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Brits in the Ardennes 44/45

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by pistol, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    This is great stuff on something I know so little about and read even less on. I HOPE you will continue to post that stuff here ofr us folks who do not have time to go to the otherr site and look for it. Left you all the reps I couls leave.
     
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  2. pistol

    pistol Member

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    IIRC the German offensive had already been stopped by late December 1944 and the German armoured divisions of Fifth Panzer Army in the apex of the salient went over on the defensive. So it was actually the 6th Airborne division that was attacking and (unfortunately) brought to a standstill at Bure.

    Furthermore the 6th Airborne was confronted by contingents of the battered 2nd Panzer Division (Bure) and 9th Panzer Division (Wavreille & Forrieres). Panzer Lehr by early January 1945 was deployed opposite the American VIII Corps.
     
  3. pistol

    pistol Member

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    (...)
     
  4. SKYLINEDRIVE

    SKYLINEDRIVE Member

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    In january 1945 the Panzer Lehr was not going to roll up any flank of any unit, it was done by then. I do not want to belittle the british contribution to the fighting in Europe, but their contribution to the Bulge, while surely not being insignificant, was not decisive. As to the disagreement inbetween Montgomery and Bradley it was blown out of any proportion by people on both sides.
     
  5. pistol

    pistol Member

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    Skyline drive - That's exactly what I mentioned. The British attack coincided with the general offensive of First U.S. Army against the northern shoulder in the Ardennes. By the time the offensive started, on 3 Jan 45, the Germans already had gone over to the defensive in this part of the Ardennes.

    From 27 December 1944 onwards, considerable regrouping took place on the northern flank, when 30 Corps took over from the VII U.S. Corps at the tip of the enemy salient in the Ardennes, in order to enable the Americans to concentrate their forces for the main drive east of the Ourthe, towards Houffalize. The 53rd Welsh Division took over the line running from the Ourthe river to Aye, hard west of Marche. The 6th AB Division extended the line from Aye to Rochefort, thence to Tellin and Givet.

    The 30 Corps attack conducted by the 6th AB Division and the 53rd Welsh Division was to clear the enemy from the apex of the enemy salient. Both British formations had a tough time as they were confronted by the Panzer Divisions of Von Manteuffel's Fifth Pz Army. Though weakened, these were still opponents to be reckoned with, especially in a terrain that favoured the defender. The 6th AB Division ran into difficulty at Bure. After four days of bitter fighting the Airbornes took up a defensive position. The Welsh Division started the attack on the 4th and also met dogged enemy resistance. After several days of bitter fighting in sub-zero temperatures, in rugged wooded terrain, the 53rd Welsh Division handed over its sector to the 51st Highland Division on 8 Jan 45. The enemy, which turned out to be the 116th Panzer Division, had managed to slow down the Welsh advance, but suffered heavy casualties.
    On the 8th the Germans started to pull out from the tip of the salient. The 30 Corps operations ended on 14 January 45, when contact was made along the Ourthe Occidentale with the U.S. VIII Corps, the left wing Corps of Third U.S. Army. By that time the Germans had succesfully escaped to the east to Houfalize. British losses were 1.408 of which at least 325 were killed - not the odd 200 which are repeatedly mentioned by some authors.

    For more details on the British operations see Brits in the Ardennes 44/45 - World War 2 Talk
     
  6. pistol

    pistol Member

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    Map of dispositions British 30 Corps, Dec 1944

    The attached map from Orde's History of the Second Household Cavalry gives information on the disposition of British 30 Corps behind the Meuse in December 1944 ('Guard on the Meuse'?). The position of the 51st Highland Division was changed in the course of 20 - 21 December 1944. The Division did not take up position in the indicated area (Aerschot - Louvain), but instead moved to an area northeast of Maastricht, to act as back-up for the Ninth U.S. Army. On Dec 25th, Christmas Day, the Highland Division moved once more, this time to a concentration area on the southern outskirts of Liège, where it became a reserve under First U.S. Army.

    Recce Squadrons of the 2nd Household and the 43rd Recce Regt were screening the Meuse and Sambre River to give an early warning should the Germans reach the river.

    When the German offensive began the Second British Army was engaged along the line of the River Meuse north of Maastricht, but headquarters of Horrock's 30 Corps was in reserve at Boxtel preparing for operation "Veritable", the Rhineland offensive, which was scheduled to start in early January 1945. In preparation of this operation British divisions had already been or were in the process of being pulled out of the line to rest and refit. General Dempsey, in command of the British Second Army, wrote after the war: “My diary tells me that on 17 December I ordered 12 Corps to get the Guards Armoured Division out of the line and assembled with the 8th Armoured Brigade; that on 18 December I ordered 12 Corps to move 43rd Division and 34th Armoured Brigade to the area of Hasselt – Bree, and that 53rd Division were already in reserve in the Turnhout area. This gave me a free reserve of three divisions and two armoured brigades. Headquarters of 30 Corps were also available. Although it was not in my province to send fighting formations into the American sector without previous arrangements with them, and although it was not until the night of 19/20 December that the Supreme Commander placed command of the battle “north of the break” under the Commander-in-Chief of the 21st Army Group, General Montgomery telephoned me at 1700 hours 19 December and gave me the ‘all clear’ to get positioned in the rear of the American Armies.”

    So even before Montgomery received formal command of al troops north of the Bulge he started to redeploy Horrock's 30 Corps by ordering it to take up a reserve position to the west of the Meuse, in the area between Brussels and Liège, providing the Allied front with the necessary depth or, as Montgomery termed it, to act as his ‘Long Stop’. The redeployment of 30 Corps took about 48 hours and was completed by 21 December. The 30 Corps HQ moved to Hasselt in Belgium. It took under command the Guards Armoured Division, the 43rd Wessex and the 53rd Welsh Division. The 29th Armoured Brigade, alerted from training grounds near Ypres, was guarding the Meuse bridges between Namur and Givet. Montgomery also alerted the 6th Airborne Division to move at once to the Continent. The arrival of this formation, which was resting and refitting at its base camps in Britain, would necessarily take some time, since it was to travel by ship and road transport to the Ardennes; first elements of the Airborne Division arrived on 26 December 1944 near the Meuse.

    [​IMG]
    A 17-pdr Sherman "Firelfy" of the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, 29th Armoured Brigade, at Namur on the Meuse.The 29th Armoured Brigade constituted the armoured element of the 11th Armoured Division. In early December it was taken out of the line and transferred to Ypres, in order to change over from Shermans to the new British Comet tanks. All Shermans had been abandoned at the Army depots at Brussels and only a handful of new Comets had arrived when, at 2 o'clock in the morning of 20 December 1944, the Armoured Brigade was alerted for commitment in the Ardennes. The armoured regiments rushed out of their training area in trucks, picked up their old tanks at Brussels and hastily moved into the Ardennes. By the evening of the 21st the 29th Armoured Brigade had taken up position along the Meuse; the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry guarded the bridges at Namur, the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment was at Dinant and the 23rd Hussars at Givet. Each armoured regiment was supported by a company of the 8th Bn The Rifle Brigade (mot.), the infantry component of the 29th Armoured Brigade.

    Since the situation on the ground was extremely obscure, the 30 Corps’ initial plan was to allow the enemy to come over the River Meuse and then to attack his flanks (Horrock's operational plan accordingly was called "Smash"). 30 Corps' disposition was: the 53rd Welsh holding a firm base for 30 Corps along the River Dyle, while the Guards Armoured and 43rd Wessex were ready to counter attack from the flank any German force that succeeded in crossing the Meuse. The divisions held only a reconnaissance screen forward along the River Meuse to give an early warning.

    On 22 December, as it became apparent that the enemy was no longer capable of bouncing the river, the mission was altered to holding the line of the River Meuse at all costs - and the Meuse River line accordingly was reinforced by moving one brigade group of the 53rd Welsh and Guards Armoured forward to Dinant and Namur respectivily.
     

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  7. pistol

    pistol Member

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  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    I've also often thought the Allies missed an opportunity to let the Germans drive themselves deeper into the trap. I think Eisenhower made the right call setting the Meuse as the stop line, but that doesn't mean we couldn't let them get there, just have to stop them getting significant forces across. Hitler no doubt would have insisted that they through everything into the battle, trying for a repeat of 1940. Getting the Germans involved in a major battle along the Meuse could set them up to be cut off by Patton's counteroffensive from the south.

    Had we adopted that strategy, it might have been better to let more German forces, especially panzers, move further west rather than trying to hold them at Bastogne. Having the 101st surrounded at Bastogne more or less compelled Patton to orient his attack on that axis - although ironically the airborne were not uncomfortable with the situation.
     
  9. pistol

    pistol Member

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    Carronade - I'm not saying that the US should not have defended Bastogne :). It's defence was instrumental in slowing down and weakening the German assault. I just wonder what would have happened if the Allies would have lured the Panzer forces of Manteuffel's 5th Pz Army, which were fast outrunning their logistics, further westwards.
     
  10. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    One of the things I've come to conclude in the last couple of years is that the entire Battle of the Bulge "history" is largely a construct of wartime propaganda and post-war memoirs where everyone wants the credit or to shift the blame, at least from the allied side.

    If one looks at the battle from the German perspective, it was over by about the 20th or 22nd (at latest) of December. The 5th Panzer army (which gets all the attention) wasn't the main thrust. In fact, it was the 6th Panzer army to the north that was the "schwerpunkt" of the offensive. And that arm was stopped cold by the 20th. Spasms continued for some time in the north, but they weren't going anywhere.

    The southern arm (the 5th Panzer army) drove west for a while, but that was hardly helpful in strategic terms. The goal had been to swing north in support of the 6th Panzer army towards Antwerp, along the Meuse river. Once the 6th Army was stopped, the 5th was just hanging there with poor logistical support through the Ardennes and essentially cut off.

    There was still a mess to clean up, but from the German perspective the battle was already over.
     
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  11. pistol

    pistol Member

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    Kodiak Beer: good point - though it's not my intention to blame anyone, nor shove credit to one or the other side within the Allied team. IMO the Allied team as a whole, quickly recovering from the initial surprise, soon regained the initiative by their swift and flexible response to the German threat.

    From the German point of view, the Ardennes Offensive developed even more disastrous. The German High command (OKW) estimated Sixth Panzer Army to reach the Meuse on the evening of the second day. In their calculations the infantry, on the first day of the attack, had to achieve a breakthrough of the enemy defensive lines by the end of the morning, whereafter the SS-Panzer Divisions would be released for a drive towards the Meuse. The Panzers had to advance as fast as possible, without bothering about their flanks (for lack of an Operation Order of Sixth Pz Army: see the attached fragment of the Fifth Pz Army's order for the Conduct of the Assault). In fact this explains the almost reckless westward drive of the KG Peiper.

    It is not without reason that as 'early' as 19 Dec 1944 Rundstedt and Manteuffel declared the battle lost.

    You're correct about the secondary role of Fifth Pz Army's in the German plans. The German attack orders even stipulated that Fifth Pz Army had to abandon it's Panzer Rollbahnen (routes of advance for the armoured elements) to Sixth Panzer Army, should the advance towards the Meuse in the latter's zone of attack run into difficulties or if the bridges over the Meuse near Liège were found blown.
     

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  12. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I only meant the blame-shifting and credit-grabbing between the generals. It wasn't just Brit vs Yank egos, it was also Yank vs Yank. In the north, Gavin made some very over-the-top statements vilifying the infantry even though his 82nd only played a somewhat peripheral role in the action. It's hard to imagine how the infantry and armor up there could have performed any better, since they essentially sliced and diced the German 6th Army in short order from their arrival on the 18th of December onwards.
    In the South Patton and McAuliffe famously insulted each other. In the higher ranks, it was Bradley vs Montgomery.

    I suppose a general needs an enormous ego, but in this case it has changed "history." These generals and their pet correspondents (and later the many memoirs) have completely obscured what really happened.
     
  13. pistol

    pistol Member

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    Map of Allied counterattack in the Ardennes, Jan 45 (including British 30 Corps)

    [​IMG]
     
  14. pistol

    pistol Member

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    Attached a small map I drew of the operations of the British Divisions under 30 Corps in the Ardennes from Jan 3 to Jan 14, 1945. On the latter date the British 30 Corps was pinched out of the battle by the advance of VIII US Corps (Third US Army) and VII US Corps (First US Army). On Jan 8, 1945 the 51st Highland Division relieved the 53rd Welsh Division south of the line Hotton - Marche-en-Famenne.

    Re the operations in January, herewith a fragment of L.F. Ellis' Victory in the West (p.191):

    The end of the Ardennes counter-offensive can be told shortly though it involved some very hard fighting in atrocious weather. When Bradley’s counter-attack began on the 30th some of the severest fighting of the whole battle took place around Bastogne. The enemy had brought up three more divisions to join their attempts to take the town but made no appreciable effect on the unshakeable determination of its defenders; the southern counter-attack by Patton’s Third Army made at first slow but steady progress against the German forces and the severe weather. On the 3rd of January Montgomery’s counter-attack from the north began. The main attack was south-eastwards towards Houffalize by the First Army’s VII Corps with its right on the Ourthe. On its right it was supported by the British XXX Corps which had relieved the American VII Corps in the Marche sector. A thaw bringing mist and mud made the first day’s progress slow but thereafter severe frost and six inches of snow made it even slower. In intense cold enemy mines and booby traps hidden in the snow added greatly to the natural difficulties of the country.

    The British attack was made by two divisions supported by three army groups of artillery. On the right the 6th Airborne Division and the 29th Armoured and 34th Tank Brigades, advancing east from assembly positions east of Givet, had a very hard fight with the Germans in Bure which changed hands several times in the next few days. On the left the 53rd Division and the 33rd Armoured Brigade, despite enemy counter-attacks, cleared the area south-east from Marche and captured Grimbiemont, where they were relieved on the 8th by the 51st Division. Next day the Germans started to vacate their most westerly positions and on the 11th the 51st Division secured La Roche. Resistance again stiffened but the western branch of the Ourthe river was reached on the 13th and next day contact was made with the reconstituted United States VIII Corps attacking from the south.
     

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  15. dobbie

    dobbie recruit

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    I have to feel sorry for Eisenhower...trying to put up with the egos of Monty, Patton, Bradley and all the rest would be enough to make a person go mad!

    I thought Patton's statement at the beginning of the Ardennes might have been a very workable plan. Let the Germans advance much deeper and then close the door, trapping a much larger force and defeat them in detail. A larger version of the Falaise pocket....
     
  16. pistol

    pistol Member

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    A chronology of the First US & British 30 Corps attack in the north, up to January 14,1945

    3 January
    21 Army Group: In Br Second Army area, Br 30 Corps, 6th AB Division attacks the enemy bridgehead over the River Lomme, S of Rochefort, and clears Wavreile. Heavy fighting at Bure.

    U.S. First Army starts counteroffensive to reduce enemy's Ardennes salient from N. VII Corps attacks SE toward Houffalize with 2d Armd Div followed by 84th Div on right, and 3d Armd Div followed by 83d Div on left. 2d Armd Div gains Trinal, Magoster, positions in Bois de Tave, Freineux, Le Batty, and positions near Belle Haie. 3d Armd Div takes Malempré and Floret and from latter continues SE on Lierneux road to Groumont Creek. 75th Div, after attack passes through its line, continues mopping up S of Sadzot. In XVIII AB Corps area, 82d A/B Div, in conjunction with VII Corps' attack, thrusts SE, improving positions. As a diversion, 30th Div pushes small forces S of Malmédy and then withdraws them as planned.

    4 January
    21 Army Group: In Br Second Army area, 30 Corps opens offensive W of the Ourthe R, protecting U.S. First Army right. From Marche-Hotton road, 53d Div drives S abreast U.S. VII Corps. Champlon-en-Famenne is taken. Strong enemy roadblock at Hamoul blocks Welsh advance down the main road in the Ourthe River Valley. 6th A/B Div continues to meet determined opposition at Bure, S of Rochefort.

    In U.S. First Army's VII Corps area, 2d Armd Div captures Beffe, contains counterattacks near Devantave, seizes Lamorménil, and reaches edge of Odeigne. 3d Armd Div takes Baneux, Jevigne, and Lansival and gains bridgehead at Groumont Creek. In XVIII AB Corps area, 82d A/B Div advances its line to include Heirlot, Odrimont, wooded heights N and NE of Abrefontaine, St Jacques, Bergeval, and Mont de Fosse; on extreme left patrols push to the Salm.

    [​IMG]
    Infantry of the 2nd Monmouthshire Regiment, 53rd (Welsh) Division, in the snow near Hotton, 4 January 1945 - © IWM (B 13395)

    5 January
    21 Army Group: In Br Second Army area, 30 Corps, 6th AB Division overcomes last resistance in Bure, but goes on the defensive and vacates the hard-won village in the night to 6 Jan. The 53rd division meets determined opposition south of line Marche-en Famenne - Hotton. A sharp counterattack hits 158 Bde near Waharday and overruns part of its forward battalion, the 7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers (RWF).

    In U.S. First Army's VII Corps area, 2d Armd Div's main effort against Consy makes little headway; elements move toward Dochamps and clear part of Odeigne. 3d Armd Div is slowed by rear-guard action in Bois de Groumont but seizes Lavaux and enters Lierneux. 75th Div moves to Aisne R. In XVIII AB Corps area, 82d A/B Div makes progress all along line and repels counterattacks near Bergeval.

    6 January
    21 Army Group: Br Second Army area, 30 Corps, 6th Airborne and 53rd Div spend the day with regrouping.

    In U.S. First Army's VII Corps area, 2d Armd and 84th Inf Divs make converging attacks toward Consy, taking positions E and W of the town, respectively. 2d Armd Div continues toward Dochamps, completes occupation of Odeigne, and makes contact with 3d Armd Div on Manhay-Houffalize road. 3d Armd Div cuts Laroche-Salmchâteau road at its intersection with Manhay-Houffalize road and captures Fraiture, Lierneux, and La Falise; 83d Armd Rcn Bn clears Bois Houby. In XVIII AB Corps area, 82d A/B Div consolidates. To protect its left flank, 30th Div attacks S toward Spineux and Wanne with RCT 112, 28th Div.

    [​IMG]
    Soldiers of 1st 'Ox and Bucks' Light Infantry, 53rd (Welsh) Division, guarding German prisoners in the village of Marche in Belgium, 7 January 1945 - © IWM (B 13479)


    7 January
    21 Army Group: In Br Second Army's 30 Corps area, 53d Div takes village of Grimbiemont after a day of heavy fighting.

    In U.S. First Army's VII Corps area, co-ordinated attacks of 2d Armd and 84th Inf Divs toward Laroche- Salmchâteau road, intermediate objective before Houffalize, make notable progress. Dochamps and Marcouray fall. Only rear guards remain in Consy area. 3d Armd Div seizes Regne, Verleumont, Sart, and Grand Sart. In XVIII AB Corps area, 82d A/ B Div, in rapid advance of 2-3 miles, clears most of angle formed by Laroche-Salmchâteau road and Salm R. Some elements secure positions on ridge just N of Comté; others, during advance to Salm R line, clear Goronne, Farniers, Mont, and Rochelinval. RCT 112 seizes Spineux, Wanne, and Wanneranval.


    8 January
    21 Army Group: In Br Second Army's 30 Corps area, 53d Div is relieved by 51st Div. During the night to 9 Jan, the 6th Airborne Division, reports sounds of vehicular movement and detonations (blowing up of bridges) behind the enemy lines, indicating that enemy is vacating its most westerly positions in the Ardennes.

    In U.S. First Army's VII Corps area, 4th Cav Gp and 84th Div pursue enemy on right of corps to Marcourt and Cielle; other elements of 84th Div start clearing woods S of main road junction SE of Manhay, 2d Armd Div drives on Samrée, CCA moving S from Dochamps and CCB pushing SE along Salmchâteau-Samrée Road. 3d Armd Div gains intermediate objective line, taking Hebronval, Ottre, Jouvieval, and Provedroux. In XVIII AB Corps area, 82d A/B Div consolidates along line Grand Sart-Salmchâteau-Trois Ponts and clears Comté.

    9 January
    21 Army Group: In Br Second Army's 30 Corps area, 51st Div takes Hodister and Warizy. The British 6th AB Division takes Bure and at night establishes bridgeheads across the Lomme River. The Division reports to have virtually lost contact with the enemy, who now is in full retreat.

    In U.S. First Army's VII Corps area, 84th Div mops up near Consy, takes commanding ground at Harze, and clears woods S of main crossroads SE of Manhay. 2d Armd Div continues toward Samrée, which is subjected to heavy arty fire. 83d Div attacks through 3d Armd Div, gaining line from Bihain--which is entered but not captured--W to point NE of Petite Langlir. In XVIII AB Corps area, 82d A/B Div finishes mopping up within its zone. In 30th Div sector, RCT 424 (106th Div) takes over Wanne-Wanneranval region, formerly held by RCT 112 (28th Div).

    10 January
    21 Army Group: In Br Second Army's 30 Corps area, 51st Div reaches Mierchamps, SE of La Roche-en-Ardenne. The 6th AB Division cleares Grupont and Forrières and, meeting only slight resistance, thrusts toward Nassogne and Grune. Jemelle, On and Roy are cleared by the Airbornes against virtually no resistance.

    U.S. First Army prepares to broaden attack on 13th, VII Corps thrusting toward line Houffalize-Bovigny and XVIII Corps toward St Vith. In VII Corps area, most of Laroche-Salmchâteau road, intermediate objective of corps, is cleared. 84th Div patrols toward Laroche. 2d Armd Div captures Samrée and clears Laroche-Salmchâteau road within its zone. 83d Div takes Bihain, advances slightly in region N of Petite Langlir, and crosses Ronce R east of Petite Langlir. In XVIII AB Corps area, elements of 82d A/B Div secure bridgehead across Salm R near Grand Halleux.

    [​IMG]

    Soldiers of the 7th Bn Black Watch, 51st Highland Division, move into billets on 10 Jan 45 at Hotton, after spending two sleepless nights in the freezing forests near Waharday. Next day the battalion took part in the advance on La Roche-en-Ardenne and in the evening captured the village of Hives just south of La Roche.

    11 January
    21 Army Group: In Br Second Army's 30 Corps area, 6th AB Div enters Bande, where it discovers the bodies of 34 civilians massacred by German troops. Patrols of the AB Div make contact with U.S. VIII Corps. 51st Div takes La Roche-en-Ardenne (the part of the town south of the Ourthe River) and captures Hives. Mierchamps SE of La-Roche-en Ardenne is taken. German resistance in front of the Highland Division is stiffening.

    In U.S. First Army's VII Corps area, La Roche-en-Ardenne, in 84th Div sector, is cleared of enemy; 4th Cav Gp patrol covers portion E of the Ourthe R. 83d Div secures road junction on Bihain-Lomre road and attacks Petite Langlir and Langlir. In XVIII AB Corps area, 75th Div takes up positions along Salm R that were held by 82d A/B Div. 106th Div assumes control of right of 30th Div zone.


    [​IMG]
    Shermans of the 1st Northhamptonshire Yeomanry parked near beside the Hotel de Liège at La Roche-en-Ardenne on Jan 12, 1945; the old local tramway Station is in the background

    12 January
    21 Army Group: In Br Second Army's 30 Corps area, 51st Div's attacks S and SE of La Roche-en-Ardenne meet determined enemy resistance.

    In U.S. First Army VII Corps area, 2d Armd Div attacks in vicinity of junction of Manhay-Houffalize and Laroche-Salmchâteau roads: CCA takes Chabrehez, continues about a mile S in Bois de Belhez, and reduces strongpoint E of Bois de St Jean; CCB captures Les Tailles and Petite Tailles. On 3d Armd Div right, 83d Armd Rcn Bn drives S through TF Hogan (CCR) at Regne, crosses Langlir R, and clears Bois de Cedrogne E of Manhay-Houffalize road and blocks road there running W from Mont le Ban. TF Hogan moves to Bihain and clears high ground SW of the town. 83d Div completes capture of Petite Langlir and Langlir and gains bridgehead S of Langlir-Ronce R. In XVIII AB Corps' 106th Div sector, bridgehead is established across Amblève R south of Stavelot.

    13 January
    21 Army Group: In Br Second Army area, 30 Corps' Ardennes 51st Div reaches Ourthe R line southward from Laroche. Beaulieu is taken. SE of La Roche-en-Ardenne enemy resistance at Ortho and Nisramont is overcome after nightfall.

    In U.S. First Army area, VII Corps pushes steadily toward Houffalize. On right flank, 4th Cav Gp and 84th Div clear several towns and villages. CCA, 2d Armd Div, reaches positions about 1½ miles N of Wibrin; CCB advances in Bois de Cedrogne to points 5-6 miles due N of Houffalize. 3d Armd Div's CCR cuts Sommerain-Cherain road at its junction with road to Mont le Ban and contains Mont le Ban while CCB takes Lomre. After clearing passage through woods S of Langlir for 3d Armd Div, 83d Div mops up and regroups. XVIII AB Corps opens offensive, employing 106th Div on right and 30th on left. 106th Div, with 424th Inf on right and 517th Para Inf on left, attacks SE from junction of Amblève and Salm Rivers toward La Neuville-Coulee-Logbiermé-Houvegnez line, reaching positions near Henumont. 30th Div drives S from Malmédy area toward Amblève R, gaining positions near Hédomont, in Houyire woods, and in Thirimont area.

    14 January
    21 Army Group: Br Second Army area, 30 Corps' mission is accomplished. The 51st Div links up with VIII U.S, Corps along the R line of the Ourthe south of La Roche-en-Ardenne.

    In U.S. First Army's VII Corps area, 84th Div gains its final objectives, taking Nadrin, Filly, Petite Mormont, and Grande Mormont; 4th Cav Gp patrol makes visual contact with U.S. Third Army patrol. 2d Armd Div seizes Wibrin, Cheveoumont, Wilogne, and Dinez. 3d Armd Div takes Mont le Ban and Baclain. 83d Div clears Honvelez and high ground near Bovigny. In XVIII AB Corps' 106th Div sector, 517th Para Inf clears Henumont and continues S; 424th Inf secures Coulee and Logbiermé. Some elements of 30th Div attack toward Hédomont and Thirimont, night 13-14, and take Hédomont before dawn; other elements clear Villers and Ligneuville and gain bridgeheads across Amblève R at these points.


    [​IMG]
    Sherman tanks of the East Riding Yeomanry, 33rd Armoured Brigade, lined up along the Ourthe at Hotton in early January 1945. The 33rd Armoured Brigade first was in support of the 53rd Welsh Division, then supported the advance of the 51st Highland Division in the Ardennes.
     
  17. pistol

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    British losses in the Ardennes were not as severe as the American, reflecting the fact that few British troops were involved in the fighting. The Allied casualties in the Ardennes bat­tle up to 22 January 1945 amounted to 76.890. They consisted of 75.482 Americans and 1.408 British, details being as followed:

    Killed Wounded Missing
    U.S. Army
    8.497 46.170 20.905

    British 30 Corps
    325 969 114
    (up to 22 January)

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    Most of the British casualties of the fighting in the Ardennes 1944/45 rest on the Hotton Commonwealth War Cemetery located in the hills to the south-west of this small Belgian town.
     
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    Memorials British Units in the Ardennes

    53rd Welsh Division - Hotton

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    53rd Welsh Division Memorial at Hotton, which was unveiled in 2001 and is dedicated to the soldiers of the Welsh Division that fought in this area from 4 to 8 Jan 1945. The Division lost 106 men killed in action during this four-day period, when it battled with the remnants of the 116.Pz Division in the wooded and snow-clad country to the south and south west of Hotton.

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    51st Highland Division - La Roche-en-Ardenne

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    In 1999 a memorial was unveiled at La Roche-en-Ardenne dedicated to the fallen of the 51st Highland Division. The monument is placed at the north-western entrance of the town called 'Tranchée du Chalet' . It lists the names of 54 men of the division fallen in the Ardennes fighting of January 1945.

    Two names are missing on the monument. On 29 December 1944 one soldier of the 7th Black Watch - L/Cpl Thomas Prentice, age 21 - was killed when a flying bomb (V-1) dropped near the 7th Black Watch HQ, at Seraing. The 51st Highland Division at the time was in position at the southern outskirts of Liège, acting as a reserve under command of the First U.S. Army and protecting the city. L/Cpl Prentice rests at the Leopoldsburg War Cemetery: CWGC :: Casualty Details


    Another member of the division was killed near Liège on the closing day of December 1944 - Private Joseph H. Elliott, of the 1/7th Bn Middlesex Regiment, age 24, died on 31 December 1944. The circumstances of his death are unknown. Private Elliott also is buried at the Leopoldsburg War Cemetery: CWGC :: Casualty Details



    1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry - La Roche-en-Ardenne

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    Also at La Roche is this monument of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry, one of the tank regiments of the 33rd Armoured Brigade. This unit was in support of the 1st Black Watch on 11 Jan 45, when it captured the town of La Roche-en-Ardenne. The monument was unveiled on the cold wintry morning of 11 January 2000, exactly 55 years after the second Liberation of the town. The tank is a British Achilles TD, whereas the 1st Nortants were actually equiped with Shermans.

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    6th Airborne Division - Bure

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    The 6th Airborne Division is commemorated with a memorial at Bure. The little village and surrounding area was bitterly contested for several days. The Airborne Division was committed in the Ardennes from 3 to 14 Jan 45 and lost 124 men killed in action, half of them in the fight for Bure.


    Memorial plaque 30 Corps - Marche-en-Famenne

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    Of a more recent date is this memorial plaque at Marche-en-Famenne dedicated to the British units under 30 Corps. The 30 Corps at the time was led by Major-General Ivor Thomas. Thomas, the GOC of the 43rd Wessex Division, was acting Corps commander in the absence of Lieutenant-general Sir Brian G. Horrocks, who had been sent on leave to England by Montgomery at the end of December 1944. Marche-en-Famenne was held by the 84th US Infantry Division against the attacks of the 116.Pz Division. At the beginning of Jan 45 the Americans handed over the defence of the town to the 53rd Welsh Division.

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    The Canadians mentioned on the plaque were of the 1st Cdn Parachute Battalion, which formed part to the British 6th Airborne Division. The Belgian an French SAS were patrolling along the apex of the German Salient. The French operated in the American sector around St.Hubert, they were under the VIII US Corps.
     
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