berra named Yankee manager for 2nd time
1983 Spokesperson for The Who announces the group is disbanding
1985 Challenger moves to Vandenberg AFB for mating of STS 51-L mission
1987 Roh Tae Woo wins Presidential Election in South Korea
1988 Political cult leader Lyndon LaRouche convicted of tax, mail fraud
1989 Commencement of 1st Test Cricket play at Bellerive Oval, Hobart (v SL)
1989 Geoff Marsh completes 355 for Western Australia against South Australia
1990 KUSW, Salt Lake City UT, final short-wave radio transmissions
1990 Jean-Bertrand Aristide elected President of Haiti
1990 Reverend Jean Betrand Aristide elected President of Haiti
1991 UN reverses ruling that Zionism is racism by 111-25 (13 abstain) vote
1991 Florida Marlins sign their 1st player, 16 year old pitcher Clemente Nunez
1992 Israel orders deportation of 415 Palestinians after escalating terrorist activity
1993 "Red Shoes" opens at Gershwin Theater NYC for 5 performances
1993 Shannen Doherty (Brenda) is fired from Beverly Hills 90210
1994 Davy Jones (Monkees), charged with DWI
1997 President Clinton names his Labrador retriever, "Buddy"
Note: Some Holidays are only applicable on a given "day of the week"
Bahrain : National Day
Bangladesh : Victory Day (1971)
México : Posadas Days/Lodgings
Namibia, South Africa : Day of the Covenant
Nepál : Constitution Day (1962)
Pretoria, South Africa : Foretrekkers' Day
South Africa : Dingaan's Day (1838)
World : Underdog Day - - - - - ( Friday )
Old Roman Catholic : Feast of St Eusebius, bishop of Vercelli, martyr
1786 Birth of Konrad Kocher, German chorister and composer of the hymn tune DIX ("For the Beauty of the Earth"). Kocher did much to popularize four_part singing in the churches.
1826 Birth of John Ellerton, Anglican clergyman and writer of children's hymns. Among his better_known compositions are "Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise" and "Welcome, Happy Morning."
1867 Birth of Amy Carmichael, Scotch_Irish missionary. She went to India in 1895 under the Zenana Missionary Society, remaining there without furlough until her death 56 years later. An invalid her last 20 years, she worked to rescue children from Hindu cult prostitution, and founded the Dohnavur Fellowship in 1925.
1870 The Colored Methodist Church of America was established at Jackson, TN. Its name was changed in 1954 to the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The denomination today is comprised of approximately 3,000 congregations.
1935 Death of Walter S. Martin, 73, Disciples of Christ clergyman, teacher and evangelist. He is remembered best today as composer of the hymn tune GOD CARES ("Be Not Dismayed, Whate'er Betide" a.k.a. "God Will Take Care of You").
Thought for the day :
" When forced to choose between two evils, try the new one. "
posted on 12/16/2002 6:20:43 AM PST
posted on 12/16/2002 6:32:30 AM PST
To: 06isweak; 0scill8r; 100American; 100%FEDUP; 101st-Eagle; 101stSignal; 101viking; 10mm; 10Ring; ...
Drop on in at the FReeper Foxhole!
(If you would like to be added to or removed from this list, please send a FReepmail to AntiJen. Thanks!)
posted on 12/16/2002 6:43:02 AM PST
(Oh, and good morjning, everyone...)
Click the logo for more information.
The Veterans History Project is a unique opportunity for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to play an important role in the preservation of our national collective memory and to learn important lessons from the rich historical resource we have in our military veterans and civilians who served in support of the war effort.
posted on 12/16/2002 6:47:13 AM PST
Support Our Troops This Christmas
With the holidays approaching, thousands of Americans are again asking what they can do to show their support for servicemembers, especially those serving overseas in this time of war. Several organizations are sponsoring programs for members of the Armed Forces overseas. Click the holly below to find different ways you can express your support to US troops this Christmas season.
posted on 12/16/2002 6:49:42 AM PST
To: SAMWolf; AntiJen; MistyCA
SAM, thanks for sharing your history and scrounging talents with us everyday. I'm having a party tonight, so I may not be able to get back in here. I just wanted to let you know I appreciate and love the threads everyday.
To: Chad Fairbanks
posted on 12/16/2002 6:50:17 AM PST
Hi Spooky, take care of getting things ready for your party.
posted on 12/16/2002 6:51:23 AM PST
To: AntiJen; All
Good morning (-:
Thanks for the ping AntiJen
Have a great day
posted on 12/16/2002 6:56:34 AM PST
| 'These are the times that try mens souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.'
-- Thomas Paine
posted on 12/16/2002 6:57:08 AM PST
Thanks for posting this. The Bulge was always a topic of conversation in our house in the fifties. One uncle was with the Third Army's relief column (in a recon company), my dad was in one of the Air Corps groups that finally flew support and a neighbor was captured there. It seemed like our own.
posted on 12/16/2002 7:03:21 AM PST
My grandfather was the IG guy who investigated the Malmedy Massacre, which occurred only about 20 miles from where his identical twin brother was killed during WWI.
His comment was, simply: "here we were, fighting the same people, in the same place...."
posted on 12/16/2002 7:04:58 AM PST
The Malmedy Massacre
The U.S. 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion was stationed near the U.S. 7th Armored Division in Heerlen, Holland. Three groups of the battalion's Battery B, with roughly 140 men and 30 vehicles, were
assigned to accompany the 7th Armored Division southward. They were positioned in a convoy between
Combat Command R of the 7th Armored and the 7th Armored Artillery regiment.
At 11:45 a.m. Sunday, December 17, 1944, the convoy arrived at Malmédy, Belgium, proceeding slowly because of a major traffic jam.
At 12:15 p.m., the convoy stopped in front of the command post of the U.S. 291st Engineer Combat Battalion, which was the only defense of Malmédy at the time. The road was assigned to him by Lt. Col. David E. Pergrin, in command of the 291st, but Lieutenant Virgil T. Lary was informed of the presence of German tanks in Bullange.
Lary was advised to change his route in order to avoid a confrontation. But because Lary had the responsibility to check the road, he decided to keep to the path assigned him and run the risk. Thus the small group started on Highway N32 toward the northern wing of Kampfgrüppe Peiper, under S.S. Lt. Col. Jochen Peiper. They passed a dam established by the bridge engineers of the 291st and arrived at the crossroads of Baugnez. Two American MPs from the 518th detachment of the Military Police were guarding the crossroads. After Combat Command R passed, one of the MPs went on to lunch in Malmédy.
Private first class Homer Ford, the MP who remained, directed Lieutenant Lary's lead jeep to the road Lary wanted. After the convoy's last vehicle passed, the MP went into the cafe house at the crossroads and immediately heard a tank cannon fire. He realized that the Battery B convoy, which had just passed, was being attacked by a German column. Some GIs were killed in the initial attack. Others tried to defend themselves, throwing themselves in ditches. But against tanks, their trucks and jeeps were no equal.
To clear the way, the tanks pushed the vehicles of the American column to the low side of the road.
Lieutenant Lary, seeing himself unable to answer the attack, got up to go. Some men fled to the crossroads, where they hid behind the café with MP Ford.
Major Diefenthal arrived and the shooting ceased. The Germans found Ford and most of the other Americans who had left and brought them back to the crossroads where they were herded into a field near the cafe. About 120 GIs were lined up in eight rows.
Major Diefenthal got the German column moving, and left Major Poetshke with the prisoners. Poetschke withdrew two Panzer Mark IVs from the column and maneuvered the tanks so that the prisoners and the field were covered by their guns.
Then Sgt. Hans Siptrott, in command of Tank 731, received the order to open fire. He commanded his assistant gunner, SS Sturman Georg Fleps, to carry out the order. The soldier already had his gun out. He trained his gun on Lieutenant Lary's driver and fired. It was a few minutes after 14:00, or 2 p.m..
Lary did not understand what was happening. He ordered his men not to panic in order not to provoke even more serious shooting. But the tank machine-guns joined the shooting.
After the tanks mowed down all the prisoners, they left. Men of the German Pioneer unit entered the field to finish off any American showing signs of life. Many Americans were shot point-blank in the head by Private Gustav Sprenger. The Germans left some men to guard the crossroads and went away. Fortunately, a score of GIs, including Lary and Ford, miraculously were wounded but not dead. Private James Massara had not been hit even once. All at once, the Americans who were able to move got up and ran into the woods to the north. When they realized what was happening, the German guards opened fire.
Twelve of the escaping Americans left the road and took refuge in the cafe. The Germans set fire to the cafe, and the Americans were cut down in succession as they ran out from the blaze. Colonel Pergrin, who had remained in Malmédy, heard the shots and headed for the Baugnez crossroads in order to find out what had
When he reached the top of a hill overlooking the site of the slaughter, Pergrin saw four men, witnesses of the massacre, who had run into the woods. He took them back to Malmédy. Other survivors managed to return to positions of the 291th Engineer Combat Battalion. Only with nightfall did one of the last survivors, Warren Schmidt, join his lines. Schmidt had taken refuge in the icy water of a brook. Lieutenant Lary reached Pergin's command post at midnight.
On the whole, 17 survivors would return to Malmédy between 15:30 and midnight, and a total of 43 men would escape the massacre. The official report gave a list of 86 men cut down at the crossroads.
Great publicity followed the massacre. By the next day, most of the U.S. Army had heard of it. Certain American units tried to avenge the crime. On December 21, the headquarters of the 328th Infantry Regiment sent out orders for an attack planned the next day: "No SS troops or German paratroopers will be taken prisoner, but will be shot on sight."
After the war, a memorial was built around the massacre scene. It has 84 registered names engraved in a stone wall.
In April 1946, 74 Germans accused of war crimes in the Baugnez massacre were taken to Dachau, where their trial began May 16. Lieutenant Lary and Pfc. Ford testified. The German defendants were found guilty on July 16.
Of those judged, 43, including Colonel Peiper, were condemned to death. Twenty-two, including General
Sepp Dietrich, were sentenced to life in prison, and eight to prison sentences of between 10 and 20 years.
After a controversy over the investigation and prosecution of the case, all the death sentences were commuted in 1951, and everyone involved was freed by 1956.
Peiper's role in the massacre remains unclear. Though he was senior commander in the vicinity, he and his Kampfgrüppe are not believed to have been on the scene at the time of the crime.
posted on 12/16/2002 7:11:14 AM PST
Bump for the Foxhole
posted on 12/16/2002 7:13:59 AM PST
Thanks for your daily bump of the Foxhole.
posted on 12/16/2002 7:17:16 AM PST
To: Chad Fairbanks
posted on 12/16/2002 7:21:04 AM PST
Bump in memory of my uncle & bronze star recipient, Sgt Elwood Barry, a medic in the 84th infantry(Railsplitters) Belgium 12/44.
posted on 12/16/2002 7:24:58 AM PST
To: SpookBrat; SAMWolf; AntiJen; MistyCA
Yeah. What SpookBrat said, except I'm not having a party tonight. :)
My dad was a doctor. He served in a field hospital at The Bulge. Like many veterans he never spoke about it. What he saw and acted in must have been horrific beyond words.
posted on 12/16/2002 7:25:40 AM PST
To: ricpic; skeeter
I thank your fathers for their service.
posted on 12/16/2002 7:40:11 AM PST
Sorry Skeeter, make that your uncle.
posted on 12/16/2002 7:41:01 AM PST
Thoughts of my uncle, who gave the ultimate sacrifice at "The Buldge". He served in the 28th Division and left three young children.
posted on 12/16/2002 7:42:18 AM PST
bump for the Bulge. This nation will always be in debt to those who sacrificed so much.
The 28th took a beating the first few days of the Offensive, but they bought the time the 101st needed to get to Bastonge.
I thank your uncle for his service.
posted on 12/16/2002 8:01:08 AM PST
ROTFL... thanks, AntiJen...
Thanks for the thread. I haven't responded before, but I frequently lurk.
While my hat is off to Battle of the Bulge vets, lets not forget that another battle was raging on the other side of the world. Sometime before Christmas, 1944, my father was listed as MIA on Leyte, P.I. His family got word of this when their Christmas package was returned with the news. Most of his company was annihilated be he and a few others were recovered alive. I have his V-mail letter explaining that he was hospitalized on 3 Jan 45. He was with the 32nd Infantry divison. Actually, this marks the 60th anniversary of that outfit's terrible campaign in Buna, New Guinea (Dec 42). My father joined the 32nd as a replacement in April 43.
I thank your father for his service.
I plan on doing threads covering the Pacific Theatre. So Leyte Gulf will get a thread.
posted on 12/16/2002 8:21:04 AM PST
I know three men who participated in this battle. Two, my Uncle Mulford Jerrel, and my Uncle James Zickler, were on "our side". Both were truck drivers supporting Infantry. Mutt (Mulford) was caught in the open on a solid rock hillside. Artillery and tank fire opened up in his area. He was totally exposed so he proceeded to dig a foxhole with his barehands in the rock. He lost all of his fingernails but was not hit.
Jim survived also and went on to a career as a long-haul trucker - St. Louis to Cincinnati to Indianapolis to St. Louis - for the next 30 years.
The third person I knew well was Eberhart Reimers. He was on "the other side". As a 15 year old auxiliary trooper in the German Infantry he found himself in a foxhole with another young man his age. An artillery burst turned his companion into a red mist. His view was that wherever the Germans had a rifle the Americans had an artillery piece. He later went on to get his college education and emigrated to Cleveland. At the age of 50 he completed a Doctorate at University of Tokyo. You could turn him 15 years old again by asking about the Bulge.
My uncles would become 25 years old when asked about the Bulge.
All of the men there saw more death than any human being should.
posted on 12/16/2002 8:23:09 AM PST
posted on 12/16/2002 8:24:31 AM PST
But from a military strategy point of view (and this can easily be seen on the map above), while Bastogne was a strategically important major road junction for sustaining the attack, it was on the periphery of the attack and well behind the initial front lines.
The 2nd Armored "Hell on Wheels" Division moved 100 miles south in one night under highest security (no lights on icy roads) and met the German spearhead (2nd Panzer Division) as it approached the Meuse. In the ensuing battle (it peaked on Christmas Day) the Panzer Division was destroyed.
posted on 12/16/2002 8:26:09 AM PST
I thank your uncles for their service. It's fortunate that you were able to hear from the other side. My mom's family was on the other side too. None participated in the Bulge though.
posted on 12/16/2002 8:26:59 AM PST
I've got the DVD set on my Christmas list.
I can't wait to see this, I only saw the first episode on HBO. The book was excellent, Stephen Ambrose was a sad loss for historians.
posted on 12/16/2002 8:28:54 AM PST
When I talk to my uncle about the Battle of the Bulge, the first thing he says is, "We weren't prepared for that bitter cold! We lost more guys because their feet froze off then we did because of battle." I am going to quote from his 90th Infantry History of WWII:
"Trench foot, too, inflicted more than its share of casualties as the malady hit the 90th with epidemic force. Men limped into battle on senseless swollen feet. Some were carried to their weapons. P-47's of the XIX Tactical Air Force joined the fight, but not with guns or bombs. They came in low, swooped over the area at tree top level, and dropped their freight with heartening accuracy...medical supplies for the wounded and sick."
The above quote comes just days before the Battle of the Bulge, as the 90th fought to cross the Seigfried Line.
"December 15th, and the Division, fighting along the narrowest zone in its combat history, had made only minor penetrations into the Siegfried Line. Casualties due to wounds, sickness, exposure and trench foot, were wreaking havoc. Therefore, it was determined to storm into Dillingen itself, occupy the city as a stronghold, and then cross the Prims River, turning south to make contact with the 95th Division, still severely engaged in Saarlautern. The infantry, aided as usual by the effective support of armor and accurate artillery fire, pushed across the railroad tracks and reduced staunchly defended pillboxes which faced them in profusion.
In the fighting that followed, the 90th pushed resolutely into the city of Dillingen, clearing block after block of the enemy. The densest portions of the Siegfried Line had been successfully negotiated, and Dillingen was in process of falling to the 90th. House by house and room by room the 90th pushed through the city. In spite of the fact that no bridge had been built to span the Saar River, the Division had succeeded in crushing one by one the defenses that constituted the "invincible" Siegfried Line. The shadow of the 90th had fallen squarely on the heartland of Germany.
"And suddenly the picture changed. In the north, in Luxembourg and Belgium, General von Rundstedt hurled his best divisions into a final counteroffensive. Before the fury of the attack the American lines bent back. In the Moselle-Saar triangle another enemy assault was in preparation. The spearheads acrosss the Saar were exposed and vulnerable. In view of these rapidly altering developments, the 90th was ordered to disengage, to return its forces to the west bank of the Saar.
"Never before in the history of the Division had it disengaged, and its first experiene was fraught with difficulty and danger. Only one ferry, one footbridge and few assault boats were available for the maneuver that was to move the entire Division across the river under enemy observation.
"On December 19th the withdrawal began. As the troops retired they destroyed all equipment which might possibly be of aid to the enemy, mined the areas they abandoned and moved slowly westward. For three days the operation continued, while the enemy remained in complete ignorance of what was occurring. "Crews, working on the bridge and ferry sites, performed miracles in moving vehicles and armor across the Saar. roads on the eartern side became impassable, and each vehicle required winching through the mud and over the steep banks. Enemy artillery destroyed the ferry, and with only a few hours remaining in which to complete the withdrawal, 25 armored vehicles remained on the wrong side of the river. In the darkness and in the freezing waters, under continuous shelling the men at the river slaved through the night to salvage what they could. Only the wrechage of six vehicles remained as a prize for the Germans when the withdrawal was completed. "And so the crossing of the Saar was successfully accomplished, the Siegfried Line Cracked, and another triumph almost with the grasp of the 90th. But the fortunes of war had not entirely erased the Division's achievements at Dillingen. For now the men of the 90th knew that the Siegfried Line could be broken, and they knew also that if they had done it once they could do it again."
posted on 12/16/2002 8:30:58 AM PST
posted on 12/16/2002 8:31:41 AM PST
"The Malmedy Massacre ."
This is the first time I have seen the details of the massacre. Sad. --- Can you sent this to Senator Clinton, so she can learn some valuable history ?
posted on 12/16/2002 8:31:57 AM PST
The 2nd Armoured kicked the 2nd Panzer's ass at Celles.
It was the closet the Germans made it to the Meuse River.
posted on 12/16/2002 8:31:57 AM PST
Thanks Misty. Good report on the 90th.
posted on 12/16/2002 8:34:51 AM PST
The 28th took a beating the first few days of the Offensive, but they bought the time the 101st needed to get to Bastonge.
One hell of a beating.
The 28th Infantry Division in World War II
On Feb. 17, 1941 , the 28th Division was ordered into federal service for one year of active duty. TheJapanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 led soldiers of the 28th to remain on active for the duration of the war. Having conducted specialized combat training ineverything from offensive maneuvers in mountainous terrain to amphibious warfare, the Division's intensive training agenda culminated in its deployment to England on Oct. 8,1943.
After another 10 months of training in England and Wales, the first elements of the Division entered combat on July 22, 1944, landing on the beaches of Normandy. From Normandy, the 28th advanced across western France, finding itself in the thick of hedgerow fighting through towns such as Percy, Montbray, Montguoray, Gathemo and St. Sever de Calvados by the end of July 1944. The fury of assaults launched by the 28th Infantry Division led the German Army to bestow the Keystone soldiers with the title "Bloody Bucket" Division.
In a movement north toward the Seine in late August, the Division succeeded in trapping the remnant of the German 7th Army through Vorneuil, Breteuil, Damville, Conches, Le Neubourg and Elbeuf before entering Paris to join in its liberation. The famous photograph of American troops before the Arc de Triomphe, marching in battle parade down the Champs Elysees, shows the men of 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. With no time to rest, the Division moved on to fight some of the most bloody battles of the War the day following the parade.
The advance continued through the Forest of Compeigne, La Fere, St. Quentin, Laon, Rethel, Sedan, Mezieres, Bouillon and eventually across the Meuse River into Belgium. The Keystone soldiers averaged 17 miles a day against the resistance of German "battle groups." The city of Arlon, Belgium, fell to a task force as the Division fanned out into Luxembourg in early September.On September 11, 1944, the 28th claimed the distinction of being the first American unit to enter Germany.
After hammering away in assaults which destroyed or captured 153 pillboxes and bunkers, the Division moved north toward the Siegfried Line, clearing the Monschau Forest of German forces. After a brief respite, the Keystone soldiers made another move northward to the Huertgen Forest in late September. Attacks in the forest began November 2, 1944. The 28th Infantry Division stormed into Vossenack, Kommerscheidt and Schmidt amid savage fighting and heavy losses.
By November 10, the 28th began to move south, where it held a 25-mile sector of the front line along the Our River. It was against this thinly fortified division line that the Germans unleashed the full force of their winter Ardennes "blitzkreig" offensive. Five Axis divisions stormed across the Our River the first day, followed by four more in the next few day. Overwhelmed by the weight of enemy armor and personnel, the Division maintained its defense of this sector long enough to throw Von Runstedt's assault off schedule. With allied forces able to a move in to counterattack, the "Battle of the Bulge" ensued, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy forces.
Having sustained a devastating 15,000 casualties, the 28th withdrew to refortify. But within three weeks, the Division was back in action. By January 1945, Division soldiers had moved south where they served with the French First Army in the reduction of the "Colmar Pocket." The 109th Infantry Regiment was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for its action which helped lead to the liberation of Colmar, the last major French city in German hands. By February 23, 1945, the Division returned north to the American First Army. The 28th was in position along the Olef River when an attack was launched on March 6, 1945, carrying the Division to the Ahr River. Schleiden, Germund, Kall, Sotenich, Sistig and Blankenheim all fell in a raid advance. By early April, the Division moved west of the Rhine and took up occupation duties in the area north of Aachen along the Holland-German border. Permanent occupation came two weeks later at the Saurland and Rhonish areas. In early July 1945, the 28th began its redeployment to the U.S.
The Division was deactivated on December 13, 1945. Five campaign streamers - Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes-Alsace, Rhineland, and Central Europe - were earned during World War II, in addition to the Croix de Guerre.
To find out how you can become one of the proud soldiers
of the 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized), click here
, for information.
Return To...The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Please send technical comments and problems to http://sites.state.pa.us/webmaster.htm .
This page was last updated at 01:18:15 PM, on Thursday, May 04, 2000.
posted on 12/16/2002 8:38:24 AM PST
To: SAMWolf; Militiaman7; Jim Robinson; dcwusmc; Eastbound; Trueblackman; A Navy Vet; ...
Another GREAT thread. Thanks for all your hard work in keeping history alive. :)
To: AntiJen; SAMWolf
Hi guys! I can't spend much time here today, but wanted to add my two cents about this subject. :)
posted on 12/16/2002 8:44:52 AM PST
Hi Spooky! Have fun at the party! :)
posted on 12/16/2002 8:45:27 AM PST
Thanks to your family for their service.
posted on 12/16/2002 8:46:52 AM PST
I am sorry about the loss of your grandfather's brother. Thanks to your family for their service and their tremendous sacrifice toward freedom.
posted on 12/16/2002 8:47:57 AM PST
posted on 12/16/2002 8:48:40 AM PST
In memory of your uncle, thank you. I am very sorry for your loss, and the loss to your family.
posted on 12/16/2002 8:49:47 AM PST
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