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gathered about sixty men in the Parc Hotel as the enemy closed in. The Parc was a three-storied reinforced concrete resort hotel (indicated in the guide-books as having "confort moderne") surrounded by open ground. Leake's force had only one .50-caliber machine gun and a BAR to reinforce the rifles in the hands of the defenders, but the Germans were so discouraged by the reception given their initial sorties that their succeeding attempts to take the building were markedly halfhearted.


Meanwhile the 7th Company, 423d Regiment, pushed forward to cut the Echternach-Luxembourg road, the one first-class highway in the 12th Infantry sector. This company struck Lauterborn, on the road a mile and a half southwest of Echternach, and cut off the Company G outposts. By 1130 the remainder of Company G, armed with rifles and one BAR, was surrounded but still fighting at a mill just north of the village, while a platoon of the 2d Battalion weapons company held on in a few buildings at the west edge of Lauterborn. Company E, in Echternach, likewise was surprised but many of the outpost troops worked their way back to a hat factory, on the southwestern edge of the city, which had been organized as a strongpoint. The first German assault here did not strike until about 1100, although Echternach lay on low ground directly at the edge of the river. Attempts by the 320th Infantry to make a predawn crossing at Echternach had been frustrated by the swift current, and finally all the assault companies were put over the Sauer at Edingen, more than three miles downstream.


This delay brought the advance troops of the 320th onto the hills above Osweiler and Dickweiler well after daylight, and almost all of the American outposts were able to fall back on the villages intact. Late in the morning two enemy companies attacked Dickweiler, defended by Company I, but were beaten off by mortar fire, small arms, and a .50-caliber machine gun taken from a half-track. The Germans withdrew to some woods about 800 yards to the north, ending the action; apparently the 320th was more concerned with getting its incoming troops through Echternach. Osweiler, west of Dickweiler, thus far had seen no enemy.


With wire shot out, radios failing, and outposts overrun, only a confused and fragmentary picture of the scope and intent of the attack was available in the 4th Infantry Division headquarters. By noon, however, with Berdorf and Echternach known to be under attack, Dickweiler hit in force, and Lauterborn reported to be surrounded, it was clear that the Germans at the very least were engaged in an extensive "reconnaissance in force," thus far confined to the 12th Infantry sector. Artillery, normally the first supporting weapon to be brought into play by the division, had very limited effect at this stage. The field artillery battalions were widely dispersed behind the various sections of the long 4th Division front; only fifteen pieces from the 42d Field Artillery Battalion and the regimental cannon company were in range to help the 12th Infantry. The one liaison plane flying observation for the gunners (the other was shot up early on 16 December) reported that "the area was as full of targets as a pinball machine," but little could be done about it. Radio communication, poor as it was, had to serve, with the artillery network handling most of the infantry