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The 2d Battalion had a particularly rough time. Company F, which entered the forest northeast of Michelshof, at first killed or captured a number of Germans in snow-covered foxholes just inside the woods. Then the German shells began to burst through the trees. The company broke into little groups, turning this way and that to avoid the fire-many were scooped up by Germans who had been waiting in their foxholes. When the company withdrew it numbered forty-six men, but later a large number of stragglers appeared at Michelshof. On the left Company E advanced until it came under fire from a cross-grained ridge just ahead. As the company deployed for the assault a large force of German infantry erupted from the draw on its flank, preceded, as it moved, by a curtain of bursting shells. There was plenty of American artillery on call for such an emergency-six battalions were supporting the 10th Infantry attack-and the Germans were dispersed. A few tough enemy riflemen dug in as best they could on the frozen ground and held their place, forcing Company E to "infiltrate" back to its take-off position. This day, then, had been only moderately successful for the 10th Infantry, in part because it was working without the support of its own 5th Division artillery, but the reserve battalion had not been committed and the division stood waiting to expand to attack.


The final field order issued by the XII Corps called for an attack at 1100 hours on the 24th to seize and hold the line of the Sauer and Moselle Rivers with such enemy crossings as might remain intact. The main effort was delegated to the 5th Infantry Division and the 10th Armored Division, the latter having extracted much of its strength from the line on the left of the 4th Division to form a counterattack reserve. The 4th Infantry Division was to hold in place as


[7] The enemy pitched a couple of smoke grenades into a crowded cellar, causing quick spread of the rumor that gas warfare had begun.