United States located in the town for their own usage. By Dec. 23, as the Germans shattered their flanks, the defendersâ position became untenable, and U.S. troops were ordered to retreat west of the Salm River. Six of the titan Tiger tanks attack from the Schoenberg-St. Vith road against American positions on the Prumberg. The offencive started on 16 December 1944 The Germans tried to repeat their 1940 performance and drive the Allies to a new Dunkirk Shells, bits of half-track found at the base of Lindscheid Hill. Proceed straight across into Klosterstrasse and about a quarter of a mile on the right can be seen a monument dedicated to the 106th Infantry Division. Large pits dug into the ground, which once were the emplacements for artillery pieces such as 155mm and 8 inch howitzers. The Battle of St. Vith, which began Dec. 16, 1944, was part of the Battle of the Bulge. A different group of scattered American soldiers numbering some 500 men surrender later, and by 8 a.m. Dec. 21, all organized resistance by U.S. forces in the Schnee Eifel pocket ends. LUXEMBOURG TOURS Soldier Memories about the Battle of the Bulge. This spot just about marks the boundary between the 422nd and the 423rd. About one hundred yards was where the 589th FAB had its outpost on 16 December. There are two really good museums that are worth a visit but are about an hour’s drive away. Be prepared to do a lot of walking over rough terrain, so dress accordingly. The German southern pincer, advancing from Bleialf against scattered American resistance, closes at nightfall on the Schnee Eifel Dec. 17. Turn right onto the E42, marked Verviers, Spa, eventually St Vith will be reached. The Ardennesâ most populous cities are Verviers in Belgium and Charleville-MÃ©ziÃ¨res in France, both exceeding 50,000 inhabitants. Left is signposted Schwarzer Mann, or as the Americans called it, ‘Bogeyman Hill’. Leaving the car here, by two solitary buildings one of which was the 590th headquarters, you can. There is a memorial on the left at the top of the heights to the men of the Engineers. By midnight he sets up the beginnings of a âhorseshoe defenseâ of St. Vith, a line of units to the north, east and south of town. + Add to calendar 2020-12-16 11:00:00 AM 2020-12-16 12:00:00 PM America/Mexico_City 945 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 Lunchbox Lecture: "The Battle of St. Vith" by Mike Alexander During this Lunchbox Lecture, Mike Alexander will discuss how an unlikely collection of combat units delayed both the 5th and 6th Panzer Armies from a complete breakthrough in the … The 7th Armored Division fought a running battle out of St. Vith on December 23, 1944. The German Ardennes-Alsace Campaign attack is thrown in force at U.S. 106th Infantry Division. St. Vith represented the right flank in the advance of the German offensive, which intended a pincer movement on U.S. forces through the Losheim Gap and toward the ultimate objective of Antwerp. As the German plan called for the capture of St. Vith by 6 p.m. Dec. 17, the prolonged action in and around it presented a major blow to their timetable. If you, The next hamlet along ‘Skyline Drive’ is Radscheid. Or, carry straight on looking out for a sign for Bleialf. Most of the villages have been rebuilt since the war. St Vith, Lion in the Way by Colonel R Ernest Dupuy, reprinted by The Battery Press, INC, The Official Divisional History Last Assault by Charles Whiting, Leo Cooper, 1994, Healing the Child Warrior by Richard W Peterson Ph.d (A member of the 106th Division) U.S. Army in World War II The Ardennes, Battle of the Bulge by Hugh M. Cole, Deputy, Theater Historian, European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army. This was the sight of Divisional Headquarters. Monument to the 106th Infantry Division in St Vith. This was the way the 18th Volksgrenadier Division came in their attack on the southerly pincer move around the Schnee Eifel. Before dawn on Dec. 16, a German artillery bombardment preceded a powerful attack along a 40-mile front that overran the U.S. 106th and 28th Infantry Divisions. Moving on will eventually bring you to Hill 504. A little before 5:30 a.m., a selective German artillery bombardment begins to fall on 106thâs forward positions on the Schnee Eifel, moving gradually back to the division headquarters in St. Vith. It became known as ‘Little Verdun’, because it was captured and retaken so many times during the conflict. There is still much to see on the top of the hill, numerous foxholes and shell craters. Many of the characters in this article give their personal reflections of the battle there.) Opposite, there used to be a dance hall, owned by Herr Kessler, captured American Officers were brought for interrogation. Now all is calm, the stately fir trees give welcome shade from the sun, but even now, standing alone next to a front line foxhole, starts the mind racing on how it must have been. St. Vith area and surroundings, Monschau-Habscheid Zone, December 15-19th, 1944. The 1st and 2nd Battalions were here behind Hill 536 at daybreak on 19 December. These are good value for money. This double envelopment comes as a complete surprise to U.S. forces due to intelligence failures at First Army level. Here, they hold the village for the day; after dark, they destroy their vehicles and abandon their positions, withdrawing to St. Vith. The Germans overrun Bleialf and Andler. CHAPTER XII. Opposite the school is a bar, this was once Dietrich’s Headquarters for a time. The Battle of St. Vith was part of the Battle of the Bulge, which began on December 16, 1944, and represented the r Arriving in Europe in late 1944, they were immediately, and with very little battle experience, thrust into battle at St Vith. During summer, needless to say, everywhere dries out, so fire is a big risk. Most of the Ardennes is in southeastern Wallonia, the southern and more rural part of Belgium. He had a meal in the cafe/bar opposite (Cafe Zwicker). The 1st and 2nd Battalions were here behind Hill 536 at daybreak on 19 December. Just look for the ‘Bit Burger’ signs, an excellent local brew. This is a sketch map, not to scale, but the furthest German advance covers about five miles. The 106th Infantry Divisionâs 422nd and 423rd Infantry Regiments are encircled and cut off from the rest of the division by a junction of enemy forces near Schoenberg. The First Attacks at St. Vith. Hidden from Allied air surveillance, the Germans massed their forces to attack through the Ardennes hoping to reach open ground beyond the Meuse for a dash to the coast. All villages have at least one. This marks the most extensive defeat suffered by American forces in the European Theater of Operations. To mark the spot there is a memorial with a 105mm Howitzer in position. Devine directs the squadron to take up positions on a new defense line along the ridge running from Manderfeld to Andler, on the north side of the Our River. U.S. forces are able to outrun the panzers and join forces with XVIII Airborne Corps. WAHLERSCHEID – The terrible Wahlerscheid Crossroads Battle “Heartbreak Crossroads” (99th Infantry and U.S 2nd Division). This whole area was jammed with vehicles from the regiment, unable to cross the boggy ground. Or, you can stay in any of the numerous ‘Gasthaus’ or smaller hotels scattered around the area. In the centre is the Church, it was around this, that there was particularly vicious fighting those first few days. The famous American author Kurt Vonnegut was one such prisoner that passed through here. But once again, please be careful as there is still a lot of live ammunition kicking about. St. Vith sector. The majority of these bunkers, not destroyed during the conflict, were finally blown by the French in 1949. In my opinion, it was CCB that influenced the subsequent action and caused the enemy so much delay and so many casualties in and near this important area. Quite a pleasing site after scrambling around the rugged terrain. Battle of the Bulge; Part of the Western Front of World War II: American soldiers of the 117th Infantry Regiment, Tennessee National Guard, part of the 30th Infantry Division, move past a destroyed American M5A1 "Stuart" tank on their march to recapture the town of St. Vith during the Battle of the Bulge, January 1945. A âRussian Highâ begins blowing â a cold wind from the northeast and clear weather â freezing the ground and allowing free movement of tracked vehicles and the use of Allied air superiority. This road was called ‘Skyline Drive’ or ‘Skyline Boulevard’ by the Americans. COL Charles Cavender of 423rd Regiment counterattacks, which retakes the village of Bleialf. Schnee Eifel. Follow the road across the bridge of the Ihrenbach stream – it starts to climb again. The LVIII Panzer Corpsâ advance south of St. Vith threatens to close a pincer around the entire St. Vith salient at Vielsalm, 11 miles west of St. Vith, trapping most of First Army. It is now a private house. Also, it was on this part of the road that the unsuspecting German Volkswagen fell into line with the convoy of M8 armoured cars, and was consequently shot to bits. This area is called Justenschlag. This fact has caused many to lose sight of the importance of St. Vith and the gallant stand made for its defense by elements of corps troops, by remnants of 106th Division and by [Combat Command B (CCB)] of 7th Armored Division. The 106th Infantry Division (422nd and 423rd Regiments), a âgreenâ unit, replaces the veteran 2nd Infantry Division Dec. 11 in the area of St. Vith and the Schnee Eifel (Snow Plateau). The Battle of the Bulge was the name given to a major German counter-attack launched against US forces in Belgium. The German plan - LXVI Corps, 5th Panzer-Armee was assigned the capture of St. Vith. Into Schonberg, this is another place that has been rebuilt, even the bridge across the Our River is in a slightly different location. See location map of 589th FAB for more details. From the ferry port of Ostende, take the main motorway number E40 and head for Brugge, Gent, Brussels, Liège. His body was found nearby. Timeline of Battle of St. Vith. In the centre is the Church, it was around this, that there was particularly vicious fighting those first few days. The 3rd Battalion, what was left of it, was pulled back up the trail to the top. Americans fall back to a defensive line with 7th Armored Division on the left and 106thâs 424th Regiment on the right. Its population in 1944 was about 2,000, and its citizens were very much pro-German. Attacks from 1st SS Panzer Division have cut the Rodt-St. Vith road. It is where Cavender gave the orders to attack Schonberg and was immediately hit by an artillery bombardment. The next hamlet along ‘Skyline Drive’ is Radscheid. Munitions are still lying about and are very dangerous, be careful what you pick-up. SEE REPORT PAGE 2 for After Action Reports of preparation and fighting of the entire 30th during the St. Vith Offensive of January, 1945. A brass plate on the stone has an inscription to the men of the 106th and says, ‘Dedicated to the Men of the 106th Infantry Division who fought and died for their country 1944–45.’. Come back to the crossroads and turn right on to the N26. Under orders from Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, 7th Armored gave up St. Vith Dec. 21, 1944, and U.S. troops fell back to positions supported by 82nd Airborne Division to the west, as noted. Continue on the main road, follow it to the top of the hill where it comes out on a curve. POTEAU -VIELSALM – The Battles for Vielsalm, St Vith & the Poteau Crossroads near Recht. The Battle of St. Vith, which began Dec. 16, 1944, was part of the Battle of the Bulge. Parts of 106th are deployed east, with most of its force isolated on the Schnee Eifel. Roads in the area are marked L: (Landes) = Country, K (Kreis) = County and B (Bundes) = National. They subsequently liberated this local area in January 1945. 'Bulge' refers to the German penetration of the US lines during the battle. Viewing south from this point, you will see where the main effort of the German attack came from, in their final onslaught to take Bleialf on 17 December. under way in the 7th Armored zone, Rodt was the junction point between CCA, still holding the division north flank, and CCB, raising a new line along the low hill chain that extended south of the village. The famous photographs and propaganda German newsreel film of American prisoners being marched away was filmed alongside the River Our in this vicinity. Moving along the Schonberg road towards Heuern (81st Combat Engineers HQ) look out for a decorative wrought iron works on the right, immediately, If you stay on this small road and get to Meyerode, there in the village outside the school is a German 75mm anti-tank gun. Come back to the crossroads and turn right on to the N26. Therefore St. Vith was a âmust captureâ by the German LXVI Corps and its 5th and 6th Panzer armies. St. Vith was largely destroyed during the ground battle and subsequent air attack. German soldiers move past an abandoned U.S. armored vehicle during the early hours of the Battle of the Bulge. Monument to the Combat Engineers on the Prumerberg Heights. The view John Kline had of Schonberg from his 30 cal machine gun position. The Germans capture Steinebruck (six miles east of St. Vith), with its bridge over the Our River. Just after Wereth, on the left at the edge of a field is a newly erected monument, this was erected in honour of the eleven black soldiers of the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion, a Corps artillery battalion attached to the 106th, who were murdered by the SS. Apparently he spent the entire time complaining because of the noise from a field artillery battalion firing from dug-in positions behind the bar. The large hill on the left, covered in trees, is the famous Hill 504. This was the sight of Divisional Headquarters. When the local priest emerged after the initial battle bodies were strewn everywhere, both American and German. Among the prisoners is PVT Kurt Vonnegut of 423rd Infantry Regiment, whose experiences as a prisoner of war form the basis of his novel Slaughterhouse-Five. It was here that Cavender joined them and finally gave the order for the 423rd to surrender. The History Guy examines a tank duel during the Battle of the Bulge at St. Vith, Belgium. This main tarmac road was not there during the war, but the unimproved trail to the left was then the main access. Clarke sees his first task as getting his command into St. Vith. Show Larger Map Battle of the Bulge summary. It is possible to stop alongside any forest area in the region, and only after a short walk into the woods find evidence of fighting. The place is littered with the clover leaf shaped trays that once were containers for shells and powder charges, and the lifting eyes for the shells are in abundance everywhere. Here there are still some original old buildings dotted about, but, as with the rest of the area, it took its share of destruction. This is the start of the famed Schnee Eifel. Over the course of almost a week, 7th Armored Division â plus those elements of the 106th Infantry, 28th Infantry and 9th Armored Divisions â absorbed much of the weight of the German drive, throwing the German timetable into disarray before being forced to withdraw west of the Salm River Dec. 23. Also there, is a petrol station, where somebody will serve you, chat about the weather and give the kids a sweet whilst they fill you up. This monument was erected by the 106th Infantry Division Association and is cared for by the people of St Vith. Ridgway is still willing to consider holding positions in the area, but interviews with commanders change his mind. Map of 117th Infantry Regiment....St. Vith Offensive...Jan. 13th to 24th, 1945 Left Click on Red Thunderbolts for pictures and descriptions. Both St Vith and Prum have railway stations, the line to Bleialf is now closed. In their push towards the ultimate objective of Antwerp, the German 5th Panzer Army had to cross the vital road junctions of St Vith. Its garrison wrote a brilliant chapter in history by denying the locality to the enemy; therefore, much of the comment pertaining to the Battle of the Bulge has centered around this important terrain feature. Company L, 3rd Battalion, 423rd Infantry Regiment, came onto the Schonberg road at this point and met the captured Sherman tank, which opened fire on them (see page 108). The large rock comes from the local region, and is special to that area. Midway down the hill, you will pass from Belgium into Germany; there is a small (usually unmanned) customs post on your right. You cannot go any further by car. In Vielsam, there is a Sherman tank in memory of the 7th Armored Division, and at Baraque Fraiture, also known as Parkers Crossroads, where Major Arthur C Parker III, along with remnants of Battery A 589th FAB and other units, set up their three remaining howitzers and made a roadblock. The 106th Infantry Division took over position for position. And St. Vith was the only place along the entire front where a railroad line crossed from Germany into the battle area. This movement coincides with a southern advance around the right flank of the Schnee Eifel through Bleialaf to Schoenberg, surrounding U.S. positions on the Schnee Eifel ridge. At 9 a.m., 422nd and 423rdâs positions come under artillery bombardment. Editorâs note: The U.S. Army marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of St. Vith in mid-December 2014. A Miracle at St Vith After leaving Easton, Pennsylvania for basic training at Fort Eustus Virginia, I was sent to England with the 1st Army, 634th AAA Battalion. The Losheim Gap is a 5 miles (8.0 km) long, narrow valley at the western foot of the Schnee Eifel, on the border of Belgium and Germany.Most accounts of World War II describing the Battle of the Bulge focus on the attack by the Germans around the Siege of Bastogne and the Battle of St. Vith, while the Germans' primary ambitions were actually anchored in taking the Losheim Gap.