Advance and Destroy: Patton as Commander in the Bulge

By John Nelson Rickard | Go to book overview

5
The Verdun conference

Bradley, whose army group had been attacked, mostly observed
throughout the two hour conference, “saying little, offering nothing.”
Even he realized that the only principal players were Eisenhower and
Patton.

—Carlo D’Este

Early on December 19 Major General Manton S. Eddy, commander of XII Corps, was at Third Army headquarters in Nancy. At 0700 Maddox briefed him on the situation. At that time, Eddy recalled, “They showed me the plans rather sketchedly as all the plans were tentative.” An hour later he sat in on the General Staff meeting in Maddox’s office. Weyland and his staff were there as well. Patton told the assembled officers that “the reputation of the 3rd Army and the XIX Tactical Air Command for speed and effectiveness resulted from the efficiency of the officers present, and that I counted upon them for even greater successes.”1

Colonel Brenton G. Wallace, Third Army’s chief liaison officer, was present and recorded the following:

General Patton told us that the situation with the First Army was
serious but not alarming. The Germans had made a major break-
through to a depth of 15 to 20 miles in the north sector of the VIII
Corps and the south sector of the V Corps.… One whole U.S.
Division—the 106th—had been decimated, the 28th Division
had been badly battered and one Combat Command of the 9th
Armored had been practically destroyed. The VIII Corps Head-
quarters had been forced to flee and no one knew exactly where
it was at that time. Enemy armor and infantry had penetrated to
within a half mile of the First Army command post, forcing its
withdrawal. General Patton said that the preceding day he had
met at Luxembourg with General Bradley and had talked with

-94-

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Advance and Destroy: Patton as Commander in the Bulge
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Key to the Maps xiii
  • Series Editor’s Foreword xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Abbreviations xix
  • Studying Patton 1
  • Part I- The Road to the Bulge 11
  • 1- Origin of the Ardennes Counteroffensive 13
  • 2- The Opposing Armies in December 1944 25
  • Part II- Panzers in the Ardennes 53
  • 3- Onslaught 55
  • 4- Enter Patton 73
  • 5- The Verdun Conference 94
  • Part III- Descent on Bastogne 111
  • 6- The Ninety-Degree Turn 113
  • 7- Third Army Attacks, December 22–23 137
  • 8- A Rendezvous with Eagles, December 24–26 166
  • Part IV- The Incomplete Victory 179
  • 9- Patton’s Alternative Lines of Action 181
  • 10- Path to Attrition, December 27–29 200
  • 11- Slugging Match, December 30–31 226
  • 12- Culmination, January 1–4 241
  • 13- The Harlange Pocket, January 5–8 261
  • 14- No Risk, No Reward, January 9–25 275
  • 15- Assessment 303
  • Appendixes 325
  • Notes 355
  • Selected Bibliography 427
  • Index of Military Units 447
  • General Index 472
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