to hold on to La Gleize, although in fact E the greater part of Peiper's command by this time was congregated to the west on the higher ground around Stoumont.
The attack on Stoumont on the 20th was a continuation of that begun late on the previous afternoon by the 1st Battalion of the 119th Infantry. The maneuver now, however, was concentric. The 1st Battalion and its accompanying tank company from the 740th Tank Battalion pushed along the road from the west while Task Force Jordan (Capt. John W. Jordan), the last and smallest of the three CCB detachments, attempted a thrust from the north via the Spa road, which had given the First Army headquarters so much concern. Task Force Jordan was within sight of Stoumont when the tanks forming the point were suddenly brought under flanking fire by German tanks that had been dug in to give hull defilade. The two American lead tanks were knocked out immediately. The rest of the column, fixed to the roadway by the forest and abrupt ground, could not deploy. Search for some other means of approach was futile, and the task force halted for the night on the road.
The 1st Battalion, 119th Infantry, and the company of medium tanks from the 740th Tank Battalion found slow but steady going in the first hours of the attack along the western road. With Company B and the tanks leading and with artillery and mortars firing rapidly in support, the battalion moved through Targnon. The Germans had constructed a series of mine fields to bar the winding road which climbed up the Stoumont hill and had left rear guard infantry on the slopes north of the road to cover these barriers by fire. At the close of day the attacking column had traversed some 3,000 yards and passed five mine fields (with only two tanks lost), the infantry advance guard climbing the wooded hillside to flank and denude each barrier.
Now within 800 yards of the western edge of Stoumont and with darkness and a heavy fog settling over the town, Colonel Herlong gave orders for the column to close up for the night. One of the disabled tanks was turned sidewise to block the narrow road, while Companies B and C moved up the hill north of this improvised barrier to seize a sanatorium which overlooked the road and the town. The main sanatorium building stood on an earthen platform filled in as a projection from the hillside rising north of the road. Its inmates, some two hundred sick children and old people, had taken to the basement. After a brief shelling the American infantry climbed over the fill and, shrouded in the fog, assaulted the building. The German infantry were driven out and four 20-mm. guns taken. Companies B and C dug in to form a line on the hillside in and around the sanatorium, and Company A disposed itself to cover the valley road. Four tanks were brought up the slope just below the fill and in this forward position were refueled by armored utility cars. The enemy foxhole line lay only some three hundred yards east of the companies on the hill.
An hour before midnight the Germans suddenly descended on the sanatorium, shouting "Heil Hitler" and firing wildly. On the slope above the building German tanks had inched forward to positions from which they could fire directly into the sanatorium. American tanks were brought up but could not negotiate the