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What if the 2nd US Infantry Division stayed in the Ardennes?

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  • What if the 2nd US Infantry Division stayed in the Ardennes?

    What if the veteran 2nd Infantry division had remained in place in the Losheim Gap in the Ardennes and had continued to hold positions integrated with the 14th Cavalry group?

    Now there is a veteran division that is well dug in and familiar with the terrain. It likely would have ground the 9th and 162nd VG divisions up in short order.
    Even the shifting of 9th SS Panzer would likely have ground to a halt against a division backed by about 12 battalions of artillery (divisional and corps) that knew what it was doing calling in concentrations.
    This would mean that the entire Northern flank of the German offensive would fail miserably with heavy losses. While 5th Panzer army would still break through the 28th Division and advance, the thrust would be far narrower and more vulnerable.
    I'd propose that this one change makes the German offensive a total failure and does so much earlier with commensurately heavier German losses.

  • #2
    Then the 2nd would have been missing on the northern shoulder.
    With it still in St Vith it just might have broken and defeated the German advance there. With it missing from the north we have no guarantee that the Germans would have been stopped.
    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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    • #3
      The Schnee Eifel was never seriously threatened. The US pulled the 2nd for operation Grenade and a pending assault in that area.
      Let's assume the 106th goes instead. There are sufficient other veteran units in the area and the density of US units is far higher there than further south. It is unlikely that 1st SS would do any better than it did.

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      • #4
        What??? The Schnee Eifel was never seriously threatened? That is where the 106th was destroyed in the opening rounds of the battle and from where the push on to St Vith and Bastonge came from.
        "Ask not what your country can do for you"

        Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

        you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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        • #5
          Skimmed back through the books for the time line, then took a quick look at several game boards. My take is the commander withdraws his regiments down off the high ground in time & gets them back to St Vith & beyond with the rest of the division. The Germans gain a few hours in the area early on, but lose more time as the 2dID is fighting intact and can delay longer before retreating each day.

          Given the collapse of the armored cavalry group on the left and the splitting of the 4th ID on the right I dont see much point in the 2dID making a stand. On the game board my initial take is the player needs to get it the hell back before all the divisions pieces get flipped or 'D' markers on them & it gets surrounded that way.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
            Skimmed back through the books for the time line, then took a quick look at several game boards. My take is the commander withdraws his regiments down off the high ground in time & gets them back to St Vith & beyond with the rest of the division. The Germans gain a few hours in the area early on, but lose more time as the 2dID is fighting intact and can delay longer before retreating each day.

            Given the collapse of the armored cavalry group on the left and the splitting of the 4th ID on the right I dont see much point in the 2dID making a stand. On the game board my initial take is the player needs to get it the hell back before all the divisions pieces get flipped or 'D' markers on them & it gets surrounded that way.
            When the 2nd was in place, their frontage covered what the 14th Cavalry Group picked up. If the 14th were integrated with the 2nd instead of being put on the flank of the 106th as historically occurred, and the 2nd was tied into the 14th's communications rather than the 106th not doing that out of inexperience, the Loshiem Gap would have been a very different proposition to try and get through at all.
            The two VG divisions (18th and 62nd) would have been ground up in nothing flat. Both were filled with green troops. The 18th had sent most of its best enlisted off to NCO school for training and was short on small unit leaders. Both divisions were short on artillery, and what they did have was mostly captures with horse drawn transport.
            It had been assembled from the remnants of the 18th LW field division, 157th replacement division, and filled out with Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine personnel swept up from across Germany.

            The 2nd had held positions that the 14th took up. If instead, the 14th ACG was supplementing the 2nd, they wouldn't have been overrun.

            I'd say it is unlikely that on the first 2 to 3 days of the battle that the Loshiem Gap is opened and the German attack stalls entirely in this scenario. The 18th and 62nd VG get hammered into ineffectiveness attacking the 2nd's positions. It would take redirecting the 9th SS and possibly other units of 6th Panzer army into this portion of the front to even stand a chance of cracking the line.
            It would more likely be a case of 5th Panzer Army overrunning the 28th to the South and threatening the 2nd's flank that would force them back to cover that open flank.
            That in turn forces the 5th Panzer Army to expend more effort shoring up its flank to the north than advancing. This might very well have ended their advance at Bastogne rather than getting as far as they did.

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            • #7
              The problem was not a matter of veteran vs green but of frontage. 2nd ID was poised to launch an attack on 17th December in the Hurtgen (probably in coordination with 78th ID north of its position). Which mean that Divisional frontage was pretty short with divisionnal artillery most likely having pre designated fire area.

              OTOH 106th was spread from St Vith with 2 Regiments almost with no flank protection. Such position had been imposed on 106th commander. Once 14th ACR got almost overun, it was mainly the last 106th ID which held St Vith until 7th AD could come to the rescue.

              Finally in this sector green 99th ID action proved critical by holding ground between 2nd ID and St Vith and saved the day for V Corps.

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