occupy their assigned positions and entrench before the enemy struck. Others would have to attack in order to take their designated place in the new line of resistance. Meanwhile the rumor that American prisoners were being butchered in cold blood by SS troops was spreading like wildfire through the 2d Division, a partial explanation of the bitter fight finally made at the twin villages.
Robertson's order, "withdraw at once," reached the 9th Infantry a little after 1000. By 1100 the 2d Battalion had assembled and started south, with the 3d and 1st Battalions forming in that order to complete the column. The withdrawal from the front lines, shielded by a heavy barrage laid on the West Wall positions, was accomplished readily but of course took much time. The 1st Battalion, bringing up the rear of the 9th Infantry column, did not set out until 1415.
Before the five battalions at Wahlerscheid commenced to disengage, General Robertson marched his only reserve, the 3d Battalion of the 38th Infantry, south through Rocherath and Krinkelt. At this time in the morning the imminent German threat was in the area north of Bullingen. For this reason Robertson placed the 3d Battalion (-) at the southern edge of Krinkelt, where, by 1130, it was entrenched. One rifle company, plus the antitank and service companies, took positions around Rocherath guarding the roads entering the village from the north and east.
The redeployment of the 2d Division had a double aim: securing a firm hold on Wirtzfeld, essential to the control of the road net in the final phase of the