and entered Sibret from the west. A dense ground fog covered the area for a few hours, masking the opposing forces from one another. The grenadier battalion made some progress and drove Task Force Collins back toward Sibret, but the battalion commander was killed and the advance slowed down. Remer's tank group was nearing Flohimont when the fog curtain raised abruptly to reveal about thirty American tanks.
Colonel Yale had divided CCB of the 11th Armored into a tank force (Task Force Poker) and an infantry task force (Task Force Pat). Task Force Pat, essentially the 21st Armored Infantry Battalion, had marked Flohimont on the map as its line of departure but in the approach march became confused. Communications failed, and the reconnaissance troops in the van of CCB got lost and fell back on Task Force Pat. Adding menace to confusion the German artillery began to pound the JodenvilleFlohimont road along which the attack was directed. Meanwhile the reinforced 41st Tank Battalion (Task Force Poker), which had picked Lavaselle from the map as its goal, rolled north with little opposition and reached its objective about a mile and a half west of Chenogne. These were the American tanks seen by Remer.
Lavaselle turned out to be located in a hollow, hardly a place for armor, and the task force commander (Maj. Wray F. Sagaser) decided to move on to the villages of Brul and Houmont which occupied some high ground just to the north. There was a creek to cross with a single rickety bridge, but the tanks made it. The twin hamlets were defended only by a few infantry and fell easily-then intense rocket and mortar fire set in. Task Force Poker was on its own, well in front of the rest of the 11th Armored, uncertain that its sister task force would succeed in forging abreast at Chenogne, and with night coming on.
Remer apparently decided to forgo a test of strength with the American armor moving past in the west, his mission being to attack eastward, but when word reached him that the Americans had hit the outpost at Lavaselle he hurried in person to check the security screen covering the western flank. Here one of Remer's panzer grenadier battalions had thrown forward an outpost line extending as far west as Gerimont and backed by a concentration of flak, assault guns, and mortars in the Bois des Valets to the north of and about equidistant from Houmont and Chenogne. Satisfied that this groupment could hold the enemy, Remer returned to Chenogne. He found that the village had been bombarded by planes and guns till it was only a heap of stones with a handful of grenadiers garrisoning the rubble. Remer instantly sent a radio SOS to the commander of the 3d Panzer Grenadier, then set out to find his tank group.
When the bombardment started at Chenogne, the German tanks still there simply had pulled out of the village. About the same time, Task Force Pat resumed its march on Chenogne, Company B of the 22d Tank Battalion leading and the armored infantry following in their half-tracks. Near the village, in a lowering fog, the German armor surprised the company of Shermans and shot out seven of them. The enemy allowed the American aid men to carry away the surviving tankers and both sides fell back. As dusk came Remer set about pulling his command together, and the