How could KGP have achieved more?

Hexagoner

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Just finished my 3rd reading of Time for Trumpets, an excellent book. One question I keep coming back to is how could KGP have achieved more than they did? High water mark in the area of Stoumont Station, neat Stoumont. I'm asking what could KGP themselves, 1st SS panzer etc done differently - with what they knew at the time, to result in greater results by Peiper?
 

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Refused to launch the offensive, went back to Berlin and shot Hitler, then capitulated to the Allies accepting whatever terms the Allies gave them.

If ever there was a doomed offensive, it was this one. Who cares if Peiper had of gotten a few miles further? It is of no consequence.
 

Eagle4ty

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Refused to launch the offensive, went back to Berlin and shot Hitler, then capitulated to the Allies accepting whatever terms the Allies gave them.

If ever there was a doomed offensive, it was this one. Who cares if Peiper had of gotten a few miles further? It is of no consequence.
Except certainly to the guys of the 30th Infantry Division and the 82nd Abn Div.;)
 

M.Koch

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Refused to launch the offensive, went back to Berlin and shot Hitler, then capitulated to the Allies accepting whatever terms the Allies gave them.

If ever there was a doomed offensive, it was this one. Who cares if Peiper had of gotten a few miles further? It is of no consequence.
More scenarios? Just sayin...
 

FrankJ

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I think the ultimate failing for KGP was that they were all alone as a unit, with no supporting units on their flanks. There is a great game out called Last Blitzkrieg, which gives a good feel for the overall operational overview of this situation. My guess is that KGP should have outflanked the US units in Elsenborn before moving on. Also, if the Germans had initially sent their better units to take St. Vith, the Americans would have been in a difficult position. A flanking move on Elsenborn, and taking St. Vith early on would have given the Germans a open path for a much larger force, and would have been big trouble for the Allies.
 

The Purist

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Peiper hit the weakest held section of the front in the north (a single mech cav battalion with jeeps, armoured cars and light tanks) and then rolled through the gap between two US corps. He could not have wished for a better opportunity. That they got as far as they did was remarkable enough. The last thing they would have wanted was to get involved with the fighting on their right with US 2nd and 99th Divisions (and potentially the US 1st Inf). Had they gone north the US 1st, 30th Infantry, 3rd Armoured and 82nd AB, could have filled in the gap, blocking approaches to the Salm and Ambleve River valleys and stopping any further drive west at all, in effect blocking 6th Pz Army's advance entirely. Had he turned south into 5th Pz Army's zone he would have jammed up the roads there and the same US divisions plus 7th Armoured would have come down from the north, again sealing the Salm River crossings and likely being able to build a line along the Ourthe River north and west of Houffalize. End result here would likely have strangled 5th Pz Army's 58th Pz Corps drive west in support of 47th Pz Corps (2nd Pz and Pz Lehr), the troops that actually did drive to the very approaches to the Meuse.

As it was Peiper's penetration compelled the 30th Infantry, 82nd AB and 3rd Arm'd to deploy over a stretched front for most of a week. This penetration, combined with the attack on St Vith and the penetration past Houffalize by 116th Pz (58th Pz Corps) forced the abandonment of the St Vith salient. His presence in the Ambleve Valley allowed 5th Pz Army to exploit the actual breakthrough in the centre while five allied divisions were tied down between St Vith and Stoumont.

Any additional success by the Germans in the Ardennes could not have come in the north, the terrain and road net mitigated against quick movement west and too many American troops were on hand to quickly reinforce V Corps' right wing. The Germans only hope of reaching the Meuse and causing the allies more heartburn was in the centre with 5th Pz Army, where more was achieved with less in more open country by divisions that were, quite frankly, better quality than the Dec 44 SS divisions. The German attack was going to fail, the most that might be expected was they extend the battle past mid-January by throwing their weight behind 5th Pz Army earlier,....but that is too is questionable.
 
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FrankJ

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Peiper hit the weakest held section of the front in the north (a single mech cav battalion with jeeps, armoured cars and light tanks) and then rolled through the gap between two US corps. He could not have wished for a better opportunity. That they got as far as they did was remarkable enough. The last thing they would have wanted was to get involved with the fighting on their right with US 2nd and 99th Divisions (and potentially the US 1st Inf). Had they gone north the US 1st, 30th Infantry, 3rd Armoured and 82nd AB, could have filled in the gap, blocking approaches to the Salm and Ambleve River valleys and stopping any further drive west at all, in effect blocking 6th Pz Army's advance entirely. Had he turned south into 5th Pz Army's zone he would have jammed up the roads there and the same US divisions plus 7th Armoured would have come down from the north, again sealing the Salm River crossings and likely being able to build a line along the Ourthe River north and west of Houffalize. End result here would likely have strangled 5th Pz Army's 58th Pz Corps drive west in support of 47th Pz Corps (2nd Pz and Pz Lehr), the troops that actually did drive to the very approaches to the Meuse.

As it was Peiper's penetration compelled the 30th Infantry, 82nd AB and 3rd Arm'd to deploy over a stretched front for most of a week. This penetration, combined with the attack on St Vith and the penetration past Houffalize by 116th Pz (58th Pz Corps) forced the abandonment of the St Vith salient. His presence in the Ambleve Valley allowed 5th Pz Army to exploit the actual breakthrough in the centre while five allied divisions were tied down between St Vith and Stoumont.

Any additional success by the Germans in the Ardennes could not have come in the north, the terrain and road net mitigated against quick movement west and too many American troops were on hand to quickly reinforce V Corps' right wing. The Germans only hope of reaching the Meuse and causing the allies more heartburn was in the centre with 5th Pz Army, where more was achieved with less in more open country by divisions that were, quite frankly, better quality than the Dec 44 SS divisions. The German attack was going to fail, the most that might be expected was they extend the battle past mid-January by throwing their weight behind 5th Pz Army earlier,....but that is too is questionable.
Obviously, no one can determine what would work, and what would not in a historical situation. We only give our opinion based on understanding of military science. We all know that this was not the German army of 1940, but they also had strengths that they did not have in 1940 too. Your opinion is interesting, but I still stick to my own evaluation of the original question posed in this thread. How could Peiper have achieved more. This question goes to the original plan of multiple panzer divisions assigned roads to reach and cross the Meuse river at different points, and then on to Antwerp . Peipers units went far for multiple reasons, including the willful leadership of Peiper himself. The question really addresses how Peiper could have made it to the Meuse. Peiper would have needed support from other panzer divisions as shown on the original plan to make it to the Meuse. The only way this could happen is if the other panzer divisions kept pace with Peiper, which did not happen because they got bogged down and stuffed by the Americans. My argument is that if the Germans had made St. Vith a priority by assigning more capable units in the beginning, they would have taken St. Vith early on, and that would have helped Peiper. This does not mean that Peiper would have achieved the planned goals, but his unit might have achieved more. The American made a valiant stand at St. Vith, and this disrupted the German plans. In my evaluation, the stand by the Americans at St. Vith was just as courageous and vital as the stand at Bastogne. Like most of us, I have had a passion for WW2 for most of my life. I hope someday I can visit Europe and humbly pay my respects to all the Allied soldiers that fought for the freedoms I enjoy today.
 

The Purist

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American para infantry failing to take Nijmegen bridge as soon as possible after landing??? ;)

(By the time Gavin sent a battalion into the city the evening of the 17th the SS were already in place on both sides of the river,.... :eek:)

Apologies to the OP for thread hijacking. :oops:
 
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Actionjick

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American para infantry failing to take Nijmegen bridge as soon as possible after landing??? ;)

(By the time Gavin sent a battalion into the city the evening of the 17th the SS were already in place on both sides of the river,.... :eek:)
Just watched A Bridge Too Far again. When German General's adjutant speculates Allies are after the bridge the General says don't be silly ( paraphrasing). Why would they land twelve kilometers from the bridge? They must be after something important. Me!!
 

The Purist

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And yet the British took the north side of the bridge that same day.

What the movie fails to cover is that between the evening of 17th and the arrival of Guards Armoured on the 19th, the US paras made little headway and Gavin did not send more troops until the tanks had arrived. Had the Nijmegen bridge been taken on the 17th, the Guards could have rolled north towards Arnhem while the north side of the Arnhem bridge was still in the hands of Frost's 2nd Battalion. At that point the Germans had only one ferry for use in supplying troops at Nijmegen and no major heavy units south of the Rhine.

After Frost's collapse, the Germans were able establish strong blocking positions at Elst and elsewhere where the Allied advance was restricted to elevated roads or floundering in the soft polder.

Nijmegen in allied hands on the 17th would have changed the scenario. Would M-G have succeeded? Probably not but perhaps British 1st Airborne would not have been quite so badly savaged.

Counterfactuals in history are fun (it's why we play these wargames) but ultimately pointless.

Apologies again to Hexagoner for the hijacking
 
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FrankJ

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And yet the British took the north side of the bridge that same day.

What the movie fails to cover is that between the evening of 17th and the arrival of Guards Armoured on the 19th, the US paras made little headway and Gavin did not send more troops until the tanks had arrived. Had the Nijmegen bridge been taken on the 17th, the Guards could have rolled north towards Arnhem while the north side of the Arnhem bridge was still in the hands of Frost's 2nd Battalion. At that point the Germans had only one ferry for use in supplying troops at Nijmegen and no major heavy units south of the Rhine.

After Frost's collapse, the Germans were able establish strong blocking positions at Elst and elsewhere where the Allied advance was restricted to elevated roads or floundering in the soft polder.

Nijmegen in allied hands on the 17th would have changed the scenario. Would M-G have succeeded? Probably not but perhaps British 1st Airborne would not have been quite so badly savaged.

Counterfactuals in history are fun (it's why we play these wargames) but ultimately pointless.

Apologies again to Hexagoner for the hijacking
My understanding is the Market Garden plan was based on only light German forces in the Arnhem area, not a SS panzer division. All in all not good intelligence, or as the movie indicates, the intel that was ignored. The plan was doomed from the start because of the unknown German units, and it would have been a miracle for the Allies to pull it off. If the SS panzer division was not in the area, then that would be an interesting what if to discuss. As the book is titled, A Bridge Too Far (A good lesson for The Battle of the Bulge).
 

FrankJ

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Just watched A Bridge Too Far again. When German General's adjutant speculates Allies are after the bridge the General says don't be silly ( paraphrasing). Why would they land twelve kilometers from the bridge? They must be after something important. Me!!
One of my all time favorites. They dont make movies like that one anymore. I even remember the scene you are talking about. A little arrogant to think they were after him, haha.
 

Actionjick

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My understanding is the Market Garden plan was based on only light German forces in the Arnhem area, not a SS panzer division. All in all not good intelligence, or as the movie indicates, the intel that was ignored. The plan was doomed from the start because of the unknown German units, and it would have been a miracle for the Allies to pull it off. If the SS panzer division was not in the area, then that would be an interesting what if to discuss. As the book is titled, A Bridge Too Far (A good lesson for The Battle of the Bulge).
It seems as if both MG and the Ardennes Offenive relied too heavily on everything going according to plan.

Peiper might have put more mobile units as his spearhead. Perhaps even glider units to secure vital road junctions and bridges. Just a thought. I have nowhere near the knowledge of these operations as some of the above posters.

IMHO the Germans would have been much better off preserving their units for defense.
 
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