midnight, "It is imperative that Schonberg be taken." Colonel Cavender already had decided to disengage his two left battalions, in light of the next mission, and shift northward to support a dawn attack by the 3d Battalion. By this time the 423d was going it alone, for all attempts to reach the sister regiment had failed. During the night the regiment pulled itself together in some semblance of order along Ridge 536, just southeast of Schonberg. Losses had been high-some 300 casualties (including 16 officers). No more rounds were left for the 81-mm. mortars, most of the machine guns were gone, there was little bazooka ammunition, and rifle clips were low.
The surrounding enemy forces were surprised that the American regiments made no move to counterattack during the night of 18-19 December; one report says: "In the Kessel absolute quiet reigned." The troops actually ringing the pocket were relatively few: the 293d Infantry Regiment, the 18th Volks Grenadier Division Replacement Battalion (which had come over the Schnee Eifel), and the newly arrived 669th 0st Battalion. Since the roads at the Schonberg bottleneck were jammed, the LXVI Corps commander could bring only one battalion of field guns that far forward; therefore the corps artillery was instructed to concentrate fire on the pocket during the 19th.
The 423d still was attempting to form for the attack, when, an hour or so after dawn on 19 December, German field pieces along the BleialfSchonberg road opened fire, sweeping the southeastern slope of Ridge 536. Soon the shelling ceased and the enemy infantry closed in, overrunning the 590th Field Artillery Battalion and other heterogeneous units which had been moving in the rear of the rifle battalions. Despite this blow Lt. Col. Earl F. Klinck's 3d Battalion jumped off in good order at 1000. One company was cut off and captured, but two rifle companies reached the environs of Schonberg, then had to retire in a storm of antiaircraft fire. The 1st Battalion was able to put one company in the advance, but by midafternoon it was eliminated. When brought forward on the right the 2d Battalion became separated and was subjected to fire from the 422d Infantry, then about 400 yards to the north. At last, with tactical control gone, only five to ten rifle rounds per man, no supporting weapons, and an increasing number of wounded untended (despite yeoman effort by the regimental surgeon, Maj. Gaylord D. Fridline, and his staff), the commander of the 423d Infantry surrendered his regiment. The time was about 1630.
The experience of the 422d Infantry was very similar to that of its sister regiment. Largely quiescent during the 17th, the 422d acted as promptly as possible when the division order was received on the following morning. Colonel Descheneaux, acting in concert with the 423d, ordered an advance in column of battalions, the axis to the northwest in the direction of Schonberg. Excess equipment was destroyed, the wounded were left with an aid man, the regimental cannon company fired its last smoke rounds into Auw (as a slight deterrent to enemy observers), then spiked the pieces. In two columns-one made up of foot troops lugging all portable weapons, the other made up of regimental vehicles-the movement encountered nothing but small groups of the enemy. Reconnaissance had been confined to the map, al-