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Operation Annie - December 15, 1944

Recorded Sound | RG Number: RG-91.0509

TRACK 1
1:47: 1212 broadcasting, daily from 2 to 6 every full hour. This is 1212 with news for the Rhineland. News from Front and Homeland for the citizens of the Rhineland and Saar-Pfalz. We will bring you the names of the villages that have been occupied by the enemy in the past 24 hours.
Front News: NOTE: this part of the sequence is the same sequence as 165-48.mp3
7:20: *music* and multiple cuts in audio
8:03: *1212 intro music*
9:48: 1212 broadcasting, 1212 broadcasting, daily from 2 to 6 every full hour. This is 1212 with news for the Rhineland. News from Front and Homeland for the citizens of the Rhineland and Saar-Pfalz. We will bring you the names of the villages that have been occupied by the enemy in the past 24 hours.
10:15: Front News: On the Pfalz border, further American advances on an 80 kilometer front. Large forest areas have been evacuated from German infantry. In the Saar are, American advances over the Blies were slowed down. New American attacks from the North.
Pfalz-front: between Saar and Rhine the Americans are assembled in line in an 80 kilometer long front.
In the southern part of the Pfälzer forest, on the northern edge of the Hagenauer Forst, about 4 kilometers south of Lauterburg by the Rhine, fights are ongoing.
The right wing of the Americans is standing at the Rhine, opposite of Raststatt. The Forst of Hagenau had to be evacuated after 36 hours of battle. Leftover supplies fell into the hands of the Americans. German units that had been split from their troops had to discontinue the fights. In Hatten at the Selzbach troops were able to slow the Americans although the tanks in other areas weren’t as successful. On the main road behind Seltz bitter fights took place in order to cover the evacuation back into the Westwall. The connections between the Elsass and the Lothringen Front are now entirely under American control, as well as the streets of Bitche through the forest towards the east. In the area of Bitche itself many infantry battles are taking place while on other parts of the front the street barricades are left unmanned.
Overall, one can see the picture of a great retreat into the Westwall. By day the battles are taking place, and by night the German troops are retreating in cover of night, in order to go back to battle the next day.
Saar-front: In Saarlautern the Americans are still trying to advance northwards out of the city. Heavy tanks and weapon machinery have been spotted in the city and on the streets to Dillingen new troops are being dropped into battle by the Americans. In the North of the city and Fraulautern troops of the 21st tank division are still fighting, the promised reinforcement are not arriving, as the division’s tanks have to be lead into the Westwall northwards. The Ari-Fire from the Westwall has become less, and American troops were able to cross the river on multiple sections. About the melee fights inside of the Westwall at Dillingen nothing has been reported. Saargemünd: The new American advances over the Blies are only progressing slowly. An attempt to cross the river north of Saargemünd was denied by artillery fire. Patrol saw how the assault boats had been let into the water and transmitted the message. Within just a few minutes flares lit up the riverbed and the artillery fire started. The German losses at the Saar-front during yesterday’s battles lie at about 3000 men. The Americans also suffered heavy losses due to artillery fire.
13:54: Düren-front: American troops started another attack on their way towards Monschau. On multiple roads the American troops approached, battles are going on in multiple villages just 6 kilometers northeast of Monschau. At Düren itself the fights are still going on from foxhole to foxhole, from minefield to minefield. The American tanks are creeping in slowly between the large shell craters followed by the infantry that has to seek cover in the water filled holes. In Merken, Hoven and Mariaweiler German troops had to retreat after hours of melee combat. Between Hoven and Mariaweiler streams of water came down the fields after the pioneers destroyed the dam south of Hoven. Bridges over the Rühr have been demolished as well. This morning fights were taking place 900 off of Düren. East of the *inaudible* German paratroopers had to deduct from Derichsweiler to Gürzenig. The fights are continuing.
Air Combat: a large fire ignited in Essen after a bomb squadron bombed the city day and night. Osnabrück and Witten by the Ruhr were the target of heavy air strikes.
Bombs went down on: Jülich, Düren, Euskirchen, Fettweis, Landau, Karlsruhe and Monsheim.
A fuel storage facility in Zweibrücken has been blown up.
1212 broadcasting, end of the front news. In further broadcasting 1212 will bring news for the Wehrmacht.

TRACK 2
In a closed down rock gallery in the Saar villages Ensdorf und Schwalbach 5000 men women and children are cowering. For 7 days the authorities, field police and SS tried to convince the 5000 to leave the tunnels. In the end they were threatened with having the ends of the tunnel buried and concealed, yet under the lead of their pastor they were still refused to leave. Now the American lines are just 800 meters off the site, and the 5000 decided on waiting the battle out in the dark gallery.
Now the report: Sunday the 2nd of December the first grenades fell on Ensdorf, the people of Ensdorf did not yet know how close to the Saar the Americans were, they did not receive an evacuation order. At the town hall the vice mayor Seidl told them that they had neither vehicles nor fuel left, they should help themselves. The village must be evacuated. Some went home and hastily built themselves shelters in basements and barns. Others packed up their belongings in chests and bundles on prams and pushcarts, trying to leave as fast as possible. The bombardment went on all night, and on Sunday morning the departure from Ensdorf began. Soon they reached the intersection of Schwalbach and came under artillery fire. The crowd in the front tried to cross the intersection and received a heavy blow, the others hesitated. None of them dared to turn back around, or knew what was expecting them there. A woman shouted: “Let us go to the old gallery, there is enough space for hundreds of people.” The advice made its round and small and large crowds kept coming to the closed rock gallery at the Schwalbach Street. Amongst them, Priest Peter Hoffman. 3 kilometers deep went the people of Ensdorf and Fraulautern into the gallery. They had no light and in some sections had to tread ankle-deep in water, carrying food and bedding, crawling deeper and deeper. On Monday more than 5000 people had already come to the gallery. On the surface, the bombardment continued, only muffled was the sound in the tunnel, they felt safe. They set their shelter up as well as they could, in just a few days they would return home. From the first day onwards they displayed discipline, praying in the morning and in the evening. Daily, volunteers were sent back to the Village to bring back food, to cook or milk the cows. For 3 days the inhabitants of the tunnel lived undisturbed. Meanwhile Ortsgruppen leaders Zell and Baum reported to the Wehrmachts commando “Ensdorf is evacuated, all the people are gone”. Then they heard about the 5000 people in the tunnel under the Westwall. It was clear to them, that the tunnel had to be evacuated at all costs. The two Ortsgruppen Leaders and an Ortsdiener drove to the tunnel in the cover of night. At the entrance was being guarded by a couple of women. Baum asked to speak to the priest. The women explained that the priest was sick, and asked about the wishes of the Ortsgruppen leader. The answer was: “You’ve got to go immediately! You cannot stay here. That is resistance against the official authority and insubordination.” The women responded “You should have thought of that before, do you want chase 5000 people through the shellfire? We will stay here.”
The Ortsgruppen leaders had to drive off, but threatened to come back. The refugees in the tunnel organized a chain from the entrance deep into the tunnel to the priest’s quarter, the cautionary signal word was “Viktor”. The next day the Ortsgruppen leaders Zell and Baum returned, this time they brought 30 men of the field police. As on the day before, a couple of women were guarding the entrance. Again they threatened: The people have to go, else they would starve. One of the women responded: “Yesterday you were 3, now you are 30! If you really are that concerned about us why didn’t you bring us some bread and milk? We will stay!” Finally Ortsgruppen leader Baum responded: “We have got 3 vehicles here, who wants to come with us?” , the answer was: “If you wouldn’t have sent all the vehicles in the village to Metz to forage loot, wine and food, we could all get out of here.” Five men however, accepted the offer, and drove with them. Three of them, and a policeman, however, were killed when a grenade came down near the vehicle.
5:35: the next day another delegation came to the entrance. This time consisting of Ortsgruppen leaders, Obersturmbannführer Dr. Mailänder and a Gestapo man. Once again they threatened the women with violence if they wouldn’t obey their orders. A woman who asked to be left alone, was yelled at by Mailaender: “If you keep speaking like that, you’ll be stood up against the wall!” The woman was not scared after all and responded: “That is not necessary, if you want to kill me just order me to get on the road into the shellfire.”
6:13: the 5000 stayed in their tunnel, reports of the incidents at the tunnel entrance were passed on inside the tunnel. The following night an Unteroffizier arrived with 2 pioneers. They got off the vehicle and unloaded crates of explosives and set them up on the entrance. The guards asked about why they did this. The soldiers explained that they had the order to blow up the tunnel entrance. The guards answered in dismay: “Don’t you know that there are 5000 people in there, women and children among them, and the priest!” The soldiers didn’t know anything about that and drove back to receive new orders.
Three hours later they came back, this time with an Oberleutnant. He asked for the priest. Slowly the priest made his way to the entrance. From every side helping hands reached to guide him, lit matches lit up the tunnel. At the entrance the Oberleutnant and the priest met. The Officer let the priest explain the situation. “5000 people are in the tunnel, men, women and children” said the Priest, “they have no other way out, they can’t just be ordered to march under artillery fire.”
The Officer was confused and explained that the Ortsgruppen leader had evidently falsely announced that Ensdorf had been evacuated, and a small number of Volkssturm men had fled into a tunnel refusing to come out. He had the orders to blow up the entrance and seal the gallery tunnel. Allegedly there was a risk of Americans using the tunnel to make their way to the Westwall bunkers. The priest responded: “Explain the situation to your Commander, we will stay here.”
Insofar the report as Landrat Schmidt has received them in his office 16 kilometer behind Ensdorf.
Tomorrow we will report how the 5000 in Ensdorf found a way to save themselves from their impending downfall.
8:26: 1212 brought you a report about 5000 Saarland citizens who are currently living in a tunnel under the Westwall at Ensdorf, and are waiting out the battles there.
8:53: 1212 broadcasting, now 1212 will bring you the names of the villages that are currently occupied by the enemy. In the past 24 hours a number of villages fell into American hands.
Düren-front: Gürzenich and Birgel
Saar and Pfalz fronts: Rouhling, Pfaffenbronn, Drachenbronn, Birlenbach, Lobsann, Memmelshofen, Keffenach, Hundsbach, Aschbach, Hernachsweiler, Trimbach, Oberlauterbach, Eberbach, Schutthausen, Motheren, Neweiler, Hoven, Siegen and Würzenbach.
10:34: names of the villages that are under threat:
In the Düren region: Düren and Jülich
In the Saar region: the cities Merzich and Dillingen, further the villages of Fraulautern, Enzdorf, Liesdorf and Roden. Obergailbach and Hotweiler are already being contested.
In the Rhine Pfalz region: the cities Weißenburg and Lauterburg, Zweibrücken and Pirmasens, Hattingen(?), Ingolsheim, Salmbach
1212 brought you the news about the names of the villages occupied by the enemy.
11:55: 1212 now ending its broadcast of news about front and homeland for the citizens of the Rhineland and Saar-Pfalz.
14:27: 1212 broadcasting, 1212 broadcasting, daily from 2 to 6 every full hour. This is 1212 with news for the Rhineland. News from Front and Homeland for the citizens of the Rhineland and Saar-Pfalz. We will bring you the names of the villages that have been occupied by the enemy in the past 24 hours. Also a report about 5000 Saarland citizens who are currently occupying a gallery tunnel under the Westwall at Ensdorf and are waiting the fights out there.
15:04: Front news: Pfalz and Saar front: American troops are standing in front of the Westwall at Zweibrücken, there is just 10 kilometers between the city and the warzone. On the other end of the 80 kilometer front between Saar and Rhine the Americans are just a couple hundred meters off of Lauterburg. In many sections of the Westwall, the batteries of the fortifications are already in action.
In a last try to save the situation on the left Rhine shore, tanks of the 21st tank division were sent into battle in front of the Westwall. These tanks were precipitately pulled out of the Saar front, then quickly reassembled in order to get to the fight at Lauterbach. The German evacuation into the north in the past 24 hours developed into a precipitated retreat. The Germans were not able to hold the Americans back.
The main groups of the infantry divisions were not able to retreat quickly enough with their horse vehicles (?). In multiple sections the American advance threatened entire battalions with destruction. Only in some areas of the Maginot Defense line troops were able to withstand the Americans, but even those are being overrun now.
Saarlautern and Saarbrücken: North and South of Saarlautern, the Key position of the Westwall, melee battles are happening from bunker to bunker. The bunkers have to be destroyed, one after the other. As soon as one of these nests of defense is destroyed, American infantry will occupy the ruins, and targets the next one with machine gun fire. Then a group of pioneers advances and pushes a heavy load of explosives towards the entry. Just 90 seconds later the entrance explodes, sometimes they destroy the antechamber. Troops are then stuck in the bunker unharmed. They have to wait benumbed and half deaf, until they are lead into the daylight.
17:21: In Fraulautern men of the Saarbrücken Volkssturm are fighting. The American advance over the Blies is moving slowly and the bridgeheads have to be extended under heavy artillery fire, which only allows for the Americans to make moves at night. New fights near Saarbrücken are in progress, and with the occupation of Ruhlingen, the Americans are now 4 kilometers from the city.
17:46: Rühr-front: The Westwall has been broken at another section. South of Monschau the Americans approached through two rows of bunkers and the forest.
Yesterday night, the grenadiers of the 272 grenadier division had to retreat into dense forest. Around Rollesbroich and Winnerath fights are still ongoing. Yesterday morning German troops were able to recapture Kesternich.
Düren-front: The fights within one kilometer off of Düren are still in progress. After 20 hours of embittered battle the Americans are now standing on the entire West shore of the Rühr between Linnich and Mariaweiler. Tanks and assault weapons are being used in the final battle.
The fortress at Schophoven was taken over by the Americans, after their artillery broke down the walls.
Despite multiple counterattacks by paratroopers, Birgl and Gürzenich hat to be evacuated.
Fights are going on south of Gey. An almost all of the front the sky was overcast. Only in the middle sections there was radiant sunshine. In the northern sections fog hindered the warplanes. Frost set in in many areas.
19:10: 1212 broadcasting, end of the front news. In further news 1212 will report on a Saarland man from the Westwall.
19:30: in half an hour 1212 will bring news and music for the Rhineland and the Saar-Pfalz, broadcasting daily from 2 to 6 every full hour.
21:05: 1212 broadcasting, 1212 broadcasting, 1212 broadcasting

Date
1944 December 15
Language
German
Credit
Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives & Records Administration
 
Record last modified: 2021-07-13 13:08:10
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn722556