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however, a part of the 3d Battalion could be freed to move into the regimental advance. The 560th Volks Grenadier Division had only a thin screen facing the 289th and by dusk the 3d Battalion was on its objective, the hill mass southwest of Grandmenil. On the right flank the 1st Battalion reached the line of the Aisne, but in the center the yd Battalion lost its direction in the maze of wooded hills and ravines. By midnight of the 25th it had gravitated into and around La Fosse, a village southwest of Grandmenil, leaving a wide gap between itself and the 1st Battalion. The next day, under a new commander, the 2d Battalion deployed along the Aisne but still had no contact with the 1st. [12]

The 2d SS Panzer Is Halted

Although the 2d SS Panzer Division still held Grandmenil and Manhay on the morning of 26 December, it had lost much of its bite and dash. The two grenadier regiments had been whittled down considerably; the 4th Panzer Grenadier had lost heavily, particularly in officers, during the fight for the Baraque de Fraiture. Across the lines thirteen battalions of field artillery were firing into the German positions between the Aisne and the Lienne, and the II SS Panzer Corps had been unable to bring forward enough artillery and ammunition to engage in any counterbattery duels. So heavy was the traffic on the meager Sixth Panzer Army line of communications, and moving as it did by fits and starts under the watchful eyes of Allied air, that only one battalion of corps artillery and one corps Werfer battalion succeeded in crossing to the west bank of the Salm. Ammunition resupply from the rear was almost nonexistent. On Christmas Eve the corps had taken matters in its hands and dispatched its own trucks to the ammunition dumps back at Bonn, but each round trip would take three to four nights because the daylight movement of thin-skinned vehicles carrying high explosive was almost certain suicide. Finally, the 9th SS Panzer had failed to keep to schedule and probably would not come abreast of the 2d SS until the night of 26 December.

But General Lammerding could not delay his bid for a breakout until reinforcements arrived. On the morning of the 26th he ordered the 4th Panzer Grenadier to attack northward, using Manhay and the forest to the east as a line of departure. The 3d Panzer Grenadier would have to make the main effort, forcing its way out of Grandmenil and along the road west to Erezee.

The enemy attempt to shake loose and break into the clear proved abortive. On the right the 4th Panzer Grenadier sent a battalion from the woods east of Manhay into an early morning attack that collided with Billingslea's glider infantry in Tri-le-Cheslaing. In the predawn darkness some of the grenadiers sneaked in on the battalion command post, only to be driven off by a reserve platoon. A move to encircle the village from the east was beaten back almost single-handedly by a stray Sherman tank

[12] The price for the initial commitment of the two regiments from the 75th was relatively high. The total losses of CCA, 3d Armored, during the fighting from 22 to 31 December were 70 killed, 376 wounded, and 218 missing. Of this total the attached 289th Infantry alone lost 37 killed, 208 wounded, and 79 missing. 289th Inf AAR, Dec 44.