adier now gathered in attack formation in the woods around Odeigne, while tanks of the 2d Panzer Regiment formed in column along the new road. To the east the 4th Panzer Grenadier sent a rifle battalion moving quietly from Fraiture through the woods toward Malempre. By 2100, the hour set for the German attack, the column at Odeigne was ready. Christmas Eve had brought a beautifully clear moonlit night, the glistening snow was hard-packed, tank-going good.
About the time the German column started forward, the subordinate commanders of CCA, 7th Armored, received word by radio to report in Manhay, there to be given new orders-the orders, that is, for the general withdrawal north. The commander of the 7th Armored position north of Odeigne (held by a company of the 40th Tank Battalion and a company of the 48th Armored Infantry Battalion) had just started for Manhay when he saw a tank column coming up the road toward his position. A call to battalion headquarters failed to identify these tanks, but since the leader showed the typical blue exhaust of the Sherman, it was decided that this must be a detachment from the 3d Armored. Suddenly a German bazooka blasted