Page 238


The German Southern Shoulder Is Jammed

In the first week of December the 4th Infantry Division (Maj. Gen. Raymond 0. Barton) left the VII Corps after a month of bloody operations in the Hurtgen Forest. Having lost over 5,000 battle casualties and 2,500 nonbattle casualties from trench foot and exposure, the division now had to be rebuilt to something approaching its former combat effectiveness. It moved south to Luxembourg, "the quiet paradise for weary troops," as one report names it, taking over the 83d Infantry Division positions on the right flank of the VIII Corps (and First Army) while the 83d occupied the old 4th Division sector in the north. The 3smile front assigned to the 4th Division conformed to the west bank of the Sauer and Moselle Rivers. Across these rivers lay a heterogeneous collection of German units whose lack of activity in past weeks promised the rest the 4th Division needed so badly. The division completed its concentration within the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on the 13th, its three regiments deployed as they would be when the German attack came. The 12th Infantry was on the left (next to the 9th Armored Division) and fronting on the Sauer; the 8th Infantry was in the center, deployed on both the Sauer and Moselle; the 22d Infantry reached to the right along the Moselle until it touched the First and Third Army boundary just beyond the Luxembourg border. Of the three regiments only the 12th Infantry (Col. Robert H. Chance) lay in the path of the projected German counteroffensive. [1] (See Map V.)

As soon as it reached the quiet VIII Corps area, the 4th Infantry Division began to send groups of its veterans on leave-to Paris, to Arlon in Belgium, even a fortunate few to the United States. Rotation in the line allowed

[1] Histories have been published for three of the units involved in the defense described in this section: Col. Gerden F. Johnson, History of the Twelfth Infantry Regiment in World War II (Boston: National Fourth (Ivy) Division Association, 1947); History of the Eleventh Infantry Regiment, Fifth Infantry Division (Baton Rouge: Army and Navy Publishing Company, 1946); and Lester M. Nichols, Impact, The Battle Story of the Tenth Armored Division (New York: Bradbury, Sales, O'Neill, 1954). The combat interviews are excellent for the 4th Division, less useful for the 10th Armored. The 4th Division AAR provides a good narrative but the division journals are scanty. Of the regiments only the 12th Infantry has much information in its AAR and unit journal. The AAR of the 70th Tank Battalion can be used to flesh out much of the story. For the participation of the 10th Armored troops, see the 10th Armored G-3 journal and the CCA AAR. An interesting account by a participant will be found in Maj. Glenn W. Zarger's manuscript, Defense of Little Switzerland, prepared for the Advanced Officers Class No. 1, Armored School, Fort Knox, Ky., 1 May 1948.