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moved up with heavy weapons and motor vehicles for commitment on the morrow. There was no longer any doubt as to the German maneuver. The intelligence section of the 106th Division staff analyzed the enemy plan correctly in its report on the night of 16 December. "The enemy is capable of pinching off the Schnee Eifel area by employing one VG Division plus armor from the 14th Cavalry Group sector and one VG Division plus armor from the 423d Infantry sector at any time." This estimate hardly is vitiated by the fact that only one German division, the 18th Volks Grenadier, formed the pincers poised to grip the 106th Division. After all, the entire 62d Volks Grenadier Division stood poised to break through in the Winterspelt area and to strengthen or lengthen the southern jaw of the pincers.


General Lucht, leading the LXVI Corps, could look with some complacency at the events of this first day, even though his left wing had failed to break through the American main line of resistance. Not a single one of the much feared Jabo's had appeared in the sky, the superior weight of metal available to the American artillery had not been utilized in the early and crucial hours of the assault, and the defenders on the Schnee Eifel had made not a single move to threaten the weak and grossly extended center of the 18Th Volks Grenadier Division. This inactivity by the 106th Division on the first day, combined with the failure to counterattack against the weak center on the Schnee Eifel or the flanks of the German salients, was inexplicable to the German commanders but also a matter of relief. Lucht anticipated that the Americans would counterattack on 17 December but that their reaction would come too late and the encirclements would be completed according to plan. His own plans for the second day were simple. On the right the mobile battalion of the 18Th Volks Grenadier Division was already moving on Andler en route to seize the Schonberg bridge and the road to St. Vith. The left kampfgruppe of the 18Th also would make way for a mobile thrust. Finally, the 62d Volks Grenadier Division had orders to break loose at Heckhuscheid and drive for the Our valley "at all costs."


By the night of 16 December General Jones had committed all the reserves available to the 106th Division except a battalion of engineers at St. Vith. But reinforcements, hastily gathered by the VIII Corps, First Army, and 12th Army Group, were on the way. When the 2d Infantry Division turned over its area to the 106th it had taken its armored support, Combat Command B, 9th Armored Division, north to the V Corps sector. Replacement was made by the 9th Armored's Combat Command R, which assembled at Trois Vierges-some twenty road miles south of St. Vith-in position to reinforce the 106th if need should arise. This small armored group represented the only mobile counterattack force available in the VIII Corps. The extent of the German threat on 16 December, slowly comprehended though it was, obviously required more drastic countermeasures than the limited resources of the VIII Corps could provide. At 1025, therefore, the First Army released CCB, 9th Armored, to the VIII Corps, thus permitting Middleton to move his armored reserve (CCR) as a backstop for the 28th