Operation Zahnarzt


'Zahnarzt' was a German offensive, in connection with 'Nordwind' (iii), by formations of Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz’s Heeresgruppe 'G' from the Vosges mountains of eastern central France in the direction of Molsheim and Saverne (December 1944/4 January 1945).

Launched serially just before and in the immediate aftermath of the launch of 'Nordwind' (iii), the operation was designed to encircle, trap and destroy Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s US 3rd Army. The German forces made small advances in the first days of the offensive, but then saw their gains steadily eliminated by repeated counterattacks by Major General Robert L. Spragins’s (later Major General William F. Dean’s) 44th Division, Major General Withers A. Burress’s 100th Division and Major General Lewis E. Hibbs’s 63rd Division supported by Général de Division Philippe François Marie Leclerc de Hauteclocque’s 2ème Division Blindée.

Allied artillery fire and, when the weather improved, air attacks combined with the harshness of the weather to diminish the momentum of the German offensive by cutting its already overtaxed lines of communication. The Germans were therefore compelled to call off the operation on 4 January, and thus there never developed any substantive threat to the 3rd Army.