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opened a very heavy barrage at 0525, rolling over the forward lines, then back to the west along the Eupen road, shelling the American artillery positions and cutting telephone wires. Neither the infantry nor cavalry (gone well to ground) suffered much from this fire, heavy though it was; but many buildings were set afire in Hofen and some were beaten to the ground. Monschau, as directed by Model, escaped this artillery pounding. In twenty minutes or so the German fire died away and off to the east the glow of searchlights rose as artificial moonlight. About 0600 the German grenadiers came walking out of the haze in front of the 3d Battalion. The wire to the American guns was out and during the initial onslaught even radio failed to reach the gunners. The riflemen and tank destroyer gunners, however, had the German infantry in their sights, without cover and at a murderously easy range.


The result was fantastic. Yet the grenadiers who lived long enough came right up to the firing line-in three verified instances the bodies of Germans shot at close range toppled into the foxholes from which the bullets came. A few got through and into the village. Assault companies of the 1st Battalion, 751st Regiment, and the 1st Battalion, 753d Regiment, had made this attack. But the support companies of the two battalions were blocked out by an intense concentration of well-aimed 81-mm. mortar fire from the American heavy weapons company, this curtain strengthened within an hour by the supporting howitzer battalion. By 0745 the attack was finished, and in another hour some thirty or forty Germans who had reached the nearest houses were rounded up. Reports of the German dead "counted" in front of Hofen vary from seventy-five to two hundred. The casualties suffered by the 3d Battalion in this first action were extraordinarily light: four killed, seven wounded, and four missing.


At Monschau the 1st Battalion of the 752d Regiment carried the attack, apparently aimed at cutting between the Monschau and Hofen defenses. As the German shellfire lessened, about 0600, the cavalry outposts heard troops moving along the Rohren road which entered Monschau from the southeast. The grenadiers were allowed to approach the barbed wire at the roadblock, then illuminating mortar shell was fired over the Germans and the cavalry opened up with every weapon at hand-the light tanks doing heavy damage with 37-mm. canister. Beaten back in this first assault, the German battalion tried again at daylight, this time attempting to filter into town along a draw a little farther to the north. This move was checked quickly. No further attack was essayed at Monschau and a half-hearted attempt at Hofen, toward noon, was handily repelled. As it was, the 326th Volks Grenadier Division lost one-fifth of the troops put into these attacks.


To the south of Hofen and Monschau in the 2d Division and 395th Infantry zones, 16 December passed with the initiative still in American hands. The German attacks delivered north and south of the corridor through which the Americans were pushing had no immediate repercussion, not even in the 395th Infantry sector. The Sixth Panzer Army drive to make a penetration between Hollerath and Krewinkel with the 1st SS Panzer Corps, therefore, had no contact with the Monschau Corps in the