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help the paratroopers in Champs.


Colonel Chappuis had a few minutes to face his companies toward the oncoming tanks, but the initial shock was absorbed by two tank destroyers from Company B of the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion which were knocked out as they fell back toward the Champs road. [20] As the panzers rolled forward, Company C made an orderly withdrawal to the edge of a large wood lot midway between Champs and Hemroulle. Now it was the paratroopers' turn. They showered the tanks with lead, and the German infantry clinging to the decks and sides fell to the snow. The tank detachment again wheeled into column, this time turning toward Champs. Two of the 705th tank destroyers, which were backing up Company C, caught the column in process of turning and put away three of the panzers; the paratroopers' bazookas accounted for two more.


The half of the enemy tank-infantry formation which had kept on toward Hemroulle after knifing through the 327th foxhole line received its coup de grace in a fury o cross fire laid down by four of the 705th tank destroyers, tanks from Team Roberts, the 463d Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, and bazookas handled by the glider infantry. As recounted by Col. S. L. A. Marshall after the battle: "The German tanks were fired at from so many directions and with such a mixture of fire that it was not possible to see or say how each tank met its doom." The survivors of those panzer grenadiers of the 1st Battalion who had ridden into battle on the tanks found themselves surrounded and alone, for the American rifle line had sealed itself after the initial armored punctures. About fifty German riflemen who had hidden in a stream bed were captured by cannoneers from the 755th. At noon General Kokott wrote the tanks and the accompanying infantry from the 1st Battalion of the 115th off as lost-why and where remained a mystery to the German headquarters.


The 2d Battalion of the 115th seems to have made good use of the rupture created in the 327th positions west of Hemroulle, advancing almost unperceived and unopposed until daybreak when it was brought under fire by Company C, the 3d Battalion reserve. At first light the American artillery and mortars took on the German infantry starkly outlined against the snow-covered slopes west of Hemroulle. The panzer grenadiers tried digging in but the ground was too hard frozen; so they lay in the snow and took their losses. The regimental commander, Colonel Maucke, began in midmorning to re-form his remaining troops, pulling what was left of the 1st Battalion back to a hill southeast of Flamizoulle (where it took a merciless pounding from Allied fighter-bombers) and sending his reserve battalion into the woods north of the 1st to cover its flank. When night fell Maucke ordered the remnants of the 1st Battalion to sideslip south across the gap left by the disappearance of the tank group. Of the battalion staff all were dead or wounded and the battalion commander was a young lieutenant from one of the rifle companies. Maucke himself went forward to find his lost tanks but was stopped by machine gun fire.


At Champs, where the battle had begun, most of the Germans left the village in the middle of the morning to let their


[20] Colonel Chappuis later was awarded the DSC.