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can artillery by this time had displaced to the west and was out of range. Finally, on the morning of 18 December, the surviving members of the garrison sent out a last radio message; they had no choice but surrender.


After the fall of Hosingen the 3d Battalion elements in Consthum offered the last organized resistance in the 28th Infantry Division center east of the Clerf River. Col. Daniel Strickler, the regimental executive officer, who now had assumed command at Consthum, organized a perimeter defense of the town, set out mines along the approaches, and disposed his three effective tanks and three armored cars to watch for the enemy armor known to be on the road from Holzthum. Some artillery support was still available from a battery of the 687th Field Artillery Battalion, whose shells swept the open fields between the two villages. A half hour before dawn on 18 December German guns and mortars opened heavy fire. With daylight the fire lifted and the enemy infantry advanced, attacking in one wave after another as the morning progressed but making no headway. About 1300 a thick, soupy December fog rolled in on the village. Under this natural smoke screen German tanks and grenadiers poured into Consthum. While tanks dueled in the street like gunmen of the Old West the 3d Battalion made its orderly way out the west side of the town, reorganized, and as night descended marched to Nocher. There it dug in to defend the battery which had given aid during the battle. The Bofors crews belonging to the 447th Antiaircraft Artillery lingered on near Consthum as a rear guard, discouraging all pursuit with their fast, accurate fire. The next day General Cota ordered the battalion to Wiltz, where it would take part in the defense of the division headquarters.


The 112th Infantry Sector 16-20 December


The German attack to penetrate the front lines of the 28th Division succeeded on the first day of the offensive in splitting the 112th Infantry from the rest of the division. For this reason the fight put up by the 112th Infantry on the north flank of the division had little or no effect on the operations of its sister regiment east of Bastogne. Furthermore, lack of communication between the 28th Division and its northern regiment would ultimately force the regimental commander, Col. Gustin M. Nelson, to act on his own. The action of the 112th Infantry in this part of the 28th Division story stands therefore as an episode in itself until, after four days' fighting, the regiment joins the forces arrayed in defense of St. Vith. [13]


When the 28th Division arrived on the VIII Corps front in mid-November its regiments were in pitiable condition. The fight in the Schmidt area had cost the 112th Infantry alone about 2,000 killed, wounded, missing, and nonbattle casualties. In a month's time the flow of replacements had brought the regiment to full strength. The regimental commander believed that morale had been restored to a high degree and that the new officers and men now were fairly well trained.


The sector held by the 112th Infantry was approximately six miles wide. Most of the positions occupied lay on the east


[13] See below, pp. 393-95.