Jump to content

Operation "Northwind", January '45


Recommended Posts

In Jan '45 the Germans launched an offensive in Alsace, France. I believe the intention of this was too relieve the pressure on their troops trapped in "the buldge." If anyone has any info on the units (divisions, etc..) involved in this offensive and how long it lasted please post them here or email me. Also, any written accounts you can let me know about would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

------------------

I'm sorry, we haven't the

facilities to take all of you prisoner. Was there anything else?

[This message has been edited by Red Devils (edited 08-14-2000).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Read "When The Odds Were Even" by Keith E. Bonn.

It also covers the US offensive that captured the Vosges area.

The German divisions were 17SS PZGrenadier, 36th Volksgrenadier, 19th Volksgrenadier, 257th Volksgrenadier, 559th Volksgrenadier, 256th Volksgrenadier, 361st Volksgrenadier, and 6th SS Mountain.

The US divisions were 45th Infantry, 44th Infantry, 100th Infantry, parts of 36th Infantry, parts of 14th Armored, parts of 2nd French Armored, parts of 63rd Infantry, parts of 70th Infantry, and Task Force Hudelson.

Basically, the Germans were stonewalled, except where they attacked Task Force Hudelson, which was a screening element. Elsewhere, few German tactics were evident, for example where the veteran SS Mountain division chose to use human wave attacks against a reverse slope defence arrayed in depth.

The US commanders planned to withdraw past Strasbourg to shorten the lines (if it were to prove necessary, which it wasn't), and the French commanders got very mad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Aacooper:

Read "When The Odds Were Even" by Keith E. Bonn.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks Coop. This will help agreat deal for me to create a new operation. I just picked up the book at amazon.

------------------

I'm sorry, we haven't the

facilities to take all of you prisoner. Was there anything else?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might be interested, the old SL scenario,"Bitche Salient" is from that campaign and you can download it from Col. Klotz's web sight.

------------------

Blessed be the Lord my strength who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

'Operation Northwind' by Charles Whiting

published by Leo Cooper 1986

Isbn 0436570947

Whiting not my favourite author (tad sensenialist) but this is one of his better books.

Also the excellent After The Battle : Battle Of The Bulge a mighty tome by Jean Paul Pallaud has a section on Nordwind.

Cheers

------------------

Sgt Steiner

Belfast

NI UK

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IIRC,

"when the odds were even"

was heavily criticized on this board for being incorrect insofar as it was written to provide *proof* for the author's theory that US infantry as a whole was better than their German counterparts. Facts were warped to better reflect this theory.

This was the reason I didn't buy it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First of all, "When The Odds Were Even" is clearly formated a thesis paper. The facts are EXTREMELY well researched and are in fact fairly presented. To imply that the author somehow cooked the facts to suit his theory is disingenuous. The author, a serving infantry officer stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, compares the training and doctrine of the US and German armies and their commanders. I find the author's conclusions compelling and fair.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was criticized mainly by Fionn who contended, incorrectly, that the Germans were engaged in a strategic withdrawal through the Vosges. Gen Von Mellenthin was Chief of Staff of German Army Group G, and speaks of nothing but trying to stop the Americans in "Panzer Battles" -- there was no strategic withdrawal.

Whether you think US infantry is better or worse, fact is, in the Vosges the US infantry was better than the German infantry. That's both in the offense and defense phases from September '44 thru January '45.

The original discussion is under the thread "Request for Comment: Book"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Heh if you liked or disliked, 'When the odds were even' try van Creveld's "Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945"

It deals with doctrine, organization, training, combat efficiency, and leadership of German and US forces, and goes into why sometimes superior US units were halted by & or unable to defeat German 3rd rate formations.

Basicly it could be called: "When The Odds were Uneven' biggrin.gif...

Regards, John Waters

--------

"Go for the eyes Boo, Go for the eyes!!"

[This message has been edited by PzKpfw 1 (edited 08-15-2000).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've read Doubler instead of Creveld, and Doubler does cite, and challenge to a degree, the assertions of Creveld's "Fighting Power" in his summarizing chapter.

It's rather interesting how two "camps" of historians have developed; one that asserts US ground forces to being perpetually tactically clumsy and relying ONLY on "materialschlacht" to win. Another holds that US ground forces would ultimately prove superior in all aspects, even in tactical warfare. To me, the truth lays in between.

One thing is fairly certain to me, though: any comparison of an "average" US unit to an "average" German one in late '44 will always lead to rampant, and usually fallacious, speculation. For one thing, due to continued attrition over five years, it would be difficult to find many German divisions that lied close to "average" German combat performance. Many poorly-trained and poorly-led German units were fed into the lines alongside more-experienced units out of necessity. And even the vaunted SS Panzer divisions of late-'44 were sub-par to their versions that existed in '42-'43 in terms of overall combat performance. Again, repeated attrition had taken its toll, so direct comparisons of US troops to Germans in '44 is somewhat unfair in that the Germans of that time were past their "average" peaks they attained in experience and quality.

And in a similar way, trying to define "average" US unit performance in '44 can be a bit challenging too. Many US divisions became quite proficient from Normandy onwards, being able to match their opponents even on a tactical basis. The tragic problem with the US divisions, though, was that even the experienced ones were often kept in line so long to as cause complete turnover of the original combat troops. And all of the noted historians agree (even Doubler) that the US replacement system in the ETO was grossly flawed in preparing replacement troops for combat. Take note that a US WW2 infantry division had no more than 3,000 riflemen (discounting the officers and mortar/MG troops). By example of attrition, the 4th Division was not pulled out of the Hurtgen Forest until it had lost 7,000 men.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Spook:

I've read Doubler instead of Creveld, and Doubler does cite, and challenge to a degree, the assertions of Creveld's "Fighting Power" in his summarizing chapter.

It's rather interesting how two "camps" of historians have developed; one that asserts US ground forces to being perpetually tactically clumsy and relying ONLY on "materialschlacht" to win. Another holds that US ground forces would ultimately prove superior in all aspects, even in tactical warfare. To me, the truth lays in between.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I agree thats a reason I posted Creveld's book as it showed the diferences between the two authors. in trying to basicly draw similar conclusions concerning both the US and German forces. Both books caused quite a stir when they were released biggrin.gif.

In the end to me both argumaents are realy irrelevant; as both sides forces did better or worse then they should or shouldn't have on any given day, and both authors used these succesful occasions, to make their cases, while sidestepping the less then succesful engagements.

Regards, John Waters

-------------

"Make way evil, I'm armed to the teeth and packing a hamster!"

[This message has been edited by PzKpfw 1 (edited 08-16-2000).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

During Operation Norwind the Germans commited a number of second rate Volksgrenadier divisions, the rebuilt yet inept 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division, and an Elite Mountain regiment from Norway. In addition the Germans committed a number of the new Jadgtigers.

Opposing the Germans were a mixture of veteran American formations who were holding defensive postions which were far greater than normal. This was due to the fact that many of the 7th Army's divisions were supporting the elimination of the Bulge. To compensate for this the Americans were forced to attach "American Volksgrenadier" regiments to the more experienced divisions. These regiments were very green units that only recently arrived in the ETO and were not at all climatized to situation when the Germans struck.

The odds were even in many respects. And in the end the Americans kicked the crap out of the Germans. The green American regiments defeated the elite SS Mountain troops. The SS Panzer Grenadier Division was wiped out because of inept leadership. In many cases the Germans conducted human wave assaults, trying to make up for fighting skill with fanaticism.

This fight illustrated the bankruptcy of the German training and leadership during this period of the war. Granted the German war machine of 44 was vastly different from the German war machine in 41 (thanks to the USSR). But durining this particular time and battle, when the odds were indeed even, the Allies proved the better man.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Red Devils:

If anyone has any info on the units (divisions, etc..) involved in this offensive and how long it lasted please post them here or email me. Also, any written accounts you can let me know about would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

RD check out the 70th Inf.Div's page at: http://www.trailblazersww2.org/division_history.htm

Regards, John Waters

-----

"Go for the eyes Boo, go for the eyes!!".

[This message has been edited by PzKpfw 1 (edited 08-16-2000).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMHO the odds were never even. The Allies always had numerical superiority. The Allies always had air superiority. The Germans usually had superior armor. Early on the Germans had more experienced and often better trained troops. Later the opposite was true. German tactical doctrine (combined arms, MG as the center of the squad, infiltration tactics, etc.) was better, but you need trained soldiers to carry out a tactical doctrine.

There was nothing intrinsically superior about either Allied or German soldiers. It all comes down to training, equipment, experience and numbers. Each side had its advantages and disadvantages and these advantages/disadvantages could change or even invert in any given situation. The Allies had more advantages more often so they won. Talk about performance under "even" conditions is IMHO fallacious - "even" conditions never existed.

Personally, I want all of the advantages I can get my grubby little paws on smile.gif.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...