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US Army

9th Armored Division was on Secret List During the Bulge

9th Armored Division was on Secret List

During the Bulge.

From Supreme Headquarters

Allied Expeditionary Force(Censored)

(Public Relations Div)

 

For Immediate ReleaseJanuary 4, 1945

 

With the 9th Armored Division: - The 9th Armored Division, recently removed from the secret list, had a flaming introduction to battle.  It crashed head-on into German armor in the current Rundstedt offensive and emerged with the admiration of even the enemy himself.

 

The Germans, finding combat teams of the 9th Armored fighting on such widely separated sectors of the front, gave the American division a name.  German prisoners spoke of the 9th as the "Phantom Division".  It was everywhere, they said, and they never could tell where its blows would be felt.

 

Utilizing its immense firepower to the utmost, even sending rear echelon men into forward positions, the 9th Armored gave an admirable account of itself.  In the vital sectors of the front, Bastogne, St Vith, Echternach, there were 9th Armored Combat teams fighting.

 

At one time in the battle two bulges in the German lines stood out on the maps.  They were at Echternach and St Vith.  In each one of these bulges there were 9th Armored men, beating off violent German charges and even counter-attacking.  When the 9th's tanks were unable to get at the enemy armor, foot troops repulsed German tanks with bazookas.

 

The 9th is commanded by Major General John W. Leonard, who won the Distinguished Service Cross in the last war as commander of an infantry battalion.  He was wounded at Verdun (France) and received the Purple Heart and two French decorations.

 

One combat team of the 9th fought a battle just east of Bastogne, that made the successful defense of that position possible.  Tanks, artillery and infantrymen of this combat command stood and slugged it out against all the assault power the Wehrmacht could offer.  Meanwhile American airborne forces and other armored units were gathering behind the 9th's combat command to defend the city itself.

 

After blunting the enemy spearhead and checking the headlong German onrush westward, the 9th's combat command fell slowly back into Bastogne itself and continued to help defend the city.  There were heroes of all ranks and positions in this combat team.

 

A second 9th Armored combat command, after a speedy march from the north, struck the Germans below St Vith soon after they began their offensive.  They smashed the Nazis back only to find that its flanks were exposed.  It then became necessary to fight a holding and delaying action.

 

The effect of this determined stand below St Vith split the wedge the Germans had driven into Belgium and sapped the force of their efforts to wheel northward and capture vital Belgian cities.

 

Still a third combat command, operating on the southern flank, had a major part in confining the German steamroller to the northern areas of Luxembourg.  This combat team defended the area around Echternach.  The armored infantry battalion in this line-up frequently found itself fighting behind the German lines.It was a confused melee throughout.

 

In the battles of St Vith, Bastogne and Echternach, the 9th Armored Division wiped out large numbers of hardened German troops.  It captured hundreds of prisoners and destroyed many German tanks.

 

When the German offensive began, the 9th Armored Division was the most powerful fighting unit present to oppose the initial onslaught.

 

Men of the 9th first faced the enemy in October in the hills of Luxembourg.  General Leonard sent units of the division into the lines at that time so they could become battle-conditioned, even though they were technically in reserve.  The Germans definitely were not facing green troops.

 

The 9th Armored was activated at Camp Fuston (Fort Riley), Kansas, July 15, 1942.  After months of training there, it went through the California desert grind and participated in the Louisiana maneuvers.  The 9th contains large numbers of former horse cavalrymen from the old 2nd Cavalry Division.  There are other famous fightint units in the 9th.  One, the 3rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion, dates its origin to 1794.

 

The 9th came overseas in August, 1944.  Vehicles were drawn in Southern England and the division crossed to France late in September.

 

Twice during the current offensive the German radio reported the 9th Armored Division "destroyed".  The Germans don't mention it any more.  They think they are seeing ghosts.

 
Source: (Reproduced Div.O, Hq,9th Arm'd Div, APO 259, U.S. Army, 5 February 1945.)
Henri ROGISTER

Campaign

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium