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plans were in process for a counterattack against the German southern flank, but General Patton, charged with this operation, would not have his troops in readiness before 22 December and feared that in the interim the enemy would launch a spoiling attack from the Echternach area.

With the main weight of the Seventh Army echeloned forward on its right (western) wing, pressure to regain contact and to grapple with the 109th Infantry was stepped up during the night of 20 December. The 352d Volks Grenadier Division pushed through Ettelbruck and probed cautiously in the dark, searching to the west and south for the outlines of the 109th's new position. This advance onto the ridge rising in the triangle formed by the Wark Creek and Alzette River had a limited object. Luxembourg, an appetizing target, lay only fifteen miles south of Ettelbruck and on a good road, but the orders received by the 352d aimed solely at the quick acquisition of a good blocking position against any American riposte from the south. The objective of the 352d, therefore, was a line based on the villages of Bettborn and Bissen that would cut the main roads running north and northeast from Luxembourg and Arlon, respectively. Parts of two regiments, the 914th and 916th, went up against the outpost positions of the 106th Infantry on 21 December, gaining ground on both of the open flanks. For the Americans the fight was one to gain time (they permitted no serious penetration of the ridge position overlooking the Wark valley) until, on the morning of 22 December, troops of the incoming 80th Infantry Division headed north through their positions.

To the south and east the 276th Volks Grenadier Division, now some distance from the 352d, re-formed its two leading regiments on a common front and worked feverishly to bring artillery ammunition and supplies forward from bridges which at long last were in operation. It appears that the new division commander of the 276th had ordered a limited attack for 21 December, intended to carry from Waldbillig to Christnach and the more readily defended creek line there. Late on the previous day a few assault guns, probably no more than five or six, had arrived west of the river. These weapons, it was hoped, would lend the tired German infantry the necessary punch.

In the 9th Armored Division (-) sector plans were under way to retake Waldbillig, using Task Force Chamberlain of the 10th Armored Division, which had been reorganized with a strength of thirteen medium tanks and two much understrength armored infantry companies (total: 130 men). Before the German attack got under way on 21 December Task Force Chamberlain attacked toward Waldbillig. The Shermans, protected by tank destroyers over-watching on the flanks, negotiated the dangerous skyline crossing on the ridge between Christnach and Waldbillig and by noon were in Waldbillig.

Reports that the enemy had withdrawn proved erroneous the moment that the supporting infantry started to move up with the tanks. Mortar and rifle