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and forward supply dumps in the Trier-Bitburg area. A large-scale American counterattack against the LXXX Corps could be predicted, but lacking aerial reconnaissance German intelligence could not expect to determine the time or strength of such an attack with any accuracy. General Beyer's orders for 20 December, therefore, called upon the 212th and 276th Volks Grenadier Divisions to crush the small points of resistance where American troops still contended behind the German main forces, continue local attacks and counterattacks in order to secure more favorable ground for future defense, and close up along a coordinated corps front in preparation for the coming American onslaught.


On 20 December there was savage fighting in the 4th Infantry Division zone despite the fact that both of the combatants were in the process of going over to the defensive. The 4th Division and 10th Armored sought to disengage their advance elements and regroup along a stronger main line of resistance, and the enemy fought to dislodge the American foothold in Berdorf and Echternach. At the same time elements of the 276th Volks Grenadier Division struck through Waldbillig, the point of contact between the 4th Division and the 9th Armored, in an attempt to push the right wing of the LXXX Corps forward to a point where the road net leading east to the Sauer might be more easily denied the gathering American forces.


The team from Task Force Standish had made little progress in its houseto-house battle in Berdorf. Company F, 12th Infantry, retained its position in the Parc Hotel, despite a German demolition charge that exploded early in the morning of the 20th and blew in part of one wall. After a short melee in the darkness American hand grenades discouraged the assault at this breach and the enemy withdrew to a line of foxholes which had been dug during the night close to the hotel. When the fight died down one of the defenders found that the blast had opened a sealed annex in the basement, the hiding place of several score bottles of fine liquor and a full barrel of beer. Lieutenant Leake refused permission to sample this cache, a decision he would regret when, after withdrawal from Berdorf, he and twenty-one of his men were returned to the foxhole line with neither their coats nor blankets.


At daylight on 20 December the 1st Battalion, 423d Regiment, which had been brought in from the Lauterborn area, initiated a counterattack against the team from Task Force Standish at the edge of Berdorf and recovered all the ground lost during the previous two days. The American artillery forward observer's tank was crippled by a bazooka and the radio put out of commission, but eventually word reached the supporting artillery, which quickly drove the enemy to cover. Although the evacuation of Berdorf was part of the 4th Division plan for redressing its line, the actual withdrawal was none too easy. The Germans had cut the road back to Consdorf; so the right team of Task Force Standish was withdrawn from the attack on Hill 329 and spent most of the afternoon clearing an exit for the men and vehicles in Berdorf. Finally, a little after dark, Companies B and F (12th Infantry), ten engineers, and four squads of armored infantry loaded onto