US XIX Corps, Across the Siegfried Line, October 1944

NARA-292569

XIXCorps-US-WW2This study is a General Staff analysis and record of the most important operational details of the XIX Corps’ successful attack on and penetration through the Siegfried Line. This successful attack against the Siegfried Line should be treated largely as a tribute to the superb fighting ability of our infantry and armored soldiers, well supported by artillery and engineers, intelligently led in a well-planned action. It has demonstrated that thorough planning, determined leadership and aggressiveness in battle, can overcome what otherwise seems to be insuperable obstacles. Both, the 30th Infantry Division and the 2nd Armored Division were battle experienced with able leadership throughout their echelons. The 29th Infantry Division, which came in during the latter phases of the operation, was also a battle experienced Division. The 30-ID had been continually in contact with the enemy since its first attack on June 15 1944 on the Vire & Taute Canal (France); it had participated in the breakthrough south of St Lô; and had withstood the German Panzer attack near Mortain in their effort to recapture Avranches. It had fought across France and Belgium, capturing Tournai and Fort Eben Emael; and was the first American unit to enter Holland then entered Germany in September to prepare for this assault on the Siegfried Line. Its Commander, Maj Gen Leland S. Hobbs, had commanded the Division from its initial commitment; its Assistant Division Commander, Artillery Commander, and other higher commanders, were all experienced and battle tried. It was a well-developed team.

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Proximity Fuze, Quick Time,

105-MM

The VT Fuze is the most important new development in the ammunition field,
since the introduction of high-explosive projectiles

(Gen Benjamin Lear)

I think when all armies get this shell
we will have to devise some new method of warfare

(Gen George S. Patton Jr)

Adm Lewis L. Strauss wrote : One of the most original and effective military developments in World War II was the proximity, or VT fuse. It was of incalculable value to both the Army and Navy, and it helped save London from obliteration. While no one invention won the war, the proximity fuse must be listed among the very small group of developments, such as radar, upon which victory very largely depended.

vt-640x221

The proximity fuze was a dramatic improvement over previously used contact fuzes or timed fuzes, against both aircraft and land targets. Gen George S. Patton Jr called its effects devastating on the enemy, and said that the proximity fuze won the Battle of the Bulge for us.

One of the first practical proximity fuzes was codenamed the VT Fuze and nicknamed : Pozit ! Buck Rogers ! Special Influence ! Bonzo !, an acronym of Variable Time Fuze, as deliberate camouflage for its operating principle. The VT fuze concept in the context of artillery shells originated in the UK with British researchers (Samuel Curran and W. A. S. Butement, whose schematic design for a radar proximity fuze was used with only minor variations and was developed under the direction of physicist Merle A. Tuve at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. The Germans were supposedly also working on proximity fuses in the 1930s, based on capacitive effects rather than radar. Research and prototype work at Rheinmetall were halted in 1940 to devote available resources to projects deemed more necessary.

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