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"Lausdell Crossroads " Topic


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574 hits since 17 Jan 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2018 8:11 p.m. PST

What a hell of combat!…


"During December 17-19, 1944, the Belgian villages of Krinkelt and Rocherath, and the surrounding countryside, provided a setting that would determine whether or not the flank of the U.S. First Army would be rolled up and the German Ardennes breakthrough widened, permitting the Germans to reach their objectives beyond the Meuse. In the path of the German advance was a key crossroads held by a battalion of American infantry. While small in comparison to the larger campaign, it was an important event that effected actions in the following days. By slowing the advance of elements of the German 6th SS Panzer Army the Allies were able to buy time to block key roadways, preventing the widening of the German offensive and then stopping it.

By nightfall of 16 December, the US 2nd Infantry Division's CO, General Walter Robertson, was able to appreciate the division's situation. Two of the division's three regiments, the 9th and the 38th, were clustered around the little village of Wahlerscheid, their only connection with the rest of the US V Corps, a narrow forest road that led seven kilometers south to the village of Rocherath. If the German forces attacking west down the Schwarzenbruch and Weisserstein Trails were able to cut this road before Robertson could withdraw the two regiments, then they faced the likelihood of being isolated and destroyed. To prevent this, plans were quickly worked out to disengage around Wahlerscheid and withdrawal to the Krinkelt-Rocherath area. Robertson called the V Corps commander, General Leonard Gerow, and requested permission to withdraw. Gerow bucked the decision up to the First Army commander, General Courtney Hodges, who gave permission for Robertson to halt the current Wahlerscheid attack but not to withdraw, though by 0730 the next morning, after repeated requests from Gerow, Hodges told him to, "act as he saw fit."

By this time the 2nd Division had been in action at Wahlerscheid continuously for nearly 96 hours and had lost 1,200 men. The 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, from a starting strength of 713 officers and men on 13 December, was down to 409. Worse, Company A had lost two company commanders, Companies B and C had each lost one, along with numerous platoon leaders and platoon sergeants. Such losses made the order to withdraw a bitter pill.

Robertson planned for the 1st Battalion to be the last to withdraw from the area, moving on the heels of the 3rd Battalion. The 3rd Battalion of the 9th began its withdrawal about 1200 hours. Company K, the last company in the column, was late getting started and as a result was several hundred yards behind the rest of the battalion. When Company K reached the Rocherather Baracken crossroads, about a kilometer north of Rocherath, at 1230, it was met by General Robertson, who ordered the company commander to move his unit as quickly as possible to the Lausdell crossroads—a complex of roads and farm trails near an isolated farmhouse, just over half way between the wood line to the east and Rocherath. Once there, Company K was to dig in…."
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Amicalement
Armand

Legion 418 Jan 2018 6:39 a.m. PST

Just a sidebar for history's sake. When I was with the 2ID, '84-'85. The 9th & 38th were still part of the Div. And IIRC, the 23rd was the other Rgt with the 2ID and was still there when I was.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP19 Jan 2018 9:45 a.m. PST

DELETED……

UshCha19 Jan 2018 11:58 a.m. PST

Facinating,
The amount of artillery used is mind boggeling for such a small frontage (about 3 companies) so maybe 3km assuming the companies are 2 up one back.

Legion 419 Jan 2018 12:25 p.m. PST

The US had a lot of FA … and liked to use it.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2018 11:03 a.m. PST

Glad you enjoyed it my friend!. (smile)

Amicalement
Armand

UshCha22 Jan 2018 1:46 p.m. PST

I was able to throw the area up on Google maps. Seems an ideal place to set up a scenario in 1mm=1m. Lots of roads, lines of trees, woods and a small built up area. I may need to cut more roads and tree lines to do it justice.

Mark 122 Jan 2018 3:56 p.m. PST

Took me a while to figure out where I had read this story before (in greater detail). But whadyaknow, I found it!

The Warfare History Network ( warfarehistorynetwork.com ) offers a set of free e-books and briefings ( link ).

One of these is titled: The Battle of the Bulge. You can download the PDF from the link above.

The briefing includes information on 3 battles within the Battle of the Bulge. The first is a 13 page report on the Lausdell Crossroads engagements . It includes several useful maps and/or US Army artist renderings of the area. There are also a number of photos taken during or shortly after the combat.

The second and third reports in the briefing/e-book are on St. Vith and Bastogne.

The Lausdell report covers the higher level command decisions, but is largely written from the perspective of the small unit commanders (taken from various AARs and late-1940s war college monographs written by the participants). It makes an interesting read.

Between the article linked in the OP, and this particular piece, I think there is a lot of material available to the gamer who wants to create a historically accurate scenario.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2018 6:59 a.m. PST

Great find, thanks Mark!

The Rapid Fire scenario book "Battle of the Bulge" has this as one of the scenarios, "Take the Twin Villages" and despite the name covers Lausdell, and the "twin" villages of Rocherath and Krinkelt.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2018 2:38 p.m. PST

Thanks!….

Amicalement
Armand

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