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- DescriptionThis study examines the role of U.S. Army Engineers fighting as infantry in AirLand Battle by analyzing the actions of the 1111th Engineer Combat Group during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. The 51st and 291st Engineer Combat Battalions of the 1111th Engineer Combat Group are representative of the twenty-two engineer units committed as infantry during the Bulge to stop the German onslaught. By manning hasty defensive positions at Malmedy, Stavelot, and Trois Ponts, the 291st Engineers and C Company, 51st Engineers delayed the German advance long eugh for 30th Infantry and 82d Airborne Divisions to reach the area and wrestle the initiative from Sixth Panzer Army. The defense of the Ourthe River line by elements of the 51st Engineers was instrumental in delaying 116th Panzer Division long eugh for 3rd Armored and 84th Infantry Divisions to reach defensive positions in front of the Meuse River. Engineers were successful as infantry against mechanized forces for several reasons: 1) Infantry missions were limited in scope; 2) They were augmented with additional fire power; 3) They occupied good defensible terrain; 4) World War II engineer units received extensive combat training before deploying overseas. The Battle of the Bulge displays many of the characteristics of a Soviet attack on NATO. Like the Ardennes in December 1944, NATO's Central Front is held by units which are overextended, untested in combat, and locked into a rigid forward defense with limited tactical reserves and operational reserves. Under these circumstances, if Soviet forces do penetrate the Main Battle Area, engineer units are likely to be committed as infantry to block or contain the penetration. Like the Battle of the Bulge, we can expect a n-linear battlefield with fragmented, isolated units - a battlefield dominated by confusion and uncertainty.
- Author(s)Francis M Cain
- Date of Publication19/09/2012
- FormatPaperback / softback
- SubjectEducation & Teaching
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- Weight145 g
- Width189 mm
- Height246 mm
- Spine4 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US),Unsewn / adhesive bound
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