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on numerous occasions before; so it is questionable whether either of them expected the Luftwaffe to make good. Luettwitz, at least, pinned his faith on bad flying weather, night operations, and the large number of flak guns dispersed through his columns.

The sector designated for the XLVII Panzer Corps breakthrough was held by the 1st and 3d Battalions of the 110th Infantry (28th Infantry Division), commanded by Col. Hurley E. Fuller. This regiment formed the division center, with the 112th Infantry on the north and the 109th Infantry aligned to the south. Battered and fatigued by weary, bloody fighting in the Hurtgen Forest, the 28th Division came into the quiet front on the Our during mid-November. [5] During the division attack of 2-1 November in the Schmidt-Vossenack sector the 28th had taken 6,184 casualties. The task of rebuilding the rifle companies, repairing battle damage, and training replacements was of necessity a slow one. But by the middle of December the 110th Infantry had almost a full roster-a roster numbering many men and some officers who yet had to see their first action. The 109th and 112th were in like status.

Fuller had only two battalions at his disposal because the 2d Battalion, located at Donnange, constituted the division reserve. Anything even remotely resembling a continuous line across the 9- to 10-mile regimental front was beyond the strength of the 1st and 3d Battalions. As a substitute, a system of village strongpoints-each manned in about rifle company strength-was set up on the ridge line separating the Our and Clerf Rivers, which here is traced by the excellent north-south highway connecting St. Vith and Diekirch. This highway (known to the Americans as the Skyline Drive) and the garrison line paralleled the Our at a distance of one and a half to two and a half miles. Each battalion was responsible for five outposts along the west bank of the Our, but these vantage points were occupied only during daylight hours and then in squad strength. At night the strip between the ridge and the river became a no man's land where German and American patrols stalked one another. Even in daytime it was possible for German patrols to move about on the west bank, using the cover provided by the deep, wooded draws.

The Our, in many places, was no more than forty feet wide and easily fordable, but the roads leading to the river made circuitous and abrupt descent as they neared its banks. In the 110th zone four roads ran from the German border at the Our, up and over the Skyline Drive, and down to the Clerf. The American strongpoints were therefore located with an eye to blocking these entry ways while at the same time defending the lateral ridge road which connected the 110th with its neighboring regiments and provided the main artery sustaining the entire division front. The northernmost of the four roads had a good all-weather surface, was the only main through road running east to west through the area, and gave direct access to Clerf and Bastogne. The Germans planned to connect this route to their own supply lines by bridging the Our at Dasburg. The remaining roads

[5] The official U.S. Army history describes this fighting by the 28th Infantry Division as "one of the most costly division actions in the whole of World War II.- MacDonald, The Siegfried Line Campaign, p. 373.