FrankreichElsass

Im November 1944 wurde der nördliche Teil des Elsass von der 7. US-Armee befreit und das im Süden gelegene Belfort von der französischen 1. Armee zurückerobert. Dazwischen lag der Brückenkopf Elsass (Poche de Colmar), ein großes Gebiet in der Gegend...

Liberation Route Europe

Liberation Route:FrankreichElsass

Am 31. Dezember 1944 begannen die Deutschen die Operation „Unternehmen Nordwind“ in der Hoffnung, von der Abschwächung der amerikanischen Front infolge der Ardennenoffensive zu profitieren. Der Angriff auf das Nordelsass wurde, nach erbitterten und verlustreichen Gefechten unter winterlichen Bedingungen, von den Alliierten gestoppt. Am 20. Januar 1945 starteten die französischen Streitkräfte ihre Offensive, um den Brückenkopf bei Colmar zu dezimieren. Nachdem sie den heftigen Widerstand der Deutschen überwunden hatten, befreiten französische Truppen am 3. Februar 1945 Colmar. Bis zum 9. Februar hatte man alle deutschen Truppen westlich des Rheins entweder aufgerieben oder nach Deutschland zurückgedrängt. Das Elsass war befreit.

Die Geschichte erleben

Geschichte hervorheben: Liberation of Alsace

The liberation of the Alsace happened in stages. Logistical difficulties, broken terrain, stubborn German resistance, and differences among Allied commanders meant that fighting to liberate the region took many weeks.

Last French province to be free
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Allied victory in Normandy and the success of Operation Dragoon sent German armies in headlong retreat. The rapid pursuit, however, consumed inordinate amount of petrol and other supplies, which all had to be transported from the beaches of Normandy or from ports in Provence. In early September logistical difficulties forced general Eisenhower to prioritize, and he chose to target the Ruhr industrial area.

Meanwhile, American and French forces met determined German resistance around Metz and in the Belfort Gap; the Allies were stopped short of their objectives in the Alsace. Only in mid-November 1944 did the Allies manage to break through the enemy lines. In the South the French liberated Belfort and reached the Rhine; in the North, the 7th U.S. Army penetrated German defences in the Vosges; the 2nd French Armoured Division exploited this success, liberating Strasbourg on 23rd November.

Despite this success, general Eisenhower forbade general Patch’s 7th Army to cross the Rhine and attempt to outflank German West Wall defences. To the south of Strasbourg, around Colmar, the Germans managed to hold on to a large pocket on the western bank of the Rhine. Again, a stalemate ensued.

On New Year’s Eve, 1944, German units began Operation Nordwind, the final German attempt to turn the tide in the West. After three weeks of bloody fighting, the German forces were stopped. From 20th January to 9th February the French 1st Army, reinforced by U.S. troops, cleared the Colmar Pocket, thus liberating the last large section of French land still under German occupation.

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