Category:German Counter-Offensive

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German Counter-Offensive

German counter-offensive Offensive actions in the last days of the Third Reich.

Case Three Plan for the movement of troops and Panzer armor towards the beachheads of Normandy after D-day 4 June 1944. These plans were cancelled by Hitler on ?10 June 1944.

Luttich (Ger, = Liège) Code name of German counteroffensive on 7 August 1944 ordered by Hitler in the area of Mortain. The attack was checked on 9 August and Allied aircraft began to rip the German armor to pieces especially by rocket-firing Hawker Typhoons. On 14 August 1944, Hitler was forced to recognize that Normandy was lost.

Westwall (Ger, = west wall) Extension to the Siegfried Linie defenses ordered by Adolf Hitler in his Führerbefehl of 24 August 1944.

Battle of the Bulge

Ardennes offensive (Rundstedt Offensive) (pop, Battle of the Bulge) Battle in the triangular area from Monshau and Echternach on the German frontier to the Meuse at Dinant in Belgium 15 December 1944-18 January 1945. It was the last attempt to break the Allied front in the West, capture Antwerp and thus cut off supplies for the invasion of Germany. Hitler hoped this would compel the Allies to settle for a negotiated peace agreement.

  1. Rundstedt counter-offensive General term for the Ardennes offensive, named after General Field Marschall Gerd von Rundstedt who was made responsible for executing Hitler’s directive, December 1944.

Note Von Rundstedt who had been relieved of military duties earlier was recalled for this task, but he did not believe in Hitler’s plan, and he spent his time during the battle drinking and reading detective novels.

  1. Christrose (Ger, = Christmas Rose) First operational code name given to the counter-offensive, the plan of which was drafted by Hitler himself and ordered late October 1944.
    1. Wacht am Rhein (Ger, = Watch on the Rhine) Replacement operational code name for the German attack through the Ardennes, December 1944.
    2. Herbstnebel (Ger, = Autumn Mist) Replacement operational code name for the German counter-offensive thrust into the Ardennes, started 5.30 am, 16 December 1944.
    3. Abwehrschlacht (Ger = defensive battle) Alternative code name for Herbstnebel.
    4. Martin Code name for operational plan for Herbstnebel.
  2. Adlerhorst (Ger, = eyrie) Code name for Hitler’s headquarters at Bad Neuheim for operation Herbstnebel, 10 December 1944-15 January 1945.
  3. Greif (Ger, = griffon, but translated as ‘snatch’ for the beast’s kidnapping habits) Code name for German commando troops in US uniforms and transport in an unconventional and only partially successful action, Hitler’s own brain-child, that began Herbstnebel, 16 December 1944.
    1. Eisenhower snatch 10-strong elite squad disguised as Americans planned to abduct Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower between Fountainebleau and St. Germain-en-Lye which he commuted daily. The captured US truck carrying the unit was strafed by German fighters leaving Fritz Christ the only survivor, December 1944.

Note When captured Greif troops were summarily executed as spies, and the project ran out in five days.

Stosser (Ger, = falcon) Code name for a 1,200 troop German airborne operation to disrupt the Allied rear area near Belle Croix in Belgium, 15-16 December 1944. It was cancelled through lack of fuel.

Malmédy massacre Atrocity at the Belgium town of Malmedy where 86 surrendering US soldiers were massacred by German SS panzer forces in one of the most notorious war crimes on the Western Front, 17 December 1944.

Nordwind (Ger = North Wind) German code name for attack on the south flank of the bulge, including a Luftwaffe raids at low level beneath Allied radar on allied airfields, 1 January 1945.

  1. Bodenplatte (Ger, = Base plate) Code name for the Luftwaffe offensive against Allied airfields in northwest-Europe on 1 January 1945. This was Germany’s last air offensive of the war in which 300 German aircraft were downed with loss of 250 pilots.
  2. Hermann Code name for an air raid by the Luftwaffe against British 2nd Tactical Air Force bases in Holland and Belgium, 1 January 1945, the last of Luftwaffe’s large-scale operations. It destroyed 156 aircraft but at heavy cost to itself.

Ardennes offensive losses Heavy losses sustained by the Germans ensured they could not hold the line of the Rhine. 100,000 troops were killed, wounded or captured; 800 tanks destroyed; and 1000 aircraft downed, including 300 in one day. None of could be made good. Allied losses included 19,000 killed and 15,000 US POWs.

Alsace WW II

Zahnarzt (Ger, = dentist) Code names for a subsidiary German counter-attack from 31 December 1944 to 26 January 1945 in Alsace in support of the main offensive in the Ardennes. The doomed venture was planned by Heinrich Himmler. A surprise attack on the thinly stretched American 7th Army positions by the 13th SS, 89th and 90th Corps from the Saar Region was to meet the northward drive of the 64th Corps from the Colmar Pocket American and French forces halted both drives and the action ended decisively with the driving the Germans out of Colmar on 9 February 1945.

  1. Colmar pocket Entrapped German 19th Army under General Siegfried Rasp in the medieval town of Colmar.
  2. Cheerful Code name for Général Jean de Lattre de Tassigny’s French 1st Army offensive against the Colmar pocket, January-February 1945.

Low Countries Action

Berbang Code name for an airborne operation by the Belgium Independent Parachute Company, SAS, to cut German communications near Burbuy in Belgium, 2-9 September 1944.

Caliban Code name for an airborne operation by the Belgium Independent Parachute Company, SAS, to cut the rail lines near Peere in Belgium, 5 September 1944.

Brutus Code name for an airborne operation by the Belgium Independent Parachute Company, SAS, to aid a local resistance unit near Mulet in Belgium, 5-9 September 1944.

Linnet I Code name for Allied plan for air drop on the strategically important town of Tournai, Belgium. Cancelled because British 2nd Army advanced to the town, 3 September 1944.

Linnet II Code name for airborne operation at Aachen-Maastricht Gap, planned for 4 September 1944 but made unnecessary by land advances.

Fabian Code name for airborne intelligence operation by the SAS near Nykirk in the Netherlands, 15 September 1944.

Arnhem Airborne operation on the north bank of the Neder Rijn, the Netherlands, on 17-25 September 1944, the failure of which led to the postponement of crossing the Rhine until March 1945.

  1. Comet Code name for the original smaller operation planned in August 1944, that was replaced with Market Garden, September 1944.
  2. Market-Garden (popularized, A Bridge too Far) Code name for Montgomery’s ill-fated airborne landings near Arnheim.
    1. Market Code name for the airborne assault designed to seize bridges between Eindhoven and Arnhem.
    2. Garden Code name for the supporting role of armor and infantry in which the British XXX Corps was to open a corridor from Eindhoven northward to Germany.
    3. Berlin Code name for the escape of British and Polish paratroopers encircled at Arnhem.

Aachen Battle within the German frontier with Belgium and the Netherlands along a front stretching from the Huertgen Forest through Aachen to beyond Geilenkirchen from 4 October to 1 December 1944 which became one of the most bitter attritional struggles of the war. The city of Aachen was captured after a week’s heavy fighting from 13 to 20 October 1944, marking the first beach of the Siegfried Line. Slow progress in bad weather led US General Omar Bradley to abandon the offensive on 1 December 1944. The success of the German defense encouraged the German High Command to launch its counter-offensive, the Battle of the Bulge in late December.

Little Tobruk Nickname for formidable German strongpoint east of Knocke-sur-Mer, Belgium. Cleared by Highland Light Infantry of Canada 1 November 1944.

Blackcock Code name for British XII Corps operations to clear German salient between the Meuse and Roer-Wurm rivers from Roermond southwards, November 1944.

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