December 18th 1944. Men of Kampfgruppe Max Hansen, part of SS Pz Gren Rgt 2 advance towards Poteau road junction past burning half tracks and Jeeps of U.S. 14th Cavalry group. One man is armed with a Stg44 assault rifle. Cut to squad leader signals advance, in the “wrong direction”. i.e Away from the Poteau junction and back along the road to Recht.
Cut to smoke covered road way. Germans attempt to start a captured jeep in field. It faces towards right, away from the front lines. An M8 armoured car burns. PK photographer and officer walk past camera, towards the right.
Cuts to Pz Grenadiers walk away from camera towards the Poteau junction. Smoke covers the road. A Jagspanzer IV/70 comes into view and enters the field after the grenadiers have passed. Cut to grenadiers as they walk along the edge of the roadside ditch, past a burning jeep. Cuts to grenadier crawling under barbed wire fence at roadside, first man, with bandaged hand gets caught on the wire by his greatcoat! Second shot of grenadiers running away from camera in direction of Poteau through the smoke of the burning U.S. vehicles. PK photographer moves into frame before. Cuts to Panzergrenadiers moving towards the cameraman past the vehicles. Half tracks and jeeps loaded with personal equipment baggage. Further shots of the burning vehicles. Filmed looking in the direction of Recht (this is the direction the U.S. convoy was heading when it was attacked).
Aftermath of initial encounter during German Ardennes offensive in World War 2. These scenes are from an area where the German "Kampfgruppe Hansen," engaged elements of the U.S. 14th Cavalry Group near Poteau,Belgium, during the "Battle of the Bulge." Americans were forced to abandon much equipment and supplies, as these scenes show. Abandoned armor and guns along the roadway. A United States 3" anti-tank gun abandoned at the roadside. A German Jagdpanzer 38(t) "Hetzer" tank destroyer drives past. German soldiers sit under a wrecked United States armored car and smoke American cigarettes. German infantrymen walking past the scene. A German soldier distributes cigarettes. (Note: German gunner, with belt of ammunition around his neck, seen at TC:1:18-1:20, is Walter Armbrusch aka Hans Tragarsky. This image of him is well known. But his true identity is the subject of much speculation and debate.)
Sdkfz 138/1 “Grille” self-propelled guns (Panzerkampfwagen) of 1 SS Pz Div support, attack towards Poteau road junction near St Vith on December 16th 1944. Fall of shot is adjusted by artillery radio crew.
Cuts to road junction at Kaiserbaracke, Sdkfz 250 half tracks pass road sign, VW166 stops at sign before moving off. German PK photographer adjusts sign, removing 202 Ord Depot sign. Stoewer 1500a passes camera towing 12cm mortar, VW166 slows in front of camera.
Tiger 222, carrying Fallschirmjager of FJR9 passes camera, followed by motorcyclist. Two officers stop to talk on road as other Sdkfz 251 half track passes. Cuts to two officers walking right to left past camera in front of stationary Sdkfz 250. A crew member stands in rear looking on. Cut to close of of VW166 Schwimwagen, driver smoking cigar, officer looks at map.Cut to Tiger 222 stopped outside Ligneuville. Paratroopers on rear deck share cigarettes with motorcyclist. They are armed with K98, MP44, British Sten gun, MG42.
Cut to Gustav Knittel looking at map, they look around as U.S. aircraft fly overhead. Cut to Sdkfz 7 with 2cm gun on road, Kubelwagen passes destroyed U.S. 76mm AT gun. (WW 2. World War 2)
Germans smash into the U.S. First Army positions along a 45 mile front and advance deep into Luxemburg and Belgium, in Battle of the Bulge. Animated maps show Germany, France and Belgium. German Tiger tanks, troops, and artillery in action against Americans. Vehicles of United States convoy wrecked and burning along road, as German troops advance past the burning vehicles. Fire and smoke rise from U.S. tanks, jeeps and trucks. Germans firing and bombing. U.S. soldiers captured. Frozen dead bodies of U.S. soldiers, victims of the Malmedy massacre, some with hands and feet tied, being placed army truck. Dead bodies of Belgian civilians being placed in large common grave . View of German officer ordering a firing squad to shoot. German troops smoke American cigarettes taken from dead U.S. troops. American troops in retreat and burning and destroying war materiel that could not be brought with them. American defenders firing artillery, including antiaircraft guns fired level, as antitank weapons. Skies streaked with contrails and dog fights between American and German airplanes. American aircraft bombing German positions after weather clears. American troops patrol in snow covered wooded areas. General Eisenhower talks with soldiers. German soldiers advancing. Newspaper headline reads: "Russians Smash Last Nazi Line." Another newspaper headline reads: "40 Jap Ships Sunk." Another reads: "3rd Army Deep in Germany." Narrator cautions against complacency, reminding of 78 thousand American soldiers lost during the Christmas holiday, in 1944. Views of dead American soldiers. Narrator offers closing public service war propaganda message: "If you have a War Job, Stick to it" and " If you Haven't, Get one!"
Animated map showing disposition of Allied and opposing German forces in Belgium during World War II. Highlighted places include the River Meuse, Bastogne,and Liege. Brief glimpse of German Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt,commander of the German Army Command in the West. German troops riding through forest over light snow on a King Tiger tank. The tank churning up dirt and snow at high speed in another scene. German infantry moving through the forest at dusk. Illustrated map shows national flags delineating battle fronts and the German breakout (Bulge in the line) aiming toward Antwerp Harbor through Liege. Next are series of rapidly changing scenes showing American troops in combat near houses, moving through smoke and mist, one throwing a hand grenade into an apartment building, helping one another move through buildings, setting off explosives, communicating on a field telephone, moving through burning rubble, and running across snow around industrial buildings. Camera shakes seen during some of the nearby explosions. Two U.S. soldiers silhouetted against the snow as place a wounded buddy in a sheltered spot. One placing a bandage around the neck of the injured soldier. American medics carrying wounded on litters, across a snowy field containing a several fallen soldiers. One soldier calling for a medic. Corpsmen moving on to a new battlefield. U.S. troops firing machine guns from atop Sherman tanks in a city as infantrymen crouch behind the tanks. Glimpse from inside, of a German soldier firing an Mg34 model machine gun out a building window. Embattled American troops and trucks moving past burning buildings. Closeups of American GIs dashing from building to building and firing from improvised shelter. A bazooka fired out a building window strikes a tank, which is seen burning. Individual soldiers running for shelter as Medical Corpmen carry wounded on litter the opposite way. Scene shifts to British forces moving in from further North, through the snow. Glimpse of women and children and aged folks, in Belgium, frightened by the goings on. An old woman holds a small girl who is crying. British infantry advancing into action across a snowy field. A British machine gunner firing from a protected position. U.S. troops entrenched in deep snow. December 24th, clearing weather allowed some Allied air support to aid the troops. Glimpse of aircraft contrails. Formations of Allied aircraft overhead. Aerial view of a formation of British Hawker Typhoon fighter bombers in flight. View from a B-17 in flight with others creating thick contrails at high altitude. Pilot and copilot in cockpit of a bomber in flight. American soldiers on the ground watching with binoculars. U.S. Army Air Forces P-47 aircraft overhead, break out of formation and dive to attack German ground targets. American GIs on the ground cheer as they watch. A huge explosion takes place near an American crew manning a heavy gun pointing point blank with zero elevation. American soldiers load rockets into a truck-mounted launcher. Several truck-mounted launchers firing their rocket barrages. U.S. infantry advancing atop tanks, in armored personnel carriers, and on foot. They carry axes, shovels and similar tools along with their weapons. Army trucks entering a town. Infantry moving through a forest. More troops on vehicles of all kinds moving into a town.
Opening scene shows Belgian rescue workers searching for survivors of a German V-2 rocket strike in the city of Antwerp, Belgium, on 17 December, 1944, during World War 2. Some clergymen help steel-helmeted emergency workers carry a victim from the rubble, on a stretcher. Aerial view of the port of Antwerp showing its extensive facilities including rail lines. U.S. Army troops of the American 2nd Infantry Division withdrawing in trucks towards Elsenborn, Belgium, as the German offensive gains ground. Snow covers the ground. Piles of fuel, gas, and diesel cans are seen on fire at a fuel dump near Stavelot, Belgium, where soldiers of Company A, 526th Armored Infantry Battalion, are destroying the fuels to keep them out of the hands of German forces advancing on the town. U.S. Army engineers carry boxes of TNT inside German-built pillbox fortifications and and blow them up. Large explosions seen. An engineer notching a tree beside a road. Others insert explosives and string wire to detonate the charges and create road blocks. Engineers place land mines into holes in a road outside of Elsenborn.