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20 Jan 2021

The 15th Regiment drive through Walsdorf marked the most extensive penetration of the 109th Infantry positions on this first day. By the end of the day the CCB, 9th Armored Division position at the Our was considered to be no longer tenable. In point of fact the 109th already was on the march west through Ettelbruck. These units would fight as a combat command, although the sector was not turned over to Col. Thomas L. Harrold and CCA headquarters until the next morning. The initial concentration in the 9th Armored Division (-) sector, estimated by the Americans at about a thousand rounds, was aimed principally at Beaufort, the largest town in this area, and the batteries around Haller. By 0930 one company was across the river and had run into German infantry dug in along the high ground overlooking the village of Elcherath, 1,500 yards from Steinebruck. The bulk of the 9th Armored Division, a unit with no prior battle experience, was held in the west as the VIII Corps reserve, but just before the German attack CCB was transferred to V Corps. The 276th Volks Grenadier Division, then, generally faced the 60th Armored Infantry Battalion, but it should be noticed that the tortuous gorge of the Schwarz Erntz lay in the zone of the 276th and would be used to gain entry to the left flank and rear of the 4th Infantry Division. The 9th Armored Traded Blood For Time In a Heroic Battle Against Nazi Forces. The 276th Volks Grenadier Division had failed to seize control of the Sauer heights. But there was no contact between the three German regiments when daylight ended. A corporal killed three Germans with a blast from his Tommy gun, after he himself had been shot in the stomach, and fifty-nine Germans gave up the fight. The enemy meanwhile bore in on both flanks. only by roadblocks and roving patrols, but the Germans failed to follow up their advantage on the night of 18-19 December. At 0930 at 27th Infantry Command Post at Neubruck reported that they were surrounded and being attacked. Two motor carriages mounting quadruple .50-caliber machine guns (the M16) from the 447th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion were put on the Diekirch-Hoscheid road. Jodl and Model again acted as a team in killing this idea, pointing out that the Seventh Army had neither the troops nor the guns to support two separate attacks. Strict orders had arrived from the Seventh Army headquarters, located at Ingendorf (a little village southwest of Bitburg), that the 352d must start the attack rolling once more and take possession of the vital crossings at Ettelbruck. howitzers (which the 707th Tank Battalion had organized as an assault gun platoon) and three regular mediums. This company suffered about 40 casualties until the 1st Platoon of “A” Company, 14th Tank Battalion, attacked the enemy inflicting heavy casualties and capturing 87 prisoners. This is the order of battle of German and Allied forces during the Battle of the Bulge — specifically, at a point near the end of the battle, which lasted from 16 December 1944 until 25 January 1945. (General Bradley or Maj. Gen. William H. H. Morris, Jr., the provisional corps commander, later canceled this move so as to keep the 80th together.) The 352d had been promised a Todt Brigade for work on the roads and at the bridge, but the labor brigade never appeared. By noon the attack threatened to overrun the company and infiltration had taken place at several points, the German movements hidden by the dense pine. The higher German headquarters no longer expected any concerted resistance in front of the 5th Parachute Division and attached its immediate reserve, the 13th Parachute Regiment, to the neighboring division on the south. Troop B, 89th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, came up to reinforce Company B, 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion, whose 76-mm. Attached to 9th Armored Division. 9th Armored Division "Phantom" Maj. Gen. John W. Leonard CCA, CCB, and CCR 27th, 52nd, and 60th Armored Infantry Battalions 2nd, 14th, and 19th Tank Battalions 3rd, 16th, and 73rd Armored FA Battalions 9th Armored Engineer Battalion 89th Cavalry Squadron 811th TD Battalion 482nd AAA AW Battalion 11th Armored Division "Thunderbolt" Brig. Each attempt to relay a telephone wire or carry forward an ammunition case became a major tactical effort. (click to read) Company B, sent up the Tandel road to reach Führen, had paused at about the same hour only a short distance from the village.4 The next morning a patrol with a tank and a jeep reached the edge of Führen, but found the company command post burned and no sign of American troops. and that would be the end"; the regiment could tie in closely with the 9th Armored force and withdraw to the south; or the 109th and the 9th Armored force could be pulled back toward Bastogne. At about 1630 an enemy force estimated at two reinforced infantry companies attacked west from Niedengen. At 0930 hours General Hoge ordered Lieutenant Colonel Leonard E. Engeman, Commanding Officer, 14th Tank Battalion, to contain this treat. Farther south battle had been joined in bitter but inconclusive fighting. All its reserves were committed, and the larger part of the attached company from the 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion had been called away to defend the 28th Division command post at Wiltz. CCB, 9th Armored Division was ordered into XVIII Corps (Airborne) reserve at 1610 hours. The task of erasing such American units as might be left in the towns and villages was given the 13th Parachute Regiment, which had no transport and would be brought forward with the bulk of the heavy weapons once the Our bridge was in Since the Seventh Army had ordered each of its divisions to commence the attack with only two battalions, spearheaded by single shock companies, the initial transfer to the far bank of the Our would be a gradual process (and would, as it proved, lead the Americans to believe that the first Germans across were only patrols). For example, when the German attack began on 16 December, the U.S. 7th Armored Division … The 109th commander, under orders from General Cota that "nobody comes back," now had to restore contact between his companies and get his regiment in position to meet the next enemy move. This village lay on a slope and had not been occupied, although American patrols moved in now and then at night to check suspicious lights. Although the penetration was checked, the dual attempt to relieve Führen made no headway. The situation in the 109th area developed as follows. But in the north there was no longer any question that Companies F and G could hold on, isolated as they were, along the road beyond Bastendorf. Nonetheless the Seventh Army commander was well pleased with the advance made by his right wing. Middleton therefore told Cota that the 109th was to hold, but if forced back it should retire to the west behind the Alzette, a stream line directly south of Ettelbruck. Therefore the 5th Parachute Division plan called for a quick and unopposed crossing at the Our; a bridge to be in at Roth by midafternoon of the first day; a rapid advance past the villages where the weak American forces were located; and a lightning stroke to force the crossing sites near Wiltz. But the gap between the 9th Armored Division and the 109th Infantry was too large to be covered by a minimal cavalry screen. An additional tank platoon was ready to add weight to a second thrust toward Führen by way of Tandel. This division, the 352d Volks Grenadier, also had met obstacles at the Our River. The commander of Company C, 707th Tank Battalion, took two of his tanks from Longsdorf to aid the infantry beyond Tandel, but a strong German patrol slipped through a draw lying between Companies A and B and ambushed the tanks. This German force, finally amounting to a battalion of infantry and two tanks, moved south during the morning until it met the 109th Antitank Company, which was dug in with a few engineers and a single 40-mm. guns. Although the enemy troops around Assenois had been broken and scattered by the lightning thrust on the 26th, the III Corps' attack on the following day met some opposition. If this plan were successful the 5th Parachute Engineer Battalion would ferry the assault companies across the Our, then join the advance and reach the Wiltz sector with ferrying equipment by the end of the first day. During the night of 17-18 December this force assembled in the cover of the Eselbour woods, waiting to jump off at dawn. At Bollendorf his engineers finally completed a bridge over the 40-yard-wide river, lessening somewhat the pinch on the 276th. Although there were no American troops in the Sauer valley, observers on the heights were able to follow every move of the 916th. At 1410, while the fight was in progress Colonel Rudder asked for and received permission to pull his regiment together on the high ground around Diekirch; this withdrawal, however, already was in progress. For a detailed report of the 9th Infantry Division’s Hurtgen Forest actions during September and October 1944, please visit my Hurtgen Forest page.. The 352d Volks Grenadier Division had assembled two of its regiments west of Bastendorf during the previous night, leaving the 916th Regiment to occupy Diekirch as the Americans left. During this period, they lost four M4A -3 medium tanks to enemy action. Subsequent attacks were made against the Infantry, Reconnaissance, and Tank positions at 1115 hours, 1210 hours and 1600 hours. The withdrawal itself was a success, despite the intense interdiction fire laid down by the Germans, fire that cost thirty-four casualties from shelling alone. Colonel Rudder called on the meager armored reserve allotted him by Cota (the 1st Platoon of Company C, 707th Tank Battalion), sending it north from Diekirch about 1300 to check the 915th thrust. Colonel Harrold's available force now included only Company B, 19th Tank Battalion; a platoon of Company D's light tanks; a cavalry assault gun platoon; the I and R platoon from the 60th; and Company A, 9th Armored Engineer Battalion (a part of which was loaded in half-tracks) . The fighting began 16 December 1944 and became the last offensive by Nazi Germany in World War II. Starting at daylight, units of CCB, 9th Armored Division came under constant artillery fire and probing attacks along portions of its front. The 352d Volks Grenadier Division succeeded in crossing a few tanks and assault guns, as well as more light artillery. CCB, 9th Armored Division's units, under great pressure along their entire front, gave ground grudgingly. The 10th Armored “Tiger” Division was activated on July 15, 1942, at Fort Benning, and entered northwestern France through the port of Cherbourg on Sept. 23, 1944. Infiltration tactics began to bear fruit as day came on 17 December. The 276th, however had paid heavily for the restricted success achieved in the five days' attack, success more limited than that gained by any other division in the Seventh Army. With company fronts a mile wide, the fight became a series of squad actions as the enemy infantry filtered through and behind the American "line."

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