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Penetrating Hitler's Siegfried Line


From the February, 1945, 80th Division G-2 After Action Report:


"Prior to the attack of the Siegfried Line by the 80th Division, in the sector along the Our and Sauer Rivers, from Bettel to Bollendorf, the enemy was believed to have the following capabilities:


A.  To defend along the high ground of the Siegfried defenses with elements of the 352nd and 212th Volks Grenadier Divisions.


B.  To delay in successive positions utilizing the Siegfried Line, the high ground east of the Gay River, and towns, crossroads and other critical terrain features.


C.  To counter-attack our penetration with Panzer Division or hastily constructed battle groups from the 9th or 79th Volks Grenadier Divisions.



During the month, the enemy made use of all three capabilities.  Stubborn resistance from heavy small arms and automatic weapons fire, supported by large caliber artillery and mortar fire, in the Siegfried Line defenses, resulted in fierce pillbox-to-pillbox fighting.  Frequent counter-attacks were launched by the enemy in vain efforts to recapture lost positions.  As the breakthrough materialized, the enemy switched his strategy to one of delay in successive positions.  Finally, when the extent of our breakthrough had been realized, the 2nd Panzer Division was committed against the 80th Division, only to be badly mauled and beaten.  The vaunted Siegfried Line was completely overrun in the 80th Division zone during a two-week period and 4,095 prisoners of war were processed during the month.  On 1 February 1945, the 80th Infantry Division was holding the central portion of the XII U.S. Corps zone.  The enemy front lines ran generally along the east bank of the Our and Sauer Rivers, from Bettel to Bollendorf, which was the German border and Siegfried Line.  Enemy pockets existed west of the rivers in the vicinity of Bettel, Ammellingen and Goesdorf.  Facing the 80th Division, were elements of two Volks Grenadier Divisions – 352nd and the 212th.  These two were the first of several divisions to be encountered during the month.  The enemy was manning the pillboxes on the high ground overlooking our positions, and remained alert in his outposts of the Siegfried Line.  The situation remained generally quiet, with light artillery and mortar fire being received in the division zone on 1-2 February."



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