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a few houses, but were in the process of being reinforced by Nebelwerfers and armored vehicles.


Other troops of Task Force Standish returned to the attack at Hill 329, on the Berdorf-Echternach road, where they had been checked by flanking fire the previous day. Sharp assault destroyed the German machine gun positions and the attack reached the ridge leading to Hill 329. Then the advance had to be halted short of the objective in order to free the tanks and half-tracks for use in evacuating the large number of wounded. This ambulance convoy was en route to Consdorf, in the late afternoon, when a radio message reported that the Germans had cut the road north of Consdorf and bazooka'd two tanks on their way back from Berdorf for ammunition. The wounded were left in Berdorf and the task force tanks, hampered by milling civilian refugees, began a night-long fire fight with the 2d Battalion, 423d Regiment, which had concentrated to capture Consdorf.


Task Force Riley sent tanks carrying infantry into the edge of Echternach on the morning of 19 December. There they re-established contact with Company E and covered the withdrawal of outlying detachments to the hat factory. The 12th Infantry commander already had given permission for Company E to evacuate Echternach, but communications were poor-indeed word that the tanks had reached Company E did not arrive at the 12th Infantry command post until four hours after the event-and the relief force turned back to Lauterborn alone. The tanks were hardly out of sight before the Germans began an assault on the hat factory with bazookas, demolition charges, and an armored assault gun. Two volunteers were dispatched in a jeep to make a run for Lauterborn, carrying word that enemy tanks were moving into the city and asking for "help and armor." The two, last of the Americans to come out of Echternach, made the run safely despite direct fire aimed by the German assault gun. At Lauterborn, however, they were told that the tanks could not be risked in Echternach after dark. American artillery observers by the failing light saw "troops pouring into Echternach." Orders were radioed to Company E (a fresh battery for its radio had been brought in by the tanks) to fight its way out during the night. It was too late. The defenders had been split up by the German assault and the company commander had to report that he could not organize a withdrawal. Through the night of 19-20 December Riley's tanks waited on the road just north of Lauterborn, under orders from the Commanding General, CCA, not to attempt a return through the dark to Echternach.


Although the fighting on 19 December had been severe on the American left, a general lull prevailed along the rest of the line. The enemy made no move to push deeper in the center. The combat engineers in Scheidgen returned to Hill 313 and occupied it without a fight. A few small affrays occurred in the Osweiler-Dickweiler sector, but that was all. By nightfall the situation seemed much improved-despite the increased pressure on the 4th Division companies closely invested in the north. Both flanks were nailed down, and the German attack seemed to have lost momentum.


Elsewhere on the VIII Corps front the enemy advance was picking up speed and reinforcements were rolling forward