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forward line held by the 394th) at Losheimergraben and continued northwestward through Bullingen and Butgenbach to Malmedy. The other, a secondary road but generally passable in winter, branched from the International Highway north of Lanzerath, and curved west through Buchholz, Honsfeld, Schoppen, and Faymonville, roughly paralleling the main road to the north.


Of the five westward roads assigned the I SS Panzer Corps the two above were most important. The main road to Bullingen and Malmedy would be called "C" on the German maps; the secondary road would be named "D." These two roads had been selected as routes for the main armored columns, first for the panzer elements of the I SS Panzer Corps, then to carry the tank groups of the II SS Panzer Corps composing the second wave of the Sixth Panzer Army's attack. But since the commitment of armored spearheads during the battle to break through the American main line of resistance had been ruled out, the initial German attempt to effect a penetration would turn on the efforts of the three infantry divisions loaned the I SS Panzer Corps for this purpose only. The 277th Volks Grenadier Division, aligned opposite the American 393d Infantry, had a mission which would turn its attack north of the axis selected for the armored advance. Nonetheless, success or failure by the 277th would determine the extent to which the tank routes might be menaced by American intervention from the north. The twin towns, RocherathKrinkelt, for example, commanded the road which cut across-and thus could be used to block-the Bullingen road, route C.


The two infantry divisions composing the I SS Panzer Corps center and south wing were directly charged with opening the chief armored routes. The 12th Volks Grenadier Division, regarded by the Sixth Army staff as the best of the infantry divisions, had as its axis of attack the Bullingen road (route C); its immediate objective was the crossroads point of departure for the westward highway at Losheimergraben and the opening beyond the thick Gerolstein Forest section of the woods belt. The ultimate objective for the 12th Division attack was the attainment of a line at Nidrum and Weywertz, eight airline miles beyond the American front, at which point the division was to face north as part of the infantry cordon covering the Sixth Panzer Army flank. The 3d Parachute Division, forming the left wing in the initial disposition for the attack, had a zone of advance roughly following the southern shoulder of the Honsfeld or D route. The area selected for the breakthrough attempt comprised the north half of the U.S. 14th Cavalry Group sector and took in most of the gap between the cavalry and the 99th Division. In the first hours of the advance, then, the 3d Parachute Division would be striking against the 14th Cavalry Group in the Krewinkel-Berterath area. But the final objective of the 3d Parachute attack was ten miles to the northwest, the line Schoppen-Eibertingen on route D. The 3d Parachute axis thus extended through the right of the 99th Division.


The decision as to exactly when the two panzer divisions would be committed in exploitation of the penetrations achieved by the infantry was a matter to be decided by the commanders of the Sixth Panzer Army and Army