Richard Anderson wrote: ↑
14 Nov 2022 03:49
Indeed but I suspect that was a miss-identification. Without the G-2 POW report there is no means of digging further.
I suspect a battlegroup was recommitted while the main division was further east.
If you assume the PW identification was correct and further assume the records of the 12. SS-Panzer Division were incorrect, then that might be reasonable. Otherwise you might wonder why a battlegroup of a division withdrawn from the vicinity of Bastogne and prepared for commitment 1,170 kilometers to the southwest in Hungary, would be sent two weeks later 106 kilometers to the northeast of Bastogne.
Well the SS formations were supposed to be regrouped under Dietrich’s command (including 12. SS) east of St Vith before the rapid withdrawal took place. I think the reasoning in this instance is that despite the nominal process of “pulling out” for Sixth Panzer Army (all of the SS formations and the Führer Briagdes were supposed to be sent to the east, mind you), the XVIII Airborne Corps offensive toward St Vith through the Ondenval defile basically precluded Dietrich from making a clean break of engagement, without causing a collapse that is; bear in mind Dietrich wasn’t even able to nominally cede his front line to Manteuffel until January 22. MacDonald mentioned this in The Last Offensive as a reason he kept commenting SS formations.
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/US ... ast-2.html
(At page 46) Hitler may have prioritized the rapid withdrawal of SS forces, but Dietrich seems to have gone against that a bit.
Now regarding 12th SS specifically, I think you are correct. Both Fontenant in “The Lucky Seventh”/“Loss and Redemption at St Vith” and Winton in “Corps Commanders of the Bulge” (all excellent books) mentioned this before: the remnants of Kampfgruppe Peiper were never actually sent to fight Third Army at Bastogne unlike the rest of the division. The XIII corps commander Hans Felber, (recorded in the Foreign Military Studies, B series, available at the national archives) stated that the remnants of Kampfgruppe Peiper were put under his command and and Dietrich Moll, commanding the 18. Volksgrenadier Div (B series FMS, again), noted this force as well. They both brought out counter attacks by this force. Since part of 1st SS was operating in this area, it might have been that force that the POWs came from instead. But I will say in general there were other instances that happened in this sector that did make it POSSIBLE, even if not probable for 12th SS troops to be present. As the 7th AD aar correctly notes, elements of 246th Volksgrenadier Division were present. Felber said this too, that elements were put under his commander to stop the advance toward St Vith/defense of Born, despite the main division being in the Monschau area and not being ordered to this sector until days later.