was low and the short winter day was drawing to a close-with the likelihood that the small garrisons would be overwhelmed in the darkness by sheer weight of numbers.
On the Wahlhausen road the 3d Battalion observation post, defended by the Company I platoon, called for ammunition and was told that tanks were being sent with resupply. At Weiler the rest of the company and the antitank platoon, their supply of ammunition dwindling, also awaited the tanks. For some reason the tank platoon sent from the 707th had not reached the Company I area when night fell. About 1830 troops at the battalion observation post reported that enemy vehicles were attacking with multiple 20-mm. guns and asked for American artillery fire on their own positions. This was the end. Only one man escaped. At Weiler the Americans, with only a few rounds left, were completely surrounded and decided to fight their way out. They divided into two groups and headed west through the enemy lines.
On the west slopes of the ridge a platoon of medium tanks was committed early in the afternoon to drive the Germans off the side road linking Holzthum and Consthum. Co-ordination between small packets of infantry and armor, hard at best, was made most difficult by this kind of piecemeal commitment. The tankers had been told that there were no friendly troops on the road and just Outside Holzthum knocked out an antitank gun placed there by Company I. After some delay, while the tank platoon and the infantry identified themselves, the tanks rolled south to the 3d Battalion headquarters at Consthum. At Hosingen, on the ridge road, Company D and Company B were fighting German infantry hand to hand inside the village. In response to their call for reinforcement and ammunition four tanks fought their way through the German infantry along the Skyline Drive, arriving in Hosingen about 2200-but with no rifle ammunition.
In the 1st Battalion sector, late in the afternoon, two tank platoons arrived in Munshausen to support Company C, already on its way north to relieve Company B in Marnach. Company C had been driven off the road, and the tanks, missing the infantry entirely, rolled into Marnach. One tank platoon remained there to bolster the defense, while the other turned back to the south, picked up Company C, and, on orders, returned with the infantry to Munshausen. About dusk the Marnach garrison radioed that half-tracks could be heard moving toward the village. This was the last word from Marnach. Late in the afternoon, Colonel Fuller had ordered Company D, a platoon of heavy machine guns, and a provisional rifle company hastily assembled from men on pass in Clerf, to move to Reuler and protect Battery B of the 109th Field Artillery Battalion, then firing in support of the troops in Marnach and very hard pressed by the enemy. These reinforcements arrived at Reuler in time to take a hand against the Germans pouring past Marnach toward Clerf and its bridges. But Battery A of the battalion was swept up by the Germans who had bypassed the left wing anchor of the regiment at Heinerscheid.
During most of this first day of attack the German infantry had fought west of the Our without heavy weapons, although the bulk of two regiments from