There remains to account for the 394th's 2d Battalion, which had been cut off from the regiment while in the Honsfelder Wald, and the 1st Battalion of the 23d, attached to the 394th and holding Hunningen, the southernmost position left to the 2d and 99th Divisions. In the Honsfelder Wald the 2d Battalion of the 394th met the 1st Battalion of the 393d; both were out of communication with their parent regiments and neither knew the location of neighboring units. Jointly deciding to withdraw further to the west, the two units began their march at daylight on the 18th. Diverted by the sound of intense firing in the direction of Krinkelt, they marched toward Murringen.
Almost in the shadow of the houses the force got a hostile reception: the Germans had moved in on the heels of the 394th. At this critical juncture radio contact was made with a friendly unit, probably the 2d Division, and in answer to the plea for help American shells began exploding in the village. Between the confusion and the morning fog, the Americans were able to break away, turning this time toward Wirtzfeld. They carried as many of their wounded as they could, but some of the wounded had to be left behind in the care of two aid men. En route to Wirtzfeld the group suddenly was brought under fire by the 2d Division artillery, a number of casualties resulting. At this point the men nearly panicked, but order was restored while a squad leader raced ahead to a friendly outpost and stopped the shelling. Most of the weary, hungry troops reached Elsenborn during the early hours of 19 December. Capt. Robert McGee, S-3 of the 2d Battalion, 394th, had brought out about 57O officers and men. The 1st Battalion, 393d, which had been badly hurt in the first two days of the fight, was less fortunate. Fewer than 300 of its officers and men were left.
The 1st Battalion, 23d Infantry, at Hunningen, it will be recalled, had received radio orders late on the 17th which put it under the command of the 9th Infantry. Colonel Hightower's battalion was closely engaged, for the Germans had filtered through at a number of points, and when the order came to withdraw from the village the battalion had to fight its way free. Company B, most exposed, was under assault even as the withdrawal began. A platoon leader was wounded in front of the foxhole line; two aid men tried to reach him and were killed. A third reached the side of the fallen officer, then both were killed. The 3d Platoon, whose radio was gone, had no word as to the time when the battalion was pulling back. Runners who tried to reach the platoon were killed or captured, and this part of Company B was lost. Most of the badly depleted 1st Battalion withdrew in accordance with an earlier plan along a secondary road via Murringen which had been scouted by the battalion medical officer, the vehicles following the 394th and the men on foot marching cross-country to Wirtzfeld.