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zer Corps moved beyond it to the west. [3] (Map IV)


The sector at the Our River in which Luettwitz' corps would begin the attack was a little over seven miles wide, the villages of Dahnen on the north and Stolzembourg on the south serving as boundary markers. This initial zone was roughly equivalent to the American defensive position manned west of the Our by the 110th Infantry, the center regiment of the 28th Infantry Division, although the width of the 110th front was about two miles greater than the front assigned the panzer corps. The latter consisted of three divisions. The 26th Volks Grenadier Division (Generalmajor Heinz Kokott) already was deployed in the Eifel sector of the West Wall adjacent to the Our where it covered not only the XLVII Panzer Corps zone but a wide frontage beyond. An old line division, the 26th had fought on the Eastern Front from July 1941 to the last days of September 1944, winning many decorations but little rest. Finally, after a grueling battle in the Baranow-Warsaw sector the division was relieved for the first time since the beginning of the Russian campaign and brought back to Poznan, there receiving the title of Volks Grenadier (regarded as somewhat less than an honor by the survivors of the old regular army 26th Infantry Division).


To the surprise of the division staff the task of re-equipping and replenishing the 26th went amazingly fast for the beginning of the sixth year of the war. Replacements, mostly from the Navy, were whipped into shape by the "Old 26th," and first-rate equipment replaced that lost in the east. The division commander, officers, and noncoms were veterans; training throughout the division was reported as adequate. Ration strength was more than 17,000, and forty-two 75-mm. antitank guns supplemented the weapons organic to the conventional Volks Grenadier division. Like all such units, however, the 26th was geared to foot power and horsepower; there were 5,000 horses in the division, including a few of the tough "winterized" Russian breed. The new mission given General Kokott was this: the 26th would force the crossings at the Our and Clerf Rivers on the left of the corps, hold open for the armor, then follow the more mobile panzer units to Bastogne. At that crucial point the infantry had to take Bastogne as quickly as possible, with or without the help of the armored divisions. Once this barrier was passed the 26th would be responsible for covering the left flank of the corps while the armored divisions made the Meuse crossings.


The initial penetration by the corps' right was charged to the armored infantry of the famous 2d Panzer Division (Colonel Meinrad von Lauchert), a unit that had fought the Allies all the way from Normandy back to the German frontier. When the 2d Panzer Division was relieved at the end of September its tanks were gone, but there remained a large cadre of veterans who had escaped to the West Wall on foot. In the weeks that followed, the division rested and re-formed in the Bitburg-Wittlich area, its units moving constantly to escape Allied observation. Replacements, generally better than the average, were


[3] MSS # A-939 (Luettwitz); A-940, XLVII Panzer Corps in the Ardennes Offensive (Luettwitz); A-941 (Bayerlein); A-942 (Bayerlein). For the corps plans, see KTB: Christrose.