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December 18, 2006

December 18, 1944 Europe.

German Panther burning after being knocked out - with surviving crewman becoming a prisoner (ain't he glad this was in the West, and not the East...

The Defense of the Twin Villages 18 December

The German attempt to take Krinkelt and Rocherath during the night of 17-18 December had not been well coordinated, carried out as it was by the advance guards of two divisions attacking piecemeal in the dark over unknown terrain against resistance which was completely surprising. By the morning of 18 December, however, the enemy strength had increased substantially despite the miserable state of the woods roads leading to the twin villages. The 989th Regiment of the 277th Volks Grenadier Division (probably reinforced by a third battalion) had reached Rocherath. The 12th SS Panzer Division, whose tanks and armored infantry carriers made extremely slow progress on the muddy secondary roads quickly chewed up by churning tracks-was able by dawn to assemble the 25th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, an assault gun battalion, and one full tank battalion east of the villages. During the 18th this force was strengthened by one more tank battalion, the final armored commitment being about equally divided between Panther tanks and the heavy Tigers.

26th Infantry moving up to Butgenbach

I had the honor, while a battery commander, to be mentored by BG(R) Seitz, the officer who commanded the 26th Infantry.

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