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Page 138(Battle of the Bulge)Next Page


the line Lanzerath-Krewinkel-Roth-Kobscheid. This disposition placed the cavalry to the north of the Schnee Eifel and across the northeastern entrance to the Losheim Gap. The section of the West Wall which barred egress from the gap lay beyond the cavalry positions.

The dispositions of the 106th Infantry Division (Maj. Gen. Alan W. Jones) followed an irregular line which in general trended from northeast to southwest. The 422d Infantry (Col. George L. Descheneaux, Jr.) occupied the forward positions of the West Wall on the crest and western slopes of the midsection of the Schnee Eifel. This regiment and the cavalry, therefore, combined as defenders of a salient protruding beyond the neighbors to the north and south. The line occupied by the 423d Infantry (Col. Charles C. Cavender) continued briefly on the Schnee Eifel, then as this range dropped away swung back into the western portion of the Alf valley. Thence followed a gap screened by the division reconnaissance troop. The 424th Infantry (Col. Alexander D. Reid) continued the bend to the west at Grosslangenfeld and joined the 28th Infantry Division, at least by periodic patrols, north of Lutzkampen.

On 19 October the 18th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron had taken over the positions in the Losheim Gap from another cavalry squadron attached to the 2d Infantry Division with instructions to occupy the infantry positions then existing. The 14th Cavalry Group took over the sector on 11 December, using the 18th and a company of 3-inch towed tank destroyers much as they had been deployed earlier. The ground occupied by the cavalry was relatively flat here at the mouth of the gap, although broken by streams and knotted by hills as is common on the Ardennes plateau. In contrast to the ridge lines the floor of the gap had a few trees. The infantry positions inherited by the cavalry were in the little villages, most of which had been built in depressions offering some protection against the raw winds which sweep the Ardennes. There were eight garrison points; a homogeneous defense line, of course, was out of the question. In addition, there existed substantial gaps on both flanks of the cavalry. In the north the gap between the 14th Cavalry Group and the 99th Infantry Division was approximately two miles across. A small party from the attached tank destroyer outfit (Company A, 820th Tank Destroyer Battalion) patrolled this opening at two-hour intervals in conjunction with an I and R Platoon from the 99th Division. There was an unoccupied strip between the right of the cavalry and the left of the 422d Infantry about one and a half miles across; the responsibility for patrolling here was given to the infantry.

At best the cavalry positions could only be described as small islands of resistance, manned usually in platoon strength and depending on automatic weapons dismounted from the cavalry vehicles or on the towed 3-inch guns of the tank destroyer company. Some barbed wire had been strung around the garrison villages. Mine fields, both German and American, were known to be in the area, but neither the 14th Cavalry Group nor the 2d Infantry Division before it could chart their location. On 14 December Colonel Devine had asked corps for engineers and more mines.

Contrary to the doctrine and training



Page 138(Battle of the Bulge)Next Page



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THESE ARE ARCHIVED PAGES OF THE OLD EHISTORY SITE
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