Page 119

cern. But the 990th Volks Grenadier Regiment, at the forest edge east of the 395th positions, either had failed to notice the withdrawal or had been unwilling to make a move with darkness settling.

The Last Attack at Hofen Fails 18 December

Ten miles by road north of Krinkelt and Rocherath the 3d Battalion, 395th Infantry, fought an isolated but important engagement on 18 December. [7] Having failed the day before to breach the American cavalry line at Monschau, the 326th Volks Grenadier Division turned again toward Hofen where it had encountered such a sharp reverse on the first day of the German counteroffensive. The 2d Battalion of the 753d Regiment finally had rejoined the division; so General Kaschner put this regiment in the van, nourishing his assault waves with companies of the remaining two regiments as the fight developed. Some three hours before daybreak the German assault detachments moved forward from the hills surrounding Hofen to make a first test of the American defenses at the northern edge of the village. Well prepared for such an onslaught, concentrated artillery and mortar fire blanketed the ground over which the grenadiers had to advance. Despite heavy casualties from this fire the enemy broke through to the village. There followed a confused battle, but when day broke the last Germans were being routed from the houses.

The first daylight assault came about 0900 preceded by a barrage of artillery, rocket, and mortar fire. Advancing through a thick haze, ten tanks, seven armored cars, and an infantry battalion made for the village. Once more the defensive gun concentrations made great play in the gray ranks. The 3-inch tank destroyers of the 612th Tank Destroyer Battalion, although frozen in place, held the German fighting vehicles at bay-even with the limited traverse. As before, some of the attackers broke through. Colonel Butler phoned the forward observer of the 196th Field Artillery Battalion, whose little party was fighting off Germans around its observation post (a three-story brick building right in the forward line), and asked for three five-minute concentrations on his own positions. [8] The shells came in promptly. As the fire finally lifted Butler sent his reserve, a single platoon of I Company, into the counterattack. Picking up strength at the foxhole line, the Americans drove the remaining foe back in the direction of Rohren. The German tanks, whose appearance had caused the 3d Battalion to request help "at once," took a singularly small part in the fray, retiring behind a ridge which gave shelter against direct antitank fire. It must be said that the German grenadiers were of sterner stuff. The American main line of resistance was not completely re-established until 1230. When night came the Germans tried once again but to no avail.

Thus ended the enemy plan to carry the northern pivot of the Sixth Panzer

[7] The 3d Battalion of the 395th Infantry was given a Presidential Citation for its fight at Hofen. Sgt. T. E. Piersall and Pfc. Richard Mills fought with such conspicuous courage as to receive

[8]This was 2d Lt. S. D. Llewellyn, who later received the DSC for the defense of the observation post.