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two companies from the 14th Tank Battalion (Maj. Leonard E. Engeman) and one from the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion took over the fight. One company of Shermans circled in the direction of Wallerode, falling on the enemy flank while the tank destroyers contained the head of the German column on the Hunnange road. Both American units were able to drive forward and the Shermans knocked out six light panzers or assault guns. By this time the 7th Armored plans for the Schonberg attack were definitely off and a company from the 31St Tank Battalion joined in the affair. American losses were small, the German foray was checked, and before the day closed the Hunningen position was restored, but it was clear that the enemy now was concentrating to the north as well as to the east of St. Vith.


Like the probing thrust at Hunnange, the German efforts on the road east of St. Vith during 18 December were advance guard actions fought while the main German force assembled. The 18th Volks Grenadier Division, charged with the initial attack against St. Vith, actually was riding two horses at the same time, attempting to close up for a decisive blow at St. Vith while maintaining the northern arc of the circle around the Americans on the Schnee Eifel. This tactical problem was made more difficult for the 18th Volks Grenadier Division and the LXVI Corps by the traffic situation on the roads east and north of Schonberg where columns belonging to the Sixth SS Panzer Army were swinging out of their proper one. Although the corps commander, General Lucht, personally intervened to "rank" the intruders out of the area he seems to have been only moderately successful. Then, too, the artillery belonging to the division had been turned inward against the Schnee Eifel pocket on 18 December; only one battalion got up to the Schonberg-St. Vith road. [5]


The attacks made east of St. Vith on 18 December were carried by a part of the 294th Infantry, whose patrols had been checked by the 168th Engineers the previous day. Three times the grenadiers tried to rush their way through the foxhole line held by the 38th Armored Infantry Battalion (Lt. Col. William H. G. Fuller) and B Troop of the 87th astride the Schonberg road. The second attempt, just before noon, was made under cover of a creeping barrage laid down by the German artillery battalion near Schonberg and momentarily shook the American firing line. But the armored infantry, rallied by their officers and aided by Nungesser's engineers, drove back the attackers. The last German assault, begun after a two-hour fire fight, made a dent in the center of the 38th Armored Infantry line. Again the 168th Engineers gave a hand, the bulk of the 23d Armored Infantry Battalion appeared to reinforce the line east of St. Vith, and by dark all lost ground had been retaken. During this entire action the 275th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, emplaced along the Recht road northwest of St. Vith, fired concentration after concentration against the enemy thrusting against the 38th and the engineers. Observation was poor-the 18th was a day of low-hanging fogbut the nine hundred rounds plunging onto the Schonberg road did much to check the grenadiers.


[5] The German operations are discussed in MSS # B-333 (Lucht) and B-688 (Moll). See also ETHINT #21.