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20th, had endangered Peiper's only remaining foothold on the south bank of the Ambleve. Since the companies B and C, had suffered very severe losses from the waist-high fire of the German .20-mm. self-propelled flak pieces while making the assault across the open ground around the village, Colonel Tucker ordered in G Company and in the hours after midnight effected some reorganization. Fighting continued inside the village all through the night, for the most part a hunt with knife and grenade to destroy the crews of the anti-aircraft half-tracks (the flak wagons) which had punished the paratroopers so badly. During the battle Pfc. Daniel Del Grippo, who had been painfully wounded, attacked and killed the crew of a self-propelled gun. S/Sgt. William Walsh, leading a platoon which became pinned down by flanking fire from a flak wagon, rushed the Germans and destroyed them with a grenade, although he was so badly wounded that a comrade had to arm the grenade. Both of these soldiers received the DSC.


When morning dawned General Gavin turned the entire regiment over to Tucker with orders to "wipe out" the Germans at Cheneux. The 3d Battalion (Lt. Col. Julian A. Cook) made a wide flanking movement in a six-hour march over rough ground and entered the village from the north side; by late afternoon the fight was ended. The Americans had lost 225 dead and wounded, mostly from the two assault companies. Company B had 18 men left and no officers; C Company had 38 men and 3 officers. Few Germans were captured. The rear guard fought to the end, but most of the garrison still living had withdrawn during the night leaving scores of dead behind. Booty taken here included fourteen flak wagons and a battery of 105-mm. howitzers, as well as many vehicles. Only one German tank was taken a clue to the ability of the few survivors from the initial assault to hang on in the village till help arrived.


Peiper's bridgehead was gone. Lacking the gasoline to make an advance out of it on 19 December, and hoping that some resupply would be forthcoming, he had ordered it held as a possible future sally port, from which to resume the westward drive. But even as the bridgehead was torn from the hands of his kampfgruppe, so the German relief forces were stopped before they could reopen the line of communications behind Peiper. In this feat also the 82d Airborne had a share on 21 December by defending the Salm River line.