then gave way to artillery shelling and assault by Company L. Company I drove on to the ridge overlooking Echternach and the Sauer, while tanks shelled the woods and draw on the flank.
From this vantage point the artillery observer accompanying the riflemen could see little groups of the enemy paddling across the river in rubber boats. A few were swimming, others were running across a small wooden bridge. Time after time the forward artillery observer called for battalion concentrations, watching the bursts with the POZIT fuze thirty feet over the heads of the fleeing Germans and the murderous effects therefrom. For a while the enemy persisted in using the crossing site, then broke, fleeing into Echternach or along the road to Berdorf. That night patrols entered Echternach but could find no signs of the enemy or of Company E, 12th Infantry, which, it was hoped, still would be holed up somewhere in the town.
In the 5th Division center the 2d Infantry struck at Berdorf and the hill mass next to the Sauer, two companies of the 2d Battalion closing on Berdorf at dawn. There in the half-light Company G, marching on the left, saw troops standing in formation along the main village street while an officer pointed to various houses, apparently disposing his men. The American commander thought that Company E might have come in from the right, but when he called out, "Is that Easy Company?" a gruff voice answered "Yah, das ist Easy Company." The surprised Americans recovered in time to shoot down or capture a number of the enemy, but enough reached the houses to organize a stubborn defense. Nevertheless by dark the 2d Battalion had captured half the town, a few prisoners, a number of decorated Christmas trees, and the cold leftovers of Christmas dinner.
Early in the fight Colonel Roffe decided to employ his reserve, the 1st Battalion, in a drive for the final regimental objective, the woods near Hamm Farm on the ridge north of Berdorf. The reserve battalion marched in column toward Berdorf, expecting to pass through the 2d Battalion, but found a bitter fight in progress and the surrounding area plastered with shellfire. When the 1st Battalion tried to sideslip to the west it ran into a group of Germans in the draw on its left flank and very heavy artillery fire. Company C alone lost thirty-two men while deploying to attack. Not until the morning of 27 December did the final collapse of the Berdorf defense enable the 1st Battalion to reach the woods at Hamm Farm. The 3d Battalion had meanwhile come forward to the east of Berdorf and reached Birkelt Farm, overlooking the river. All that remained were small rear guard detachments, but these put up a real fight in the woods and stone farmhouses. That night many Germans withdrew and swam the river to reach the West Wall lines.
The operations of the 11th Infantry on Christmas Day had forced considerable retraction in the southern flank of the 276th Volks Grenadier Division. Colonel Black ordered the attack continued on the 26th, sending two battalions against what was left o the 987th and 988th Regiments. Before daybreak the 2d Battalion wheeled right and began an attack along the road running from Haller to Beaufort. The leading company en-