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16 December 1944 revised

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  • #46
    Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post

    Good one!

    IMHO, what really doomed this offensive was how it was set up.

    If 100% successful it would have replaced a weak 80-mile American front with an even weaker 80-mile German one!

    The southern side of the Bulge was to have been covered by the 7th Army, four or five VG Divisions with a few odds & ends.... the kind of Army that Chaing Kai-Shek would have looked at and said "Yeah, we could take those guys down, no problem."

    Stalingrad part 2, this time in the west. Talk about a great way to shorten the war!
    Volksturm, not VG. Huge difference.

    They gave good account of themselves in defensive fighting, which was what they were designed for. Keep in mind it was VS divisions that chewed up the best the US Army had to offer in the Hurtigen forest.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post

      Volksturm, not VG. Huge difference.
      ...
      Volks Grenadiers was applied to Divisions of this sort that were supposed to have distinguished themselves, and only one of the deserved the title.

      And no, these units just weren't up to snuff and were much weaker than what was being pushed out of the Ardennes but the other two armies. Even the most basic measure found them wanting; on paper they only had seven battalions of infantry and were likely to be missing a thrid of their artillery.

      Another item; the terrain was not as defensible as what the Americans had just been pushed out of, I don't see any major river barriers beyond the 'shoulder' of the bulge.

      I just don't see this as a workable plan. Instead of buying 6 months of breathing space, it shortened the war by that much. Germany was never again able to deploy any Panzer Divisions at anything like full strength.
      "Why is the Rum gone?"

      -Captain Jack

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      • #48
        I think that the Germans would have had better chances is they had adopted Model's 'Small solution'. Still quite a long shot, but if it had succeeded, the destruction of about 20 US divisions would have been a crippling blow to the Western Allies. Anyway better chances than trying to reach Antwerp through an attack across the Ardennes in winter without enough fuel. Maybe then the Germans would have been able to shift most of the Western army to Poland and implement Guderian plan: a double envelopment of the Soviet armies advancing into Poland, possibly resulting in a giant Cannae. A long shot sure, but better than what they tried in OTL. But then Hitler wouldn't have been Hitler. Even in February and March, while the Soviets were at Berlin's door, Hitler was focused on Hungary.

        I think however that Hitler's idea to cripple the Western Allies was correct, considering the general situation in the autumn 1944. The Western armies were by far the weaker opponents. A decisive defeat upon them would have allowed the Germans to concentrate their effort on the East. at least for some time. But Hitler's Ardennes plan was unrealistic, and beyond Germany's meager resources.

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        • #49
          There was no such thing as a Volkssturm Division, with one exception: the 78. Infanterie Division of the German Heer, which ended up being named, misleadingly, as a Volkssturm Division because, before the "Volks-" attribution coming into use, it was a specialized "assault" ("Sturm") infantry division. But it belonged to the Heer, not to the Volkssturm.

          The units that actually belonged to the Volkssturm organization were territorial militia, and as such the largest unit was the battalion.

          Naturally, the divisions involved in the Hürtgenwald battle were Volksgrenadier divisions. These were regular army divisions, nothing to do whatsoever with the Volkssturm, which was organized by the NSDAP.

          "Volksgrenadier" was not a honorary title for units that had distinguished themselves. It was nothing but a (feeble) propaganda device for new divisions (or, later, divisions rebuilt to the new standard). The Volksgrenadier divisions simply were infantry divisions of the 32. Welle (and later those of the 29. and 31. Welle were adapted to the standard, as well as a few more were rebuilt to that standard), which had a different (weaker) organization.
          Michele

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