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which the glider infantry had commandeered during the 7th Armored withdrawal. When daylight came the enemy assault force was in full retreat, back to the woods. Plans for a second attack north from Manhay died aborning, for by that time the Americans had the initiative.


The German advance out of Grandmenil was planned as a double-pronged assault: one column thrusting straight west on the Erezee road; the other heading off to the northwest along a narrow, precipitous road which would bring it to Mormont and a flanking position vis-a-vis Erezee. The westward move began at false dawn, by chance coinciding with Task Force McGeorge's renewal of its attack to enter Grandmenil. Again the road limited the action to a head-on tank duel. McGeorge's Shermans were outgunned by the Panthers, and when the shooting died down the American detachment had only two medium tanks in going condition.


Sometime after this skirmish one of the American tanks which had reached the edge of the village during the attack of the previous evening suddenly came alive and roared out to join the task force. What had happened was one of the oddities born of night fighting. Captain Jordan of the 1st Battalion, 3d Armored Regiment, had led five tanks into Grandmenil, but during the earlier fight four had been hit or abandoned by their crews. Jordan and his crew sat through the night in the midst of the dead tanks, unmolested by the enemy. When the captain reported to his headquarters, he told of seeing a German column, at least twelve Panthers, rumbling out of Grandmenil in a northerly direction. The 3d Armored put up a liaison plane to find the enemy tanks, but to no avail. It is known that Company L of the 289th Infantry knocked out a Panther leading a vehicular column through a narrow gorge on the Mormont road and took a number of casualties during a scrambling fight between bazookas and tank weapons. The German accounts say that this road was blocked by fallen timber and that intense American artillery fire halted all movement north of Grandmenil. Whatever the reason, this group of tanks made no further effort to force the Mormont road. [13]


Task Force McGeorge received sixteen additional Shermans at noon and a couple of hours later, on the heels of a three-battalion artillery shoot, burst through to retake Grandmenil. The pounding meted out by the 3d Armored gunners apparently drove most of the grenadiers in flight from the village; by dark the 3d Battalion of the 289th had occupied half of the village and held the road to Manhay.


There remains to tell of the 7th Armored's attempt to recapture Manhay. To visualize the 7th Armored as a ready combat division at this time would be to distort reality. By the 26th its three armored infantry battalions were woefully understrength, and less than 40 percent of its tanks and tank destroyers were operable. Even this very reduced capability could not be


[13] The man who stopped the lead tank may have been TSgt. Stephen G. Andromidas of Company L (Ltr, Maj. C. W. Anderson to Maj. Gen. William F. Train, 13 Dec 60). It is also possible that these German tanks were checked by a tank destroyer of the 629th Tank Destroyer Battalion. Sgt. Oscar M. Mullins and Pfc. Edwin W. Metz were awarded the DSC (both posthumously) for stopping an attack of "fourteen" enemy tanks on this date.