Leibstandarte: Ardennes 1944 (Past & Present)

Leibstandarte: Ardennes 1944 (Past & Present)

Leibstandarte: Ardennes 1944 (Past & Present)

The 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler was the spearhead of the assault by Sepp Dietrich’s Sixth Panzer Armee on the northern flank of the German Ardennes offensive. Divided into Kampfgruppen, the lead was Kampfgruppe Peiper whose armored force included SS Heavy Tank Battalion 501 equipped with King Tigers. The attack was launched on a snowy, freezing December 16, but from the outset, the division lost time against schedule. It captured a fuel dump at Büllingen, but brave defense forced Peiper onto the southern Rollbahn D whose tight, winding roads proved difficult to negotiate and soon the Kampfgruppe was strung out over 25 kilometers with its heavy armor―the King Tigers―slowly losing ground as vehicle after vehicle succumbed to automotive failures. Pushing through Stavelot and Trois Pont, the advanced units of the Kampfgruppe reached Stoumont before lack of fuel―the Americans had retaken Stavelot and closed off the route for German resupply―and US Army action forced it to halt at La Gleize. Six days later, on Christmas Eve, with no hope and no fuel, Peiper and his men abandoned their vehicles and made their way back to their lines: only 770 got there. They left...

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