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abandoned by the roadside, thus reducing the total transport tonnage for bringing POL forward. The attempts to introduce horse-drawn supply or artillery columns into the stream of motorized traffic during the first days of the offensive greatly slowed the distribution system. As early as 20 December the 12th SS Panzer Division, scheduled as one of the leading formations in the Sixth Panzer Army advance, was brought to a halt because there was no fuel except a few gallons for the mechanized reconnaissance battalion. On 21 December the 2d SS Panzer Division was ordered to relieve the 560th Volks Grenadier Division in the battle at Fraiture but was unable to move for thirty-six hours because there was no POL. In the Fifth Panzer Army there were reports as early as 19 December of a "badly strained" fuel situation. Three days later Luettwitz, the XLVII Panzer Corps commander, told Manteuffel that the advance of his armor was "gravely endangered" because of the failure of fuel supply. During this phase there seems to have been considerable pirating, in a disorderly manner, from the forward POL dumps. Eventually German commanders learned to send a reconnaissance detail to the fuel dumps before they committed their supply trains in a fuel-consuming trip to what might be a dry supply point. It can be concluded that the German offensive already was seriously crippled by the failure of transport and the POL distributing system before the Allied Jabos entered the fight.


The supply phase after 23 December is characterized by Allied fighterbombers pounding roads and supply points while snowdrifts stopped the movement of traffic through the Eifel. The POL shortage in the Sixth Panzer Army seems to have assumed drastic proportions in the period 23 to 25 December. The Fifth Panzer Army was in dire straits by 24 December, in part because of the arrival of armored and mechanized formations which had come into the army area without reserve fuel. Even when bad flying weather blunted the edge of the Allied air attack, the sporadic stoppage of supply movement at the ground level continued. By the end of December three of the five divisions in the XLVII Panzer Corps were practically immobile. All this while, however, the 10th SS Panzer Division of the OKW Reserve sat in an assembly area just west of Bonn with a total POL load of eight consumption units in its train. Quite obviously the German problem had been transport rather than an overall shortage of fuel.


There is no indication that American units suffered seriously from the lack of POL, although, of course, there was always the tactical difficulty of withdrawing from contact with the enemy at night for fuel resupply, particularly in the more mobile phases of the campaign. Some American gasoline was lost to Peiper, but the total amounted to probably no more than 100,000 gallons. It is known that Peiper's supply officer had a map of American POL installations, but this did Peiper little good. Between 17 and 19 December American supply troops successfully evacuated over three million gallons of POL from the Spa-Stavelot area. The biggest Allied loss to the enemy was 400,000 gallons of gasoline, destroyed on 17 December by a V-1 strike at