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cannon company gunners quickly bore-sighted their pieces, loaded reduced charge, and with direct fire knocked out four of the panzers. A scratch platoon of less than fifty men collected from the regimental headquarters and Ouren held the supporting German infantry at bay along the ridge east of the village.


The tank thrust through the 1st Battalion center pushed parts of companies C (a platoon of which had joined the battalion from training), A, and D back through the woods toward Welchenhausen. Here about ten o'clock, Battery C of the 229th came under direct tank fire but stopped the tanks with howitzer fire at close range while Company C of the 447th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion used its quad mount machine guns to chop down the infantry following behind.


About noon the 2d Battalion counterattacked and German pressure along the 112th front began to wane. The 229th Field Artillery Battalion pounded the German assembly point at Lutzkampen as hard as limited stock of shells permitted and fighter-bombers plastered the village: "air tremendously effective" reported the expectant ground observers. But there were too few guns and too few air sorties to keep the enemy immobilized for long. Probably by this time a good share of the 116th tanks had been committed. Certainly the enemy infantry were spreading rapidly through the woods and draws between the American front line and the Our River. By 1315 the howitzers around Welchenhausen again were firing at their minimum range. Three-quarters of an hour later the regimental commander ordered the artillery to displace behind the river; Colonel Fairchild moved the battalion across the river without losing a piece and immediately resumed firing.


Throughout this entire action the 229th gave the 112th Infantry such support as to elicit from the regimental commander the opinion that "it was the best artillery in the army," an expression which would be used by other infantry commanders about other artillery units during these trying days. In this case, as in many others during the American withdrawal, the full story is that of the cooperation of the combined arms. The field artillery commander in his turn would credit the ably served .5O-caliber machine guns and 4O-mm. Bofors of the protecting antiaircraft company with saving his howitzers.


News of the battle on the right and left of the 112th Infantry sector had been sparse. During the afternoon General Cota radioed Colonel Nelson to be especially watchful of his northern flank, but added that if his own position became untenable he should withdraw at dark behind the Our. About 1515 Nelson sent his executive officer, Lt. Col. William F. Train, to the 28th Division command post with orders to report personally on the regiment's position. Cota, as it turned out, already had phoned the corps commander and asked permission to bring the 112th back to the high ground west of the river. General Middleton agreed, but with the proviso that the regiment should remain close enough to the river to deny an enemy crossing.


Although this final word seems to have reached Ouren about 1600, Colonel Nelson did not act immediately on the order because he still had hopes that the entrapped 1st Battalion could be