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Siege of Bastogne

20th - 27th December, 1944

OVERVIEW
The siege of Bastogne was an engagement between American and German forcesThe Siege of Bastogne was an engagement between American and German forces at the Belgian town of Bastogne, as part of the larger Battle of the Bulge. The goal of the German offensive was the harbor at Antwerp. In order to reach it before the Allies could regroup and bring their superior air power to bear, German mechanized forces had to seize the roadways through eastern Belgium. Because all seven main roads in the Ardennes mountain range converged on the small town of Bastogne, control of its crossroads was vital to the German attack. The siege lasted from 2027 December when the besieged American forces were relieved by elements of General George Patton's 3rd Army. The 101st Airborne formed an all-round perimeter using the 502nd PIR on the northwest shoulder to block the 2nd Panzer Division, the 506th PIR to block entry from Noville, the 501st PIR defending the eastern approach, and the 327th GIR scattered from Marvie in the southeast to Champs in the west along the southern perimeter, augmented by engineer and artillery units plugging gaps in the line. The division service area to the west of Bastogne had been raided the first night, causing the loss of almost its entire medical company, and numerous service troops were used as infantry to reinforce the thin lines. CCB of the 10th Armored Division, severely weakened by losses to its Team Desobry (Maj. William R. Desobry), Team Cherry (Lt. Col. Henry T. Cherry), and Team O'Hara (Lt. Col. James O'Hara) in delaying the Germans, formed a mobile "fire brigade" of 40 light and medium tanks (including survivors of CCR 9th Armored Division and eight replacement tanks found unassigned in Bastogne). Three artillery battalionsincluding the all-black 969th Field Artillery Battalionwere commandeered and formed a temporary

artillery group. Each had twelve 155 mm (6.1 in) howitzers, providing the division with heavy firepower in all directions restricted only by its limited ammunition supply. Col. Roberts, commanding CCB, also rounded up 600+ stragglers from the rout of VIII Corps and formed Team SNAFU as a further stopgap force. As a result of the powerful American defense to the north and east, XLVII Panzer Corps commander Gen. von Lttwitz decided to encircle Bastogne and strike from the south and southwest, beginning the night of 20/21 December. German panzerreconnaissance units had initial success, nearly overrunning the American artillery positions southwest of Bastogne before being stopped by a makeshift force. All seven highways leading to Bastogne were cut by German forces by noon of 21 December, and by nightfall the conglomeration of airborne and armored infantry forces were recognized by both sides as being surrounded. The (as American many soldiers were outnumbered the and lacking in coldweather gear, ammunition, food, medical supplies, and leadership officers, including 101st's commanderMajor GeneralMaxwell Taylorwere elsewhere). Due to some of the worst winter weather in years, the surrounded U.S. forces could not be resupplied by air nor was tactical air support available. However, the two panzer divisions of the XLVII Panzer Corps after using their mobility to isolate Bastogne, continued their mission towards the Meuse on 22 December, rather than attacking Bastogne with a single large force. They left just one regiment behind to assist the 26th Volksgrenadier Division in capturing the crossroads. The XLVII Panzer Corps probed different points of the southern and western defensive perimeter in echelon, where Bastogne was defended by just a single airborne regiment and support units doubling as infantry. This played into the American advantage of interior lines of communication; the

defenders

were

able

to

shift

artillery

fire

and

move

their

limited ad hoc armored forces to meet each successive assault. The 26th VG received one panzergrenadier regiment from the 15th Panzergrenadier Division on Christmas Eve for its main assault the next day. Because it lacked sufficient troops and those of the 26th VG Division were near exhaustion, the XLVII Panzer Corps concentrated its assault on several individual locations on the west side of perimeter in sequence rather than launching one simultaneous attack on all sides. The assaultled by 18 tanks carrying a battalion of infantrypierced the lines of the 327th's 3rd Battalion (officially, the 1st Battalion, 401st Glider Infantry), and advanced as far as the battalion command post at Hemroulle. However, infantry panzers the that 327th had held that its original positions 92 and repulsed The two into assaults followed, the capturing Germans.

achieved

penetration

divided

columns, one trying to reach Champs from the rear, and were destroyed in detail by two companies of the 1st Battalion 502nd PIR under Lt. Col. Patrick F. Cassidy and four tank destroyers of the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion. Allied control of Bastogne was a major obstacle to the German armored advance, and the morale of Allied forces elsewhere on the Western Front was boosted by news of the stubborn defense of the besieged town. Elements of General George Patton's Third Army, spearheaded by Lt. Col. Creighton Abrams commanding the 4th Armored Division's 37th Armor Battalion, succeeded in punching through to Bastogne, reaching the lines of the 326th Engineers on the day after the Christmas attack. The 101st's ground communications with the American supply dumps were restored on 27 December, and the wounded were evacuated to the rear. Gen. Taylor reached Bastogne with the 4th Armored Division and resumed command. With the

encirclement

broken,

the

men

of

the

101st

expected

to

be

relieved, but were given orders to resume the offensive. The 506th attacked north and recaptured Recogne on 9 January 1945, the Bois Jacques on 10 January, and Foy on 13 January. The 327th attacked towards Bourcy, northeast of Bastogne, on 13 January and encountered stubborn resistance. The 506th retook Noville on 15 January and Rachamps the next day. The 502nd reinforced the 327th, and the two regiments captured Bourcy on 17 January, pushing the Germans back to their point of advance on the day the division had arrived in Bastogne. The next day the division was relieved. The most famous quote of the battle came from the 101sts acting commander, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe. When confronted with a written request from German General Luttwitz for surrender of Bastogne, his reply was one word: "NUTS!" (the commander of the 327th GIR interpreted it to the German truce party as "Go to hell!"). After the battle, newspapers referred to the division as the "Battered Bastards of Bastogne".

German Order of Battle


XXXXVII Panzer-Korps Truppen 26. Volksgrenadier-Division 2. Panzer Division Panzer-Lehr-Division Kampfgruppe Maucke, Panzergrenadier-Regiment 115, 15. Panzer-Grenadier-Division Falschirm-Jaeger-Regiment 14, 5. Fallschirm-Jaeger-Division

American Order of Battle


28th Infantry Division 1128th Engineer Combat Group Combat Command 'R', 9th Armoured Division Combat Command 'B', 10th Armoured Division VIII Corps Troops 101st Airborne Division Task Force Dwight, Combat Command 'R', 4th Armoured Division

XXXXVII PANZER-KORPS TRUPPEN

Volks-Werfer-Brigade 15 --Werfer-Regiment 55 ----I. Abteilung 3x Nebelwerfer, 3x truck ----II. Abteilung 3x Nebelwerfer, 3x truck ----III. Abteilung 3x Nebelwerfer, 3x truck --Werfer-Regiment 85 ----I. Abteilung 3x Nebelwerfer, 3x truck ----II. Abteilung 3x Nebelwerfer, 3x truck ----III. Abteilung 3x Nebelwerfer, 3x truck Volks-Artillerie-Korps 766 --I. Abteilung 5x 105mm, 5x Sdkfz 8 --II. Abteilung 2x 150mm, 2x Sdkfz 8 --III. Abteilung 4x 88mm AAG, 4x Sdkfz 8 --IV. Abteilung 4x 75mm, 4x truck XLVII Panzer-Korps-Artillerie --25. Batterie, Festungs-Artillerie-Abteilung 975 1x 155mm --schwere-Morser-Batterie 1119 1x 30.5 mortar --Artillerie-Batterie 1124 1x 128mm Flak-Regiment 182 7x 20mm AAG, 7x truck, 3x 20(4)mm AAG, 3x 88mm AAG, 3x Sdkfz 8 Heeres-Pionier-Bataillon z.b.V. 600 9x engineer, 1x 81mm mortar, 3x halftrack, 7x truck

26. VOLKSGRENADIER-DIVISION

Fusilier-Regiment 39 --Infanteriegeschutzes-Kompanie 1x 120mm mortar, 1x 150mm infantry gun, 2x wagon --I. Bataillon 5x rifle, 4x SMG, 1x 81mm mortar, 2x 75mm infantry gun, 12x wagon --II. Bataillon 5x rifle, 4x SMG, 1x 81mm mortar, 2x 75mm infantry gun, 12x wagon Grenadier-Regiment 77 --Infanteriegeschutzes-Kompanie 1x 120mm mortar, 1x 150mm infantry gun, 2x wagon --I. Bataillon 5x rifle, 4x SMG, 1x 81mm mortar, 2x 75mm infantry gun, 12x wagon --II. Bataillon 5x rifle, 4x SMG, 1x 81mm mortar, 2x 75mm i nfantry gun, 12x wagon Grenadier-Regiment 78 --Infanteriegeschutzes-Kompanie 1x 120mm mortar, 1x 150mm infantry gun, 2x wagon --I. Bataillon 5x rifle, 4x SMG, 1x 81mm mortar, 2x 75mm infantry gun, 12x wagon --II. Bataillon 5x rifle, 4x SMG, 1x 81mm mortar, 2x 75mm infantry gun, 12x wagon Artillerie-Regiment 26 --I. Bataillon 3x 75mm, 3x wagon --II. Bataillon 6x 105mm, 6x wagon --III. Bataillon 2x 150mm, 2x wagon Pionier-Bataillon 26 6x engineer, 1x 81mm mortar, 7x wagon

Divisions-Fusilier-Bataillon 2x rifle, 4x SMG, 1x 81mm mortar, 2x 75mm infantry gun, 9x wagon Panzerjaeger-Abteilung 26 2x Hetzer, 3x 75mm ATG, 3x truck Flak-Bataillon 26 2x 88mm AAG, 2x Sdkfz 8, 3x 20mm AAG, 3x truck

2. PANZER-DIVISION

Panzer-Regiment 3 --Regimentstab 1x Wirbelwind, 1x Ostwind --I. Abteilung 12x Pzkw V (W) --II. Abteilung 6x Pzkw IV (W), 4x Stug III G Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 2 --Pionier-Kompanie 3x engineer, 3x halftrack --Infanteriegeschutzes-Kompanie 3x GW 38 (M) --I. Bataillon 5x rifle, 4x SMG, 1x 120mm mortar, 3x 75mm infantry gun, 1x Sdkfz 251/2, 1x 13x halftrack --II. Bataillon 6x rifle, 3x SMG, 1x 81mm mortar, 1x 120mm mortar, 1x 20mm AAG, 12x Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 304 --Pionier-Kompanie 3x engineer, 3x halftrack --Infanteriegeschutzes-Kompanie 3x GW 38 (M) --I. Bataillon 6x rifle, 3x SMG, 1x 81mm mortar, 1x 120mm mortar, 1x 20mm AAG, 12x truck --II. Bataillon 6x rifle, 3x SMG, 1x 81mm mortar, 1x 120mm mortar, 1x 20mm AAG, 12x Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 74 --I. Bataillon 2x Wespe, 1x Hummel, 1x Sdkfz 10/4 --II. Bataillon 2x 105mm, 2x Sdkfz 8, 1x 20mm AAG, 1x truck --III. Bataillon 1x 150mm, 1x 170mm, 2x Sdkfz 8, 1x 20mm AAG, 1 x truck Panzer-Aufklarungs-Abteilung 2 3x Sdkfz 222, 2x Sdkfz 231/8, 1x Sdkfz 233, 1x Sdkfz 251/1, 1x Sdkfz 10/4, 6x rifle, 1x engineer, 1x 75mm ATG, 3x Sdkfz 250/1, 5x halftrack truck truck Sdkfz 251/9, 3x Sdkfz 10/4,

Panzerjaeger-Abteilung 38 4x Stug III G, 3x 75mm ATG, 3x truck Panzer-Pionier-Bataillon 38 9x engineer, 1x 81mm mortar, 1x 'J' bridge, 3x halftrack, 8x truck Heeres-Flak-Artillerie-Abteilung 273 3x 88mm, 3x Sdkfz 8, 2x 37mm AAG, 2x truck, 2x Sdkfz 7/1

PANZER-LEHR-DIVISION

Panzer-Regiment 130 --Regimentstab 1x Wirbelwind, 1x Ostwind --II. Abteilung 6x Panther, 4x Pzkw IV (SS) Panzer-Grenadier-Lehr-Regiment 901 --Pionier-Kompanie 3x engineer, 3x halftrack --Infanteriegeschutzes-Kompanie 3x GW 38 (M) --I. Bataillon 5x rifle, 43x SMG, 1x 120mm mortar, 3x 75mm infantry gun, 1x Sdkfz 251/2, 1x 12x halftrack --II. Bataillon 5x rifle, 3x SMG, 1x 81mm mortar, 1x 120mm mortar, 1x 20mm AAG, 11x truck Panzer-Grenadier-Lehr-Regiment 902 --Pionier-Kompanie 3x engineer, 3x halftrack --Infanteriegeschutzes-Kompanie 3x GW 38 (M) --I. Bataillon 5x rifle, 3x SMG, 1x 81mm mortar, 1x 120mm mortar, 1x 20mm AAG, 11x mortar, 1x 20mm AAG, 11x Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 130 --I. Bataillon 2x Wespe, 1x Hummel, 1x Sdkfz 10/4 --II. Bataillon 2x 105mm, 2x Sdkfz 8, 1x 20mm AAG, 1x truck --III. Bataillon 1x 150mm, 1x 170mm, 2x Sdkfz 8, 1x 20mm AAG, 1x truck Panzer-Aufklarungs-Lehr-Abteilung 130 3x Sdkfz 222, 2x Sdkfz 234/1, 1x Sdkfz 234/3, 1x Sdkfz 251/2, 1x Sdkfz 10/4, 6x rifle, 1x engineer, 1x 75mm ATG, 3x Sdkfz 250/1, 5x halftrack truck truck --II. Bataillon 5x rifle, 3x SMG, 1x 81mm mortar, 1x 120mm Sdkfz 251/9, 3x Sdkfz 10/4,

Panzerjaeger-Abteilung 130 3x PzJd IV/70, 3x 75mm ATG, 3x truck Panzer-Lehr-Pionier-Bataillon 130 9x engineer, 1x 81mm mortar, 1x 'J' bridge, 3x halftrack, 8x truck Heeres-Flak-Artillerie-Abteilung 311 3x 88mm, 3x Sdkfz 8, 2x 37mm AAG, 2x truck, 2x Sdkfz 7/1 Sturmgeschutz-Brigade 243 (attached) 3x Stug III G, 1x rifle, 1x SMG, 1x engineer, 3x truck

KAMPFGRUPPE MAUCKE
PANZER-GRENADIER-REGIMENT 115 15. PANZER-GRENADIER-DIVISION Flak-Kompanie 3x 20mm AAG, 3x truck Infanteriegeschutzes-Kompanie 1x 75mm infantry gun, 1x truck, 3x GW 38 (M) I. Bataillon 6x rifle, 3x SMG, 1x 75mm infantry gun, 1x 81mm mortar, 1x 120mm mortar, 12x mortar, 1x 120mm mortar, mortar, 1x 120mm mortar, 20mm AAG, 1x truck Panzer-Abteilung 115 3x Pzkw IV (W), 5x Stug III G, 1x Ostwind truck II. Bataillon 6x rifle, 3x SMG, 1x 75mm infantry gun, 1x 81mm 12x truck 12x truck III. Bataillon 6x rifle, 3x SMG, 1x 75mm infantry gun, 1x 81mm I. Abteilung, Artillerie-Regiment 33 2x Wespe, 1x Hummel, 1x

FALLSCHIRM-JAEGER-REGIMENT 14
5. FALLSCHIRM-JAEGER-DIVISION

Infanteriegeschutzes-Kompanie 1x 120mm mortar, 1x wagon Panzer-Jaeger-Kompanie 2x 50mm ATG, 1x 75mm ATG, 3x truck I. Bataillon 12x para, 1x 81mm mortar, 1x 75mm infantry gun, 1x wagon II. Bataillon 12x para, 1x 81mm mortar, 1x 75mm infantry gun, 1x wagon IIII. Bataillon 12x para, 1x 81mm mortar, 1x 75mm infantry gun, 1x wagon Fallschirm-Sturmgeschutz-Brigade 11 (attached) 4x Stug III G

28th INFANTRY DIVISION

28th Cavalry Recon Troop 1x scout infantry, 3x m-8 Jeep, 2x M-8 110th Infantry Regiment --Regimental Headquarters 1x M-8 Jeep --Regimental Antitank Company 3x 57mm ATG, 3x truck --Regimental Cannon Company 1x 105mm infantry gun, 1x truck --1st/110th Infantry Battalion 9x rifle, 2x M-G, 1x 57mm ATG, 1x 81mm mortar, 13x truck --2nd/110th Infantry Battalion 9x rifle, 2x M-G, 1x 57mm ATG, 1x 81mm mortar, 13x truck --3rd/110th Infantry Battalion 9x rifle, 2x M-G, 1x 57mm ATG, 1x 81mm mortar, 13x truck 103rd Engineer Combat Battalion 9x engineer, 1x truck bridge, 10x truck 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion 1x M-8, 3x M-18, 1x M-8 Jeep, 1x M-20 707th Tank Battalion (attached) 3x M-5, 5x M-4/75, 1x M-4/76, 1x M-21, 1x M-8 Jeep 109th Field Artillery Battalion 2x 105mm, 2x truck 687th Field Artillery Battalion (attached) 2x 105mm, 2x truck 58th Armored FA Battalion (attached) 2x M7 Priest HMC 447th AAA AW Battery 3x 40mm AAG, 3x truck, 2x M16 MGMC 1x Company, 602nd Tank Destroyer Battalion 3x M-18, 1x M-8 Jeep, 1x M-20

1128th ENGINEER COMBAT GROUP

Brigade Headquarters 2x truck bridge, 2x truck 35th Combat Engineer Battalion 9x engineer, 9x truck 44th Combat Engineer Battalion 9x engineer, 9x truck 158th Combat Engineer Battalion 9x engineer, 9x truck

COMBAT COMMAND 'R'


9th ARMOURED DIVISION

2nd Tank Battalion 3x M-5, 9x M-4/76, 1x M-4/105, 1x M-21, 1x M-8 Jeep 52nd Armored Infantry Battalion 9x armoured infantry, 3x M-G, 3x 57mm ATG, 1x M-21, 1x M-8 HMC, 1x M-8 Jeep, 15x M-3 73rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion 3x M-7 Priest 'B' Company, 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion 3x M-18, 1x M-8 Jeep, 1x M-20 'C' Company, 9th Armored Engineer Battalion 3x engineer, 1x M3, 2x truck 'C' Battery,482nd Armoured Anti-Aircraft AW Battalion 2x M-15, 1x M-16

COMBAT COMMAND 'B'


10th ARMOURED DIVISION

420th Armoured Field Artillery Battalion 3x M-7 Priest 'B' Battery, 796th Armoured Anti-Aircraft AW Battalion 1x M-15, 1x M-16 'A' Company, 20th Armoured Infantry Battalion 3x armoured infantry, 1x M-G, 1x 57mm ATG, 5x M-3 'C' Company, 55th Armored Engineer Company 3x engineer, 1x M-3, 2x truck 'C' Company, 609th Tank Destroyer Battalion 3x M-18, 1x M-8 Jeep, 1x M-20 'D' Troop, 90th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron 3x M-5 3rd Tank Battalion (Task Force Cherry) --Battalion Headquarters 1x M-4/105, 1x M-21, 1x M-8 Jeep --'A' Company 1x M-5, 1x M-4/75, 1x M-4/76 --'D' Company 1x M-5 --'C' Company, 20th Armored Infantry Battalion 3x armoured infantry, 1x M-G, 1x 57mm ATG, 5x M-3 54th Armored Infantry Battalion (Task Force OHara) --'B' Company 3x armoured infantry, 1x M-G, 1x 57mm ATG, 5x M-3 --'C' Company, 21st Tank Battalion 2x M-4/75, 1x M-4/76 --Platoon, 'D' Company, 3rd Tank Battalion M-4/75 20th Armored Infantry Battalion (Task Force Desobry) --Battalion Headquarters 1x M-21, 1x M-8 HMC, 1x M-8 Jeep --'B' Company - 3x armoured infantry, 1x M-G, 1x 57mm ATG, 5x M-3 --'B' Company, 3rd Tank Battalion 1x M-5, 1x M-4/75, 1x M-4/76 --Platoon, 'D' Company, 3rd Tank Battalion 1x M-4/75

VIII CORPS TROOPS

333rd Field Artillery Battalion 2x 155mm, 2x M-4 HST 771st Field Artillery Battalion 2x 155mm, 2x M-4 HST 969th Field Artillery Battalion 2x 155mm, 2x M-4 HST

101st AIRBORNE DIVISION

501st Parachute Infantry Regiment --1st/501st Parachute Infantry Battalion 9x airborne infantry, 3x M-G, 1x 81mm mortar --2nd/501st Parachute Infantry Battalion 9x airborne infantry, 3x M-G, 1x 81mm mortar --3rd/501st Parachute Infantry Battalion 9x airborne infantry, 3x M-G, 1x 81mm mortar 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment --1st/502nd Parachute Infantry Battalion 9x airborne infantry, 3x M-G, 1x 81mm mortar --2nd/502nd Parachute Infantry Battalion 9x airborne infantry, 3x M-G, 1x 81mm mortar --3rd/502nd Parachute Infantry Battalion 9x airborne infantry, 3x M-G, 1x 81mm mortar 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment --1st/506th Parachute Infantry Battalion 9x airborne infantry, 3x M-G, 1x 81mm mortar --2nd/506th Parachute Infantry Battalion 9x airborne infantry, 3x M-G, 1x 81mm mortar --3rd/506th Parachute Infantry Battalion 9x airborne infantry, 3x M-G, 1x 81mm mortar 327th Glider Infantry Regiment --Regiment Headquarters 3x 57mm ATG, 3x Jeep --I/327th Glider Infantry Battalion 9x airborne infantry, M-G, 1x 81mm mortar 3x

--II/327th Glider Infantry Battalion 9x airborne infantry, M-G, 1x 81mm mortar --I/401st Glider Infantry Battalion 9x airborne infantry, M-G, 1x 81mm mortar 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion 2x 75mm, 2x Jeep 907th Glider Field Artillery Battalion 2x 75mm, 2x Jeep 377th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion 2x 75mm, 2x Jeep 463rd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion 2x 75mm, 2x Jeep 81st Airborne AAA Battalion 6x 40mm AAG, 6x Jeep 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion - 6x engineer 3x

3x

705th Tank Destroyer Battalion (attached) 9x M18, 3x M-8 Jeep, 3x M-20, 1x M-8 755th Field Artillery Battalion (attached) 2x 155mm, 2x M-4 HST

TASK FORCE DWIGHT


COMBAT COMMAND 'R' 4th ARMOURED DIVISION

'C' Company, 37th Tank Battalion 1x M-5, 2x M-4/75, 1x M-4/76 'C Company, 53rd Armoured Infantry Battalion 3x armoured infantry, 1x M-G, 1x 57mm ATC, 5c M-3 94th Armoured Field Artillery Battalion 3x M-7 Priest 'C' Battery, 177th Field Artillery Battalion 1x 105mm, 1x 22nd Armored Field Artillery Battalion 3x M-7 Priest 253rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion 3x M-7 Priest truck