Page 383

Richardson) would serve as backstop behind the two remaining task forces, Orr and Kane, which were charged with the capture of Dochamps.

Task Force Orr was at the vortex of the action on the 22d, standing as it did in the path of the main movement by the 560th Volks Grenadier Division. The 116th Panzer Division, on the German left, would have to disengage its forward units during the coming night, and in order to effect the relief the 560th had to be brought forward. This German advance, begun by two regiments abreast, started at daylight, its object the command of the Erezee-Soy-Hotton road. Meanwhile Colonel Orr led his counterattack force out of Amonines, heading down the Aisne valley road for Dochamps. One company of armored infantry had been left to defend the base at Amonines. The detachment with Orr consisted of a company of armored infantry plus three medium and three light tanks.

About 0900 the small American column saw an enemy column coming up the road from Dochamps, and each halted to size up the other. Task Force Orr's opponent was the 1128th Regiment which, though reduced to a combat strength of seven hundred, was the strongest unit in the 560th Volks Grenadier Division. As it happened a part of the German force had been pinned down by an attack against flank and rear thrown in by Task Force Kane, but this intelligence was unknown to Orr. The German commander disengaged from Kane, put in his engineer battalion to hold Dochamps, then moved to the ridge east of the valley road and began the fire fight. Shortly after noon Orr's scouts on the ridge west of the valley reported more German troops moving northwest. This looked like a trap of some sort and Orr withdrew his column to the starting point on the crest at Amonines, where he was reinforced by infantry and tank destroyers. The 1128th did not follow in force (Task Force Kane still threatened from the east) but was content to fire smoke shells onto the American position and probe with patrols. The troops in field gray seen moving west of the valley were the 1129th Regiment en route to Beffe to relieve the 116th Panzer Division. They paid no attention to Task Force Orr.

Task Force Kane, easternmost of the 3d Armored detachments, obviously was playing an important part in delaying the German advance toward Amonines. The attack toward Dochamps, started the previous afternoon and resumed on the 22d, was hampered by the necessity of keeping a blocking force at the Manhay junction and reinforcing the scratch defense farther south at the Baraque de Fraiture crossroads. Despite the fact that Task Force Kane was fighting with its left arm tied down, by noon the drive toward Dochamps reached the village of Lamormenil. During these morning hours the American tanks proved too much for the German infantry; it is probable that an entire battalion of the 1128th was engaged and siphoned away from the attack against Orr.

The terrain beyond Lamormenil, however, was distinctly adverse to armored tactics. A single road wound southward through a narrow semiwooded valley until, about eight hundred yards east of Dochamps, it climbed abruptly up the east face of a bare hill to reach the village. As soon as