Page 224


evening the assembly of the regiment at Diekirch was completed, the 3d Battalion and engineers blowing the bridges at Bettendorf over which the enemy might pass to the south bank of the Sauer. With the river momentarily secure at its back the regiment dug in along an arc facing out from Diekirch.


But the 109th was no longer strong enough to man a continuous defensive line. Five hundred officers and men had been lost in the three-day battle; of the heavy infantry weapons only one section of 81-mm. mortars and four sections of heavy machine guns were left; the antitank company had no pieces; the tank company badly needed fuel and maintenance. But in these three days the regiment had held the enemy short of the Ettelbruck crossing and prevented the planned concentration of the 352d Volks Grenadier Division south of the Sauer. That the 109th had used every weapon at its disposal is shown by the ammunition expenditure for these days: 280,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, 5,000 rounds of mortar, 3,000 grenades, and 300 bazooka rounds. That the 109Th had disrupted the German plans is witnessed by the fact that the commander of the 352d was unable to get his division in hand until 19 December, while the attack in force could not be resumed until 20 December.