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south and rising against its eastern face. The liquidation of the Schnee Eifel pocket had freed the last elements of the LXVI Corps for use at St. Vith; General Lucht now could concentrate on the reduction of that town.


During the day the commanders of Army Group B and the Fifth Panzer Army joined General Lucht at the command post of the 18th Volks Grenadier Division near Wallerode Mill. The LXVI Corps commander left this conference with orders to encircle St. Vith, putting his main weight in enveloping moves north and south of the town. Bad road conditions, the blown bridge at Steinebruck, and continued attempts by Sixth Panzer Army columns to usurp the corps main supply road at Schonberg combined to delay Lucht's concentration. Lucht ordered a barrier erected at Schonberg to sift out the interlopers (Lucht and his chief of staff personally helped make arrests), but this was of little assistance. Corps and division artillery was brought forward piece by piece whenever a break in a traffic jam occurred, but the appearance of these horsedrawn guns in the motorized columns only succeeded in further disrupting the march order. Like the Americans on 17 December, jammed on the St. Vith-Vielsalm road, the Germans lacked adequate military police to handle the situation.


Even so, by the evening of 19 December the two infantry divisions of the LXVI Corps were in position to launch piecemeal attacks at or around St. Vith. The 18th Volks Grenadier Division, on the right, had fed the foot troops of its 295th Regiment in between the Mobile Battalion, deployed around Wallerode, and the 294th, astride the St. Vith-Schonberg road. The 293d Regiment, having aided in the capture of the Schnee Eifel regiments, filed into Schonberg during the night. The division artillery might be in firing position by the morning of the 20th. The 62d Volks Grenadier Division, to the south, finally brought its inner flank into echelon with the left of the 18th near Setz by pivoting the 190th Regiment west. The division left wing was formed by the 164th Regiment, which had occupied Lommersweiler and Hemmeres following the withdrawal of CCB, 9th Armored. The main body of the 183d remained in reserve at Winterspelt. During the night of l9-20 December the Germans completed a division bridge at Steinebruck near that destroyed by the American armored engineers, and division artillery and heavy vehicles began their move north and west.


The real punch in the forthcoming attack would be delivered by the tanks belonging to the Fuehrer Begleit Brigade. This armored brigade, commanded by Col. Otto Remer, had been hastily thrown together around a cadre composed of Hitler's former headquarters guard. [8] When the Fuehrer's command post on the Eastern Front was closed by Hitler's return to Berlin, in November, Remer was given some additional troops and shipped to the west. The final composition of the brigade was roughly equivalent to a reinforced American combat command: three grenadier battalions, a battalion of Mark IV tanks from the Grossdeutschland Panzer Division (a unit that caused Allied intelligence no end of trouble since Gross-


[8] Remer had come to Hitler's attention by his prompt actions designed to protect the Fuehrer during the July Putsch.