By Edward Monroe-jones
Conceived in desperation after the conflict of the Bulge in January 1945, Germany's Operation Nordwind culminated within the frozen Alsatian fields surrounding the Zorn River. the yank twelfth Armored department and the German tenth Waffen SS Panzer department squared off for what used to be anticipated to be a simple offensive close to the villages of Herrlisheim and Weyersheim. Neither military can have forseen the savage violence that ensued. Combining the vibrant eyewitness debts of veterans from either side of the clash with info gleaned from various long-unavailable print assets, this richly designated background casts a desirable gentle on a little-known yet the most important conflict within the moment international conflict. It serves as a tribute to the typical squaddies who stalwartly performed near-impossible orders.
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Additional resources for Crossing the Zorn: The January 1945 Battle at Herrlisheim as Told by the American and German Soldiers Who Fought It
Finally we were ready for the big show. ”10 The ﬁnal phase of training consisted of exercises in the ﬁeld with combined units. These day and night training episodes culminated in pitting one division against another in a ﬁnal maneuver that would test the ﬁghting competence of each battalion, company, squad and soldier. It was to be the ﬁnal test of competency and combat readiness for the 12th Armored Division, but the exercise was marred by the unexpected. James Francis of the 23rd Tank Battalion described what happened: “While we were out in the ﬁeld, Corps Headquarters conducted an inspection of our barracks and did not like what they saw.
We watched a newsreel on the ﬁghting in Normandy. The outdated newsreel showed Americans taking Cherbourg in June and General von Schlieben looking straight and haughty in his long black leather coat standing as a prisoner before ragged American soldiers. But British general Montgomery’s forces had been stopped by two Waffen SS divisions between the Odon and Orne rivers. On our way back to Camp Barkeley one of the men in my squad wondered aloud about the German Army. He offered his opinion that its reputation was probably overblown and that Patton would be in Germany before the 12th had a chance to ﬁght.
7 Ernst Storch related the story in his own words: “I remembered my father’s insistence on truthfulness. I had crossed the line and was willing to take whatever the com- 28 Part I: Roads to Alsace pany commander could hand out. Franke announced the punishment to all in ranks. This would be a lesson for 6th Company. The four Frundsbergers would perform strenuous calisthenics while wearing gas masks. Two hours of punishment each morning for four days. The ﬁrst two hours were nightmarish. With [our] arms ﬂailing and legs jumping, the warm sun heated our work uniforms.