to raise divisions for the counteroffensive which the Western Front commanders could not see? The answer is found in a combination of selfmesmerism at Hitler's headquarters and a kind of double entry order of battle. The assignment of the Fifteenth Army, fighting in the Aachen battle, theoretically added six divisions to the attacking force. The Fifteenth Army, however, was not to be employed until the Allies had reacted in force to the German attack, and in any case could not be expected to launch a large-scale attack until the Allied front east of Aachen had been drastically denuded of troops. Furthermore, the actual count of divisions in the Fifteenth Army was deceptive. Two of the divisions (the 49th Infantry and 246th Volks Grenadier) had been merged, the 49th being deactivated. This merger had been reported to the WFSt but the 49th continued on the Hitler-Jodl list. Another organization listed, the 89th Infantry Division, amounted to the strength of a single rifle battalion. Both OB WEST and Army Group B had asked for its disbandment, but this request was refused at the Fuehrer level.
An error of potentially greater import existed in the listing of three panzer-type divisions supposedly to come from other sectors of the Western Front. Rundstedt's protest against the nomination of the 21st Panzer Division as "available" has already been noted. Also tied down by the Allied attacks on the Army Group G front was the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division. In addition, the 10th SS Panzer Division, involved in the fight east of Aachen, had a very limited combat capability. But when Model attempted to replace this formation with a green parachute division, OKW turned down the relief because the second division was ticketed for Wacht am Rhein. In effect the felony was compounded insofar as the three panzer-type divisions were concerned. Not only was it very unlikely that they could be taken out of sectors where they already were hotly engaged, but each was so weakened by constant fighting-the 21st Panzer Division and 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division had been in line without a break since the Allied invasion of Normandy-that the two together no longer had the combat value of a single full division.
The chain of events leading to the issuance of the questionable HitlerJodl order of battle was vicious in its working-but the sequence was not ended. Hitler had determined-on a military solution in which the means were not adequate to the end desired. His commanders at first had attempted to bring the objective into some proper relation to the available means. As a retort to these efforts, Jodl and the WFSt had supported the Fuehrer scheme by an inflated listing of additional available divisions. The higher field commanders then bowed to the inevitable, although they personally were aware that the troop list attached to the final operation directive of 10 November was probably phony, or at least highly suspect. The troop list thereafter would be duplicated in army group, army, corps, and division orders and plans. Commanders and staffs in lower echelons could have little or no knowledge of the questionable basis of the troop list. Each time the list was reproduced it became more of a solid fact. When a corps commander was informed that he would be given one of the divisions whose availability originally had been questioned by Rundstedt or Model.