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The German Attack Toward Rocherath and Krinkelt, 16-17 December


The 393d Infantry (Lt. Col. Jean D. Scott) had taken no part in the V Corps offensive of 13 December except to put on a "demonstration" in front of the West Wall positions. The regiment, minus its 2d Battalion (attached to the 395th Infantry), was deployed along the German frontier, a line generally defined by the eastern edge of the long forest belt in which the bulk of the 99th Division was stationed and the International Highway. The width of the front, held by the 3d Battalion on the left and the 1st Battalion on the right, was about 5,500 yards. Outposts on the regimental left lay only a few score yards from the West Wall bunkers, but the right was more than half a mile from the German lines. About four miles by trail behind the 393d, the twin villages of Rocherath and Krinkelt lay astride the main north-south road through the division area. In front of the 393d, across the frontier, were entrances to the two forest roads which ran through the regimental sector, one in the north at Hollerath, the second in the south at Udenbreth. Both villages were in enemy hands. At the western edge of the woods the roads converged, funneling along a single track into Rocherath-Krinkelt. The twin villages, therefore, had a tactical importance of the first order. Through them passed the main line of communications in the 2d Division corridor, and from them ran the supply route to the 393d Infantry and the 395th.


In the West Wall bunkers facing the 393d lay the 277th Volks Grenadier Division (Col. Hans Viebig). Reconstructed in Hungary from the remnants