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others a few hours in Luxembourg City, ice cream in several flavors, well-watered beer, and the dubious pleasure of hearing accordionists squeeze out German waltzes and Yankee marching songs of World War I vintage. Replacements, now by order named "reinforcements," joined the division, but by mid-December the regiments still averaged five to six hundred men understrength. Infantry replacements were particularly hard to obtain and many rifle companies remained at no better than half strength. Equipment, which had been in use since the Normandy landings, was in poor condition. A number of the divisional vehicles had broken down en route to Luxembourg; a part of the artillery was in divisional ordnance shops for repair. When the Germans attacked, the 70th Tank Battalion, attached to the 4th Division, had only eleven of its fiftyfour medium tanks in running condition.


Neither the 83d Division, which the 4th had relieved, nor any higher headquarters considered the Germans in this sector to be capable of making more than local attacks or raids, and patrols from the 4th Division found nothing to change this estimate. Even so General Barton made careful disposition of his understrength and weary division, even ordering the divisional rest camps, originally back as far as Arlon, to be moved to sites forward of the regimental command posts. Since any static linear defense was out of the question because of the length of the front and the meandering course of the two rivers, Barton instructed his regimental commanders to maintain only small forces at the river outpost line, holding the main strength, generally separate companies, in the villages nearby. Each regiment had one battalion as a mobile reserve, capable of moving on four-hour notice. Each regiment, by standard practice on such a wide front, had one of the division's 105mm. howitzer battalions in direct support. General support was provided by the division's own 155-mm. howitzer battalion and two additional medium battalions belonging to the 422d Field Artillery Group, but even this added firepower did not permit the 4th Division massed fire at any point on the extended front. Mobile support was provided by those tanks of the 70th Tank Battalion which were operational, the self-propelled tank destroyers of the 803d Tank Destroyer Battalion, and the towed tank destroyers of the 802d. The plans to utilize these positions were briefed by General Barton to his commanders on the 13th. Barton was apprehensive that the enemy would attempt a raid in force to seize Luxembourg City, and in the battle beginning on the 16th he would view Luxembourg City as the main German objective.


Intelligence reports indicated that the 4th Division was confronted by the 212th Volks Grenadier Division and miscellaneous "fortress" units, deployed on a front equal to that held by the 4th. Until the night of 14 December this estimate was correct. As yet no American troops had had opportunity to try the mettle of the 212th (Generalmajor Franz Sensfuss). After three years of campaigning on the Eastern Front the division had been so badly shattered during withdrawals in the Lithuanian sector that it was taken from the line and sent to Poland, in September 1944, for overhauling. The replacements received, mostly from upper Bavaria, were judged better than the average although there