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Battle of Wingen-sur-Moder

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Battle of Wingen-sur-Moder

Operation Nordwind
  • by Wallace Robert Cheves, Colonel, Infantry, Army United States, Retired
    • Revised Edition edited by Steven K. Dixon
    • Merriam Press World War 2 History Series
    • Fourth Edition 2012
    • 200 6x9-inch pages
    • 15 photos
    • 5 illustrations
    • 6 maps
    • 2 tables
This is a completely revised edition of Col. Cheves' work entitled L'Operation Nordwind et Wingen-sur-Moder (first published privately in 1978 and again in 1979). The book was originally photocopied or mimeographed and distributed to 70th Division veterans. The pictures did not look good and text sometimes ran off the margins. With the help of computer technology, the text, pictures and maps have all been enhanced. This is not a facsimile reprint, but an entirely new edition, completely re-typeset and newly formatted.

It is the story of the battle of Wingen-sur-Moder, an important village leading to the Alsatian Plain. If German forces had captured this town in the early days of Operation Nordwind, and had been able to release their reserve Panzer divisions into the plain, the war might have been lengthened.

Colonel Cheves commanded the U.S. forces involved in the battle. The 2nd Battalion of the 274th, along with troops from the 276th and supporting elements, defeated two battalions of the battle-hardened 6th SS Mountain Division (Nord). This book, along with Seven Days in January by Wolf Zoepf (Aberjona Press), gives a complete picture of this important battle.

Operation Nordwind, launched December 31, 1944, was Hitler's last major offensive. Its' objective-take Alsace Lorraine, split the U.S. Seventh and Third Armies, link up with the Germans in the Colmar Pocket and continue south, routing the French Army.

On December 31, 1944, 2nd Battalion of the elite 6th Mountain Division attacked Wingen-sur-Moder in Alsace Lorraine and took some 200 POWs, members of the 45th Division. At that time the 275th and 276th Infantry Regiments of the 70th Division were committed to halt the German advance, re-take Wingen and free the American GIs. The 274th Infantry Regiment of the 70th moved in to fill the gap between the 275th and 276th, on January 4th, 1945. On January 5th advanced to the edge of Wingen-sur-Moder and on January 6th began an attack of the German forces.

On the evening of January 6th, the Germans launched a counterattack, which was repulsed by G Co., 274th.

On the morning of January 7th, the 200+ American prisoners were freed and Wingen-sur-Moder cleared of all German soldiers, and the German offensive in that area brought to a halt.

The Second Battalion, 274th Infantry was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its' actions in Wingen - almost unheard of for a unit in its initial combat.

  • Glossary
  • Foreword to New Edition by Steven K. Dixon
  • Dedication
  • Foreword: The American Perspective by Fred Cassidy, CO, G/274
  • Foreword: The German Perspective by Linus Maier and Karl Neumer
  • Introduction
  • 1: Operation Nordwind
  • 2: The Battle for Wingen-sur-Moder
  • 3: Infantry Attacks Through the Village
  • 4: The Final Day
  • 5: Aftermath and Reconciliation
  • Appendices
    • Report by Samuel B. Conley, CO, 274th Infantry Regiment
    • Distinguished Unit Citation: 2nd Battalion, 274th Infantry Regiment
    • Killed in Action (KIA), Wingen-sur-Moder, 2nd Battalion, 274th Infantry
    • Wounded in Action (WIA), Wingen-sur-Moder, 2nd Battalion, 274th Infantry
    • Unit Report, 2-4 January 1945
    • Unit Report, 6-7 January 1945
  • Bibliography
    • Select Reading List
    • References
Reviews and Testimonials

B.G. Burton:
This book isn't great literature, nor is it meant to be. Rather, it provides a gripping narrative of a small (battalion-sized) unit action in an Alsace-Lorraine village during the terrible winter of 1944-45. Written by an American battalion commander during that campaign, it initially offers up an encyclopedia of unit designations, the stuff that excites military historians but bewilders the rest of us. To compound things, the author discusses American and German units in the same paragraphs at times so it isn’t clear if he’s talking about our guys or theirs. But don’t be daunted. The book soon moves to first-person narratives by the battalion commander as he tries to fathom the tactical situation, organize his infantry companies for an attack and direct them in their mission; by German soldiers who initially tasted success and then succumbed to superior American firepower; and by terrified villagers trapped between the warring armies. These accounts are riveting against the background; the critical and much more renowned Ardennes campaign (Battle of the Bulge) raging to the north, the bitter cold, the scarce food, the confusion, savagery and desperation of small unit warfare conducted by inexperienced American forces who were badly overstretched and by veteran German forces prosecuting a last gap effort to avert utter national defeat. Wingen-sur-Moder may have been a sideshow to the larger warfare to the north but it doubtless typified countless small unit actions in World War II. If your father, grandfather, brother or uncle served as a front-line soldier in the liberation of Europe, this book will help you understand what he saw, endured, sacrificed and achieved.

Bob Sedlock:
Gives the reader a first hand knowledge of what it is like to be in battle. Describes in detail the platoon movements and thrusts in the battle of Wingen. Gives the reader a first hand knowledge of what it is like to be in battle. Good compliment to Woelf's book.

Norbert Schmitt, La Broque, France:
I received the book to day. I am very touched, because I saw the church of Wingen beside my parents house which had been destroyed. My father, my sister, my brother and I, 4 years old, we had to flee from our village on 3 January 1945, while our mother stayed at home to assemble some things. But soon she had to take refuge in the cellar as it is described in the book...

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