Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dec 29, 1944; German Losses Continue / PrisonersTaken:



(E T was asked about the Maginot Line; the excerpt below from Wikepedia, reflects his memory of its early use resulting in Germany’s defeat of France in
1939. An excerpt on the Siegfried Line is includeded) 

The Maginot Line was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, artillery casemates, machine gun posts, and other defenses, which France constructed along its borders with Germany and Italy, in light of its experience in World War I, and in the run-up to World War II. Generally the term describes only the defenses facing Germany, while the term Alpine Line is used for the Franco-Italian defenses.
While the fortification system successfully prevented a direct attack, it was strategically ineffective, as the Germans invaded through Belgium, defeating the French army. Flanked the Maginot Line, through the Ardennes forest and via the Low countries, completely sweeping by the line and conquering France in about 6 weeks. The Maginot Line was impervious to most forms of attack, and had state-of-the-art living conditions for garrisoned troops, including air conditioning, comfortable eating areas and underground railways. However, it proved costly to keep, consumed a vast amount of money and subsequently led to other parts of the French Armed Forces being underfunded.

The Siegfried Line was a German defense system stretching more than 630 km (390 mi) with more than 18,000 bunkers, tunnels and tank traps. It went from Kleve on the border with the Netherlands, along the western border of the old German Empire as far as the town of Weil am Rhein on the border to Switzerland. More with Nazi propaganda in mind than for any strategic reason, Adolf Hitler planned the line from 1936 and had it built between 1938 and 1940.

Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday Morning, December 29, 1944
Nazis Announce
Withdrawal of
Two Spearheads
Americans Slash Off Forward Tip
Of Foes' Northwestern Thrust,
Inflict Losses, Take 1000 Prisoners
Allies (Official) —By Associated Press
PARIS, Friday, Dec. 29 (AP)—
Deep hacked by lightning blows from the U. S. Third army under Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, toughest and most ruthless of the American field commanders, the German winter offensive appeared Friday to have had its back broken.
The German radio announced that Field Marshal von Rundstedt's western and southern spearheads had been withdrawn "according to plan" as the result of furious counterattacks by both the American First and Third armies from the north, west and south.
Forward elements of the German northwestern tip were cut off from their main body by Americans in that sector, where 1000 prisoners were taken and heavy losses inflicted. Long lines of prisoners also were being marched down roads on the Third army front, where Patton was personally shouting orders to his soldiers as he directed the battle.
Hammering gains up to 16 miles in six days through the wooded hills of Belgium and northern Luxembourg, Patton's powerful mobile army, punching up from the south, rescued the heroic American garrison at Bastogne and to the east beat back
the German wave after it had swept to within 13 miles of Luxembourg's capital.
Developments Fraught With Peril for Germans
The hard-driving Patton, America's No. 1 tank general, was given the job of stemming the enemy's surprise offensive three days after Von Rundstedt struck Dec. 16 and Thursday night, Associated Press Correspondent Hawkins declared, it appeared the back of the German drive was broken.

Allies Hasten
To Block
Nazis in Italy
Hurl in Strong Air,
Ground Force to
Halt Enemy Drive
Italy (Official)
By Associated Press
ROME, Dec. 28 (AP)
Strong allied air and ground forces were thrown into battle Thursday in an effort to halt the German assault on a six-mile front in the Serchio river valley, where American doughboys have been driven from the important road town of Barga in two days of fierce fighting-.
The Germans declared that the U. S. 92nd Negro division had been knocked back "some kilometers" by the stubborn drive, which evidently was aimed at the vital allied supply port of Livorno (Leghorn) 32 miles away. Barga is a mile and a half east of the Serchio river and about 15 miles north of the provincial capital of Lucca.
Artillery Supports Nazis
Field Marshal Albert Kesselring's forces hit through flatlands and mountains on both sides of the Serchio in the first action of any importance in the Fifth army's west coast sector in several weeks.
The attacking nazis were supported by artillery

Japan Reports
Raid on Tokyo
American Superfortresses scored at least 12 direct hits on Tokyo's great Musashino aircraft factory in their attack Wednesday, reports from Saipan said today, and enemy broadcasts said that Superfortresses had attacked the capital area again Thursday.
Brig. Gen. Haywood S. Plansell Jr., commanding the Saipan based 21st Superfortress bomber command, gave no estimate of the damage done in Wednesday's attack, the third on the Musashino works and the fifth on Tokyo,
but Saipan dispatches indicated that he was not of the opinion that the aim of knocking out the plant was yet in sight.

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