Page 503

ment planned the night before to reduce the stubborn resistance in front of its right flank. Company A of the 91st Chemical Battalion smoked Haller while the 3d Battalion, reinforced by ten Jumbo tanks from the 737th Tank Battalion, crossed the southern face of the village and attacked toward the Hardthof rise. After this rapid and successful advance, the tanks withdrew to help the 1st Battalion drive the enemy off the Hohwald northeast of Waldbillig. Haller itself fell to the reserve battalion, which at twilight sent a rifle company and tank platoon against the village. Nearly two hundred prisoners were rounded up from the 988th, the center regiment of the 276th Volks Grenadier Division.

The 5th Division rate of advance had accelerated appreciably during the second day of action, particularly at those points where tanks were brought into action. Difficult terrain, however, denied rapid exploitation and a clear break-through to the Sauer. Then, too, trench foot showed an alarming incidence among the attacking infantry, who found it impossible to keep their feet dry in this attack across the snow-fed streams in the bottom of the draws. The 5th Division, like other veteran divisions, was filled with troops who had returned to duty after evacuation for wounds for sickness, and these "RTD's" were much more susceptible to trench foot than other troops. Still, it was obvious that the enemy was in bad shape and lacked the rifle strength or the heavy weapons to stand for long against tank-infantry assault. General Eddy and General Irwin agreed that the attack was profitable and should continue, although both were anxious to get their troops under cover.

The LXXX Corps could hardly be said to have a line of defense in either of its division bridgeheads on the 26th. Rather there remained an unevenly linked chain of small troop concentrations defending wood lots, hills, or villages-in effect a series of bridgeheads within the two main bridgehead areas. The 212th Volks Grenadier Division was in a particularly hazardous position, for the attack by the 3d Battalion in the 2d Infantry sector had carried to within sight of the Sauer, thus separating the German centers of defense at Berdorf and Echternach. In fact the enemy infantry to the front of the 3d Battalion had been forced to swim the chilly river on the night of the 25th.

The 1st Battalion, 10th Infantry, emerged from the Hardt woods and advanced astride the ridge lines leading north to Echternach. German Teller mines linked with trip wires dotted the trails and the ridge crests, slowing the advance, but by dark the battalion was only a halfmile from the town. The 3d Battalion, stopped the previous day at the Leimerdelt draw, renewed its advance about 0300 with a stealthy descent into the draw, Company L moving on the right to the bend where the draw turned north toward Echternach. Company I, on the left, attacked at daybreak through two tributary draws leading out to the north, each rifleman weighed down with three bandoleers of ammunition. Attacking boldly, firing at every possible enemy hiding place, and never halting for cover, the company killed the Germans in their foxholes or drove them back in flight toward the river. A small detachments of the enemy made a brief stand at Melick Farm,