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successes of the day before-2d Panzer trucks, many armored cars, halftracks, and, near Havrenne, the guns of an entire artillery battalion. Havrenne being empty, the German column moved on toward Buissonville, Here a ruse was tried and worked. A German officer in American uniform went forward to the two Sherman tanks guarding the bridge over which the Havrenne road entered Buissonville; so effective an actor was he that the tank crews obeyed without question his order that they return to their bivouac. Four of the German tanks actually crossed the bridge at daylight, but were driven out by fire from the CCA tanks' guns. On the heels of this skirmish, the leading CCA task force started down the road for Rochefort. Near Havrenne the Panther company attempted to make a stand but was outgunned and lost five tanks. Havrenne fell to the Americans, but CCA discontinued the advance toward Rochefort for by this time it was known that the friendly infantry there had escaped. Meanwhile a considerable threat was looming on the exposed flank at Humain.


Col. John C. MacDonald's 4th Cavalry Group had set about retaking Humain, but his light tanks and tank destroyers were no match for the heavier German Panthers; nor could the American assault guns get a direct shot at them, shielded as they were behind the stone walls of the village. MacDonald tried a dismounted assault, but this failed. Artillery was unable to dislodge the enemy. Late in the afternoon Harmon sent a company of medium tanks to assist the 24h Cavalry Squadron. One last attack was made in the waning daylight-this, too, made no headway. At midnight General Collier, on his own cognizance, ordered the American cavalry to withdraw, blocking the roads to the north and east lest the enemy erupt toward Marche.


When the 26th dawned the defenders had a fresh force in the town. Panzer Lehr, it will be remembered, had been relieved during the night by the 9th Panzer to engage in the sortie toward Celles. The 9th Panzer Division (Brig. Gen. Elverfeldt) had been brought from Holland on 22 December. In view of its exposure to air attack and delays while it waited along the road for tank fuel the division had made very good time, albeit arriving in the battle line a day behind schedule. A veteran of the Arnhem and Aachen battles (it had opposed the 84th Infantry Division at Geronsweiler in the north), the 9th Panzer may have had as many as 90 tanks and 35 self-propelled assault guns or tank destroyers. Apparently the division artillery regiment did not arrive until three or four days later. When the first march column reached the line on the afternoon of the 25th it deployed south of Marche, there taking over the Marloie-Hedree blocking position held by the 2d Panzer.


As more troops arrived the 9th Panzer extended westward, thus including Humain in its bailiwick, but Elverfeldt's fresh division had more than a defensive mission. Although Luettwitz intended to employ this new armor to nourish the drive westward, it is questionable whether the XLVII Panzer Corps commander had anything more in mind than the defeat of the American armor east of the Meuse when he gave the 9th Panzer its orders on the night of 25 December: attack from the Humain sector and take Buissonville.


About 0700 the cavalry observation