fire burst from the village, while Werfers in the neighboring woods joined in. Although the infantry support had a bad time, the tanks were little concerned by this enemy action. Their presence inside the village had some effect: a hundred prisoners were taken from the 988th. About midnight the American artillery laid on a brief, sharp concentration and the few tanks still in Waldbillig made a rapid withdrawal. Then Americans and Germans both shelled the village, by now a kind of no man's land.
To the east, opposite the weakest portion of the 4th Infantry Division line, the 212th Volks Grenadier Division made still another effort to reach its original objective-the good defensive terrain and blocking position in the Consdorf-Scheidgen-Michelshof area. In the afternoon of 21 December the 212th Fuesilier Battalion moved along the main Echternach-Luxembourg road through Lauterborn, which the Americans earlier had abandoned. Just ahead lay Hill 313, overlooking the road south. Here a part of Company C, 159th Engineer Combat Battalion, was stationed, with Company B occupying a smaller hill just to the west. There was no protection for the engineer flanks. About 1300 the Germans started a 30-minute shelling, covering their advance through the draws fringing the American-held heights.
Company B caught the full force of the first assault, the grenadiers erupting from the draws, firing their burp guns, and shouting in broken English, "Kill the sons of bitches." Two platoons fell back from Company B onto Company C, which in turn came under attack by Germans who had worked around Hill 313 and threatened to cut the road back to Scheidgen. The engineers had no working radios and did not know that reinforcements in the shape of a hundred or 50 men from the division headquarters company were on the way. Actually this relief party had to fight its way forward as the engineers struggled to clear a path back, and darkness was coming when the two bodies made contact. Almost out of ammunition, the engineers fell back to Scheidgen, but the Germans made no move to follow.
While the fusilier battalion was gaining ground in its drive toward Scheidgen, other troops of the 212th Volks Grenadier Division were trying, albeit with less success, to make headway to the east and west. Assembling in the woods near Rodenhof, the 320th Grenadier Regiment launched an attack to take Osweiler, but ran into two companies of the 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry, en route to clean out the woods. Neither side was able to advance and the Americans dug in for the night a few hundred yards south of Rodenhof. On the left flank of the 12th Infantry sector a sharp fight flared up in midafternoon when two companies of the 423d Grenadier Regiment tried to take Consdorf. The American tanks and infantry held their fire until the enemy assault formation had cleared its assembly area in the woods and was fully deployed on the bare slope before the town. Then they cut loose. Some sixty Germans were killed and the rest withdrew.
The 212th Volks Grenadier Division made a last attempt to expand the gains achieved in the Scheidgen sector on 22 December, the date on which the American counterattack finally began. A stealthy advance through the draws between the Americans occupying the