The Battle of Lanzerath Ridge

This battle was fought on December 16, 1944, the first day of the Battle of the Bulge during World War II, near the village of Lanzerath, Belgium, along the key route for the German advance on the northern shoulder of the operation. The American force consisted of two squads totalling 18 men belonging to a reconnaissance platoon and four forward artillery observers, against a German battalion of about 500 paratroopers. During a day-long confrontation, the American defenders inflicted dozens of casualties on the Germans and delayed by almost 20 hours the advance of the entire 1st SS Panzer Division, the spearhead of the German 6th Panzer Army.

During the attack, the 15 remaining men of the I&R platoon plus the four men of the 371st Artillery Forward Observation Team repeatedly engaged elements of the 1st Battalion, 9th Fallschirmjäger Regiment, 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division of about 500 men. The Germans reported 16 killed, 63 wounded, and 13 missing in action. Only one American was killed,14 out of 18 men were wounded. The small American force had seriously disrupted the scheduled advance of the entire 6th Panzer Army's drive for Antwerp along the critical northern edge of the offensive. After virtually no sleep during the preceding night and a full day of almost non-stop combat, with only a few rounds of ammunition remaining, flanked by a superior enemy force, the platoon and artillery observers were captured.

This re-enacted set of pictures gives a view in the actions of the soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 9th Fallschirmjäger Regiment, 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division during that day.

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In