1 Nov - 9 Nov 1944
UNITED STATES ARMY, EUROPE
By Siegfried Von Waldenburg, Generalmajor
Originator: Lt. Mahin, Siegfried Line Section.
For Gen. Siegfried von Waldenburg, CG 116 Pz. Division.
(Listed by PWIB as at PWE No. 19, Foucarville).
1. When did the division arrive on the Schmidt area from Muenchen-Gladbach? Where was it assembled and what were the plans for utilizing it? Were any vehicles attached to the 89 Inf. Division for its attack on Schmidt?
2. Did our artillery forestall any attacks by your division? Our troops, particularly in Vossenack, absorbed a terrific pounding from your artillery. Was an infantry attack launched on that town in the morning of 6 November? If so, at what time, and what was the progress of the attack?
Our sole supply route for the troops in Kommerscheidt and Schmidt was the narrow trail from Vossenack across the Kall River to these towns. Did any of your troops seize or mine any part of this road? If so, on which side of the river and when?
4. How many tracked vehicles did the division have (including those on loan; from which SS outfit were these on Ioan?) when it reached the Schmidt area? How many were lost in this action up to 8 November? How would you rate the effectiveness of the following weapons in destroying these vehicles: aircraft, artillery, tanks and tank destroyers, bazookas?
Siegfried Von Waldenburg's report on 116th Pz. Div.
(1-9 Nov. 44)
Answers to questions concerning the 116th Pz. Div. (Fighting at Vossenack and Schmidt).
1. The 116th Pz. Div. was moved from the area Muenchen-Gladbach to the area of Kreuzau, Kufferath, Untermaubach, Winden at the beginning of November, in order to prevent the threatening American penetration via Huertgen, and in so doing recapture the dominating Vossenack, to the extent to which this was possible. At the same time the division was to assist in cleaning up the situation at Kommerscheidt and Schmidt by detachments (of troops). For this purpose my division was attached to the LXXXVI A.K. (General Straube), which desired a speedy and early intervention.
The division decided to attack with the two Pz. Grenadier Regiments the village of Vossenack from the north and east, via the general line of Huertgen-Brandenberg. At the same time the reconnaissance Bn of the division was ordered to move from Brueck-Hotzingen via Zwelfallshammer, along the Kall Sector, to attack the mill west of Kommerscheidt, to open Vossenack from the south and cut off the American forces that had effected a penetration of the area of Schmidt.
An armored group with about 20 to 30 panzers of the 116th Pz. Div., under the command of the regimental commander of my Pz. Rgt., was directly attached to the LXXXVI. A. K., that is to say to the 89th Div., to clean up the situation at Schmidt. This armored group was reinforced by other elements of the corps.
2. The American artillery did not forestall the attack preparations of my division; only in the course of the fighting it became more powerful and more and more harassing.
As far as I can recall, the attack on Vossenack and the mill west of Kommerscheidt had been ordered for 6 November. The attack was to be launched in the early morning but was postponed for a few hours, as our artillery was not ready in time.
The 156th Pz. Grenadier Rgt. moved to the attack on Vossenack from the wooded terrain south of Huertgen, and the 60th Pz. Grenadier Rgt. from the bottom land of the creek southwest and south of Brandenberg, while the reconnaissance battalion reinforced by engineers and some panzers pushed forward along the Kall River. In very stiff and heavy combats, with the troops on both sides fighting very courageously and stubbornly, my division succeeded in taking half of Vossenack and weakening the American forces In the area of Schmidt and Kommerscheidt by an attack of the reconnaissance Bn.
3. As stated under 1, the reconnaissance Bn of the 116th Pz. Div. had been ordered to attack the mill west of Kommerscheidt. It was able to reach its objective, advancing in the Kall Valley, fighting heavily, whereby several mines were laid on the path to Kommerscheidt in the vicinity of the mill on both sides of the river.
4. I am unable at present to make accurate statements In this connection. However, no vehicles etc. had been borrowed from the SS. The Kampfgruppe at Schmidt was directly attached to the 89th Div. that is to say (bzw. - beziehungsweise) the Corps for the time being. Our own losses in panzers were very small at Schmidt; some were demolished or damaged by the Am. Air Force, 2 or 3 by Am. panzers. The Am. Air Force, which became more and more powerful from day to day, was the principal enemy of our panzers. Panzer-defensive (antitank) rockets were not used. In this connection I must say that I have made above statements without any documents, and merely from memory, to the best of my knowledge!
The hard prison fate with months of hunger, very poor quarters, disgraceful treatment, and the worry about the fate of the family, with whom there is no contact by mail whatever, have weakened and exhausted me physically and morally to such an extent that I am unable at present to deal with such tasks, particularly concerning the course of the Ardennes Offensive, completely and with historical exactness.
I ask that the preliminary requirements and opportunities be provided for me which are necessary to do justice to the questions asked, as recommended by me previously in a special request.