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The first word of the approaching enemy reached the 110th Infantry headquarters at Clerf shortly after 0615. Company L, on the western side of the ridge at Holzthum, reported figures in the half-light but, peering through the ground fog, which clung all along the division front, could not be sure whether they were American troops passing through the area or the enemy. In fact, detachments of the 39th Regiment had crossed the Skyline Drive unobserved and were moving in to surprise Holzthum. To some extent, then, Kokott's decision in favor of premature assembly west of the Our had gained ground for the 26th. Fuller, however, was able to get a warning message through to the 28th Division command post about 0900.


As the morning passed the small German detachments west of the ridge increased in strength. Before noon five separate assaults had been made at Consthum, but all were beaten off by small arms, .50-caliber, and artillery fire. Finally the Germans took the village, only to be driven out again. A German attempt to cut the road between Consthum and Holzthum failed when Capt. Norman G. Maurer, 3 of the 3d Battalion, leading a sortie of twenty men, surprised the enemy and drove him back with very heavy casualties. Between Holzthum and Buchholz, Battery C of the 109th Field Artillery was hit hard but held its positions, firing the 105-mm. howitzers with one- and two-second fuzes. The battery commander and fifteen gunners were casualties of the close-range fight before help arrived. This came late in the morning, after the 28th Division commander, General Cota, ordered a tank platoon from the 707th man infantry out of the Battery C area.


The 26th Volks Grenadier Division poured more troops into the 3d Battalion sector, compressing the American companies in the village positions. At the crossroads village of Hosingen atop the Skyline Drive, the leading detachments of the 77th swung to the north, cutting the road but moving on in the direction of the Clerf. The 2d Battalion of the 77th, under the cover provided by German artillery, drove in to the south edge of Hosingen, contrary to orders, and there grappled in houseto-house fighting with Company D and Company B, 103d Engineer Battalion. Meanwhile the 39th Regiment, echeloned to the left of the 77th, ran into a snag. The 1st Platoon of Company I had been deployed along the Wahlhausen road on the forward slope of the ridge, covering an observation post. From this point the American artillery observers could see the enemy assembling in the woods just to the north. Accurately adjusted fire held the enemy battalion at bay and forced it to call on neighboring battalions, attacking Weiler, to help outflank the thin infantry line on the Wahlhausen road.


The defenders at Weiler would not be easily pushed aside. Company I (minus the platoon at Wahlhausen), a section of 81-mm. mortars, and an antitank platoon repelled wave after wave of attacking German infantry. When the mortar crews and antitank platoon had used all their ammunition they joined the infantry in the center of the village and fought as riflemen. Twice during the morning the attackers were allowed to send in aid men and remove their wounded. At 1330 the enemy ceased