FIRST US ARMY REPORT

G-2 PERIODIC REPORT
ENEMY OPERATIONS AND
UNITS IN CONTACT
FIRST US ARMY

 

                                                         

152300 December 1944

Progress in the VII Corps zone continued, hotly and bitterly disputed by determined enemy troops. A counter-attack was launched by the enemy northeast of Guerzenich (F 0844). Strong opposition was met by the 83rd US InfD southwest of Berzbuir (F 1041); but the 5th US ArmdD Div met only light resistance as Kufferath (F 1040) was cleared. Three bridges were blown by the enemy during the day: at F 1047, east of Hoven (F 0848) and East of Pier (F 0753). Pillboxes, mines wire and constant artillery fire slowed the advances considerably in the V Corps zone in the Siegfried Line defenses. Fighting in Kesternich (F 0024) continues as our troops continue to attack pillboxes one by one. Quiet prevailed in the VIII Corps zone during the period. Prisoners of war report that troops of the 1 SS Panzer Division were seen in Wollersheim (F1731) on 2 December and in Vettweiss (F 2038) on 7 Dec.

G-2 PERIODIC REPORT
ENEMY OPERATIONS AND
UNITS IN CONTACT
FIRST US ARMY

162300 December 1944

VII Corps troops pressed on to occupy Guerzenich (F 0844), Berzbuir (F 1041) and Kufferath (F 1040). The later two towns as well as Mariaweiler (F 0447), were subjected to increased artillery fire. In the V Corps zone, an enemy counterattack late in the afternoon in the southern part of Kesternich (F 0024) was broken up before any penetration was made. The 1st Bn of the 753 Inf Regt (326th Inf Div) was identified by prisoners of war during the fighting. According to the prisoners of war, the battalion came from Einruhr (F 0421) to make the attack. the regimental CP of the 752nd Inf Regt (326 Inf Div) was reported by prisoners of war to be at F 0219. The Bergstein (F 0633) area received heavy artillery concentrations and the enemy exerted considerable pressure throughout the period. The VIII Corps front sprang to life with sudden vigor as enemy troops launched a series of jabbing attacks of battalion strength or less from Kronenburg (L 1097) to Echternach (L 0535). Early this morning enemy artillery opened up along the whole Corps front, followed by an attack in company strength at Krewinkel (L 0493). One tank and 75 infantry followed up the unsuccessful attack with another, equally unprofitable. Three tanks supported a company of infantry in a move toward Roth (L0490); and a battalion attacked Heckhuscheid (P 9277) with local success. The capture of two prisoners of war from the 27th Inf Regt (12th Inf Div) suggested that elements of the division were west of Kronenburg (L 1097). The division had previously been operating on the VII Corps front and was believed to have incorporated the remnants of 47 Inf Div. All three regiments of the latter have been identified on the VII Corps front, but they are believed to be only remnants. The 2 Bn of the 156 Panzer Grenadier Regt (116 Panzer Div) was identified by prisoners of war who stated that 3 combat patrols of 50- 60 men each from the Bn had the mission of attacking in the general area of P9873. To the south at P 8062, 38 Pz Eng Bn and 304 Pz Grenadier Regt (2 Pz Div) attacked during the morning and made some limited progress. In the vicinity of Berdorf (L 0038) and Echternach (L 0535) an estimated two companies of infantry attacked across the Sauer River but the 4th US Infantry Division reported the attack contained. Attempts by the enemy tp throw a bridge across the river was frustrated by our artillery fire. The capture of prisoners of war at Echternach identified elements of both the 986 and 988 Inf Regts (276 Inf Div), last reported reforming in Dresden. As if these identifications were no sufficient. the 1130 Inf Regt (560 Inf Div) was encountered generally northeast of Echternach and one prisoner of war was captured from the 62 Inf Div in the area North of Prum (L0679). The sudden attacks and seemingly overpowering array of six enemy divisions identified within twelve hours should not be misinterpreted. The quality of divisions involved, the piecemeal efforts to launch small scale attacks and the apparent lack of long range objectives would seem to limit the enemyís threat More Exactly, the enemy appears to be launching a major diversionary attack to force the hurried withdrawal of our divisions from the vital Colgne and Saar River areas to meet the Eifel threat, Until the magnitude of the enemyís attack increases in more cohesive action or until one or more elements of the 6th SS Panzer Army are committed on the VIII Corps front, the dayís events cannot be regarded as a major long term threat.

G-2 Periodic Report
HQ TWELVE ARMY GROUP
172300 December 1944

An attack by 150 infantry and several self-propelled guns in support followed the heavy shelling of Derichweiler (F 0745) and Guerzenich (F 0844) in the VII Corps zone. Upon receiving many casualties from our artillery the attack turned toward Birgel (F 0942) but with equal lack of success. Another small attack at Mariaweiler (F0947), in which the 103 Infantry Regiment (47 InfD) was identified, was easily contained. The 83rd US InfD reached the banks of the Roer River at F 1045 this morning against little opposition entering Rolsdorf (F 1044) and Lendersdorf (F 1142). The small number of enemy parachutists appear to have dropped from two enemy aircraft gone astray; and a German NCO gave his mission as the disruption of communications and the prevention of reinforcements moving south. Preliminary interrogations reveal that the major or only parachute unit involved was Kampfgruppe VON DER HEYDE with an estimated 400 parachute troops. Von der Hyde was formerly commanding officer of 6 Parachute Regiment; and prisoners have reported that he was in charge of a Kampfschule in Aalten, Holland, where many parachutists of 6 Parachute Regiment were assigned before the unitís commitment on the VII Corps front. An estimated 40 places were involved in the landings, principally over the V Corps lines. In the northern and central V Corps zone the enemy attempted three counter-attacks north of Kesternich (F 0024) during 16 December, succeeded in making a penetration to Monschau (K 9418), and in general exerted strong pressure on our troops. But his main effort was on the southern flank of the 99th US InfD where, during 16 December, repeated attacks of company and battalion strength were launched between F 0303 and L 0198, succeeding in making some infiltrations and penetrations that were later restored. Early this morning, however, enemy tanks overran our positions in Honsfeld (P 9699). By 0900 hours, 30 enemy tanks were reports moving between Butgenbach (K 9104) and Bullingen (K 9502) while enemy infantry infiltrated to Hunnungen (K 9700) and Krinkelt (K 9704). A heavy concentration of infantry, at least 30 tanks, half-tracks and horse drawn vehicles; all bumper to bumper, were moving northwest from K 9502 to 9104. They were attacked by our fighter-bombers. Enemy vehicles were marked with white circles which, from the air, resembled our stars. One significant identification however, was made during this strong German thrust: 3 Company of the 25 SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment (12 SS Panzer Division), the first unit identified in contact of the Sixth SS Panzer Army, at F 0104. Prisoner of war statements emphasized that 1 SS Panzer Division was also ready for commitment in this area, indicating that at least one SS Panzer Corps is involved in a major thrust. It appears that a strong counter-offensive has been launched by the enemy, the 12 SS Panzer Division moving toward St Vith (P 8687) and Malmedy (K 7805) from the north and east and 116 Panzer Division moving toward St Vith from the Southeast. Captured documents indicate that ST Vith is the first objective in this area to be followed by exploitations to the west and northwest, possibly with Liege (K 4739) in mind. The secondary intent appears still to be the relief of our strong pressure in the Colgne and Saar River sectors and the continued threat of steady pressure on the central VIII Corps front. Should the enemy believe that he is succeeding in his counteroffensive, it is not impossible that the other half of the Sixth SS Panzer Army will attempt a drive to the southwest along the Meuse River from the general area of Erkelenz (F 0177). Enemy troops converged from the north and south on Schonberg (P 9589), attempting to cut off our forces to the east in the Schnee Eifel. Infantry and tanks of the 116 Panzer Division pushed to P8982 and to P 8987, overrunning several batteries of our corps artillery in this area. So far only the 156 Panzer Grenadier Regiment has been identified, but documentary evidence indicates that 60 Panzer Grenadier Regiment is also present. Prisoners from the 2nd Battalion of the 304 Panzer Grenadier Regiment (2 Panzer Div) , captured at Marnach (P 8602), say the division arrived two days ago. The 15 Parachute Regiment (5 Parachute Div) was identified in the area west of P 9547 and the 916 Infantry Regiment (352 Infantry Div) on the 28th US InfD right flank. Prisoners from 5 Parachute Div say the regiment left Holland recently for Aachen but were committed un their present sector instead and that the main purpose of the present offensive was to force us to withdraw troops from the Aachen area. Echternach (p 9835) is still surrounded by the enemy with fighting raging in nearby towns. The 164, 183, and 190 Infantry regiments (62 Inf Div) were all identified by prisoners in the vicinity of P 9379. The division was organized in Neuhammer, near Berlin, according to the prisoners; left on 27 Nov and arrived two days ago at Wittlich (L 3954); and came into the line the night of 15-16 Nov.