Battle of Aachen

Field Marshal Model visiting the 246th Volksgrenadier Division in Aachen

Field Marshal Model visiting the 246th Volksgrenadier Division in Aachen

The Battle of Aachen was held in October 1944 in the city of Aachen during the Second World War. During the fighting still lived there originally 20,000 of 160,000 inhabitants n (1939). The city was defended by soldiers of the Wehrmacht. From the 12th October was Colonel Gerhard Wilck their commander.

The church site

Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, see United It was and is as imperial city of Charlemagne and the coronation of the German emperors of high cultural significance.

In military terms, but the city did not matter because the main battle line at the Western Wall (known to the Allies under the name Siegfried Line) east of the city of Aachen was built and was only weak attachment s in this. Consequently, provided the large built-up area of Aachen for the Allied forces, especially n an obstacle that they were going to do as soon as possible to further east to attack or to pierce the West Wall. Even the defending German forces were relatively weak.

The Allied forces that participated in the Battle of Aachen, composed of the VII U.S. Corps and XIX. U.S. Corps who attacked on both sides of the city. On the German side Aachen was in defense of the room LXXXI. Corps with four divisions of weak together about 18,000 men and the garrison in Aachen Struppe under Colonel Maximilian Leyherr.

This was on 12 October superseded by Colonel Gerhard Wilck; Wilck Hitler told about 5,000 soldiers of the Volkssturm.

The Battle

After the persecution of German troops through France passed through the VII U.S. Corps on 12 September 1944 the German border and came to 15 September south of Aachen at the Western Wall before, to difficult terrain and growing resistance to the advance of the Wehrmacht brought to a halt in space Stolberg. This strong positions in the south of Aachen were bypassed. North of the VII U.S. Corps operated the XIX. U.S. Corps, however, was dropped a few days and on 20 Should take the September attack on the Siegfried Line north of Aachen. However, the over-extended supply lines delayed an attack by 2 October as the armed forces were still connected to the ports of Cherbourg and the Normandy (the port of Antwerp was indeed in Allied hands, and he could only be used after the Battle of the Scheldt estuary though). The ports of the Channel coast were declared “fortresses” and still occupied by German garrisons.

Began in early October the 30th U.S. infantry division (XIX U.S. Corps) and the 18th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division (VII U.S. Corps) to include Aachen in a pincer attack. During the 18th Infantry Regiment, on 8 October its operation objectives in space Verlautenheide / hair reached east of Aachen, the required 30 U.S. Infantry Division until 16 October to reach its target in space Würselen and thus to close the ring around Aachen. Both gun arms were developed to compete against German positions fierce resistance and repeated counterattacks. Here, not in Aachen itself, the focus of the fighting, in which German reserves kept trying to shock Aachen.

On 10 October, the crew of Aachen was submitted to a surrender sangebot. When that ran out, the town was bombarded by artillery and air forces. Particularly demoralizing hours of operations performed by U.S. fighter-bombers of the type P-47 “Thunderbolt”.

On 12 October Hitler replaced Leyherr Maximilian, who was commandant of the city until then, by Colonel Gerhard Wilck.

Wilck was obliged to hold unconditional “to the last man ‘. This corresponded to Hitler’s command, after which it just “holding the position or destruction” were the defenders of German cities and villages. Field Marshal von Rundstedt reminded the defense of Aachen several times to this command.

Wilck knew that his stamina in Aachen was militarily pointless.

An assault on Aachen was not initially because the two U.S. divisions had to fight against heavy German counterattacks, the 19 to October lasted.

On 12 October but finally reached the 26th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division, the city of Aachen directly. A battalion of the regiment occupied the factories in the north-east of the city, two more battalions launched on 13 and 14 October an attack in the direction of Lousberg s, at the foot in an air raid shelter in the enclosed Aachen Rütscherstraße the headquarters of the defense forces was. It succeeded the cast of another important survey in the north (City Garden), which gave the U.S. troops overview of the city. On 15 October, 26 Infantry Regiment assigned to another battalion to occupy the cleaned areas. Shortly thereafter, a mixed task force of a tank was – and introduced an infantry battalion, the 19th to October could take their attack target after heavy fighting.

On 21 October at 12:05 clock Wilck Colonel surrendered and went into captivity with 3,473 men, after U.S. troops had broken through to his command post. Overall, the U.S. Corps succeeded in this operation to make nearly 12,000 prisoners.

According to the reports of the Reich Propaganda Offices fate Aachen found in all parts of the empire strong consideration.

Wilck left before the capitulation nor heroic send radio messages.


•Edward M. Pierce corps offensive operations against a City. U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth (Kansas), 1964, pp. 49-57 (zugl. Dissertation).

•Christoph Rass, pipe René Kamp, Peter M. Quadflieg: General Count von Schwerin and the end of the war in Aachen.Event, myth analysis. Shaker Verlag, Aachen 2007, ISBN 978-3-8322-6623-3 (Aachen studies on the economic and social history, 3).


•The European Theater of Operations. The Siegfried Line Campaign (English)

U.S. Army Center of Military History:•The Battle of Aachen – A set of Attack Against the West Wall (English)

•The Battle of Aachen – Closing the Circle (English)

•The Battle of Aachen – Assault on the City (English)

•Map of operations from the 7th October

Battle of the Second World War

Germany in World War II

Aachen 20 Century

Rhine Province


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