when it arrived to face the Germans, had been reduced by perhaps one quarter. Indeed, in midafternoon of the 21st, the battalion commander had planned withdrawing a thousand yards to the rear to compensate for the dwindling strength in the firing line. But when the 2d reorganized that evening its position was somewhat strengthened. Company C, with extra bazookas, had come up to man the denuded right flank, the 1st Engineer Combat Battalion laid a hasty field of about a thousand mines in front of the lines, and the regiment had attached the 4.2-inch mortars of the 2d Division chemical battalion to Daniel's command.
Meanwhile the enemy regrouped to continue the attack with new forces. The armored infantry reserve of the 12th SS Panzer Division, the 26th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, finally had negotiated the poor roads and traffic jams along the German line of communications and arrived in Bullingen, ready for its first commitment in the offensive. Shortly after day broke on 22 December patrols from the 26th commenced to probe at the 2d Battalion lines. The fresh enemy regiment, however, set out to vary the unsuccessful headlong tactics previously employed by striking at the flanks of the Dom Butgenbach position. The first assault, shortly before 1000, carried an undetermined number of panzer grenadiers through a gap between Companies A and K, on the right of the 2d Battalion. Here there were about twenty Mark V's and tank destroyers, but the 90-mm. tank destroyers from the 613th Tank Destroyer Battalion rushed in on the flank and Stopped the enemy. The continued threat, though serious, was countered by shifting local reserves from the 18th and 26th to close the gap, and by the end of the day the situation was well in hand. Again the American gunners had taken over a large share of the burden, firing over 300 missions. The cooperation between the artillery and infantry arms, it must be said, was reciprocal. The fact that the 26th Infantry had continued to hold its position on ground overlooking the German routes west had allowed the observers a grandstand seat and had caused the German columns taking the 1st SS Panzer Division detour through Schoppen to run a gantlet of accurate and continuous fire.
The successful withdrawal from the Krinkelt-Rocherath sector to the more favorable terrain of the Elsenborn ridge had resulted, by 20 December, in a fairly homogeneous and well-constructed defense with the 2d Division on the right and the 99th Division on the left. On the morning of this same day the 9th Infantry Division took over the Monschau-Hofen sector (its 47th Infantry had moved earlier into supporting position west of these two towns) and so covered the northern flank of the 99th.
The German attempt to crack the newly formed north-south line was handled in catch-as-catch-can and piecemeal fashion, for the primary mission was the flanking maneuver in the Butgenbach area. The 3d Panzer Grenadier Division, which had relieved the 12th SS Panzer Division at the twin villages, went to work at once against the 99th Division portion of the Elsenborn line although the bulk of its rifle strength was not yet in hand. On the morning of 20 December German tanks and infantry made the first of three assaults. But the 99th, on a forward slope with perfect visibility and good fields of fire. checked this and