In publishing the series, U.S. ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, the Department of the Army has three objectives. The first is to provide the Army itself with an accurate and timely account of its varied activities in mobilizing, organizing, and employing its forces for the conduct of war--an account that will be available to the service schools and to individual members of the Armed Services who wish to extend their professional reading. The second objective is to help enlarge the thoughtful citizen's concept of national security by describing the basic problems of war and the manner in which these problems were met. The third objective is to preserve for the record a well-merited tribute to the devotion and sacrifice of those who served.
The authors of the combat volumes were selected from among trained civilian historians, many of whom served as historical officers attached to the headquarters of larger units engaged in the campaigns about which the histories are written. Their material has been gathered from their own observations and research as well as from the gleanings of other trained historians who served in the wartime Army. All pertinent official records, interviews with both Allied and enemy participants in the actions, and captured enemy records were made available in the preparation of these volumes. Although no claim is made that the series constitutes a final history, the authors have weighed the evidence in accordance with the Chief of Staff's directive that Army histories must present a full and factual account, thoroughly documented and completely objective. They are under no restrictions in their work except those imposed by the requirements of national security and by the standards of historical scholarship.
The level on which the volumes are written necessarily varies. When an action is confined to a comparatively small number of units in a limited area, it has been possible to carry the narrative down to companies, platoons, and even individuals. When an action involves many large units moving rapidly
over extensive areas, the small-unit level is not feasible. In the writing of combat history, as in combat itself, the solution to the problem "depends on the situation."
Hugh M. Cole, the author of this volume, obtained his Ph.D. in Military History from the University of Minnesota in 1937. He taught Military History at the University of Chicago until the spring of 1942 when he accepted a commission as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. A graduate in 1943 from the Command and General Staff School, Dr. Cole subsequently joined the Historical section, G–2, War Department, and in 1944 was assigned to Headquarters, Third United States Army, then in England. After serving in four campaigns with the Third Army, he became Deputy Theater Historian, European Theater of Operations. In 1946 he was reassigned to the Historical Division, WDSS, and started the research and writing that culminated in this volume.
The Department of the Army gratefully acknowledges the co-operation of the U.S. Air Force in making available such of their records and research facilities as were pertinent to the preparation of this volume.
15 March 1949
HARRY J. MALONY
Maj. Gen., U.S.A.
Chief, Historical Division
Hugh M. Cole received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1937 in the field of European military history. He taught military history at the University of Chicago until 1942, when he joined the Army as an intelligence officer. After graduating from the Command and General Staff School he was assigned to the staff of the Third Army during its operations in Europe. At the close of hostilities he became Deputy Theater Historian, European Theater of Operations. From 1946 to 1952 Dr. Cole directed the work of the European Theater Section, Office of the Chief of Military History, wrote The Lorraine Campaign, a volume that appeared in this series in 1950, and undertook much of the work that has culminated in this volume on the Ardennes Campaign. He joined the Operations Research Office of The Johns Hopkins University in 1952 and has continued his active interest in military history and his service to the Army both as a scholar and as colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.
In 1946 the Historical Division of the War Department made plans for the preparation of a nine-volume series recounting the history of the European Theater of Operations. There was no precedent in the experience of the United States Army for an official narrative account of military operations on the grand scale. Careful study of the official histories produced by the European combatants after World War I showed that these histories could offer little in the way of a pattern for recording the European campaigns of 1944 and 1945. The drastic change from the trench warfare of 1914–18 to the mobile operations of 1944–45 had complicated the task of the military historian. In World War I, a tactical situation represented by three divisions rising from the trenches in simultaneous attack on a narrow front permitted a reasonable unity in treatment and allowed the historian to write at the level of the army corps. Thirty years later, that same frontage might be held by a single reinforced regiment. The fluid condition of the combat zone in World War II and the wide dispersion of troops over the battle area resulting from the impact of the tank, the plane, the machine gun, the truck, and the radio telephone inevitably induced a degree of fragmentization and an unavoidable lack of sequence in the narrative of events on the battlefields of 1944 and 1945. It was decided, therefore, that the common denominator in the present series would be the division, since the division represents the basic tactical and administrative unit of the combined arms. Although emphasis is placed on the division, organization by chapters generally will follow the story of the army corps as a means of achieving narrative and tactical unity.
The limits of the individual volumes in this series have been set according to well-defined phases of the operations in the ETO. But it has been impossible in most individual volumes to cover the entire Western Front and include all phases of the action. As a result the individual volume will deal with one or more armies in a given area at a given time and will not necessarily present the complete story of American ground operations during that phase of the war in Western Europe. The importance of logistics in the history of the
ET0 has been recognized by the allocation of a separate volume to this subject. The story of command and decision at the level of SHAEF also has required treatment in a separate volume, particularly since this story reaches beyond the purely American forces on the Continent. Insofar as is practicable the history of air-ground co-operation at the tactical level has been introduced in the separate operational volumes.
The Lorraine Campaign is the first volume to be published in the projected series embracing the history of the American armies in the European Theater of Operations. This volume deals with the campaign waged by the Third Army in Lorraine during the period 1 September–18 December 1944. Since it has been impossible to organize the writing of individual volumes so that they may be published in the chronological sequence followed by military operations, the reader interested in the history of the Third Army before or after the events here set forth must wait until the appropriate volumes are completed.
The present volume is concerned with the tactical operations of the Third Army and its subordinate units. The story of command and decision in higher headquarters is told only when it has a direct bearing on the campaign in Lorraine. The logistics of this campaign likewise have been subordinated to the tactical narrative. The basic unit in the present narrative is the infantry or armored division. The story of the division has been told in terms of its regiments and battalions, but swerves on occasion to the company or the platoon, just as the operations themselves turned on the exploits of these smaller units.
Comparatively little attention can be given to the exploits of the individual soldier within the confines of a single volume such as this. Deeds of valor that were officially recognized by the award of the Medal of Honor or the Distinguished Service Cross have been cited in the text or in footnotes. Unfortunately the records of the Department of the Army do not provide a complete chronological listing of such citations for bravery. Every care has been exercised to mention all recipients, but it is possible that some have been omitted inadvertently. No attempt has been made to provide a complete order of battle or a troop list of all the numbered units that were assigned or attached to the Third Army during the Lorraine Campaign. Attention has been focused throughout the volume on the combat formations actually in the line. It is hoped, however, that the reader will gain some impression of the vital combination of arms and services which in the long run bring the infantry
and the tanks to victory. At certain points in the narrative the reader will find a slowing pace and a monotony induced by the similarity of detail, inasmuch as the historian, unlike the novelist or poet, is not the master of his material. The campaign in Lorraine seldom showed the dash of the August pursuit; the advance toward the Rhine sometimes seemed unbearably slow to those who took part in it. The progression from village to village was monotonous and repetitious; and a sustained, sequential, realistic account cannot shirk the event.
Precise military terminology has been employed, except in those cases where clarity and economy of style have dictated usage of a more general nature. Thus, the Third Army operations in Lorraine are considered to be a "campaign" in the general sense of the term, despite the fact that the Department of the Army does not award a separate campaign star for these operations. The regimental combat team has not been distinguished from the conventional regimental organization, because of the difficulty in determining the precise form of the regimental command at any given time. Armored organizations present a similar problem. The Reserve Command of the armored division therefore is named as one of the combat commands. The designations reinforced (reinf) and minus (–) have been used only when needed to call attention to particularly important attachments or detachments. The conventional designations, "21st Army Group" and "12th Army Group," commonly used throughout the operations in Europe, are employed in the text; the official designations, "Northern Group of Armies" and "Central Group of Armies," introduced by SHAEF when General Eisenhower assumed direct operational control on 1 September 1944, are employed in the maps. German nomenclature has been determined arbitrarily, with an eye to limitations of space and a meaningful rather than a literal translation. The umlaut vowels in the text have been indicated by addition of the letter e, as in Saarbruecken. In the maps, the original umlaut designation has been retained, as in Saarbrücken. For the sake of clarity, the names of enemy military units have been italicized. Such treatment has not been accorded, however, to certain German terms, such as Luftwaffe, panzer, and Reichswehr, which have been virtually assimilated into the English language.
All clock time given is that officially designated by the Allies. Prior to 17 September, 1944, British Double Summer Time is used. After that date hours are given in British Summer Time.
The author has received much help, beginning with the accumulation of
information during the Lorraine Campaign and continuing through the subsequent stages of writing and editing. He gratefully acknowledges this assistance. Col. W. A. Ganoe, Theater Historian, USFET, and Col. John M. Kemper, Chief, Historical Branch, MID G–2, were instrumental in securing the assignment of the author as an officer on the Third Army staff. The members of the 3d Information and Historical Service, both officers and enlisted men, are responsible for whatever merit this volume has as a departure from the skeletal and fragmentary form of the official journals and reports. I am especially indebted for the Combat Interviews obtained during the campaign by the following officers and men: Capt. Dello G. Dayton, Capt. Ledyard B. Clark, Capt. Harry A. Morris, 1st Lt. Theron Burts, 1st Lt. Samuel Tobin, M. Sgt. Gordon A. Harrison, and M. Sgt. Monroe Ludden. The many administrative difficulties encountered by the army historian were solved in the main by the persistent and helpful efforts of Col. S. L. A. Marshall, Deputy Theater Historian, and Col. A. F. Clark, Deputy Chief, Historical Division, War Department.
The presentation of the story on the enemy side of the hill owes much to Capt. Frank Mahin, Capt. James Scoggin, and Mr. Detmar Finke, whose tireless work in exploring the German documents and in fathoming the individual memories of the German officers who took part in the Lorraine Campaign merits especial praise. The maps in this volume represent seventeen months of research and work at the drafting board by Mr. Wsevolod Aglaimoff, Miss Ann Coward, and other members of the Cartographic Unit. Mr. Aglaimoff has always been ready to place his extensive knowledge of European terrain at the disposal of the author; no military historian could hope for a better military cartographer. Maj. Charles A. Warner, USAF, collaborated with the writer in preparing the story of air-ground co-operation. Maj. John Hatlem selected and prepared the photographs used herein. Aerial photographs were made especially for the volume by the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron, USAF. Mr. Israel Wice and his very competent assistants expended much time and effort in checking names, awards, and dates. Mr. W. Brooks Phillips and Mrs. Frances T. Fritz of the Editorial Unit provided an additional check of the many names, both of persons and of places, that appear in the text. Details on the Third Army order of battle have been taken from the valuable preliminary study, Order of Battle: European Theater of Operations (Paris, 1945), prepared under the direction of Capt. Robert J. Greenwald. It has been a pleasure to work with Mr. Joseph R. Friedman, Associate Editor
in charge of the ET0 series, whose professional knowledge and skill have greatly aided the writer. Preparation of the index was in the capable hands of Mr. David Jaffé. Mrs. Jean Embry and Mrs. R. Constance Beatty carried out the tedious business of typing and retyping the manuscript.
Brigadier H. B. Latham of the War Cabinet Historical Section, Committee for Imperial Defense, London, has kindly furnished data from Luftwaffe files in British possession. Additional information on the 2d French Armored Division has been provided through the courtesy of the Ministère de la Défense Nationale, Paris; the Service Historique de l’Armée, Etat-Major des Forces Armées (Guerre); and the Groupement blindé No. 2, St. Germain-en-Laye.
Reference in the footnotes can give only partial credit to the scores of officers and men who were called upon to furnish additional information or to unravel questions of fact. Nearly every officer who held the post of division commander or above during the campaign has read the initial manuscript of this volume. Their comments and criticisms have been invaluable, but they are in no way responsible for the statements of fact contained herein.
1 November 1949
H. M. COLE