The 25th Panzer-Grenadier Division

The 100th's opponents during the drive on the Bitche defenses included the 25th Panzer-Grenadier Division. As an infantry division made up of Swabians and Bavarians, it participated in the invasions of Poland and France, but it was reorganized as a motorized infantry division in late 1940. As such, during Operation BARBAROSSA in June 1941, the 25th attacked as part of Army Group Center and fought in the Soviet Union for two years before being reorganized as the 25th Panzer-Grenadier Division in June, 1943. After another year of heavy fighting, the division was almost destroyed near Minsk; the survivors were reorganized at the training area at Mielau as Panzer Brigade 107. Within a few months (early November 1944) , this organization was eventually upgraded to divisional status at the Baumholder training area, and was re-christened the 25th Panzer-Grenadier Division.

In its final form, the Division was initially committed to the defensive action against US Third Army near Sierck-les-Bains (near the convergence of the German/Luxembourg/French borders), but was pulled out and recommitted near Bitche in December. There it fought a delaying action between the 11th Panzer Division and the 361st Volks-Grenadier Division, near the Maginot fortifications including Forts Simserhof and Schiesseck. Although it was little more than a reinforced battalion in size, the Commanding General of its parent XIII SS Corps, Obergruppenführer (Lieutenant General) Max Simon rated its soldiers' morale as "excellent."

After the Seventh Army's offensive operations were halted in mid December as a result of the German Ardennes Offensive (Operation WACHT AM RHEIN), the 25th was pulled out of the line and assembled near Zweibrücken. It was gradually reconstituted during the coming weeks, and it was kept in Army Group G reserve during the initial blows of Operation NORDWIND, along with the 21st Panzer Division. Together, these divisions were to exploit the penetrations made by either the XIII SS Corps in the west, or the LXXXIX and XC Corps in the east, and subsequently drive to the Alsatian Plain to cut off US Seventh Army from the 1st French. While the 100th's stubborn defense of its sector contributed in large part to the frustration of the Germans' intentions, the 25th nevertheless saw considerable action when the focus of NORDWIND shifted to the Plain of Alsace during the second week of January. There, under their charismatic and highly-experienced commander, Oberst (Colonel) Arnold Burmeister, they collided with elements of the 42d and 79th Infantry Divisions and 14th Armored Division