Advance and Destroy: Patton as Commander in the Bulge

By John Nelson Rickard | Go to book overview

11
Slugging Match,
December 30–31

The 11th Armored and the 87th Infantry jumped off west of Bastogne
as planned and ran right into the flank of a large German counter-
attack headed southeast.

—Patton, December 30, 1944

On the west side of the Bastogne corridor the XLVII Panzerkorps formations crossed the LD at approximately 0730—the 3rd PGD advancing on Villeroux, and the FBB advancing on Sibret. Despite the fact that 4th Armored Division and III Corps artillery pounded Denkert’s assembly area in the southern edge of the Bois de Fragotte, and PGR 29 did not arrive and detruck until 0630, 3rd PGD’s attack started off well. Yet it was brought to a halt by CCA/9th Armored Division, under command of VIII Corps as of 0600, short of Villeroux. Denkert did not possess sufficient artillery to properly secure his left flank and reflected, “It very soon became obvious that shortly after the begin[ning] of our attack an enemy attack had also started… with considerably stronger forces with all kinds of weapons.” Denkert’s division made repeated attacks throughout the morning, forcing back CCA/9th Armored Division’s left flank, but VIII Corps reported the situation under control at 1245.1 On Denkert’s right the FBB spotted two tank groups heading toward Morhet and Jodenville when the fog lifted. Remer’s tanks immediately opened fire and destroyed several tanks from CCB/11th Armored Division, initiating a two- to threehour tank battle. Remer’s brigade never made it to Chenogne, but he claimed a “complete defensive success” against Kilburn’s armor, attributable in large measure to his men’s will to fight.2

VIII Corps also crossed the LD at 0730. On the left the 87th Infantry Division passed through the 109th CT, the remnant of the 28th Infantry

-226-

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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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