Gerstfeldhohe Troops & Operation
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
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
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