82nd Airborne Division in the Ardennes

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Geoffrey Cooke
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82nd Airborne Division in the Ardennes

Post by Geoffrey Cooke » 20 Dec 2020 18:44

There is very little literature on the ‘All American’ in the Bulge compared to the ‘Screaming Eagles’. What is the best summarization of the 82nds role in the Ardennes, most of what I have read amounts to “got whipped and retreated from the Salm, went back on Offensive in January”, and what kind of losses did it suffer compared to the 101st?

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Re: 82nd Airborne Division in the Ardennes

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Dec 2020 16:37

Don't know much. Just that it had a role in the defeat of KG Pieper relatively early in the battle.

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Re: 82nd Airborne Division in the Ardennes

Post by Camp Upshur » 25 Dec 2020 05:38

Despite all of their voluminous historical self-promotion, there is very little on the 82nd in the Ardennes. Most of it revolves around the Gavin's handling, sacrifice and stripping of colors of the 551 PIB. It gets ugly and because the company line doesn't ring true, 82nd aficionados (of which there are many) gloss over this still open wound. In doing so, one of the most 'over-researched' divisions ever actually glosses over its involvement the Ardennes offensive!
What 'Battle of the Bulge'?

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Re: 82nd Airborne Division in the Ardennes

Post by Richard Anderson » 25 Dec 2020 06:58

Camp Upshur wrote:
25 Dec 2020 05:38
Despite all of their voluminous historical self-promotion, there is very little on the 82nd in the Ardennes. Most of it revolves around the Gavin's handling, sacrifice and stripping of colors of the 551 PIB. It gets ugly and because the company line doesn't ring true, 82nd aficionados (of which there are many) gloss over this still open wound. In doing so, one of the most 'over-researched' divisions ever actually glosses over its involvement the Ardennes offensive!
What 'Battle of the Bulge'?
Perhaps the reality was a bit more nuanced than that, but yeah. :D You also missed the part that gets glossed over of Ridgway nearly sacrificing parts of the 82d, all of the 7th AD, and the rest of the defenders of Sankt Vith in search of a chimera he called the Fortified Goose Egg? And that it took the intervention of Monty to save them from the insanity.

OTOH, a large part of it is the attention paid to the 101st at Bastogne meant the 82d got left in the shade.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: 82nd Airborne Division in the Ardennes

Post by Yoozername » 25 Dec 2020 19:55

I suggest you research Cheneux? KG Peiper?

https://www.historynet.com/review-parat ... anzers.htm

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Re: 82nd Airborne Division in the Ardennes

Post by Geoffrey Cooke » 29 Dec 2020 16:23

Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Dec 2020 06:58
Camp Upshur wrote:
25 Dec 2020 05:38
Despite all of their voluminous historical self-promotion, there is very little on the 82nd in the Ardennes. Most of it revolves around the Gavin's handling, sacrifice and stripping of colors of the 551 PIB. It gets ugly and because the company line doesn't ring true, 82nd aficionados (of which there are many) gloss over this still open wound. In doing so, one of the most 'over-researched' divisions ever actually glosses over its involvement the Ardennes offensive!
What 'Battle of the Bulge'?
Perhaps the reality was a bit more nuanced than that, but yeah. :D You also missed the part that gets glossed over of Ridgway nearly sacrificing parts of the 82d, all of the 7th AD, and the rest of the defenders of Sankt Vith in search of a chimera he called the Fortified Goose Egg? And that it took the intervention of Monty to save them from the insanity.

OTOH, a large part of it is the attention paid to the 101st at Bastogne meant the 82d got left in the shade.
Why wouldn't it have worked? I'm ignorant about what you're talking about, were they endangered of being encircled?

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Re: 82nd Airborne Division in the Ardennes

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Dec 2020 17:01

Geoffrey Cooke wrote:
29 Dec 2020 16:23
Why wouldn't it have worked? I'm ignorant about what you're talking about, were they endangered of being encircled?
The Fortified Goose Egg? The perimeter was about 30 miles, to be held by the 7th Armd Div and the remnants of the 112th and 424th Infantry. If they had tried to hold the position on the 23d instead of withdrawing, they would have been hit by 9. SS, FBB, 18. VGD, and 62.VGD, while 2. SS and 560. VGD worked unimpeded into the deep rear, likely reaching Manhay as resistance at Baraque du Fraiture collapsed on the same day. Then on 24 December II. SS-Panzer Korps likely would have rolled up the Salm River line from south to north. The consequence to the 82d can be imagined.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: 82nd Airborne Division in the Ardennes

Post by Sheldrake » 29 Dec 2020 19:44

The relevant volume of the official history by Cole has plenty of mentions of the 82nd. The index in Charles B Macdonalds' Time for Trumpets lists 30 pages whcih mention the 82nd and 19 for the 101st.

The two US AIrborne Divisions had very different roles in the Ardennes. Originally IRRC the 101st were supposed to reinforce the northern flank at Werbomont while the 82nd were supposed to reinforce Bastogne.

The 101st had a simple defined role to hold Bastogne. This became the focus of media attention and became the key location in many Bulge narratives. The 82nd did not. It was used in much the same way as other infantry. I suspect the 82nd may have lost more.

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Re: 82nd Airborne Division in the Ardennes

Post by Geoffrey Cooke » 29 Dec 2020 20:30

Richard Anderson wrote:
29 Dec 2020 17:01
Geoffrey Cooke wrote:
29 Dec 2020 16:23
Why wouldn't it have worked? I'm ignorant about what you're talking about, were they endangered of being encircled?
The Fortified Goose Egg? The perimeter was about 30 miles, to be held by the 7th Armd Div and the remnants of the 112th and 424th Infantry. If they had tried to hold the position on the 23d instead of withdrawing, they would have been hit by 9. SS, FBB, 18. VGD, and 62.VGD, while 2. SS and 560. VGD worked unimpeded into the deep rear, likely reaching Manhay as resistance at Baraque du Fraiture collapsed on the same day. Then on 24 December II. SS-Panzer Korps likely would have rolled up the Salm River line from south to north. The consequence to the 82d can be imagined.
Thanks for explaining, I had heard that Montgomery ordered the 82nd to retreat before and that it was a mistake (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WTl_vwTTms at 17:30) but I didn't know the situation in that area.
Sheldrake wrote:
29 Dec 2020 19:44
The relevant volume of the official history by Cole has plenty of mentions of the 82nd. The index in Charles B Macdonalds' Time for Trumpets lists 30 pages whcih mention the 82nd and 19 for the 101st.

The two US AIrborne Divisions had very different roles in the Ardennes. Originally IRRC the 101st were supposed to reinforce the northern flank at Werbomont while the 82nd were supposed to reinforce Bastogne.

The 101st had a simple defined role to hold Bastogne. This became the focus of media attention and became the key location in many Bulge narratives. The 82nd did not. It was used in much the same way as other infantry. I suspect the 82nd may have lost more.
Is this a typo or was the 82nd actually supposed to be the one defending Bastogne and they got switched?

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Re: 82nd Airborne Division in the Ardennes

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Dec 2020 20:50

Geoffrey Cooke wrote:
29 Dec 2020 20:30
Thanks for explaining, I had heard that Montgomery ordered the 82nd to retreat before and that it was a mistake (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WTl_vwTTms at 17:30) but I didn't know the situation in that area.
As Bruce Clarke explained it to us shortly before he died, he and Bob Hasbrouck were in despair after Ridgway refused their request to withdraw and ordered them to form the "Fortified Goose Egg". Unlike at Bastogne they did not have a compact perimeter (the Bastogne perimeter was around one-third that of St Vith) nor the interior roadways that allowed for a good all around defense and they knew that both their flanks and rear were open. The two agreed that Ridgway's order had doomed their division. When Montgomery countermanded Ridgway's order and directed the St Vith perimeter be evacuated, Clarke said they were overjoyed and that "Monty had saved our division".
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: 82nd Airborne Division in the Ardennes

Post by Sheldrake » 30 Dec 2020 00:08

Geoffrey Cooke wrote:
29 Dec 2020 20:30
Sheldrake wrote:
29 Dec 2020 19:44
The relevant volume of the official history by Cole has plenty of mentions of the 82nd. The index in Charles B Macdonalds' Time for Trumpets lists 30 pages whcih mention the 82nd and 19 for the 101st.

The two US AIrborne Divisions had very different roles in the Ardennes. Originally IRRC the 101st were supposed to reinforce the northern flank at Werbomont while the 82nd were supposed to reinforce Bastogne.

The 101st had a simple defined role to hold Bastogne. This became the focus of media attention and became the key location in many Bulge narratives. The 82nd did not. It was used in much the same way as other infantry. I suspect the 82nd may have lost more.
Is this a typo or was the 82nd actually supposed to be the one defending Bastogne and they got switched?
It isn't a typo. They were switched. Cole P307 https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/7-8/7-8_13.htm#p305

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Re: 82nd Airborne Division in the Ardennes

Post by Geoffrey Cooke » 30 Jan 2021 23:53

What about later in the Ardennes? How did their performance compare to the neighboring divisions during the counter offensive?

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