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around the village crossroad (the German account relates that the 1st Battalion of the 19th was "cut to pieces" here).


"The Sad Sack Affair"


As the year came to a close the Sixth Panzer Army made one last effort to breach the American defenses between the Salm and the Ourthe. This battle took place in and around the hamlet of Sadzot (so tiny that it does not appear on most of the Belgian maps). Sadzot lay on a small creek 400 yards south of Briscol, a village on the main road between Grandmenil and Erezee. The engagement at Sadzot was fought by squads and platoons, and so may be appropriately called a "soldiers' battle"; with equal propriety the name coined by the GI's for this confused action is used here: "The Sad Sack Affair." [15]


Having given up the fight for Manhay and Grandmenil, the 2d SS Panzer began to parcel out its troops. Some were left to cover the deployment of the 9th SS Panzer as it extended its position in front of the 82d Airborne to take over the onetime 2d SS Panzer sector. Other units shifted west to join the incoming 12th SS Panzer in what was planned as a major attack to cross the Trois Ponts-Hotton road in the vicinity of Erezee and regain momentum for the drive to the northwest. Once again, however, the forces actually available to the II SS Panzer Corps were considerably fewer than planned. The march west by the 12th SS Panzer Division had taken much longer than reckoned, for the slow-moving 9th SS Panzer had jammed the roads in front of the 12th SS Panzer, there had been a series of fuel failures, Allied air attacks had cut most of the march to night movement, and just as the division was nearing the Aisne River OB WEST had seized the rearward columns for use at Bastogne. All that the 12th SS Panzer could employ on 27 December, the date set by the army commander for the new attack, was the 25th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, most of which was already in the line facing the 3d Armored. The 2d SS Panzer contribution perforce was limited: its reconnaissance battalion, a battalion of mobile guns, and two rifle companies, a task force commanded by the same Major Krag who had raised such havoc at Salmchateau. The time for the attack was midnight.


During the 27th the lines of General Hickey's command had been redressed. In the process the 1st Battalion of the 289th Infantry had tied in with Task Force Orr on the Aisne River while the 2d Battalion, having finally straightened itself out, continued the 3d Armored line through the woods southwest of Grandmenil. Unknown at the time, a l,000yard gap had developed south of Sadzot and Briscol between these two battalions.


At zero hour the German assault force started forward through the deep woods; the night was dark, the ground pathless, steep, and broken. The grenadiers made good progress, but radio failed in the thick woods and it would appear that a part of the attackers became disoriented. At least two com-


[16] The German account of this action will be found in MS # P-032E. The best American account is that given in Spearhead In the West. See also journals of the 289th Infantry and CCA, 3d Armored Division. The paratroopers took the main losses in this fight: 120 casualties.