History of the Second World War, Volume 6

POWs: German casualties neared 100000 and the rock which broke the German offensive The wrack of the receding German tide Turret torn off by anti-tank fire this shattered German tank symbolises the ferocity of the American defence of Bastogne Pattons troops at Bastogne and on either side of the relief corridor that he opened on the 26th fought the V Panzer Army to a standstill. The battle reached a climax on December 30 when Patton his forces around Bastogne swollen now to six divisions tried to re­sume his attack north-east toward Houffalize. At almost precisely the same moment General von Manteuffel launched another major attempt to cut the corridor into Bastogne and take the town. Casualties on both sides mounted and bitterly cold weather took an inevitable toll but the American troops held firm even after the Germans had driven a salient into the east side of the corridor. It was a struggle for survival such as Bastogne had not known even in the critical days of encirclement. Threat to the ‘Colmar Pocket As events strode to a climax at Bastogne a crucible similarly de­manding was beginning to develop for troops of the US 7th Army commanded by Lieutenant-General Alexander M. Patch and some of their compatriots in General Jean de Lattre de Tassignys French 1st Army which together made up General Devers 6th Army Group. Undermined by any standards of comparison with Bradleys 12th Army Group or Montgomery's 21st Army Group Devers forces had had to stretch already thin lines even thinner to absorb former positions of two of the 3rd Armys corps in order to release Pat­ton for counterattack. The new arrangement charged General Patchs 7th Army with 124 miles of front the bulk of it along the German frontier facing the Saar industrial region 40 miles of it along the Rhine to include the city of Strasbourg. From that point southward General de Lattre’s French overtook containing what Allied troops called the ‘Colmar Pocket an expansive German bridgehead on the Rhines west bank around the town of Colmar a hold-out position that Devers’ undermanned forces had yet been unable to eliminate and one that 2245 U S Army U S Army
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