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very lucrative targets. This battalion, covering a 360-degree front, would in fact be forced to make its original 1,400 rounds last for five days. The two 155-mm. howitzer battalions were really pawing at the bottom of the barrel. The 969th fired thirty-nine rounds on 24 December and two days later could allow its gunners only twenty-seven rounds, one-sixth the number of rounds expended per day when the battle began.


The airdrop on the 23d brought a dividend for the troops defending Bastogne. The cargo planes were all overwatched by fighters who, their protective mission accomplished, turned to hammer the Germans in the Bastogne ring. During the day eighty-two P-47's lashed out at this enemy with general-purpose and fragmentation bombs, napalm, and machine gun fire. The 101st reported to Middleton, whose staff was handling these air strikes for the division, that "air and artillery is having a field day around Bastogne."


The German attack on the 23d was mounted by the 26th Volks Grenadier Division and the attached regiment left behind by Panzer Lehr. Lacking the men and tanks for an assault around the entire perimeter, General Kokott elected to continue the fight at Senonchamps while attacking in two sectors diametrically opposite each other, the Marvie area in the southeast and the Flamierge area in the northwest. By the happenstance of its late and piecemeal deployment the 327th Glider Infantry stood in front of the enemy at both these critical points.


The 5th Parachute Division, now badly fought out and with gaping ranks, could be of little help at Bastogne. Actually this division was scattered on a front of eighteen miles, reaching from Neufchateau clear back to the Sauer crossings. Indeed, during the day the 26th Volks Grenadier Division had to take over the portion of the 5th Parachute line between Clochimont and Hompre because the American forces from the south threatened to pierce this very thinly occupied segment of the blocking line. Kokott, then, could employ only two regiments and his reconnaissance battalion in the assault, while maintaining what pressure the remaining two regiments might have along the balance of the American perimeter.


The enemy tactics on this and the following days reflect the manner in which Kokott had to husband his resources. Extensive preparatory fires by artillery and Werfers opened the show while the infantry wormed in as close to the American foxhole line as possible. By this time the newfallen snow had put every dark object in full relief; the grenadiers now donned white snow capes and the panzers were painted white. (The Americans replied in kind with wholesale raids on Belgian bed linen and with whitewash for their armored vehicles.) The assault would be led by a tank platoon-normally four or five panzers-followed by fifty to a hundred infantry. If this first wave failed, a second or third-seldom larger than the initial wave-would be thrown in. It is clear, however, that the German commander and his troops were chary of massed tactics at this stage of the game.


The 39th Volks Grenadier Regiment, freshest in Kokott's division, was assembled to the west and northwest opposite Team Browne and the 3d Battalion of the 327th. The latter had maintained