ENEMY FORCES - The opponents of the 106th Division

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.

General Hasso Eccard Von Manteuffel, January 1970

Timeline of opposition

December 1944 - May 1945

Schnee Eifel front
16 - 23 December 1944

The forces in the Schnee Eifel were opposed by units of the 18. and 62. Volksgrenadier Divisions, 116. Panzer Division, the Führer Begleit Brigade and elements of the 1. SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler".

Salm River front
23 - 31 December 1944

Units of the 106th Division faced the 2. SS Panzer Division "Das Reich" and the 560. Volksgrenadier Division during the fighting for Baraque de Fraiture and Manhay.

Salm River front
6 - 25 January 1945

During the Allied Counteroffensive in January 1945, units of the 106th Division were opposed by the remnants of the 18. Volksgrenadier Division.

5. PANZER ARMEE - LXVI ARMEE KORPS

COMMANDERS

Hasso-Eccard Von Manteuffel

General der Panzertruppe
Kommandeur, 5. Panzer Armee
°14 January 1897 +24 September 1978

Decorations: Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class 1914 with Clasp 1939, Wound Badge 1918, Silver Wound Badge 1939, Panzer Badge in Silver, Eastern Front Medal 1941-42, Afrika Armband

Walter Lucht

General der Artillerie
Kommandeur, LXVI Armee Korps
°26 February 1882 +18 March 1949

Decorations: Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, German Cross in Gold, Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class 1939 with Clasp, Iron Cross 1914

HISTORY

The 5. Panzer Armee was formed in August 1944 from the remnants of the Panzer group West, the armored reserve of the Oberkommando West. In September 1944 command was given to General der Panzertruppen Hasso-Eccard Freiherr Von Manteuffel in preparation to the Ardennes Offensive and the Armee reverted to Heeresgruppe B. Von Manteuffel was an experienced combat commander of the African and Eastern front campaigns.


General Walter Lucht's LXVI Corps was the weakest group of Von Manteuffel's entire 5. 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.  Oberst Günther Hoffmann-Schönborn's 18. Volks Grenadier Division (VGD) held the right side of the line, next to the 3. Fallschirmjäger and the 1. SS Panzer Division.  On the left flank lay Generalmajor Friedrich Kittel's 62. VGD.  He was in turn flanked by the 116. Panzer division of the LVIII Armee Korps.
 

18. VOLKS GRENADIER DIVISION

COMMANDER

 

Günther Hoffmann-Schönborn

Generalmajor
Kommandeur, 18. Volks Grenadier Division
°1 May 1905 +4 April 1970

Decorations: Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class 1939, Assault Gun Badge
HISTORY

Günther Hoffmann-Schönborn, a 39 year-old Oberst (Colonel) became the new commander of the 18. Volks Grenadier Division on September 1st, 1944.  He had  been the commander of the assault gun school at Burg and a veteran of the Russian and Balkan campaigns.

Volksgrenadier divisions were usually made up from leftover Heer infantry troops, but not the 18th.  It's cadre came almost entirely from the former 18. Luftwaffe Felddivision.  After this division had been basically destroyed in the Mons pocket, the survivors were classified as replacements and shipped off to Denmark.  There it joined the ranks of the former 517. Volks Grenadier Division, being reclassified as 18. Volks Grenadier division in September 1944.  The new additions to the unit consisted mostly of former Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe personnel, who no longer had a navy or airforce to fight with. Other recruits consisted of middle-aged drafted civilians.  Hoffman-Schönborn's division was moved from Denmark to the Schnee Eifel area in October, enabling enough time for refitting and training. There it relieved the 2. SS Panzer Division.

The 18. Volks Grenadier Division achieved a relative success when it captured the Belgian town of St. Vith on 21 December 1944. It was relative because by that time the timetable set for the German drive was already too far behind schedule. Under Hoffmann-Schönborn's leadership the 18th was able to encircle two Combat Teams of the US 106th Division in the Schnee Eifel.

The Battle of the Bulge was the 18. Volks Grenadier's first and final campaign.  When US forces counter-attacked in early January of 1945, the 18. VGD was driven back over the Prüm River.  By February 1945 it was in admitted in the Führer-Reserve of the Oberkommando des Heeres and the remnants dissolved into other units.  Oberst Hoffman-Schönborn, by then promoted to the rank of Generalmajor, was severely wounded in battle in April 1945 and hospitalized.  He was still in hospital when he was captured by the Allies.

ORGANIC ELEMENTS

Grenadier Regiment 293
Grenadier Regiment 294

Grenadier Regiment 295
Artillerie Regiment 1818
Füsilier Bataillon 1818
Aufklärungs Abteilung 1818
Panzerjäger Abteilung 1818
Flak Abteilung 1818
Sanitäts Abteilung 1818

Pionier Bataillon 1818
Nachrichten Abteilung 1818

Nachschub Truppe 1818
Werkstatt Truppe 1818
Verwaltungs Truppe 1818

Supported by Sturmgeschütz Brigade 244

62. VOLKS GRENADIER DIVISION

COMMANDER

Friedrich Kittel

Generalleutenant

Kommandeur, 62. Volks Grenadier Division

°19 December 1896  +24 March 1973


Decorations: Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, German Cross in Gold, Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class 1939, Ehrenkreuz 14-18, Wound Badge, Iron Cross 1914


HISTORY


The 62. Volks Grenadier Division was organized in Neuhammer am Queis on November 1st, 1944 under the command of Oberst Friedrich Kittel. It was formed from the remnants of the 62. Infanterie Division and the 583. Volks Grenadier Division. Unit designations and Regimental numbers were inherited from the 62nd, originally formed in 1939 from Silesian reserve troops. The 62nd had seen heavy action on the Russian front and had been virtually wiped out during the fighting for Jassy, Romania. After reactivation as a Volks Grenadier Division, the 62nd was moved to Wittlich and then staged in the Prüm area in advance to the Battle of the Bulge.


The 62. Volks Grenadier Division mainly opposed the 424th Infantry Regiment of the 106th Division and suffered heavy losses during the first two days of the Offensive. After realizing a breakthrough at Winterspelt on 17 December 1944 it began advancing on St. Vith. After losing heavily in the Battle of the Bulge, the remnants of the Division fought at Bonn and at the Remagen bridgehead before being destroyed in the Ruhr Pocket in April 1945.


ORGANIC ELEMENTS

Grenadier Regiment 164
Grenadier Regiment 183
Grenadier Regiment 190
Artillerie Regiment 162
Aufklärer Abteilung 162
Flak Abteilung 162
Pionier Batallion 162
Nachrichten Abteilung 162
Füsilier Kompanie 162

Nachschub Truppe 1162
Werkstatt Truppe 1162
Verwaltung Truppe 1162
Sanitäts Truppe 1162

Panzerjäger Abteilung 162
Feldersatz Batallion 162

Supported by Sturmgeschütz Kompanie 1162

FÜHRER BEGLEIT BRIGADE

COMMANDER

Otto-Ernst Remer

Oberst
Kommandeur, Führer Begleit Brigade

°18 August 1912 +4 October 1997


Decorations: Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class 1939, German Cross in Gold

HISTORY

The Führer Begleit Brigade was formed as a brigade sized combat unit in November 1944. It's personnel was drawn from the former Führer Begleit Abteilung, a unit attached to the Panzer Grenadier Division  "Großdeutschland", which was considered one of the best-equipped units of the German Army. The FBB was commanded by Oberst Otto-Ernst Remer, former commander of the Berlin Wachtregiment, as a reward for his actions in foiling the coup against Hitler on 20 July 1944.


Remer's brigade was attached to Von Manteuffel's 5. Panzer Armee to provide additional fire support. It was one of his better armed units, equipped with fifty Pzkw IV's, forty assault guns and a self-propelled artillery battalion fitted with Wespe and Hummel SP's. It was assembled in Daun, Germany in preparation for the Ardennes Offensive.


Committed to the Schnee Eifel front on 18 December 1944, the unit was involved in mopping-up operations against the 422nd Infantry Regiment near Auw, before moving to St. Vith. It attacked the city from the north in a flanking attempt to cut off the escape route for American troops near Rodt and Nieder-Emmels. From 21 December onwards it attacked west towards Commanster, Salmchâteau and Regné. The FBB was further engaged west of Bastogne until being withdrawn from the front on 12 January 1945. It was expanded from a Brigade to a full division at the end of January, as the Führerbegleitdivision and placed under army reserve status. The unit was later sent to the Eastern Front and took part in several battles on the Vistula Front before being destroyed in the Spremberg pocket in April 1945.


Remer himself became a prisoner of the Americans and was released in 1947. Known for his extremist right-wing and pro-Nazi sympathies, he co-founded the Sozialistischen Reichspartei (SPD) political party in 1949, which was later banned in Germany. For the remainder of his life he retained the Nazi ideology and was convicted several times for crimes including holocaust denial and hate speech. He died as an exile in Spain.

ORGANIC ELEMENTS


Brigade Stab

Führer-Flak-Regiment

Führer-Escorte-Regiment

Führer Sanitäts Kompanie

Führer Nachrichten Bataillon (Kompanie)

Panzer Bataillon "Großdeutschland"

Strumgeschütz Abteilung 200

Artillerie Regiment 120 (Bataillon)
Grenadier Bataillon 828

Führer Feldersatz Bataillon

Werstatt truppe

560. VOLKS GRENADIER DIVISION

Rudolf Bader

Generalmajor
Kommandeur, 560. Volks Grenadier Division
°3 May 1898 +3 June 1983

Decorations: German Cross in Gold, Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class 1939, Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class 1914, Hindenburg Cross, Eastern Front Medal

HISTORY


The 560. Volks Grenadier Division was organized in Norway in September 1944. It moved to Denmark in November. It's personnel was mostly former Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine personnel. Originally intended to serve on the Eastern Front, it was sent to the Eifel just for the start of the Ardennes Offensive. By that time the division was only at one third strength. For that reason the Regiments were reorganized as battalion strength Kampfgruppen. Oberst Rudolf Bader, the Division commander, was in hospital at the beginning of the Offensive. He assumed command on the 1st of January 1945.


At the start of the Offensive the 560. Division opposed mainly forces of the 28th Infantry Divion, south of the 106th. It provided flank support for the 116. Panzer Division, which created a corridor through Lützkampen. The 560. Division attacked towards Houffalize and later towards Hotton. In early January 1945 it was moved to Echternach, Luxembourg before being totally destroyed in the Ruhr area.


ORGANIC ELEMENTS


Grenadier Regiment 1128 (Kampfgruppe Schmidt)

Grenadier regiment 1129 (Kampfgruppe Happich)

Grenadier Regiment 1130 (Kampfgruppe Schumann)


Artillerie Regiment 1560

Panzerjäger Abteilung 1560

Füs Grenadier Batallion 560

Pionier Batallion 1560

Füsilier Bataillon 1560

Feldersatz Batallion 1560

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.



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