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reserve at Pronsfeld and into the attack along the Winterspelt road. This battalion, "mobile" in the sense that it was mounted on bicycles and reinforced by a company of self-propelled assault guns, was forced to stick to the macadam road. As a result it came up against the American cannon company at the Weissenhof crossroads. Outnumbered and in danger of encirclement the cannoneers and their rifle support from Company C made a deliberate and fighting withdrawal toward Winterspelt, platoon. by platoon. When the 2d Platoon was ordered back, its commander (Lt. Crawford Wheeler) stayed behind with a bazooka to meet the leading assault gun and was killed by point-blank fire.


By dark the German mobile battalion and infantry from the 190th Regiment were closing in on Winterspelt, where the 1st Battalion and remnants of the cannon company stood ready to meet them. The fight raged through the evening and by midnight at least a company of Germans was inside the village, with more coming in by the hour. In the 3d Battalion sector the enemy had got nowhere with his frontal attacks around Heckhuscheid, the village remaining under American control at the close of the day. Casualties in the 62d Volks Grenadier Division had been substantial, particularly, as might be expected in the case of a green division in its first attack, among the officers. Losses in the 424th had not been high. But the position of the regiment on the night of the 16th was potentially a serious one-despite the rough body check given the enemy. The battalion and regimental reserves all had been committed, the 591st Field Artillery Battalion had fired nearly all its ammunition (over 2,600 rounds), and the enemy had made a dent toward Winterspelt. Contact with the 112th Infantry, on the south flank, had been lost. But fortunately the enemy had given over the idea of a penetration here.


The intense fire laid on the 423d Infantry on the morning of 16 December had disrupted telephone lines, but the radio net seems to have functioned well. By o600 the regimental commander had word that his antitank company was under small arms fire at Bleialf, the key to the southern route around the Schnee Eifel and the Alf Creek depression. Along this depression extended the 423d's weak wing, echeloned to the right and rear of the two rifle battalions, one on the Schnee Eifel and one curving along the southern nose of the range. The heterogeneous units screening along the wing had been grouped as a provisional battalion, but they formed no cohesive front and were charged with defending the least defensible ground on the regimental front. When shock troops of the 293d Regiment (18th Volks Grenadier Division) struck the antitank company in Bleialf, one group filtered into the village and another, marching along the railroad, cut between Bleialf and Troop B (18th Cavalry Squadron), blocking out the latter and destroying the right platoon of the antitank company.


Although radio reception was poor in this area the commander of the 423d Infantry and the regimental executive (Lt. Col. Frederick W. Nagle) were able to alert and move reserves promptly, but Colonel Cavender's request for the release of his 2d Battalion, then in division reserve, was refused. About 0920 the service company and