specific instructions for the unit to which they were sent. At 0030 on the 23d General Hasbrouck informed General Hoge that his combat command, which was to initiate the move west, would begin withdrawal at 0200. By this time both Hoge's and Clarke's combat commands were under attack. The two commanders consulted, agreed that Hoge could not break loose and thus expose Clarke to encirclement from the rear, and telephoned Hasbrouck at his command post in Vielsalm that the withdrawal must be delayed. Meanwhile the hours of darkness were slipping away.
The bulk of the LXVI Corps remained wedged in the streets of St. Vith or backed up along the roads funneling in from the east. But the combat echelons of the two regiments of the 62d Volks Grenadier Division which had bypassed the city on the south were in position by the night of the 22d to renew the attack. A few tanks, light armed reconnaissance troops, most of the division engineers, and considerable rifle strength struck through the dark against the eastern arc of the loosely organized American ring. At first there was no artillery forward to give weight to the assault, but densely wooded approaches and darkness gave the advantage to the attackers.
At Crombach, in the sector held by CCB, 7th Armored, the attack came in along the railroad, and the American tanks again were blinded by high velocity flares which gave the first clear shot to the enemy armor. East of the village American infantry and engineers were aided by friendly gunners, for the 434th Armored Field Artillery Battalion had received some ammunition when the trains came in and its forward observers were well posted. A protective barrage dropped in a half moon, sometimes no more than three hundred yards in front of the American foxholes, checked part of the 190th Grenadier Regiment east of Crombach. But some Germans filtered into town from the north and started hunting down the American tanks and assault guns. With little protection against the German bazooka teams a number of the fighting vehicles pulled out of danger. Colonel Wemple and other officers restored a line, but when daylight came it was hard to tell whether friend or foe really held Crombach.
The left battalion of the 190th made use of the predawn hours on the 23d to renew the push along Braunlauf Creek (on the north flank of Hoge's combat command), which had been beaten back by the American tankers early in the day. This time the enemy gained Neubrueck and held it, feeding in more troops hourly from the assembly area of Galhausen. Horse-drawn artillery succeeded in getting into position nearby and had a share in the action. The left flank of CCB, 7th Armored, folded back to the southwest. Then Hoge's center was hit, at this point by the 164th Grenadier Regiment whose troops got into Grufflange in the darkness and overran a medium tank platoon. The situation at Grufflange was so confused that neither Americans nor Germans reacted to the fight there, either to seal off the sector or to continue the penetration. Meanwhile, as dawn drew near, the left wing of the 164th moved against Thommen, where a cavalry platoon held an outpost to the south of the main CCB, 9th Armored, lines. A heavy barrage (the 62d Volks Grenadier Division by this time had a number of pieces