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defile or cut which would afford an effective delaying position. The abandonment of Schonberg proved to be decisive. The northern kampfgruppe of the 18Th Volks Grenadier Division would shortly be joined by the southern, which had just broken through the American lines at Bleialf, thus closing the trap on the American forces within the triangle AuwSchonberg-Bleialf.


Troop B finally reached a favorable point at a sharp bend in the road near Heuem, about 2,000 yards west of Schonberg. Here, while other American troops streamed through from the east, the cavalry deployed its six armored cars and ten machine gun and mortar jeeps. When the first German vehicle, a tank or assault gun, rounded the bend two of the armored cars opened up with 37-mm. guns which did no damage but induced it to withdraw. Then, for nearly two hours, the troopers' light machine guns and mortars repelled every attempt that the advance guard of the 294th made to move forward. Finally at 100 the 14th Cavalry Group sent radio orders for Troop B to withdraw through St. Vith and rejoin the 32d Squadron northeast of that city. This move was part of a general withdrawal which Colonel Devine had ordered on his own initiative after scouts sent out by the 18th Squadron at Wereth reported seeing German troops to the west (probably the advance guard of the 3d Parachute Division moving in the direction of Malmedy).


By noontime, or shortly thereafter, the 32d Squadron was in position at Wallerode and the 18th Squadron was on the high ground at Born, northwest of Wallerode On the whole this represented a favorable defensive line and placed the group in position to block the main road from Bullingen in the north to St. Vith. Colonel Devine informed the headquarters at St. Vith that he had withdrawn to a "final delaying position," and sent an overlay to the 106th command post showing the new position. Furthermore, Devine advised that he would "have [a] counterattack force available your orders." It seems that General Jones did not question this latest retrograde movement, for it was reported to the VIII Corps forthwith and without comment. At 1220 the G-3 journal of the 106th Division records a telephone message from the 14th Cavalry Group asking for "the general plan" (this was an hour after the withdrawal message arrived at St. Vith). The reply was "stay on the line where you are. Ln O coming to you."


Although the 106th Division had not ordered the group to withdraw in the first instance to the Wallerode-Born position, a cavalry screen in this area would be very useful as outpost cover for the 7th Armored Division elements still moving south to St. Vith. Certainly a roadblock here to the north of the city was essential.


But once more the group commander gave the order to withdraw, this about 1530. There never has been a clear explanation for this order; the group had no contact with the enemy and had reported the Wallerode-Born line as a "final delaying position." A liaison officer from the 106th Division was at the group command post, but it is impossible to say whether Colonel Devine received any definite order to hold this position. Liaison officers carried the new orders to the two squadrons: the 18th to occupy the village of Recht and the 32d to deploy along the Recht River astride the