Download Ardennes - Alsace Campaign by Blackhawk Films.; Eastin-Phelan Corporation PDF

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The Germans gained about 10 miles during NORDWIND’s first four days, heading directly for the Saverne Gap that linked the XV and VI Corps. Both American corps commanders responded quickly to the threat. Haislip’s XV Corps plugged the northwestern exits to the Low Vosges with Task Force Harris, units of the 14th Armored and 100th Divisions, and a regiment from the 36th Infantry Division, which Eisenhower had released from theater reserve. Brooks’ VI Corps did the same, stripping its Lauterbourg and Rhine fronts and throwing in Task Force Herren, combat engineers converted to infantry, and units of the 45th and 75th Infantry Divisions to plug holes or block routes out of the Low Vosges.

Mud threatened to trap much of the force, but nature intervened with a “Russian High,” a cold snap and snowstorm that turned the trails 32 from slurry to hard ground. While the Germans seemed temporarily powerless to act, the St. Vith defenders on 23 December, in daylight, withdrew across the Salm to reform behind the XVIII Airborne Corps front. Ridgway estimated that the successful withdrawal added at least 100 tanks and two infantry regiments to his corps. The St. Vith defense purchased five critical days, but the situation remained grave.

The Germans made narrow inroads against the 44th’s line near Rimling during fighting characterized by constant American counterattacks supported by French armor and Allied air attacks during clear weather. After four days of vicious fighting the XIII SS Corps’ initial offensive had stalled. The XC and LXXXIX Corps attacked near Bitche with four infantry divisions abreast. Advancing through the Low Vosges, they gained surprise by forgoing artillery preparations and by taking advantage of fog and thick forests to infiltrate Task Force Hudelson.

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