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only by roadblocks and roving patrols, but the Germans failed to follow up their advantage on the night of 18-19 December.


There was no longer thought of relieving the three armored infantry companies still behind the enemy lines. Colonel Collins sent word to withdraw, via a radio which a forward observer from the 3d Field Artillery Battalion had repaired and by officers from the isolated companies who previously had made daring dashes by jeep through the Germans to bring out wounded and carry forward ammunition. During the next three days volunteers led back nearly 60 percent of the armored infantry but the three-day fight had cost the 60th an estimated 231 casualties. [9]


Across the lines the psychological lift which might have been given by the appearance of the new commander, Col. Hugo Dempwolff, and the successful attack against the 109th Infantry by the 352d Volks Grenadier Division, which had finally shaken the 276th north flank loose, was offset by General Moehring's death and the failure to provide a bridge in the division bridgehead. So short was bridging equipment in the Seventh Army that the initial losses at Wallendorf could not be immediately replaced.


On the night of 18-19 December, the divisions on the right and left of the 276th permitted artillery, some rocket projectors, and supplies to move across their bridges to the 276th. As yet the company of assault guns which the Seventh Army had promised was nowhere in sight.


Colonel Dempwolff, taking stock of conditions in his new command, found that losses had been high (ascribed by the unit commanders to the continued absence of assault gun support) and that spirits were low. He determined to continue the attack, nevertheless, this time using the newly arrived supporting weapons to bring his left and center regiments together in a coordinated thrust against Waldbillig, the anchor position for the south flank of the 9th Armored Division. On 19 December, then, Dempwolff reorganized his regiments, moved artillery and rocket projectors forward, and gave his troops food and rest. At Bollendorf his engineers finally completed a bridge over the 40-yard-wide river, lessening somewhat the pinch on the 276th.


CCA took this much needed breathing spell to prepare roadblocks and demolitions in front of its new 7-mile-long main line of resistance. At best this position amounted to a thin screen with numerous gaps; so a slim reserve was created consisting of two engineer platoons and a dozen assault guns. During the morning, contact with the Germans was lost. Patrols that went out to the front and flanks found nothing in the dangerous gap between Ermsdorf and Diekirch but drove off a German patrol which was moving south from Eppeldorf, not west into the gap. At the right end of the American line patrols discovered a


[9] The 9th Armored Division never fought as a complete division during the period covered by the present volume. As a result the 9th Armored after action report and files are of little value in tracing the action of one of its combat commands. For the series of events described in this section the main sources are the combat interviews; the 60th Armored Infantry Battalion AAR; the 9th Armored Engineer Battalion AAR, which tells the very detailed story, by companies; the CCA AAR and S-3 Jnl; the separate troop histories in the 89th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron AAR; and the useful AAR of the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion .