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south by Bollendorf. The 276th Volks Grenadier Division, then, generally faced the 60th Armored Infantry Battalion, but it should be noticed that the tortuous gorge of the Schwarz Erntz lay in the zone of the 276th and would be used to gain entry to the left flank and rear of the 4th Infantry Division.


Moehring's division had been reconstituted during the autumn following almost complete destruction in Normandy and the retreat across France. Rebuilt around wounded veterans who had returned from the hospitals, the division was fairly young in terms of the conscription classes it represented and was at full strength when it moved west from Poland. The 276th, however, could not count on accompanying gun support for its infantry since no assault guns had been supplied. In addition the divisional artillery and train were horse-drawn. In the Seventh Army plan this division formed the right wing of the LXXX Corps. The 276th Volks Grenadier Division, which with the 212th Volks Grenadier Division constituted this corps, had no distant objective such as those assigned the Fifth Panzer Army formations on its right. The only definite mission given the 276th was to gain the high ground across the Sauer, dislocate the American artillery positions around Haller, and form the western extension of the blocking line which the LXXX Corps was to present to any American thrust aimed at the southern pivot of the great counteroffensive. Once the western Sauer heights between Wallendorf and Bollendorf were in hand, the advance of the 276th would turn toward the southwest, moving alongside the 212th. In case the opportunity offered, advance contingents might push as far as Mersch and the area north of Luxembourg. This last maneuver, however, was not a mandatory part of the Seventh Army plan.


On the morning of the attack the LXXX Corps artillery broke the long quiet on the Sauer River as six battalions and a rocket projector brigade divided their fire to reinforce the divisional artillery of the 276th and 212th. The initial concentration in the 9th Armored Division (-) sector, estimated by the Americans at about a thousand rounds, was aimed principally at Beaufort, the largest town in this area, and the batteries around Haller. Damage was not extensive but the forward telephone lines were shot out. The thick fog and early morning darkness must have been as much a problem to the German assault units as to the American observers looking out toward the river. In any case there was considerable confusion and delay on the east bank, and few or none of the rubber assault boats landed on the American side before o630. Once across, the German assault troops moved rapidly up the draws, masked from view by the fog and the heavy woods.


The main crossing was made by the 986th Regiment near Wallendorf. Part of one battalion circled into the sharp valley where the Our and Sauer meet, intending to seize Hill 402 (southwest of Bigelbach), which offered the best observation in the vicinity. These troops succeeded in wiping out a squad of armored infantry that had been stationed to watch the valley, but soon mortar and machine gun fire from the 3d Battalion, 109th Infantry, watching from the heights north of the Our, stopped the Germans in their tracks.