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small. The 9th Armored intelligence estimates set the enemy strength to be encountered here at approximately three companies. Against this supposedly limited force the CCA commander mustered his remaining men, assault guns, and armored vehicles for a counterattack to reestablish contact with the three isolated companies "and drive the enemy into the river." Colonel Harrold's available force now included only Company B, 19th Tank Battalion; a platoon of Company D's light tanks; a cavalry assault gun platoon; the I and R platoon from the 60th; and Company A, 9th Armored Engineer Battalion (a part of which was loaded in half-tracks) .

The counterattack was to be made by two task forces. Task Force Hall (Capt. John W. Hall) would lead from the Savelborn assembly area north to Berens and then drive north to Company C while the second task force, Task Force Philbeck (Maj. Tommie M. Philbeck), attacked to the east and northeast to reach the other two companies. Before dawn on 18 December the I and R platoon started in its jeeps along the narrow road to Berens, reconnoitering in advance of the main column. Fire sud-