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posts north of Humain saw tanks defiling from the town onto the Havrenne-Buissonville road. This word was flashed to the 2d Armored command post where Harmon ordered Col. Carl Hutton, the division artillery commander, to fire a "serenade" (a TOT) on Humain with all the 155-mm. and 8-inch battalions in range "right away." The avalanche of heavy shells falling in Humain did not disrupt the German attack formation en route to Havrenne but may have prevented its prompt reinforcement. The engagement at Havrenne began within a half-hour, carried by fifteen Panther tanks and a battalion of grenadiers from the 10th Panzer Grenadier riding in armored half-tracks. At the edge of the village the German infantry took over the initial assault, only to be beaten off by tank guns, tank destroyers, and artillery. Company I of the 66th Armored Regiment, with its attached platoons of infantry and tank destroyers, met and threw back three separate attacks during the day. The job was made easier by the capture of the German attack plan and the warm attention paid Humain-the German sally port-by Hutton's artillery and MacDonald's light armor, the latter engaged in shooting up the thin-skinned half-tracks bringing reinforcements into Humain.


It may seem strange that the 9th Panzer, with fresh troops and close to its full tank complement, did not press the attack against CCA. But the 9th, like the 2d Panzer and Panzer Lehr before it, was fighting with one arm behind its back. Luettwitz, gravely concerned that the Americans might break through west of Bastogne and surge north to cut off the divisions in the salient beyond Rochefort, turned the blocking position at Rochefort over to the 9th Panzer, leaving that division with its line bent at a right angle.


All through the night of 26 December the medium and heavy calibers of the 2d Armored Division artillery blasted away at the Germans in Humain. The town had to be retaken, for it presented a continuing point of entry into the left flank of the 2d Armored. But as part of the larger VII Corps' scheme, Harmon had the task of carrying forward the American front to the east-west line of the L'Homme and Lesse Rivers. For this general advance Harmon brought up CCR (Col. Sidney R. Hinds), which had been waiting at Hogne since Christmas Day, and attached it to Collier's CCA. Collier ordered CCR to take on the Panthers in Humain and sent CCA to clear the large forested area and the roads running south to Rochefort and L'Homme. CCB was thus left in the west to eradicate the last remnants of the Celles pocket while extending patrols, in cooperation with the British 29th Armoured Brigade-all of its troops now east of the Meuse-to the line of the Lesse River.


To trap the Humain garrison, Colonel Hinds made his attack on the morning of the 7th with tanks circling south, east, and west of the town, and the armored infantry moving in from the north. The 2d Battalion (Lt. Col. Lemuel E. Pope) of the 67th Armored Regiment had isolated Humain by 1015 but found the Panthers missing, driven out during the night by the artillery bombardment. There remained considerable bite in the Humain defenders and they momentarily halted the American tank column led by Pope. Pope went to the head of the column,