his S-3, Capt. Frederic C. Thompson, up to sort out the demoralized soldiers and replace the platoon and squad leaders who were hors de combat, then put his reserve, Company K, in to flank the German position. The reserve company made its way to the head of a draw from which the enemy could be taken in enfilade. While this flanking fire swept the German line, Company L (reorganized in two platoons of twentyfive men each) attacked with marching fire. The ridge was gained and most of the defenders killed, but this time the attackers lost only three men. Company I, advancing along a draw on which Werfers were directed, took many losses during the day. All told the 2d Infantry had made only a few hundred yards gain by the close of 24 December.
The 3d Battalion commander reported that the action had been like trying to catch a rat in a maze. The Germans, familiar with the ground, had run back and forth through the draws, popping up in new and unexpected positions. The Americans had lost direction and found maneuver difficult in the dense woods and jagged terrain, while their advance along the more direct paths offered by the draws had given the German batteries easy targets. After the untoward events of this first day the regimental commander instructed his battalions to avoid the draws as much as possible and work along the higher ground by short flanking attacks in which control could be retained.
The 11th Infantry took its attack positions during the night of the 23d in the rear of the 10th Armored screen, the 3d Battalion on the left at Larochette (Fels) and the 1st Battalion southeast of Christnach. Colonel Black had been ordered to put his main effort on the right in an attack up the draws in sup-