port of the 2d but decided to throw his weight on the left. The left battalion, draped in white sheets and supported by tanks, made its advance in column of companies on a narrow thrust line bearing north in the direction of Haller and hit squarely between the battalions of the 988th Regiment. Whenever the enemy stood his ground, artillery and tank fire was brought to bear, quickly followed by infantry assault paced with machine gun fire. Following a level ridge line the 3d Battalion made good time. By midafternoon it held its objective, a wooded rise less than a thousand yards southwest of Haller.
The 1st Battalion had as its objective the wooded table which arose above the Schwarz Erntz northeast of Christnach-the scene of bitter fighting and bloody losses for the Americans when the enemy had held the initiative. Company A, sent down into the Mullerthal gorge while the remainder of the battalion threw in a holding attack on the left, moved slowly but steadily, until after some three hours it was opposite the village of Mullerthal. Here the Germans had dug in, checking the advance with machine gun and mortar fire into the gorge from Waldbillig. Company B came in to help against Waldbillig, moving northwest through one of the cross corridors. As soon as the troops left the cover of the draw they encountered direct fire, and it looked as though the 1st Battalion would find it tough to continue a frontal attack.
The rapid advance by the 3d Battalion on the left appeared a solution to this tactical problem. Colonel Black prepared to alter the 11th Infantry scheme of maneuver on the 25th. The 3d Battalion was to be relieved by the regimental reserve, then wheel to the right, bypass south of Haller, and seize the two hill objectives, the Hardthof and Hohwald, in front of the 1st Battalion. During the night 1st Battalion patrols worked to the edge of Waldbillig, found little indication of enemy strength and by daylight the battalion had a company in the village.
This first day of the 5th Division attack had netted rather limited gains except on the extreme left flank and in the 10th Infantry sector at Hill 313. The six American battalions engaged had lost about two hundred dead and wounded. The enemy generally had held the attackers at arm's length (only nineteen prisoners went through the 5th Division cage) and probably had fewer casualties. The German artillery had been very active and effective, despite heavy counterbattery fire, while the tortuous nature of the ground had robbed the gunners supporting the 5th Division of much good shooting. But something had been accomplished. The 4th Infantry Division at last had been relieved (although it proved difficult to find and make physical contact with some isolated outposts of the 4th Division line), and Col. Charles H. Reed's 2d Cavalry Group took over the quiet portion of the line on the right of the 5th Division.
At the close of day, there were indications at several points that the enemy was pulling away. A German withdrawal actually did take place during the night. The 2d Infantry battle along the floor and sides of the Schwarz Erntz, viewed so pessimistically by those engaged, had convinced General Sensfuss, the 212th Volks Grenadier Division commander, that his extended right flank soon would be pierced or turned.