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Clearing The Ardennes


From the 80th Division G-2 A.A. report: "The period under consideration could well be entitled 'The German Rear Guard Action' as it was during the month Of January that the enemy's Ardennes Offensive collapsed against the onslaught of the Allies' counter-offensive.  In an effort to salvage the remnants of the battered armies from complete annihilation, several German Infantry Divisions were left at the 'hinges' of the salient to forestall any offensive Allied action, either from the North or from the South to close the escape route to the Siegfried Line.  This was accomplished by staging almost continual small-scale, limited objective counter-attacks to prevent the Allies from launching a full scale offensive in the areas adjacent to the Siegfried Line.  The launching of the great Russian offensive in the East on 14 January made even more desperate the German position in the West.  Too great a force had been committed in the West for him to counter the rapidly advancing Russian drives to the German border.  As a result, the Germans were obliged to transfer at once a great portion of his broken forces for commitment on the Eastern Front.  This sudden swing to the East lent even more importance to the rear guard action in the West.  The Germans were playing for time, which was their only salvation.  Delay of the Allies was all-important.  The 80th Infantry Division's Sector was included in this delaying rear-guard action of the Germans.



With the dawn of the new year, the 80th Infantry Division held a North-South line on the left (West) flank of the XII Corps. Confronting our positions from North to South were elements of three German Volks Grenadier Divisions: 9th,  276th and 352nd.  With the route of the German's offensive in the Ardennes, the German attitude changed to one of aggressive defense and delay, in an effort to withdraw his battered remnants into the Siegfried Line.  Enemy activity in the zone of the 80th Division from 1-5 January, consisted mainly of aggressive patrolling and moderate artillery, nebelwerfer and mortar fire throughout the sector.  On 6 January, the 80th Division launched a limited objective attack across the Sure River and seized Goesdorf and Dahl.  This attack took the Germans completely by surprise and caught them during the relief of elements of the 9th VG Division by elements of the 276th VG Division.  Enemy resistance against our attacking forces steadily increased during the day, however, with heavy artillery and nebelwerfer concentrations slowing our advancing troops.  During the ensuing three days, the enemy staged numerous counter-attacks on our Sure River bridgehead in efforts to recapture the commanding ground of this area.  These attacks were accompanied by heavy artillery, nebelwerfer and mortar concentrations.  All enemy thrusts were repulsed.  Prisoners captured brought new identifications of the Fusilier Battalion of Der Fuehrer Brigade, elements of the 519th GHQ Heavy Anti-Tank Battalion and of the 406th Volks Artillery Corps."


The 702nd Tank Battalion S-2 Journal reported that during the first two days of January  the 80th Division sector was again harassed by those mysterious German marked, American built P-47 fighter-bombers, with red noses.  The 80th Division G-3 report states that during the January 6th attack, one hundred four prisoners were captured.  The next day, during a German counterattack, sixty-seven prisoners were captured.  The 702nd Tank Battalion After Action S-2 report for January, 1945, filed by Capt. Carl Nordstrom stated that German units in contact, 79th VG Division, 226th VG Regt. located at Kehmen P7840, Scheidel P7845 and vicinity of Diekirch P8742.  208th VG Regt. located vicinity Ringel P7648.  Elements of the 9th VG Division at Goesdorf P722466.  352nd VG Division in vicinity of Burden and Erpeldange.  276th VG Division in the vicinity of coordinates P709510.  519th GHQ Heavy A.T. Bn. in the vicinity of Dahl.  Fuehrer Brigade in the vicinity of Dahl.  406th Volks Artillery Corps, in the vicinity of Roermerberg.  German espionage/sabotage teams infiltrated U.S. lines in G.I. uniforms.  This method caused our troops to be acutely sensitive to military security, making up for a laxity heretofore, very evident.  The hills, many rivers and creeks aided the German holding action."



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