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OPERATION NORDWIND (1-25 January 1945): Background

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Operation Nordwind, the ambitious German campaign during January 1945 to trap the US 7th Army in the upper reaches of the French province of Alsace, had its origins as a result of the offensive Allied operations over the six weeks to mid-December 1944. During this period, the 6th Army Group of General Devers, consisting of the 7th Army and the 1st French Army led by General de Lattre, pushed aggressively north of the large French city of Strasbourg. The US Army moved deeper into Alsace and the French forces focused on reducing the Colmar pocket further to the south.

 

This axis of advance created a prominent bulge in frontline, with US units from the 7th Army occupying the towns at its most north-westerly tip where the Rhine River meets the east-west running Lauter River. The successful offensive operations by US forces in Alsace began to ease by mid-December, while French efforts against the Colmar pocket ground to a halt.