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Calvin A. Heath's 2d Battalion was pinned down almost at once at a crossroad and, under direct tank fire, could not work its way around the German pocket. The 1st Battalion briefly gained control of a crest to its front but then was driven off by a savage attack which engulfed parts of Companies A and C. Paul ordered the 3d Battalion of the 328th Infantry up from reserve to back the 104th, and the Americans regained some of the ground lost north of Buderscheid. When the day ended, however, the enemy intention to hold this part of the line was underscored by a sudden and considerable increase in artillery fire.


The exposed condition of the 26th Division salient, as the year ended, is accurately described in the regimental orders issued to the 101st Infantry: "Each Battalion will be prepared to meet counterattacks from the north, northwest and northeast." The first of these anticipated thrusts came at the 101st roadblock about 0530 on 31 December, commencing a battle which embroiled both the 1st and 3d Battalions and lasted all day long. The main German effort seems to have been directed at the 3d Battalion roadblock southwest of Roullingen, and as a result Companies I and K, much weakened by the mauling received the previous day, took the first blows. As the German attack gained momentum, Colonel Scott ordered the two companies to fall back on the foxhole line dug earlier south of the Roullingen road. Light tanks and tank destroyers sent forward to help the 101st could made no headway, nor could they maneuver, on the icy roads. The enemy, however, had no tanks in action, and by noon the 2d Battalion line was stabilized. Now the 2d Battalion took over the fight on the left wing of the 101st, moving forward behind a rolling barrage to clear the woods north of Nothum. This attack made progress, but once again as dusk came on the enemy counterattacked. Company G, which had entered the woods to support the two assault companies there, either ran into the German advance or lost its way and was encircled; only half the company escaped.


The 104th Infantry lay on 31 December with its right facing along the Buderscheid-Wiltz road and its left facing north along and overlooking the Roullingen sector of the Bavigne-Wiltz road. Much of its strength had been diverted for the long north-south blocking line which guarded the division-and corps-east flank, but a battalion of the 328th Infantry was moving by truck and on foot to take over this task. Although the 104th Infantry had an attack mission and did push out a little through the woods to the north, most of the day was spent in an inconclusive fire fight.


At the close of the year the 26th Division lay in a wedge, the 101st Infantry at the point around Nothum, the 104th on the right facing the diagonal formed by the Buderscheid section of the highway, and the 328th (-) on the division left in the neighborhood of Bavigne. Both flanks of the division still were exposed and the troops were deployed on a very wide front, considering the broken character of the ground.


The old enemy-the Fuehrer Grenadier-had withdrawn during the last nights of December to go into the Seventh Army reserve at Wiltz, its place being taken by the 9th Volks Grenadier Division (Colonel Kolb). The 9th had