Winter Warfare

by Bruce L. Brager, 29 September 2007
Reprinted with the generous permission of Bruce L. Brager

"Dawn found the situation critical in many sectors. . . "
141st Infantry regimental history, 1946

The "Southern Front" in Europe opened on August 15, 1944, when three American divisions, the 3rd, the 45th and the 36th, invaded the French Riviera beaches. The American divisions, soon part of the Seventh Army, were joined by French divisions in the First French Army, the primary French military contribution in the European theater.

Slow but steady advances continued throughout November - costly in casualties and equipment. This was nothing like the early fall "chase" northward, having gained only about 20 miles since mid September, but also nothing like the virtual stalemate the 36th Division remembered from the Italian mountains. The 36th Division, after three months fighting, was assigned a supporting role in the VI Corps late November offensives. The 3rd Division would lead the Corps attack across the Meurthe, to within 15 miles of the major Alsatian city of Strasbourg. The 36th would take over positions vacated by the new 103rd Division which had just joined the VI Corps, west of the Meurthe, move forward to blocking positions and maintain contact with the French II Corps to its right. When ordered to do so, the 36th Division would be ready to attack across the Vosges. VI Corps' Operations Instructions Number 9, issued on November 19, 1944, directed the 3rd Infantry Division to attack across the Meurthe River just before 7 AM the next morning.{2}

Despite a heavy current, with some flooding, the two assault elements of the division were able to infiltrate across the river at night. The assault began from across the Meurthe. Tactical air support was possible for the first time in the Vosges campaign, and one of the few times in that campaign. Division and Corps artillery added additional weight to the attack. VI Corps commander Major General Edward H. Brooks, when he saw how well the attack was going, ordered two regiments from the 103rd Division to cross the Meurthe at the same location and join in the offensive. Germans from the 716th Volksgrenadier Division, withdrawing in the face of the strong American attacks, burned most of the city of St. Die. In the words of a recent study of the Vosges campaign, "since the attack pushed immediately beyond St. Die, the destruction of the structures in no way deprived the Americans of shelter. It was pointless, counterproductive savagery."{3}

Just before midnight, November 21st, Brooks ordered pursuit of the Germans. Ad hoc combined arms task forces were to advance to the Vosges passes as quickly as possible. Units were instructed to bypass German strongpoints, but cut off German lines of retreat. Defenders would be destroyed by American infantry following the initial advance.{4}

Supporting did not mean "inactive" during this period for the 36th. On November 19th, the 36th Division was able to reach the high ground west of the Meurthe near St. Leonard. It also controlled forested high ground to the south near the Meurthe river. The Division boundaries and mission were then changed. When Brooks ordered the 103rd to cross the Meurthe over bridges built by the 3rd Division, he moved the boundary between the 103rd and the 36th north by three miles. The role of the 36th was also changed from support to active pursuit. Brooks ordered the division to advance along its front to the east and northeast, keeping abreast of the rest of the VI Corps.

Piles of logs remain from strong enemy roadblock on high road to St. Marie
Piles of logs remain from strong enemy roadblock on high road to St. Marie

The first divisional objective was Ste. Marie-aux-Mines, on route N-59, twelve miles east of St. Die, two miles east of the Ste. Marie pass. After reaching the pass, the division would continue twelve miles east to the city of Selestat, on the Alsatian plains, between Colmar and Strasbourg. Dahlquist was also instructed to launch a secondary attack, generally along Route N-415, through Le Bonhomme Pass to Colmar.

The 36th began crossing the Meurthe River on November 21st. Opposition primarily came from artillery and mortar fire, with heavily mined areas and flooded banks also creating problems. The same day the Division seized a large portion of an important road, N-415. However, more resistance was met at Route N-59. German defenses in the 36th's area were the best in the VI Corps zone. Route N-59 narrowed to a twisting two lane road running through mountain passes, and was an easy area to defend. The German 198th Division, one of the best in the area,{5} had probably set up the defenses. However, its replacement, the 16th Division, lacked sufficient manpower to hold all roadblocks and defensive works.

German resistance on November 22nd and 23 temporarily held up the 36th near the Meurthe, but the Division moved faster the next day. Progress was also held up at Le Bonhomme Pass for two days. On November 25th the Division took Ste. Marie-aux-Mines and the Ste. Marie Pass. Thirty years later, George Lynch the former commander of the 142nd Infantry, wrote about the capture of the pass, assigned to his regiment.

"The offensive moved slowly and then gathered speed as the 142nd entered Wisembach, the last town before ascending to the high Ste. Marie Pass. The pass itself, at 2,547 feet. . . was simply a narrow, hard-surfaced road cut into the side of the precipitous mountain whose peak rose 3,214 feet. . . Heavily wooded as well as precipitous, travel off the road was a matter of climbing and clambering on foot. The pass, with timber barricades, was defended by antitank guns and about 100 infantrymen.

By this stage of our advance, it was clear that the Germans were no longer defending, just delaying our advance wherever the terrain offered an advantage. So there was no question of linear defenses. Road blocks and delaying along principal arteries became the pattern of German tactics at this time.

A map study showed a dirt cart trail (probably an old lumber road) leading northwest out of Wisembach, crossing the high saddle of the mountain north of the pass.

A plan was devised to have the 3rd Battalion divide into two forces. One element was made up of Company L, reinforced by a platoon from Company B, 753rd Tank Battalion, and commanded by Major Ross Young. . . This force was to attack the pass frontally, up the road approach, as a diversion.

The remainder of the battalion . . . was to mount on trucks, follow the dirt trail northeast out of Wisembach. They were to go as far as possible mounted, and after crossing the saddle, dismount and attack the town of Ste. Marie aux Mines on foot. . .

At daylight on the morning of 25 November, the men of Gillette's 3rd Battalion (less Company L) mounted their trucks and moved out of Wisembach up the dirt trail and disappeared into the forest without incident or interruption.

The attack of Young's diversionary force against the fortified pass itself was delayed until the 132nd Field Artillery Battalion could complete its move to firing positions. Into place, they laid a generous amount of artillery fire on the fortifications while Young's force advanced up the road.

While the fortifications were still under our artillery fires, the tank platoon attempted a frontal attack against the pass. With this approach denied to us, Company L deployed into a shallow envelopment around the north (uphill) side of the pass. After many hours of tortuous climbing, this force descended on the pass and at 1815 hours completed its capture, with 28 prisoners and 30 dead.

The 3rd Battalion, meanwhile, had passed over the saddle, two miles north of the pass, and had continued mounted on trucks toward the town of Ste. Marie. At 1320, having dismounted, the battalion entered the town and captured a stunned German garrison of 150, while suffering only two casualties - both just light wounds."{6}

Troops moving through roadblock within St. Croix after it fell.
Troops moving through roadblock within St. Croix after it fell.

The 1st Battalion was ordered to follow the 2nd Battalion and attack Ste. Croix. The town was taken, but not without more resistance from German troops alerted by the capture of Ste. Marie. George Lynch, who retired from the army as a Major General, called the capture a "truly remarkable achievement for which the 3rd Battalion and its attached troops received the Presidential Unit Citation."{7}

As November came to an end, the German 19th Army was gradually being destroyed by Patch's Seventh Army and Jean De Lattre's First French Army. With the exception of an area known as the Colmar pocket, the 19th Army was close to being unable to offer resistance west of the Rhine River. The 19th Army commander was considering withdrawal of most of his units east of the Rhine. Jacob Devers, commanding the 6th Army Group, believed the pocket would soon be withdrawn. German estimates were that without major reinforcements, the Colmar pocket could be held for three weeks.

Devers thought the French would have little problem getting rid of additional German resistance west of the Rhine. The German Panzer Lehr armored division was making some progress in a southward attack, however -- including nearly chasing Eisenhower and Omar Bradley away from XV Corps headquarters{8} -- which added an extra element to Allied planning.

Devers wanted to have the Seventh Army cross the Rhine, and then head north. This would outflank German defenses against the northern portions of the Allied drive. One motive for Anvil/Dragoon, perhaps the chief motive, had been to help what were considered the main Allied drives to the north.

On November 24th, Eisenhower and Bradley left for a tour of the southern portion of the Allied front. Their first stop was George Patton's Third Army headquarters. Two months earlier, Patton has been told to go on the defensive as supplies and fuel had to be diverted to Montgomery's British forces in the north. Patton interpreted "defensive" rather loosely, and had been sending out continuous "patrols" to "adjust" his lines. By November he was formally back on the offensive. However, by the end of the month bad weather and supply problems, among other factors, were slowing down the Third Army.

Bradley, the 12th Army Group commander, considered Patton's offensive against Germany's Saar Basin his main effort. Something had to be done to assist this effort. Bradley wanted to shift some of Patton's front to Patch's Seventh Army. Eisenhower also seems to have made up his mind to help Patton.

After joining Devers and Patch, Eisenhower and Bradley then proceeded to XV Corps headquarters. They then visited Brooks at VI Corps headquarters. Both were making arrangements for crossing the Rhine. At XV Corps, Eisenhower issued verbal orders to stop these preparations. He wanted the Seventh Army to switch directions to a northward attack, against the flank of the German 1st Army, in support of Patton.

Devers was upset. That night, after a formal dinner, he met with Eisenhower and Bradley. The volume of the "Green Book" history series on the Riviera Campaign records that this was not a pleasant evening. "The ensuing discussing lasted until the early hours of the following day and saw a heated argument between Eisenhower, Bradley and Devers."{9} Eisenhower continued to insist that Devers stop preparations for a Rhine crossing, and have the Seventh Army turn to the north to assist Patton. Overall SHAEF directives provided that all forces would seize bridgeheads over the Rhine if the opportunity presented itself. However, Eisenhower ordered Devers not to make any such crossing. He, and Bradley, rejected Devers' arguments that the Germans were sufficiently weak, that crossing the Rhine, even against the West Wall defenses, would not be a problem and that Patton would best be aided by a second force enveloping the Saar from the south. Eisenhower ordered Devers to clear up Germans west of the Rhine as soon as possible - presumably including the Colmar pocket - and attack to the north. Devers had no choice but to comply.{10}

Devers thought Eisenhower should have been willing to exploit the opportunity the 6th Army Group's rapid advance presented the Allied command. Arguments exist in favor of Eisenhower's "broad front" strategy, in particular that this strategy prevented the Germans from concentrating against one thrust and that it avoided danger to the flanks of the advance. However, Eisenhower may not have been sufficiently flexible in responding to changing circumstances.

Politics, an unavoidable (and even necessary) part of every war seems to have played a role in Eisenhower's decision making. Devers, not known as the most reflective of commanders, may not have considered that higher level Allied political decisions put the focus of effort on the northern thrust by the 12st Army Group, under Bernard Montgomery. Montgomery was not always the most cooperative of commanders under the best of circumstances. Initial American policy had been to pay perhaps excessive attention to British feelings. Eisenhower probably concluded Montgomery was enough of a problem as he was. After having already rejected Montgomery's idea for a total concentration in the north, under Montgomery, Eisenhower did not want to additional problems of convincing him, and Winston Churchill, of a major change in political plans for the war.{11}

The "ground level" view remained that Eisenhower might have made a mistake. Patton later wrote that were he Eisenhower he would have told Patch to send the VI Corps across the Rhine.{12} The bulk of the XV Corps would have remained west of the Rhine to protect Patton's right flank. The Third Army could also have been used to exploit the XV Corps breakthrough. Political factors are hard to estimate, as the prospect of upsetting Montgomery, if it went no further, might have had a sort of perverse appeal to Eisenhower and Bradley. From the American point of view, stopping the Seventh Army probably showed a lack of imagination and flexibility.{13} This decision, which the Germans would quickly guessed - if not learn from intelligence sources - fit in with Hitler's plans. The December surprise German counter attack in the Ardennes was already in the works. There was no need to worry about a southern breakthrough.

The Seventh Army attacked in two directions during the last week of November. The XV Corps attacked to the north, supporting Patton. The VI Corps attacked to the east in the general direction of Colmar, with the First French Army. Devers was not satisfied with the progress either attack was making. Effective December 5, 1944, army borders were changed, giving the French full responsibility for the Colmar pocket. Additionally, operational control of the 36th Division and the French 2nd Armored Division was transferred to De Lattre's First French Army.

The main Seventh Army effort was aimed to the north. The Germans had adapted the captured Maginot line to face the other direction. Noted historian Russell Wiegley writes that "Against these defensive resources, the new drive of the Seventh Army in early December became a plodding affair similar to the Third Army's recent and concurrent attacks, or to the September to mid-November experiences of Patch's own troops."{14} The attacks would continue until mid December, with progress but with no overwhelming success, until new developments forced a rapid change in plans.

Devers and de Lattre were surprised that the German 19th Army continued to hold the Colmar pocket. Hitler, however, made an unusual appointment, but one reflective of his determination to hold the Pocket. On December 10th Hitler appointed SS chief, Reichfuhrer Heinrich Himmler, as commander of Army Group Oberrhein, a new headquarters controlling 19th Army (whose commander Himmler quickly replaced) and some units east of the Rhine. Army Group Oberrhein was semi-independent, formally a theater command reporting directly to OKW, German military high command. Actually, Himmler reported directly to Hitler.

Himmler's previous military command experience had been taking over as head of the Replacement Army after the July 20, 1944 attempt on Hitler's life. The "Green Book" states that

"For the next few weeks the command changes proved effective. However questionable his military abilities, Himmler was able to accelerate the infusion of replacements into both the Colmar area and the east bank defenses by having the immediate German interior scoured more thoroughly for supplies, equipment, and manpower."{15}

Himmler's presence ensured that no local German commanders withdrew without permission, or otherwise failed to fight more vigorously.

The full scale French 1st Army offensive would start on December 11th, but be temporarily cancelled on December 21st. The 36th Division had been seeing some action, however, almost since it was formally assigned to French operational command. Several weeks of hard fighting, however, failed to eliminate the Colmar pocket. German counterattacks were fought off, including one in the Selestat area in the northwest of the pocket, on December 10th. As described in the 142nd Regimental Narrative for December:

"At Selestat, a heavy artillery concentration alerted the 1st Battalion at about 0630 hours on 10 December 1944. A platoon of Company B at a road junction was the first to report the attack. On both flanks, approximately 100 enemy struck but in time were driven off and 30 prisoners taken. The main weight of the German attack was then realized to be further to the north. Before daylight, the enemy infiltrated into the Vienweg area, quickly seized and controlled a half-mile stretch of houses along the first north-south street, and cut off another platoon of Company B, at another road junction. Another route of infiltration was along the stream bed and railroad tracks on the north. One column may have gone as far west, on the north bank of the railroad crossing, as Scherwiller. . . crossed a footbridge, then attacked east to gain control of a factory area. When a friendly unit holding one of the northern posts saw the enemy in strength early in the morning, it withdrew, leaving a wide gap through which the Germans could have infiltrated in large numbers. This gap was not known until nearly noon, and posed a serious threat. . . Artillery in the area was seriously threatened. Although Company B was isolated in small units, some only squad size, with some attached antitank platoons, they held their positions and even took prisoners and kept them under guard."{16}

The 142nd Regiment commander attached Company I to the 1st Battalion, and placed the rest of the 3rd Battalion in the town of Chatenois, west of Selestat on the Ste. Marie Road, to block further penetration in that area. Two light tanks made it into Selestat that morning, two medium tanks and a Company C Platoon by noon. It took most of the afternoon to clear Selestat, and defeat a dusk attack. The 1st Battalion later won a Presidential unit citation for this action.

However, general progress had not been as good as expected. The overall attack was cancelled. The 36th Division was not involved when the attack on the Colmar Pocket resumed in January. It was shifted to reserve on December 25th. On February 8, 1945, what was left of the German 19th Army withdrew back across the Rhine.

The first priority when the 36th left the line was the surprise heavy German offensive in the Ardennes, the "Battle of the Bulge." When Eisenhower sent part of the Third Army to attack the German salient, the "bulge," the Seventh Army had to take over the vacated line. Devers was asked for two divisions to go into SHAEF (overall theater) reserve. The 36th Division and the 12th Armored Division got the honor. Offense was impossible for the Sixth Army Group until the emergency in the north had passed, but the removal of these two divisions gave Devers even fewer troops to hold a longer line. Devers does not seem to have said anything to Eisenhower, as he recognized the necessity for reinforcing the Ardennes. He noted in his diary, however, that he still thought the high command should have taken advantage of the success in his sector.{17}

The 36th Division enjoyed the brief rest behind the front lines. Early in January it would be back in the line. The Battle of the Bulge was winding down, but the Allied commanders were expecting a second wave of attacks in the South. Both Hitler and Field Marshall Gerd Von Rundstedt, overall German commander in the west, realized that the Allies had to greatly weaken their forces in the south to stop the German offensive in the north. At the very least, they expected the attack to relieve pressure on German forces in the north.

Operation Northwind, Nordwind in German, would start on New Years' Eve 1944. Part of the German 1st Army would attack in the Sarre River valley, part through the Vosges. Two Panzers divisions would remain in reserve to exploit a breakthrough. Army Group Oberrhein would launch supporting attacks north and south of Strasbourg, but only after success in the Sarre valley.

Intelligence indicated a German buildup in the area of the Seventh Army, and an attack was expected. Eisenhower wanted Devers to withdraw from the Lauterbourg salient, and from Strasbourg, to better positions in the rear. Devers thought Strasbourg could be defended. He told Patch to prepare three intermediate withdrawal positions, to be occupied only in the case of heavy attack. A fourth emergency defensive position was back at the Vosges. There would be military problems defending the area, and Eisenhower continued to insist that Devers withdraw. Charles DeGaulle and the French added a complicating political factor in the case of Strasbourg, insisting that it be defended for moral and emotional reasons. For a very brief period, the only Allied troops in the city may have been two staff members from Stars and Stripes, the famous newspaper published for soldiers in Europe.{18} Strasbourg would eventually be defended by an Algerian division.

Most 6th Army Group activities during the last two weeks of December, aside from the attacks on the Colmar Pocket, were spent switching over to defense and preparing for the expected attack. Allied defense lines were thin. Three new infantry divisions were immediately brought into the lines. Devers authorized Patch to use the 36th Division and 12th Armored Division, SHAEF reserves, to form a secondary line of defense behind the XV Corps. Ultra intercepts of German communications were far less valuable with the Germans on their own soil, where they could send instructions by far more secure telephone wires. Devers and Patch were guessing that the main German attack would come in the Sarre River valley, against XV Corps.

The Northwind assault's first wave, as predicted in the Sarre Valley, proved to be weaker than expected. "The German attack barely made a dent in the beefed-up Allied line."{19} Small German advances were pushed back by counterattacks from the 44th, 63rd and 100th divisions. This attack was finally called off on January 4th.

Men of the 100th Infantry Division penetrate the long-dormant Maginot Line at Bitche, in eastern France, en route to Germany.
Men of the 100th Infantry Division penetrate the long-dormant Maginot Line at Bitche, in eastern France, en route to Germany.

The second attack, launched at about the same time, was more of a surprise. It started around the area of the city of Bitche, and headed south through the Low Vosges. The American commanders had been more concerned with the area west of the mountains near the Sarre River, and with the Strasbourg area. They had not expected the Germans to come through the rough terrain. The Germans did not open with an artillery bombardment, and the overcast skies hindered Allied air observation.

The western edge of the German advance hit the 100th Division, aided by an additional regiment from the 63rd Division and the 141st Regiment, which arrived late on January 1st. In the words of the 141st Regimental history:

". . . Those first days in the Bitche area were for many the worst of the war. The fact that the Germans were really on the offensive was fully substantiated. Snow lay deep on the hard frozen ground, and the ominous, non-directional sounds of armor echoed through the splintered woods and hollows. Dawn found the situation critical in many sectors. . . Our mission, we learned, was to protect the weak right flank of the 100th Division and to stem an attack that had the impetus of a three-day start. Even who the enemy were was in doubt, for the treacherous Krauts were found to be using American tanks as well as dressing in American and British uniforms.

When three or four machine pistols are powdering the snow around your neck and 88's are chopping firewood overhead, you aren't too greatly concerned about such a general thing as straightening out a defense line, but that was actually our job. . . Along our line there were gaps to be filled, isolated squads and platoons to save, tanks to be met and terrorizing reports to be checked and dismissed as fables, or met with hurried strength if found to be true. It was evident that Jerry had his mind made up to go someplace, and thought we might change his mind at noon, there was nothing to assure us that nightfall wouldn't find him with the same idea. . .

By noon of the second day we were pretty well aware of what was up and the prospects for heavy fighting were much too good. Company I, just north of Lemberg, had one platoon completely cut off, and enemy armor and infantry had worked into the area of a second platoon. Further south . . . attacks were coming from all directions. . .

Meanwhile the 2nd Battalion had turned the tables on the aggressive enemy with an attack east from the towns of Goetzenbruck and Sarriensburg. So unexpected as this uprising in the face of their offensive, the Germans become completely disorganized for a time and were never able to renew their attack in this sector. . . There wasn't even so much as an enemy patrol around Goetzenbruck for four days following the encounter.

By the third day the line was slowly and painfully beginning to straighten, but in order to save our positions. . . a platoon had to be moved here, then there, to meet the numerous threats, a small herd of Germans had to be cleaned out from behind our lines, and the abundant artillery had to be placed quickly and accurately. . . the offensive subsided and reverted to the old familiar 'stagnant warfare.'"{20}

German attacks continued for several weeks after the formal end of Northwind. Many of the attacks were not particularly well planned, but with the tired state of the Seventh Army they created major problems. One attack, on January 5th, hit the VI Corps 10 miles north of Strasbourg. A second, two days later, struck at the northern edge of the Colmar Pocket, also not far from Strasbourg.

While a Sherman tank (left) smolders and another rolls through Oberhoffen, north of Herrlisheim, two medics attend to wounded 12th Armored Division men.
While a Sherman tank (left) smolders and another rolls through Oberhoffen, north of Herrlisheim, two medics attend to wounded 12th Armored Division men.

A fourth attack started on January 7th, based on a Panzer Division, a Panzer Grenadier Division and several assorted smaller units. The attacking force hit in the area of the town of Herrlisheim, being attacked by the 12th Armored. The 36th Division, and the 3rd Algerian division, were moving up. However, until they arrived the new American 12th Armored Division was the only unit trying to stop the attack. After several days fighting, on the night of January 16/17, the 12th Armored sent its 43rd Tank Battalion and 66th Armored Infantry Battalion to attack the town. They ran into advanced elements of the 10th Panzers. A few American infantrymen made it back to American lines.

Brooks pulled back his lines north of the Haguenau Forest, on the night of January 20th-21st. The movement took the attacking Germans by surprise. The VI Corps was able to establish more defensible positions along the Zion, Moder and Rothbach Rivers. Early in the morning of January 20, 1945, Germans attacked the 143rd Regiment in the area of the Bowden Woods, south of the town of Bischwiller. A small German group, of about 150 men, attacked positions held by Companies E and G. Twenty-seven Germans were killed, four captured in this unsuccessful attack. In the words of the unit journal of this regiment, "Operations in France," for January 1945.

"The enemy, expecting to find cover in the woods occupied by the Second Battalion, found only strong positions and grazing fire bearing down on them. . . It was the scene of the Second Battalion's determination to hold the enemy off at all costs.

The remainder of the early morning of 20 January 1945 was quiet. . . . It was believed that within the next forty-eight hours the sector would be the recipient of a large enemy attack. Our Observation Posts were reporting great enemy activity with tanks and track vehicles. Prisoners of war, when questioned, stated that a large attack was planned and would occur shortly."{21}

"The morale of the troops was high,"{22} is the entire text of the next sentence. One presumes it was American morale which was high.

The weather was a problem, the same conditions which bothered troops in the northern part of the western front. The regimental narrative continues that "The snow was heavy on the ground and at times visibility was very limited. Again our troops were fighting under the most difficult conditions with the elements a detriment to the operation."{23}

Intelligence was correct about pending attacks. A second smaller attack occurred the afternoon of January 20th, a third and larger attack, supported by armor, the next morning. The woods were not cleared of Germans until that afternoon. Elsewhere on its front, the VI Corps was able to fight off further Germans attacks, the night of January 24th-25th, with little difficulty.

There was fighting to come, including final efforts to reduce the Colmar Pocket, and the tough advance into the German defensive system known as the Siegfried Line. Evaluating the way the battle was run is hard. It is possible that the lack of imagination which led the high command to stop Devers advance allowed both the Ardennes offensive (Battle of the Bulge) as well as Operation Northwind and the follow-on attacks to take place.

Division members, aside from basic curiosity, do not have to concern themselves with high level matters. There were still errors, but once the initial decisions were made, operational and tactical moves seem to have done what was necessary. There was no way to avoid sending Patton to rescue the American First Army attacked in the Battle of the Bulge. This made it necessary to weaken the 6th Army Group, which invited German attack. Fortunately, this attack was repulsed.

Reprinted with permission from Bruce L. Brager, Copyright © 2007

About the Author

Bruce Brager is a writer specializing in military history, defense and foreign policy. He is the author of ten published books and over fifty published articles.

  • Bibliography


    [1]. Clifford Peek, editor, Five Years - Five Countries - Five Campaigns, Munich, Germany: 141st Infantry Regiment Association, 1945, page 89.

    [2]. Seventh Army Report of Operations, Volume II, Heidelberg: Aloys Graef, 1946, page 328.

    [3]. Keith E. Bonn, When the Odds Were Even , Novato, California: Presidio Press, 1994, page 127.

    [4]. Seventh Army Report of Operations, pages 431-432.

    [5]. Ibid, pages 403-404.

    [6]. Quoted in Vincent M. Lockhart, T-Patch to Victory , Canyon, Texas: Staked Plains Press, 1981, pages 174-177.

    [7]. Ibid, page 177.

    [8]. Incident described in Russell F. Weigley, Eisenhower's Lieutenants , Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981, page 407.

    [9]. Clarke and Smith, page 439.

    [10]. Ibid, 439-440.

    [11]. Forest C. Pogue, The Supreme Command , United States Army in World War Two, The European Theater of Operations, Washington, DC: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1954, pages 397-404.

    [12].Martin Blumenson, editor, The Patton Papers , Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1972-1974, page 583.

    [13]. See Clarke and Smith, 440-445 for discussion of the decision.

    [14]. Weigley, page 410.

    [15]. Clarke and Smith, page 486.

    [16]. Headquarters, One Hundred Forty Second Infantry, APO #36, U.S. Army, "Operations in France for the Month of December 1944."

    [17]. Jacob Devers Diary, December 19, 1944, quoted Clarke and Smith, page 491.

    [18]. Bud Hutton and Andy Rooney, The Story of Stars and Stripes , New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1946, pages 72-75. Note, however, an undated memo to this author from Col. Vincent Lockhart, circa May 1994, retired staff officer from the 36th Division, states that "I just flat don't believe the Stars and Stripes guys who claimed to be the ONLY Americans in Strasburg. I spent Christmas in a suburb of Strasburg and I was in the division rear echelon at the time!"

    [19]. Clarke and Smith, page 505.

    [20]. Clifford Peek, editor, Five Years - Five Countries - Five Campaigns , Munich, Germany: 141st Infantry Regiment Association, 1945, page 89.

    [21]. 143rd Regiment Unit Journal, "Operations in France," for January 1945, page 11.

    [22]. Ibid.

    [23]. Ibid.