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eleven tanks and six half-tracks and made their way past burning buildings to the new 4th Division line north and east of Consdorf.


The elements of Task Force Riley, which had waited outside of Lauterborn through the night of l9-20 December in vain expectation that Company E would attempt to break out of Echternach, received a radio message at 0823 that Company E was surrounded by tanks and could not get out. Through the morning rumors and more rumors poured over the American radio nets, but there was no sign of Company E. About noon Colonel Riley agreed to send a few tanks in one final effort to reach the infantry in Echternach, provided that the 12th Infantry would give his tanks some protection. Company G, therefore, was assigned this task. At 1330 a report reached the 12th Infantry that Company E had gotten out. Half an hour later this report was denied; now a message said the company was coming out in small groups. Finally, in the late afternoon, Colonel Chance sent a call over the radio relay system: "Where is Riley?" Thirty minutes later the answer came back from CCA: a section of tanks and some riflemen were fighting at the outskirts of Echternach.


This was the last effort. Night had come, Echternach was swarming with Germans, and the 10th Armored Division headquarters had ordered all its teams to reassemble behind the 4th Division lines preparatory to moving "in any direction." Since most of Task Force Riley by this time had reverted to the reserve, Lauterborn, the base for operations against Echternach, was abandoned. Company G, now some forty men, and the last of Riley's tanks withdrew to the new main line of resistance. It is probable that the Americans in Echternach were forced to surrender late on 20 December. General Sensfuss had determined to erase the stubborn garrison and led the 212th Fusilier Battalion and some assault guns (or tanks) in person to blast the Americans loose. The commander of the 212th Volks Grenadier Division received a slight wound but had the satisfaction of taking the surrender of the troublesome Americans, about 111 officers and men from Company E, plus 21 men belonging to Company H. On this same day the Company F outpost which had held out at Birkelt Farm since 16 December capitulated.


Finally the enemy had control of most of the northern section of the road net between the Sauer River and Luxembourg-but it was too late. The new American line, running from Dickweiler through Osweiler, Hill 313, Consdorf, to south of Mullerthal, was somewhat weak in the center but solidly anchored at the flanks. The German attack through the 9th Armored sector beyond Waldbillig had been checked. At the opposite end of the line enemy guns and mortars worked feverishly to bring down Dickweiler around the ears of the defenders, but the Americans could not be shelled out. (When one blast threw a commode and sink from a second story down on the rear deck of a tank the crew simply complained that no bathing facilities had been provided.) At Bech, behind the American center, General Barton now had the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, in reserve, having further stripped the 4th Division right. And in and around Eisenborn, CCA, 10th Armored Division, was assembling to counter any German at-