«BATTLEBOOK Commanding General, United States Army, Europe Senior Leader Staff Ride The Battle of the Bulge Contents The Am erican Soldier SSG Joseph ...»
F. W. von Mellenthin, who served under Model as a staff officer, wrote that "in purely military terms, he was an outstanding soldier. In addition, he was a good and capable staff officer but inclined to rely too much on his own judgment and knowledge without as a rule being responsive to advice. He was a much better tactician than he was a strategist, and defensive positions were more to his taste than wide-ranging offensive operations. He possessed an astounding talent for improvisation, and there can be no disputing the originality of his conduct of affairs." Other judgements were similar: "... he trusted no one but himself. He wanted to have every single thing under his own control. Lacking confidence in others, he found it difficult to delegate tasks and responsibilities." "His manner was rough," according to von Manteuffel, "and his methods were not always acceptable in the higher quarters of the German Army, but they were both to Hitler's liking."
General Hans Speidel (Rommel's chief of staff) observed that "his keen tactical eye was not balanced by an instinct for the possible. He thought too highly of his own ability, was erratic, and lacked a sense of moderation. Although he had been schooled in strategy, he could not rid his mind of the details of tactical leadership."
Sixteen years von Rundstedt's junior, he treated the old man with respect but ran his army group pretty much as he pleased. For his part, von Rundstedt was no admirer of Model, whom he once described as having the makings of a good sergeant major. Still the two men managed to tolerate one another successfully. Model was appalled when he learned that Friedrich Paulus had surrendered to the Russians at Stalingrad. "A field marshal," he said, "does not become a prisoner.
Such a thing is just not possible." On 21 April 1945, he committed suicide near Düsseldorf, rather than surrender to American forces. (CK & FM) _______________________________________________
General der Panzertruppen Hasso Eccard von Manteuffel Commanding General, 5th Panzer Army Born in Potsdam on 14 January 1897, Manteuffel graduated from the Berlin-Lichterfelde cadet academy, and joined the 3d Brandenburg Hussar Regiment as a second lieutenant in 1916. He served on the western front as a lieutenant of infantry and was wounded during the battle of the Somme. In 1919, he continued fighting on Germany's eastern frontier as a member of the para-military Freikorps, but was then taken into the Reichswehr.
He transferred to the cavalry, commanded a squadron as a lieutenant, and then served seven years as a regimental adjutant. He adopted then-Major Heinz Guderian's ideas about the possibilities of armor. He joined the inspectorate of Armored Forces in 1934, shortly after Guderian became its chief of staff. In 1935 he was assigned to the 2nd Panzer Division as a squadron commander of a motorcycle rifle battalion. During the attack on France, he commanded the 7th Rifle Regiment of Rommel's 7th Panzer Division.
Oberstgruppenführer Joseph "Sepp" Dietrich Commanding General, 6th Panzer Army Dietrich was born 28 May 1892 in Bavaria and apprenticed in the hotel business. In 1911 he volunteered in the 4th Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment and attended an NCO school in 1912. He went to war in 1914 with the 6th Reserve Field Artillery Regiment and was a corporal in the 10th Infantry in 1916-1917, being further assigned into the elite Sturm, or assault, troops in 1917.
In January 1918, Dietrich was posted to the 13th Assault Tank Detachment. At St. Quentin, on 21 March, he commanded a tank in the first tank attacks the German army ever conducted. He later fought in tank actions at Villers-Cotterets in July 1918. At the end of the war he was a highly decorated sergeant, having won both first and second classes of the Iron Cross and medals from Austria and Bavaria as well.
He was a member of the Freikorps irregular military formations that proliferated after the fall of the monarchy, and fought in Silesia in 1921. In 1928 he joined the SS and began a rapid rise through the ranks of that organization to command of the SS Wachtbataillon Berlin, later named the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler. He was well acquainted with Hitler and saw him often through the 1930s.
When war came, he led the Leibstandarte at regimental strength in Poland; at brigade strength in the attack on Greece; and at division strength in France and in Russia.
Unlike his counterparts in the German army, Dietrich did not have a formal military education. His was the direct leadership style of the NCO. Army officers who formed a positive impression of the man attempted to help him improve his military education. General Baron von Fritsch, commander-in-chief of the German Army by 1938, helped Dietrich by lending his war-college notes, and also personally instructed him. At the invitation of the Army, Dietrich took part in many planning exercises in the late 1930s as well.
A successful division commander, Dietrich rose to corps command in Russia and finally to army command on the western front. By 1944, he had begun to have doubts about Hitler's quality as a military commander and had started to distance himself from the Führer. His chief military virtue was his tenacity and determination. He exemplified the self-taught noncommissioned officer, rough in personality and manners, in contrast to the aristocrats who dominated the German army. All agreed that he was a great natural fighter and front-line leader of men. In the Battle of the Bulge, his lack of staff training and strategic grasp were decisive shortcomings, because he continued to try to fight his way forward against stiff opposition instead of switching the main German effort behind von Manteuffel's successful advance.
Nicolaus von Below, Hitler's military adjutant, said of Dietrich: "Unpretentious, not erudite but equipped with common sense, he commanded everyone's respect because of his honest character."
F. W. von Manteuffel, who observed Dietrich's leadership in Russia, wrote that he "was undeniably a most courageous fighting soldier," but "could never have held high command without the backing of well-trained staff officers from the regular army." Otto Skorzeny, himself a bold SS soldier and leader of many special operations, said of Dietrich that "He gave to the Waffen SS a style and an esprit de corps which may possibly be compared only with Napoleon's Imperial Guard." (CK) Germ an Tiger – La Gleize, Belgium, August 2001 Germ an P anther – Grandm enil-M anhay, Belgium, August 2001 American and British Armies shared many classes of equipment and between them equipped all of the French and Polish forces engaged on the continent. The United States Army was far more lavishly equipped than the German Army, but in almost every category of weaponry, the Germans had superior hardware. Tanks are the best example. Until 1935 in American doctrine, the tank was essentially a machine-gun carrier that accompanied the Infantry. Experiments with mounting heavy guns in tanks did not get very far, the Chief of Infantry in 1938 declaring that a 75-mm. gun was useless in a tank. In 1940, both the rival armies fought the Battle of France with tanks armed to a 75-mm standard, and the Germans had already experimented with the 88-mm gun in a turret. In June 1940, the U.S. adopted the 75-mm gun for tanks. In the spring of 1944, as Anglo-American armies prepared for the invasion of Europe, the largest standard gun on an operational American tank was still a short-barreled, low-muzzle-velocity 75-mm, the standard armament of the then-standard M4 Sherman tank. Some models of the M4, and particularly the British Firefly variant, carried higher velocity weapons, notably the 76-mm gun.
At the same time, however, Germany's Panther tanks carried long-barreled, high-muzzle-velocity 75s, and the Tiger carried the 88-mm gun. To kill tanks, American doctrine relied on the tank destroyer, a fast, heavily-gunned, lightly-armored vehicle standardized as the M10 in 1942. It mounted a 3-inch, high-muzzle-velocity, flat-trajectory gun on a Sherman chassis. The need for more power to cope with German tanks brought the M18, with a 76-mm gun, into service in
1944. The M18 had a shallow open turret and was mounted on a M24 light tank chassis. The M36, an M10 redesigned to accommodate a 90-mm gun, came into service about the same time.
On none of these vehicles was the armor comparable to that of German tanks. Tank destroyers, appropriately armed to be "killer tanks," lacked the armor to stand up to German tanks for the fight.
Anti-tank weapons were a similar case. The American 2.36-inch rocket launcher, or "bazooka," lacked the power to penetrate the front armor of German tanks and demanded careful aim against soft spots. This was no easy chore for an exposed, nervous infantryman when a massive German tank loomed so close that he could hear the squeak of the bogies. The Germans adopted an 88-mm Panzerfaust, a rocket-propelled shaped-charge grenade that was about twice as powerful as the American bazooka. When James M. Gavin was a colonel commanding the 505th Parachute Infantry, his men tried out the bazooka in Sicily and found it disappointing. Gavin later wrote that "As for the 82nd Airborne Division, it did not get adequate antitank weapons until it began to capture the first German panzerfausts. By the fall of '44 we had truckloads of them. We also captured German instructions for their use, made translations, and conducted our own training with them. They were the best hand-carried antitank weapon of the war." The U.S.
did not even initiate a project for a more powerful, 3.5-inch rocket until August 1944, and distribution of that weapon was not widespread even at the time of the Korean War.
In two areas, however, the United States had a distinct advantage. The Garand.30-caliber M1 semi-automatic rifle was the best standard infantry shoulder arm of the war. No other rifle matched its combination of accuracy, rate of fire, and reliability. In artillery, too, the American Army had the edge. It was not that the artillery was qualitatively better than German equipment, although the U.S. 105-mm howitzer was at least the equal of its German counterpart of the same caliber. The effectiveness of American artillery was multiplied by the best equipment and techniques of any army for fire direction, observation, and coordination. "I do not have to tell you who won the war," George Patton said in 1945. "You know our artillery did." General George C. Marshall agreed when he wrote that "We believe that our use of massed heavy artillery fire was far more effective than the German techniques," concluding that "our method of employment of these weapons has been one of the decisive factors of our ground campaigns throughout the world."
American soldiers entered battle with uniforms not well suited to field duty, a fact that became even more evident in bad weather and when winter came. Overshoes or galoshes were never in adequate supply, and the consequence was a higher rate of non-battle casualties caused by frostbite and trench foot. A brief flirtation with a camouflage utility uniform was quickly ended when Americans discovered that the SS used a field uniform almost identical in design.
American load-bearing equipment was little changed from the First World War. Many soldiers quickly rid themselves of what they saw as pointless encumbrances, among them the gas mask and the bayonet.
Weapons, left to right: Soldier is holding a.45-cal. Thompson submachine gun M1928A1.
60mm Mortar M2; British Anti-Tank Gun;.30-cal. U.S. Rifle M1 with Bayonet M1;.30-cal. Browning light Machine Gun M1919A4; hand grenades;.45-cal. M1911A1 pistol;.30-cal. U.S. Rifle M1903 with grenade launcher M1;.30-cal. Browning Automatic Rifle M1913A2.
U.S. Army Mortars
Rifle Grenade Device for the GEW98 Types of Grenades HE, AP, smoke, illumination Firing Positions prone, kneeling, standing Range 250 meters in horizontal fire; maximum range 400 meters. When Used as a mortar, 25 to 75 meters.
Grenadier Load 10 HE and 5 AT grenades.
Remarks The Germans characteristically used it as a squad mortar and anti-tank weapon. One grenadier per rifle squad.
Caliber 9mm Operation blowback operated machine pistol Construction metal and plastic with folding stock Magazine 32 rounds Rate of Fire 500 rpm (cyclic) or 180 rpm (normal)
Caliber 7.92mm Magazine 35-38 round magazine Range 600 meters maximum effective range Remarks Issued principally to airborne units.
Caliber 7.92mm Rate of Fire cyclic-up to 1,400 rpm; practical-250-500 rpm, depending on the mount Ammunition 50-round metallic-link belt Range effective range of 2000 to 2500 yards as HMG; 600-800 yards on bipod.
Mounts Vehicle, tripod (heavy MG), bipod (light MG) Remarks Introduced new, simple locking system and easy barrel changing method.
Maschinengewehr 34 (MG34)
Caliber 7.92mm Rate of Fire cyclic- 900 rpm; practical- 100-120 rpm (light), 300 rpm (heavy) Ammunition 50-round metallic-link belt or by drums Range effective range of 2000 to 2500 yards as HMG; 600-800 yards on bipod.
Mounts Vehicle, tripod (heavy MG), bipod (light MG) Remarks Largely replaced by the MG42 in infantry units by 1944 Stielhandgranate 24
Caliber 120mm Weight 616 pounds Range 6600 yards maximum Rate of Fire Rate of fire and overall fire support comparable to 105mm howitzer
Caliber 10.5 cm Weight 4320 pounds Range 13,480 yards maximum Ammunition HE, smoke, sabot, incendiary, illuminating Remarks Standard divisional direct support artillery
Caliber 15 cm Weight 12,096 pounds Range 14,630 yards maximum Ammunition HE, AP, smoke, anti-concrete Remarks Standard divisional general support artillery
Situation: Following the German attack in the Ardennes on the morning of 16 December 1944, Lt.