Gerstfeldhohe Troops & Operation Nordwind
According to plan on 30 Dec 44, a mixed lot of German troops got off the train at the Pirmasens North Bahnhof: several SS "Mountain Division" units (some from Norway but many of them newly drafted into the SS and poorly trained), an anti-tank platoon, a medical platoon, and a news group. The long column formed up and the 6. SS Geb.Rgt. split off to begin the long march to Gerstfeldhohe.

On 31 Dec at 2300
Operation Nordwind began. Fighting under the leadership of a Volksgrenadier Division, the 6th SS "Mountain Division" North faced US soldiers from the 157th Reg of the 45th Division in hilly terrain. The weather was cold, snow fell, and men from both sides suffered terribly. By the time the order came on 26 Jan 45 to cease the attack, heavy casualties had dropped the German Officer and Enlisted strength to 50 percent. The 6th SS Mountain Division Nord reorganized into their previous unit at this time and withdrew to defend the established German lines until March 1945, when they were transfered to the Saar and virtually destroyed as a unit. 

Thanks to Chuck Steeves for the 325th Engineer link, suggestion of additional sites, and
book recommendation of Seven Days In January: With the 6th SS-Mountain Division in Operation Nordwind by Wolf T. Zoepf and Theodore Metaxis.
325th Engineers Tour to the Vosges in 2004 with great stories and photos
It was Christmas 1944 and the Germans were losing. In a desperate effort to pull US troops from the Ardennes, on 22 Dec 44 Hitler launched yet another wild scheme: Operation Nordwind (North Wind). This grandiose plan would both divert troops from Bastogne and cut off the tempting 3rd Army finger poking to the Rhine. Once troops left Bastogne to respond to Operation Norwind, the German push to the Meuse could resume. Never mind that  it was snowing and the Germans were short on men and materiel.
US vehicles sliding through the Vosges
"My Fathers War": a moving account of combat in the Vosges by a vet of the 397 Rgt 100 ID
Official Army "green book" account of Operation Northwind & 45th Div site (scroll down about 2/3 of page or click on "go to Nordwind" link
First person account of an air attack on the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division just east of Pirmasens in March 1945
Ambulances in the Vosges Mountains
Home
Contact