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on the operations of the two armored corps, the Fifth Panzer Army had been given a small infantry corps of two divisions to flesh out its right shoulder. This was General der Artillerie Walther Lucht's LXVI Corps. In early planning there had been some question as to whether the Americans in the Schnee Eifel should be left to the Fifth or the Sixth. Unhappy about this thorn in his side, Manteuffel won the assignment of the Schnee Eifel heights to his army and personally developed a scheme to mop up resistance in this sector at the earliest possible moment. Despite the general dictum that defended towns would be bypassed, Manteuffel wanted St. Vith as a blocking position and so ordered Lucht to capture it. Once through St. Vith the LXVI would follow Krueger to Andenne, but if things grew rough on the left wing Manteuffel intended to switch Lucht's corps to the south.


The Fifth Panzer commander seems to have been fairly optimistic, although he gave little ear to Hitler's promise of air support. He personally rated four of his armored divisions as good attack formations (the 116th, 2d, Panzer Lehr, and Fuehrer Begleit), and his panzer corps commanders were of his own choosing. Krueger and Luettwitz were old hands at mechanized warfare, had learned their business as commanders of the 1st and 2d Panzer Divisions, respectively, and had fought side by side in Lorraine. Krueger was the elder of the two and lacked something of Luettwitz' dash. The latter was a hard-driving commander, daring and tenacious, and had a reputation of giving help to neighboring formations without debate.


With this team Manteuffel hoped to win a quick penetration and get rolling. His first concern would be to gain the ridge west of the Our and thus cover the armor crossings, for he recognized that it would be a difficult stream to bridge. He expected that the tactics of predawn infiltration would pay off and that his assault detachments would have reached the crest line, Lascheid-Heinerscheid-Roder-Hosingen, before noon on D-day. He hoped that the armored debouchment into the bridgehead would commence during the early afternoon. Manteuffel had no precise schedule for his right wing but after the war was over would say that he had hoped for the seizure of St. Vith on the first day of the attack. One thing clearly worried him: would the Seventh Army keep pace and cover his left flank to Bastogne? His appeal for a mechanized division to be given the neighboring Seventh the Fuehrer personally denied.


[2] The memoirs of the leading personalities in the Fifth Panzer Army, as collected in the German manuscript histories are detailed and uninhibited. They square in a remarkable manner with the recital of events in the American records. See especially MSS # B-151a, sequel to B-151, Fifth Panzer Army, Ardennes Offensive (General der Panzertruppen Hasso von Manteuffel); B-321, LVIII Panzer Corps in the Ardennes Offensive, 16 December 1944-11 January 1945 (General der Panzertruppen Walter Krueger); A-939, The Assignment of the XLVII Panzer Corps in the Ardennes, 1944-45 (General der Panzertruppen Heinrich von Luettwitz); B040, 26th Volks Grenadier Division in the Ardennes Offensive (Generalmajor Heinz Kokott). See also MSS # A-955, Report on the Campaign in Northern France, the Rhineland, and the Ardennes (Oberst i. G. Hans-Juergen Dingler); B-506, LVIII Panzer Corps Artillery, 1 November 1944-1 February 1945 (Generalmajor Gerhard Triepel); A-941, Panzer Lehr Division, 1 December 1944-26 January 1945 (Generalleutnant Fritz Bayerlein); A-942, Panzer Lehr Division, 15-22 December 1944 (Bayerlein).