Schnee Eifel front
16 - 23 December 1944
16 - 23 December 1944
The Battle of The Bulge was not fought only solely at Bastogne.The actions of our army around St. Vith exerted a great influence on the result of the German intention [...] a whole Army Corps was delayed by your defense around St. Vith, in spite of the ill-fated elements of the 106 Division. These troops in this area held up the German Corps five days longer than our timetable allowed and so they forced to detour the attacking forces so much the more as my right neighbor - the 6th SS Panzer Army - have had no success.
GERMAN NEWSREEL 16-20 DECEMBER 1944
-Die Deutsche Wochenschau-Germany's Weekly News-*
This newsreel shows footage of the opening barrage on th 16th, the attacks on Stoumont and the surrender of the 422nd-423rd Regiments.
This was the weekly propagande news viewed all over Germany during the war.
*If you cannot view this video, add this website to your safe-site list in your Internet options.
General Walter Lucht (BundesArchiv)
General Walter Lucht's LXVI Corps was the weakest group of Hasso Von Manteuffel's entire 5th Panzer Armee. It had been formed in France in 1942 as a reserve corps. In february of 1943 it had been deployed on the Russian front. Walter Lucht, the corps commander had been the CO since October 1943, when he was appointed as General der Artillerie. Prior to this, he had commanded two artillery regiments in the battle for Charkow and the ill-fated attempt to relieve Stalingrad.
LXVI Corps returned from Russia in august 1944 to oppose the Allied landings in the South. Afterwards, LXVI Corps was pulled back to Germany in preparation for the Ardennes operation. The Corps consisted of two inexperienced Volksgrenadier divisions, which were ill-equiped and understrenght. These divisions, comprising mostly personnel from former Luftwaffe field divisions, were deployed facing the Schnee Eifel. Colonel Gunther Von Hoffmann-Schoenborn's 18th VGD held the right side of the line, next to the 3rd Falschirmjaeger and the 1st SS Panzer division. On the left flank lay Generalmajor Friedrich Kittel's 62nd VGD. He was in turn flanked by the 116th Panzer division of the LVIII Corps
Oberst Günther Hoffmann-Schoenborn (IWM)
Günther Hoffmann-Schoenborn, a 39 year-old Colonel became the new commander of the 18th Volksgrenadier Division on December 1st, 1944. Remarkably, this Prussian officer previously had no combat experience, coming from a post as the commander of the Assault gun school at Burgh.
Hoffman-Schoenborn's division was moved from Denmark to the Schnee Eifel area in October, thus giving it enough time for refitting and training. Volksgrenadier divisions were usually made up from leftover Heer infantry troops, but not the 18th. It's cadre came almost entirely from the former 18th Luftwaffe Field Division. After this division was basically destroyed in the Mons pocket, the survivors were classified as replacements and shipped of to Denmark. There it joined the ranks of the former 517th Volksgrenadier Division, being reclassified as 18th Volksgrenadier division in September 1944. The "new" unit consisted mostly of former Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe personnel (which had no navy or airforce to fight with anymore) and middle-aged drafted civilians.
The Battle of the Bulge was the 18th Volksgrenadier's first and final campaign. When US forces counter-attacked in January of 1945, the 18th VGD was driven back over the river Prüm. By February it was in admitted in the Führer-Reserve of OKH. Oberst Hoffman-Schoenborn, by then a Major-General, was severely wounded in battle in April and hospitalised. His war ended in December 1945 when he was captured by the Allies.