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night of 24 December which killed a Belgian nurse and a score of wounded paratroopers).


The original time schedule was exceedingly optimistic: to put in the infantry assault at 0400; to break through the American rifle line by 0600, at which time the artillery could see to fire on targets of opportunity and the tanks would be able to move with speed; and to rush an armored group from the 15th Panzer Grenadier into Bastogne between 0800 and 0900 hours before the American fighter-bombers took to the air.


The optimism breathed by this schedule must have expired shortly after it was put on paper although the plan remained. Kokott has recorded his shock and surprise at the weak state of the reinforcements brought in by Deckert: the 115th Regiment (three battalions of fusiliers), the reconnaissance battalion and two armored field artillery battalions of the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division, a company of tank destroyers, and seventeen tanks belonging to the 115th Panzer Battalion. Hitler's failure to name Bastogne as the primary objective had been reflected in the dilatory and contradictory orders issued by the higher commanders for the employment of Deckert's division. True, the second of Deckert's regiments (the 104th) finally had been given to the XLVII Panzer Corps, but on Christmas Eve it was toiling slowly toward the east side of Bastogne and would not arrive in time to join the battle. Col. Wolfgang Maucke, commander of the 115th, objected-as strongly as a colonel would dare-when he received his orders toward dusk on the 24th He had been given no time for reconnaissance; no coordination had been arranged with the tanks supposed to support the 115th. Maucke's superiors simply pointed out the tremendous advantage that would accrue to a surprise attack on Christmas Day-he had his orders. [19]


The main assault, handed the elements of the 15th Panzer Grenadier, was to be a straight thrust over Flamizoulle into Bastogne with the right wing guiding on the Marche highway, a distance of about four miles. For this Maucke put two battalions in line and one in reserve. The 1st Battalion, with tanks carrying some of the infantry, was to pass through Flamizoulle; the 2d Battalion, supported by the tank destroyer company, would circle Flamizoulle to the north and strike for the northern edge of Bastogne. To the left of Maucke's kampfgruppe the 77th Grenadier Regiment was ordered to attack along the secondary road running through Champs and Hemroulle into Bastogne. Here the 1st Battalion had the job of seizing Champs and opening the way while the 2d Battalion, following to the left and rear, would be prepared to leapfrog forward as Champs fell, the two making the final push into Bastogne abreast. The reconnaissance battalion of the 26th Volks Grenadier Division, south of Maucke's force, had a special mission: to attack from Senonchamps and pierce the new American position by seizing Isle-la-Hesse, a hamlet standing where the Senonchamps road fed into the Marche highway. Although nearly all the German units sur-


[19] The history of the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division is related by the commander of the detachments at Bastogne in MS # P-032c, Ardennes Project: Report on the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division, 16 December 19442 February 1945 (Maucke).