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Meuse River on the right of its old comrade, the XLVII Panzer Corps. The mission remained, but the troops available on 16 December were less than half the number promised: one armored division, the 116th Panzer Division, and two-thirds of an infantry division, the 560th Volks Grenadier Division.


The 116th had fought itself out in almost continuous battles during the withdrawal across France and the defense of the West Wall but had a fine reputation and was fairly well refitted. It had ninety-two Panthers and forty-seven Mark IV tanks; perhaps 40 percent of its organic vehicles were missing. The 560th, activated from inexperienced garrison units in Norway and Denmark, had been tagged for the Russian front. Directed to the west by Hitler's orders, the division would see its first action in the Ardennes. One rifle regiment and part of the division engineers were still in Denmark. The artillery supporting the LVIII Panzer Corps consisted of five battalions plus two Werfer battalions, and a few batteries of heavy guns. It appears that the corps had only moderate support in the way of engineers and bridge trains.


The immediate mission of Krueger's corps, like that of the XLVII Panzer Corps on its left, was to seize crossings at the Our River. The areas selected by the two corps for their main efforts were some six to seven air-line miles apart-an indication of the weight to be thrown against the American 28th Infantry Division. The line of departure for Krueger's corps began across the Our from Kalborn and extended north to a point east of Burg Reuland. The bulk of his two divisions, as a consequence, faced the 112th Infantry, albeit the corps zone overlapped somewhat the sectors of the 106th Infantry Division in the north and the 110th Infantry in the south. Krueger had based his plan of attack on the intelligence reports dealing with the Our bridges. Since the American troops east of the Our were deployed in the Lutzkampen-Sevenig area, Krueger determined that his main effort should be made there. Roads and bridges, he reckoned, must be in shape to support the American troops east of the river. These roads and bridges he intended to seize by surprise.


On the corps right, then, the 116th Panzer Division (Generalmajor Siegfried von Waldenburg) had orders to attack north of Lutzkampen; at least two or more bridges crossed the Our in this sector. The 560th Volks Grenadier Division (Generalmajor Rudolf Langhaeuser) was assigned two specific bridges as targets, one just north of Ouren, the other a stone arch a little to the south of the village. Because surprise was essential in this stroke for the bridges, artillery fire on the American forward positions in the first moments of the assault was forbidden.


The heavy barrage and the pyrotechnic display which opened elsewhere on the 28th Division front on 16 December was viewed at first with some detachment by the men at the 112th observation posts. They heard, and duly reported, heavy artillery to the south, they saw searchlights and flames lighting up the sky, but again in the south. About o620, however, the 1st Battalion phoned to say that shells were coming over the battalion command post. The German guns and Werfers had finally opened fire to neutralize or destroy the rearward artillery and reserve positions in the