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Weapons). In addition to the 275th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, supporting the cavalry, eight battalions of corps artillery were in position to reinforce the 106th Division artillery by fire when called. [1] These battalions represented the bulk of the VIII Corps artillery.


The road net within the division area and to its front was limited and in poor condition, but this was an endemic condition in the Ardennes, particularly during winter months. The macadam stretches required constant mending and the dirt roads quickly sank away where not shored up with logs and stone. But though transit by heavy vehicular columns was difficult it was by no means impossible-as the event proved. Four avenues of penetration were open to a road-bound enemy. All four would be used. Following from north to south, they were: (1) Hallschlag, southwest through Manderfeld (the 14th Cavalry Group command post) and Schonberg (at this point crossing the Our River), thence to St. Vith; (2) a secondary road from Roth, west through Auw, then to Schonberg or Bleialf; (3) Prum (a large German communications center) northwest to Bleialf and on to Schonberg; (4) Pronsfeld, directly northwest through Habscheid and Winterspelt to the Our River bridges at Steinebruck, then on to St. Vith. These roads, following the natural channels around and west of the Schnee Eifel, extend across the Our River by way of bridges at Andler, Schonberg, and Steinebruck. St Vith is the funnel through which the roads coming from the Our pass to the west.


The degree to which the green 106th Division had been acclimatized to its new surroundings by the morning of 16 December is impossible to determine. The arduous truck journey across France and Belgium, through bitter cold and clinging damp, must have been dispiriting to untried troops. The front-line shelters in which the veterans of the 2d Infantry Division had made themselves relatively comfortable probably did little more than take the raw edge off the miserable weather prevalent when the 106th marched to the bunkers, foxholes, and dugouts. By 15 December a number of trench foot cases already had occurred, particularly in the 422d Infantry, which had been the last regiment to draw overshoes.


The extent to which the division was armed to defend itself is also a matter of debate. All units had the normal basic load of ammunition on hand, although there seems to have been a shortage of carbine and bazooka rounds. The nearest ammunition supply point was at Noville, over forty miles southwest of St. Vith, making resupply slow and difficult. Jones had requested antitank mines but these were not delivered in time. A thin, linear defense such as that inherited in the Schnee Eifel required an extraordinary number of automatic weapons. Although by this time the veteran ETO divisions were carrying BAR's and light machine guns far in excess of authorized allowances, the 106th Division possessed only the regulation number and type of issue weapons-fewer than were needed to organize a twenty-one mile front. On the whole, however, the 106th seems to have entered the line with a high state of morale; had it not exchanged the tedium of training and "show-down" inspections for the excitement of an active


[1] These were the 770th, g6sth, 333d, 771st, 559th, 561st, 578th, and 740th Field Artillery Battalions.