Page 054

had a direct effect in determining the initial American reaction to the German attack. Gerow had four infantry divisions, two armored combat commands, and a cavalry group at his disposal. A new division, the 78th, was deployed in the corps center on a front extending from Lammersdorf to Monschau. On the left, the 8th Infantry Division fronted along the Kyll River line. The right wing was held by the 99th Infantry Division, whose positions reached from Monschau to the V-VIII Corps boundary in the Buchholz Forest northwest of the Losheim Gap. The first phase of the V Corps attack was to be carried by the 78th and 2d Infantry Divisions, the latter coming up from an assembly area at Camp Elsenborn and passing through the 99th Division left. The 8th and 99th would confine their efforts initially to demonstrations and line-straightening. The first day of the attack went as planned, but on 14 December the enemy stiffened and on the 15th counterattacked; the 78th Division became involved in a rough battle at Rollesbroich and Kesternich, while the 2d bogged down in a slow-moving fight for individual pillboxes in the Monschau Forest. This was the situation when the enemy onslaught hit the 9th Division