Page 219

At 0240 on the morning of 17 December the division commander phoned Colonel Rudder and made an unexpected demand on his reserves. What had happened was this. On the previous evening the force from the 5th Parachute Division which had been moving along the boundary between the 109th and 110Th reached the primary ridge road (known to the Americans as the Skyline Drive) which extended laterally across the 28th Division sector from Weiswampach to Ettelbruck. The 5th Parachute had rafted some light field pieces and vehicles over the Our and a few self-propelled guns that had negotiated a way across on top of a weir near Vianden were sent down the road to Hoscheid. Meanwhile the left battalion of the 14th Regiment had been ordered to take Hoscheid. This movement in the dark appeared to pose a threat to cut off the 109th with an attack straight south to Ettelbruck.

General Cota ordered the 109th commander to get a platoon of tanks, mount an infantry platoon on them, and "help out up north where things are getting hot." Rudder immediately dispatched this force, plus a few engineers, northward on the Skyline Drive. In the meantime, however, the 2d Battalion of the 14Th Parachute Regiment had cut the road south of Hoscheid and the relief force was checked within a thousand yards of the village by enemy fire concentrated on a sharp bend in the road. Hoscheid was garrisoned by part of the 110th Infantry Antitank Company, six medium tanks mounting 105-mm. howitzers (which the 707th Tank Battalion had organized as an assault gun platoon) and three regular mediums. Through most of the 17th the defenders held on against infantry attack from the west and German assault guns attacking from the north on the Skyline Drive. Finally, about 1530, the Hoscheid garrison received orders to fight its way out and join the relief force. These orders came too late, for an hour and a half earlier this task force had been ordered to the aid of a battery of the 107th Field Artillery north of Diekirch. In Hoscheid the tanks were running low on ammunition. When night fell they loaded on the foot soldiers and made a dash south to the 687th Field Artillery command post at Lipperscheid, where they found that the batteries were in process of displacing across the Wiltz River. The Hoscheid defenders joined the withdrawal westward and subsequently reached the town of Wiltz, there taking part in the defense of the 28th Division command post. The fight at Hoscheid, German prisoners later reported, had cost the assaulting battalion at least a hundred dead but, more, it had helped delay the 14Th Parachute Regiment advance to the Wiltz River.

In the 109th sector proper the battle during 17 December turned on attempts to relieve Company E (Capt. R. W. Cureton) at the crossroads in Fuhren. The enemy was determined to take this village, located as it was on the boundary between the 5th Parachute Division and the 352d Volks Grenadier Division. Fuhren was attacked during the day by troops of the 15th Parachute Regiment, the 915th Regiment, and the 914th Regiment. As might be expected there was little coordination in this assault; furthermore the Germans were forced to divert much strength to meet the twin-pronged American counterattack mov-