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three tanks and a platoon or so of infantry came through Company B. They had passed on toward Rocherath before anyone realized that this was the first of the enemy. Half an hour later more tanks came clanking along the road, the dark shapes of infantrymen following. This time Company B took no chances. The first two German tanks struck the American mines. Then two more tried to swing off the road, only to be knocked out by bazooka fire. By this time the Germans were milling about, apparently completely surprised, while the 15th Field Artillery Battalion added to the confusion by beating the road close to the 1st Battalion foxholes. It took the enemy an hour or so to reorganize. Then five or six German tanks attacked in line, rolling to within a couple of hundred yards of the foxhole line where they halted and fired for nearly half an hour. Next the accompanying infantry rushed in, but were cut down by the heavy machine guns on the final protective line. Finally the enemy tankers and riflemen got together in an assault that broke through.


The 1st Battalion refused to panic and set to work with bazookas against the flanks of the blinded tanks. One of the panzers was crippled, but the crew compartment proved impervious to bazooka rounds (perhaps this was a Tiger). So Cpl. Charles Roberts (Company D) and Sgt. Otis Bone (Company B) drained some gasoline from an abandoned vehicle, doused the tank, and lit the whole with thermite grenades. When German tanks moved into the Company A area, American artillery responded to the urgent call for help and within three minutes dropped in a concentration that stopped the assault. Meanwhile the


American gunners, firing from new emplacements near Camp Elsenborn, had effectively checked further troop moves on the road from the forest, seven battalions finally joining in the shoot. By midnight all was quiet in front of the 1st Battalion except for the distant crash of friendly artillery-around the foxholes the silence was "frightening." Stubborn determination, mines, machine guns, and bazookas had checked this first series of assaults, but the battalion commander would credit the gunners at Elsenborn with saving his battalion. [2]


It will be recalled that the 1st Battalion of the 38th Infantry had started south shortly after the departure of the last troops of the 9th Infantry. The actual withdrawal was screened by the 2d Battalion of the 38th, the final covering force of the 2d Division, and was aided by fire and smoke laid down by the 37th Field Artillery Battalion, 81-mm. and 4.2-inch mortars. On the road the regimental executive officer met Colonel Mildren and explained the 1st Battalion mission: to go into the line forming at the twin villages on the left of the 3d Battalion, 38th Infantry, east and northeast of Krinkelt. Mildren learned in addition that the battalion probably would have to fight its way to the assigned position, a jarring note that pleased none this close to nightfall.


About a thousand yards north of


[2] For ease of description this engagement has been treated as a fight by the 1st Battalion; notice, however, that the 1st deployed alongside Company K. Pfc. William A. Soderman, of Company K, stopped three enemy tanks with bazooka rounds during the night of battle but was badly wounded by machine gun fire from the last tank he attacked. Soderman was awarded the Medal of Honor.