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defense as to American resistance. The 190th Regiment advanced in close formation toward the 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, almost as if in route march, and took a terrible beating from artillery, mortars, tank destroyers, antitank guns on ground mounts, and machine guns. The 164th Regiment, advancing opposite the southern flank of CCB, reported success while moving unopposed through Maspelt and across ground which had been abandoned the previous night, but at a crossroads in the Grufflange woods American shells suddenly poured in and the advance came to a dead stop. Prisoners subsequently told of very severe losses here in the forest. [3]


Although action had flared up on 20 December along the eastern face of the St. Vith perimeter, the feature of this day was the series of rearrangements to tighten the perimeter on the north and south. Hasbrouck earlier had been "suspicious" of what was happening in the northern sector around Recht and Poteau, but he was no longer too apprehensive after the successive march groups of the 1st SS Panzer Division had bounced off the 7th Armored Division roadblocks. The gap between the western anchor of the north flank at Vielsalm and the eastern outposts of the 82d Airborne Division was closed toward the end of the day when patrols from the 505th Parachute Infantry met a reconnaissance party from the 7th Armored south of Trois Ponts. In addition light tanks belonging to the 87th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron had established radio contact with the 3d Armored task force north of Samree. On the whole it appeared that the north flank of the St. Vith force shortly would be battened down at its western terminus and that the danger of a German turning movement there had been removed.


The main danger, apparent since 19 December, was the open south flank of the St. Vith defense hanging on the air at Holdingen. It was known that a German move northwest toward this open flank was in process-indeed the 116th Panzer Division and the 560th Volks Grenadier Division had been identified. Furthermore the 7th Armored trains had reported signs of an enemy force far to the west of the 7th Armored outpost positions. Acutely aware of the threat now forming, General Hasbrouck stripped such elements as he dared from his north flank, added the remnants of the 14th Cavalry Group, and created Task Force Jones (Lt. Col. Robert B. Jones, Commanding Officer, 814th Tank Destroyer Battalion) to guard the south and southwestern flank. Admittedly this scratch force was too weak to make a serious defense in the endangered sector, but it could be expected to block the key road junctions and sound a warning should the enemy attempt any flanking movement.


Colonel Jones organized three small detachments to occupy Deifeld, Gouvy, and Cherain, a screening position a little over six miles from east to west. Deifeld was occupied without trouble. The high ground commanding Cherain, seven miles northeast of Houffalize at the junction of the roads from Vielsalm and St. Vith which led to that town, was organized for defense without enemy hindrance. By chance the Cherain de-


[2] The operations of the LXVI Corps around St. Vith are described in MSS #B-026 (Hauser); B-333 (Lucht); and B-688 (Moll). The midday and evening reports on OB WEST KTB are particularly useful.