Page 519


guard counted twenty-four tanks rolling toward the village from the east, apparently on their way to retake Heiderscheid. Word already had gone back for more tanks, but those with infantry, plus a few tank destroyers, got in the first fire, immobilized two of the leaders, and so surprised the rest that they turned tail and hurried back to Bourscheid-which the 905th Field Artillery Battalion promptly took under fire. Discerning at least a tank platoon backing the grenadiers inside Kehmen, the 1st Battalion waited until after dark for reinforcements-ten tanks formerly attached to the 28th Infantry Division. With their help, the battalion delivered a sharp assault, destroying three German tanks and freeing the village.


The night battles had shown clearly that the 80th Infantry Division faced hard going as the 24th dawned. The advance had carried north to a point where it impinged on the Seventh Army communications leading to the Bastogne battleground. The main fight for the III Corps was that flaring farther west. Henceforth McBride's operation would be subsidiary to the attack by the corps' left and center, an operation designed to interdict the movement of reinforcements heading for Bastogne and to