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ment had outrun its infantry support or was apprehensive of a close engagement in the dark, for the German tanks backed off and returned to Grandmenil.


It took some time to reorganize the 3d Battalion of the 289th, but about 0800 the battalion set off on its assigned task of clearing the woods southwest of Grandmenil. At the same time the rest of the regiment, on the right, moved into an attack to push the outposts of the 560th Volks Grenadier Division back from the Aisne River. General Hickey, however, needed more help than a green infantry regiment could give if the 3d Armored was to halt the 2d SS Panzer and restore the blocking position at Grandmenil. His plea for assistance was carried by General Rose up the echelons of command, and finally CCB was released from attachment to the 30th Division in the La Gleize sector to give the needed armored punch.


Early in the afternoon Task Force McGeorge (a company each of armored infantry and Sherman tanks) arrived west of Grandmenil. The task force was moving into the attack when disaster struck. Eleven P-38's of the 430th Squadron, which were being vectored onto their targets by the 7th Armored Division, mistook McGeorge's troops for Germans and made a bombing run over the wooded assembly area. CCB later reported that 3 officers and 36 men were killed by the American bombs. Here again the failure of communications between the 3d and 7th Armored Divisions had cost dear. [8] A new attack was mounted at 2000, McGeorge's armored infantry and a company from the 289th preceding the American tanks in the dark. Within an hour five tanks and a small detachment of the armored infantry in half-tracks were in Grandmenil, but the enemy promptly counterattacked and restored his hold on the village.


The 2d SS Panzer had nevertheless failed on 25 December to enlarge the turning radius it needed around the Grandmenil pivot. The German records show clearly what had stopped the advance. Every time that the 3d Panzer Grenadier formed an assault detachment to break out through the woods south and west of Grandmenil, the American artillery observers located on the high ground to the north brought salvo after salvo crashing down. All movement along the roads seemed to be a signal for the Allied fighter-bombers to swoop down for the kill. [9] To make matters worse, the 9th SS Panzer had failed to close up on the 2d SS Panzer Division's right. General Lammerding dared not swing his entire division into the drive westward and thus leave an open flank facing the American armor known to be north of Manhay.


Although General Ridgway had


[8] CCB, S-3 Jnl and AAR. The 474th Squadron Operations report of 25 December 1944, says that the vehicles attacked were displaying orange panels. By this date, however, some German units were using the distinctive U.S. orange insignia. The IX TAC operations summary of 25 December notes that the 7th Armored had set the coordinate P-5388 as the "no-bomb" line; everything to the east, therefore, was fair game. McGeorge's assembly area was almost exactly on the coordinates given.


[9] At 1345 on the 5th, General Kean, First Army chief of staff, called the IX TAC and said that the first priority air mission for the entire First Army was the enemy penetration at the junction of the XVIII Airborne and VII Corps. IX TAC, A-2 Jnl.