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112th sector. As the enemy gun layers dropped their range back to the river and then to the American positions, the searchlights blinked on, searching out pillboxes and bunkers. When daylight came, the German infantry already were stealing through the draws behind and around the forward platoons, aiming to assemble in the wooded areas to the rear. [14]


The 3d Battalion (Maj. Walden F. Woodward), in the regimental center, was hit by the 1130th Regiment of the 560th Volks Grenadier Division. This German blow fell on either side of Sevenig, held by Company L. The American barbed wire line had not been completed across the draws to the north and south of the village; through these gaps the shock companies advanced. The company leading the left battalion surprised a platoon of Company L at breakfast, overran the company kitchen (which was only 800 to goo yards behind the rifle line) and killed the platoon commander. Leaderless, the platoon broke. A part of the German company, perhaps a platoon in strength, succeeded in reaching the stone bridge over the Our south of Ouren, but was dispersed.


The bulk of the 3d Battalion held their positions despite surprise, defending from pillboxes and foxholes. Later the Americans in this sector reported that the attackers must have been "awfully green"-as indeed they were. The enemy attempt to capture or destroy the American command posts, kitchens, and observation posts was only partially successful, although the grenadier assault parties were well inside the 3d Battalion positions when day broke. Two company kitchens were captured and one or two observation posts cut off, but the artillery observer inside Sevenig was able to direct the 229th Field Artillery howitzers onto the Germans in the draw. Meanwhile the mortar crews took a hand from their foxholes on the hill behind Sevenig, dropping mortar shells into the hollows where the Germans congregated or picking them off with carbines.


Early morning reports of considerable German penetration and the threat to the Our bridges in the 3d Battalion area led the regimental commander to put one of his counterattack plans into operation. At 0930 two companies of the 2d Battalion (Lt. Col. J. L. MacSalka) assembled in a draw between Ouren and Lieler (west of the river), crossed the bridgesthe German patrol at the stone bridge had evaporated under machine gun fire-and moved toward Sevenig. The Germans in the way quickly withdrew to the east. By nightfall the 3d Battalion line on the Sevenig ridge had been restored while the commander of the 1130th reported that his regiment, despite many attempts, had not been able "to get going."


The main effort launched by the LVIII Panzer Corps on 16 December was assigned the 116th Panzer Division. This attack aimed at the bridges near Burg Reuland (in the 106th Division sector) and Oberhausen, in the rear of the Positions manned by the left


[14] MSS # B-321 (Krueger); A-873, Commitment of the 116th Panzer Division in the Ardennes, 12-16 December 1944 (Generalmajor Siegfried von Waldenburg); A-874, Commitment of the 116th Panzer Division in the Ardennes, 1944-45 (Waldenburg); B-027, 560th Volks Grenadier Division, 15-29 December 1944, and 12th Volks Grenadier Division, 1-28 January 1945 (Generalmajor Rudolf Langhaeuser). The Germans sited their searchlights five to eight kilometers from the American main line of resistance.