Times when the very landscape appears to shift. Thus, Bastogne, like St. Vith and Marche-en-Famenne, needed to be dealt with quickly to achieve Hitler’s goal of capturing the Belgian port city of Antwerp and splitting the Allies—both politically and geographically. The entire front was being subjected to similar bombardment, and the Germans were probably just putting on an artillery show or involved in some spoiling operation. The time was about 1 pm on December 18. Each combat command was a combined arms military organization of comparable size to a brigade or regiment and loosely patterned after the German combined arms approach to mechanized warfare. The Division drove on to Frankfurt and then turned to assist in the closing of the Ruhr Pocket. Men and armor retreating into Bastogne from the battles that preceded the arrival of the 101st Airborne Division continued to stream in throughout the day with valuable information concerning German deployment and strengths. CCB of the 9th Armored was immediately needed in St. Vith to shore up the 106th Infantry Division, while CCA was badly needed in the Wallendorf-Echternach area to support the 4th Infantry Division. There have been countless thousands of published works devoted to all or of it. Also, within hours of the division’s commitment to battle, it was appointed a new commander, Colonel Meinrad von Lauchert. Moreover, because of the breadth of the German assault he could not even use the entire division in the Bastogne sector. The great majority of these men had given it their all. The officer and enlisted cadres were drawn from other armored divisions. In addition, an American occupation of Bastogne would provide Allied forces with a base from which to hamper the German flanks and rear as well as cause major resupply problems for Luttwitz’s fuel-hungry tanks. In the exchange of fire, A Company knocked out three Mark IVs with one Sherman destroyed, the main gun of a second was disabled, and a third Sherman threw a track, forcing its crew to destroy it. However, many other retreating soldiers never made it, having fallen to the gauntlet of sporadic enemy artillery fire, snipers, and engagements with concealed enemy infantry and tanks. In April it continued east, encircling Leipzig and securing a line along the Mulde River. The 9th Armored Division (the "Phantom Division") was an armored division of the United States Army in World War II. Although never officially reorganized, the Brigade was inactive until its 15 October 1940 activation and redesignation and conversion to HHC, 9th Armored Division Trains, and deployed to Europe, receiving campaign-participation credit for operations in the Rhineland, the Ardennes-Alsace, and the Central Europe theatres of war, and awarded two Meritorious Unit Commendations, with embroidered streamers reading: Europe 1944 and Europe 1945. After stocking up, the DeRoche force proceeded to Neufchateau where General Middleton had relocated his command post. In some black and white photos the marking appears as a wolf head on a simple white square. When the Germans launched their winter offensive, the 9th, with no real combat experience, suddenly found itself engaged in heavy fighting. After about 15 minutes the smoke cleared with no immediate action on the part of the Germans. CCB found itself near the village of Faymonville and recently attached to V Corps to support the U.S. Army’s effort to capture or destroy the Roer River dams. 14th Tank Battalion, CCA, 9th Armored Division, after Remagen, Ludendorf Bridge and the breakout at Erpel "On the 23rd of March during the breakout from the bridgehead area, the 14th Tank Battalion was attached to Combat Command "A" Headquarters. The 6th Armored Division had three Tank Battalions: the 15th, the 68th and the 69th. Lt. Col. Robert M. Booth, commander of the 52nd AIB, was informed at a midday briefing that there was nothing to worry about. At about 11 am, the first Mark IVs of the 2nd Battalion, 3d Panzer Regiment appeared. In the annals of military history magazines, this is one of those moments. While Task Force Rose’s complement of Shermans was slowly dwindling, 2nd Panzer Division tanks kept multiplying as more of the division rolled up from Clervaux. Just after midnight, in a message to its corps headquarters, 116th Panzer reported heavy resistance and the taking of prisoners from the American 52nd Armored Infantry Battalion. Lt. Col. Robert M. Booth, commander of the 52nd AIB, was informed at a midday briefing that there was nothing to worry about. This left only one tank platoon to defend to the north. After the war, General Manteuffel wrote: “On the whole the delaying action of the withdrawing American Army was a success. CCR, under the command of Colonel Joseph H. Gilbreth, was stationed at Trois Vierges, roughly 20 miles northeast of the crossroads town of Bastogne, Belgium, in support of VIII Corps’ left and center. Manteuffel’s instructions to Luttwitz were direct: “Panzer Lehr Division holds itself ready to advance by order of the corps following behind the 26th VGD by way of Gemund-Drauffeld toward Bastogne and the Meuse in the sector of Namur-Dinant. Captain Meier’s force, like most of CCR, 9th Armored and 28th Infantry Division soldiers and tankers retreating from the roadblock battles, eventually made it to Bastogne. Although the plan called on German armor to bypass Bastogne should immediate capture prove unfeasible, investment would still tie down German forces needed elsewhere. Next, the Germans turned their attention to Task Force Harper near Allerborn. Put out of action on December 17th 1944 while defending Clervaux, Luxembourg. A few minutes later an entire German tank column barreled down on Task Force Rose from the north. At approximately 3 pm on December 18, CCR headquarters at Longvilly received the final message from the northern roadblock that the defenders had been overrun. Clervaux was only a scant five miles from this junction and only about 13 road miles from Bastogne. The decisions about where to place CCR’s individual components were to be made elsewhere— some by Maj. Gen. Norman Cota, commanding the 28th Infantry Division, some by his regimental or battalion commanders, and some even by the corps commander himself. It advanced to within 15 miles of Moscow and later participated in the epic armored battle of Kursk. The best that could be done was a system of village strongpoints, each defended by troops in the approximate strength of a rifle company. The 9th Armored Division traced its origins back to the 2nd Cavalry Division stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. The corps commander informed his division commander that the order came down from the highest level of command. The northernmost roadblock near Lullange, under the command of Captain L.K. Although unexpected stiff pockets of American resistance had delayed Bastogne’s capture by at least a full day, all was far from lost. In the 9th Armored Division’s CCR sector, the 52nd Armored Infantry Battalion seemed to be the primary target of the shelling. Place and date: Near Grufflingen, Belgium, 21 December 1944. The German reconnaissance battalion was still carefully feeling out this rather unexpected mix of enemy armor and infantry and had decided to wait for the arrival of the main body. 3.) Manteuffel and Luttwitz believed that the two airborne divisions would reach Bastogne either during the night of December 18 or early on the 19th. The 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, was constituted on 29 August 1917 and organized as Headquarters, 3rd Brigade, 15th Cavalry Division in December. Aside from a couple of engineer units, Middleton had only one combat unit in reserve and that was the newly arrived and untested 9th Armored Division. These retreating soldiers and tankers were not, despite some postwar accounts, a bunch of dispirited, demoralized, and undisciplined panic mongers. Activated 15 Feb 42 Arrived ETO 25 Feb 44 Arrived Continent (D/42) 18 Jul 44 Entered Combat: First Element 27 Jul 44 Entire Division 28 Jul 44 Days in Combat 226 Casualties (Tentative) Killed 1,169 Wounded 4,198 Missing 152 Captured 7 Battle Casualties 5,526 Non-Battle Casualties 7,290 Total Casualties 12,816 The other two were St. Vith to the northeast and Marche-en-Famenne to the northwest. These enemy tanks and infantrymen belonged to the reconnaissance battalion of Colonel von Lauchert’s 2nd Panzer Division whose infantry elements were eliminating the last of the American defenders in Clervaux. At about 9:40 am on the 17th, approximately 10 minutes after word came that the Germans had captured Clervaux and crossed the Clerf River, General Middleton ordered Colonel Gilbreth to establish two roadblocks between Clervaux and Bastogne in an effort to delay the Germans. A half hour prior to the launching of the Ardennes offensive, Colonel Lauchert received a personal phone call from Hitler instructing him that in directing his forces, “The battle must be fought with brutality and all resistance shall be broken in a wave of terror.”, In compliance with Middleton’s order, Colonel Gilbreth established two roadblocks. The offensive was launched, 28 February 1945, and the 9th smashed across the Roer to Rheinbach, sending patrols into Remagen. Each combat command usually consisted of one armored battalion and one armored infantry battalion. Troy H. Middleton’s U.S. Army VIII Corps was such a unit. Entire Division: 2nd Battalion and one platoon of Company A, 749th Tank Battalion and one platoon of Company A, 776th Tank Destroyer Battalion of the 44th Infantry Division (United States) U.S. Army: 1945: France: Defensive action starting on December 31, 1944, against the German offensive Operation Nordwind in Rimling, France. With only a few troops, tanks, and tank destroyers available to VIII Corps to stem the German onslaught, Middleton believed that only through total commitment and sacrifice would his scant forces be able to hold off the far superior Germans until such time that SHAEF could muster enough strength to permanently repel the invaders. Its two tank battalions were about at full strength with 27 Mark IVs, 58 Panthers, and 48 armored assault guns. In addition to the direct fire coming from the German panzers, the infantry and Shermans of Task Force Rose were also coming under indirect fire from 88mm antiaircraft guns estimated to be about 2,500 yards to the east. On 15 July 1942, the 2nd Cavalry Division was de-activated and its men and equipment were transferred to the newly activated 9th Armored Division. Harper, finding his way to Longvilly blocked, headed cross country with an assault gun platoon in the direction of Houffalize where, along the way, he met up with a retreating body of Task Force Rose tanks and soldiers directed by a Lieutenant DeRoche. 2.) The first and northernmost was at the intersection near the village of Lullange where the road from Clervaux entered Highway N-12. By 9 pm, Task Force Harper ceased to exist as a unified, cohesive fighting unit. The two Task Force Rose Shermans would be able to lead reinforcements back and guide them into position. The resupply and reinforcement of the units commenced immediately. The crew is unpacking and taking inventory of all the gear issued with the tank, they probably received the tank with the back deck covered in the boxes. At approximately 8:30 am on December 18, the infantrymen of Task Force Rose facing Clervaux reported that three enemy tanks accompanied by infantry were approaching. Although the Germans were on the ropes and expected to capitulate soon, General Middleton still worried about the thin spread of his on such a wide front. [1] It reached the United Kingdom in September 1944. The remainder of A Company, 14th Armored Division consisted of Shermans as 9th Armored Division split the 10 initial Pershings sent to the ETO in half with 3rd Armored Division. The division, under the command of Major General Geoffrey Keyes, was activated on 15 July 1942 at Fort Riley, Kansas, by reorganizing and redesignating the white elements of the 2nd Cavalry Division. When General Omar Bradley, 12th Army Group commander, visited Middleton at his headquarters in Bastogne, Middleton expressed concern about the overall defensive situation, only to be told, “Don’t worry Troy, they won’t come through here.” Middleton replied, “Maybe not, Brad, but they’ve come through this area several times before.” To help assuage his fears, General Bradley provided VIII Corps with the newly arrived 9th Armored Division. The Shermans came upon three enemy tanks, one of which was quickly destroyed with the other two withdrawing into defilade. Each battalion had its own insignia. The 26th VGD commander, General Heinz Kokott, was given the mission of forcing crossings at the Our and Clerf Rivers on the left of the Panzer Corps, holding them open for the armor of the 2nd Panzer Division, then following it to Bastogne. It was Middleton’s reasoning that a strong American concentration within these transportation centers would force the Germans to come to him and, in any case, American forces would be in strength on the enemy’s flank and rear. With the possible exception of the titanic clash at El Alamein, no tank engagement in World War II will be longer remembered than the dashing armored coup which first put the American Army across the Rhine at Remagen bridge. Harper ordered five of DeRoche’s Shermans to remain with him and sent DeRoche with what was left to St. Hubert for fuel and ammunition. Four of the 9th Armored Division's M-26 Pershing tanks from A Company, 14th Tank Battalion were first to the bridge. They are on the outskirts of Cailly, France on February 24th, they had arrived in country a few days before and had not seen combat yet. The area of the Ardennes designated for the XLVII Panzer Corps’ breakthrough was held by the 28th Infantry Division’s 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 110th Infantry Regiment, commanded by Colonel Hurley F. Fuller. 9th A.D. halftracks advancing through Engers, Germany, 27 March 1945. These enemy forces were the lead elements of the 116th Panzer Division, which were on their way to Houffalize after taking Trois Vierges. Middleton therefore planned to hold his original VIII Corps positions as long as possible while building strong defenses in front of the road network hubs of St.Vith, Houffalize, and Bastogne. This M4A1 76w is from A Company, 20th Tank Battalion , 20 Armored Division. The do-or-die circumstance meted out to Task Force Rose at Lullange exemplifies the desperate situation facing VIII Corps command during the first days of the offensive. After a rest period in January 1945, the Division made preparations for a drive across the Roer River. It consisted of a company of armored infantry (minus one platoon), one platoon of tank destroyers, and one platoon of light tanks and had the mission of protecting the left flank and rear of Task Force Harper. The sound of battle had not been lost on the Allerborn defenders, and when the tanks of Task Force Rose showed up with the disturbing news of the desperate fight just up the road, Major Dalton immediately dispatched an assault gun platoon and a platoon of Shermans under the command of Captain Baird, the Battalion’s S-3. The 2nd Armored Division ("Hell on Wheels") was an armored division of the United States Army. Harper next tried to set up a defensive line at Houffalize to stop the Germans and during the night engaged the forward elements of the 116th Panzer Division. Maj. Gen. This staunch defense disrupted the precise German attack schedule and thus gave time for the United States III and XII Corps to assemble unhindered and then launch the coordinated attack which raised the siege of Bastogne and contributed to saving much of Luxembourg and its capital from another German invasion. They came through the 101st defensive lines having had very little sleep or food for three days and in almost constant battle with an enemy that not only had the full advantage of surprise but was also far superior in numbers, the quantity and quality of its armor, and in its battle experience. US Order of Battle. 8th Armored Division – WW-2. 68th Tank Battalion 69th Tank Battalion 9th Armored Infantry Battalion 44th Armored Infantry Battalion 50th Armored Infantry Battalion 86th Cavalry Rcn Sq (Mecz) 25th Armored Engineer Battalion 146th Armored Signal Co 6th Armored Division Artillery 128th Armored Field Artillery Battalion 212th Armored Field Artillery Battalion 231st Armored Field Artillery Battalion 6th Armored Division … The second roadblock near Allerborn, under the command of Lt. Col. Ralph S. Harper (Task Force Harper), consisted of a company and a half of Sherman tanks (C and D Companies, 2nd Tank Battalion), one company of armored infantry (B Company, 52nd AIB), and a platoon of armored engineers. What was left of CCR was placed under the command of Lt. Col. Robert M. Booth (Team Booth) and occupied the high ground immediately north of Allerborn. In honor of their World War II service, the 9th was officially nicknamed the "Phantom Division." The Division was shifting south to Czechoslovakia when the war in Europe ended on 9 May 1945. The 9th Armored Division is cited for extraordinary heroism and gallantry in combat in the vicinity of Waldbillig and Savelborn, Luxembourg from December 16 to December 22, 1944 by repulsing constant and determined attacks by an entire German division. Essentially, the only uncommitted combat unit he had left was CCR of the 9th Armored Division. The 9th Armored Division landed in Normandy late in September 1944, and first went into line, 23 October, on patrol duty in a quiet sector along the Luxembourg-German frontier. History of the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion - Pages 1 to 41. The two Shermans sent by Task Force Rose to lead the relief force had to return alone to the battle. Control of Bastogne would not only ensure an easier and swifter advance toward the River Meuse but would also ensure firmer control of the entire southern Ardennes region. Since the primary mission of the Fifth Panzer Army was to reach and cross the Meuse River by day three of the offensive in flank support of Sixth SS Panzer Army’s drive to capture Antwerp, the 2nd Panzer and the Panzer Lehr Divisions were to rapidly move beyond Bastogne regardless of who held it. The three VIII Corps infantry divisions were responsible for an approximate 88-mile front that was just about three times that normally assigned an equivalent defending force. At about the time Colonel Gilbreth was readying his force to withdraw, the first units of the 101st Airborne Division began arriving in the assembly area near Bastogne and, before night fell again on the 18th, the 101st Airborne would have all four regiments unloaded from their trucks and deployed in and around Bastogne. Lt. Col. Booth’s outposts had reported the presence of enemy armor on the Bourcy-Noville road and a platoon of the 52nd AIB discovered enemy units to the west, northwest, and south. After a brief shelling of Task Force Rose positions, the German guns placed a smoke screen in front of the American task force. An M5A1 light tank from Company D, 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division, leads a column of trucks into Bastogne on 27 December during Patton's drive to relieve the town. The division was activated on 15 July 1942 at Fort Riley, KS.It reached the United Kingdom in September 1944. Colonel Gilbreth’s Combat Command R consisted of the 52nd Armored Infantry Battalion, the 2nd Tank Battalion, the 73rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion, the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion, and other conventional task force attachments. Since the bulk of 2nd Panzer was coming up from the east along Highway N-12, the bulk of Task Force Rose was facing east. 22nd Tank Battalion. While the British 29th Armoured Brigade blocked to road to the Meuse, the 2nd Armored Division attacked the exposed flank of the 2nd Panzer Division with full force. It was not until 7 pm on December 17 that Eisenhower, reluctant to part with his last reserve divisions, gave permission. Lt. Col. Robert M. Booth, commander of … Lieutenant DeRoche, after turning five of his Shermans over to Lt. Col. Harper, led his small force toward St. Hubert where they found supplies of fuel and ammunition. The Combat Command had been attached to the 2nd Infantry Division in order to participate in an attack on the Roer River Dams in the vicinity of Dreiborn, Germany. Hierbei täuschten die Alliierten erfolgreich die Wehrmacht und machten ihr weis, dass die tatsächliche Invasion in der Gegend von Dünkirchen stattfinden würde. Subscribe to 14th Tank Battalion, 9th Armored Division Footer menu. To assist with the destruction of enemy armor, Captain Rose called for artillery support on the Germans’ suspected assembly area. But there’s NEVER been anything like THIS before. Citation: He was the leader of a combat patrol on 21 December 1944 near Grufflingen, Belgium, with the mission of driving German forces from dug-in positions in a heavily wooded area. Within minutes after the arrival of the its 2nd Battalion, 2nd Panzer artillery shelling started to pick up once again and another smoke screen was laid down in front of the Americans. © In the opening onslaught, the Germans swept the first line of defense with machine-gun fire to clear out any infantry that might be protecting the tanks. The 3rd Brigade demobilized on 15 July 1919 and reconstituted on 10 August 1921, within the newly-constituted 1st Cavalry Division. The 28th and the 4th had been severely mauled in the bloody battles of the Hürtgen Forest. Its stand at Bastogne held off the Germans long enough to enable the 101st Airborne to dig in for a defense of the city. This U.S. Sherman M4A3 (76) of Company B, 2nd Tank Battalion, 9th Armored Division is the only known surviving combat vehicle of the division. Three infantry divisions, the 28th, 4th, and 106th, comprised VIII Corps. Outnumbered five to one, with its infantry rifles companies surrounded for most of the time, clerks, cooks, mechanics, drivers and others manned the 10.000 yard final defensive line. But there’s NEVER been anything like THIS before. WWII Quarterly, the hardcover journal of the Second World War that is not available in bookstores or on newsstands, and can only be obtained and collected through a personal subscription through the mail. Prior to its participation in the Ardennes offensive, the division participated in the invasions of Poland, France, the Balkans, and Russia. The 2nd Armored was organized as a "heavy" armored division, having two armored regiments of four medium tank and two light tank battalions of three companies each. Task Force Rose’s commander, seeing that his command was quickly dissolving against the overwhelming strength of the enemy, dispatched two Shermans along Highway N-12 to the Allerborn roadblock along with a plea for immediate assistance. Once in Neufchateau, DeRoche located Captain Walter M. Meier, who was busy gathering and regrouping retreating CCR men and armor. The sounds of enemy tanks could be heard to Task Force Rose’s right, and since the armored infantry’s antitank platoon could not cover the task force’s right flank, a platoon of Shermans was dispatched. Although the advance elements of the German assault reached the southern roadblock in late afternoon it was not until after dark that the Germans launched their first major attack. The only uncommitted combat unit he had left was CCR of the offensive launched... Reinforcements back and guide them into position Pages 42 to 80 upon three enemy tanks, of... 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