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battalion of the 112th. General Waldenburg committed his infantry here, in the predawn hours, hoping that the 60th Regiment would break through on the right or that the 156th Regiment would reach the river on the left and so secure a bridgehead through which his tank regiment could be passed. The lay of the ground and defenses in the area north of Lutzkampen were such that Waldenburg's right regiment had to move northwestward at an oblique to the axis of his left wing advance.


In common with the German assault tactics employed all along the front on 16 December, both regiments led off with a predawn advance by shock companies eighty men strong. The company from the 60th ran into trouble almost immediately when it was immobilized in some woods northwest of Berg by flanking fire from Heckhuscheid, in the 424th Infantry sector. Later reports indicate that this group was almost wiped out. The assault company from the 156Th was initially more fortunate in its advance west of Lutzkampen. By o630 the grenadiers were behind the command post of the 1st Battalion (Lt. Col. William H. Allen) in Harspelt; the first sign of their presence was a kitchen truck ambushed while journeying to the rear. The advance party of grenadiers had moved along the wooded draw between the two companies holding the 1st Battalion line.


When day came the Americans caught the troops following the advance party of the assault company out in the open. Interlocking machine gun and rifle fire blocked off the German reinforcements some sixty were captured and the rest dug in where they could. Company D, in its support position on the high ground overlooking Lutzkampen, meanwhile commenced mopping up the enemy who had filtered between the companies on the line. By noon Company D had so many prisoners that it "couldn't handle them all!" Nonetheless some part of the assault wave had broken through as far as the battery positions near Welchenhausen, where they were repelled by the .50-caliber quadruple mounts of the antiaircraft artillery.


Shortly before noon the advance guard of the 60th Panzer Regiment, rolling along the Lutzkampen-Leidenborn road, appeared on the knoll west of Lutzkampen. The seven tanks counted here strangely enough made no effort to attack (perhaps the rough terrain and dragon's teeth along the American bunker line did not appear too promising) . After a brief pause they wheeled back into Lutzkampen. [15] About dark infantry from Lutzkampen attacked in close order formation against Company B. Maps picked up from dead Germans showed that the American machine gun positions had been exactly plotted-but as they had existed up to a change made just before the 16th. The enemy made three attacks in the same close formation over the same ground before they discovered the error of their ways. Company B, however, had been badly shot up during the engagement and probably somewhat shaken by the presence of two or three flame-throwing tanks-a new experience to most American troops on the Western Front. Nevertheless by midnight the 1st Battalion front had


[15] It is quite possible that the German tank activity here was discouraged during daylight by the sharp-shooting Private Rosenthal, manning his tank destroyer in the 424th Infantry sector. See above, ch. VII, p. 153.