treads; so the armored engineers went to work scattering straw on all the inclines. Finally, Company B came within sight of the village, but the Germans were ready-Nebelwerfers and assault guns gave the quietus to eight Shermans. The enemy guns were camouflaged with white paint and the snow capes worn by the gunners, and the supporting infantry blended discreetly with the landscape. So successful was the deception that when a company of Shermans and a company of light tanks hurried forward to assist Company B, they were taken under fire on an arc of 220 degrees. Colonel Davall radioed for a box barrage and smoke screen; Riley's gunners met the request in a matter of seconds and the 68th got out of the trap.
Farther north, and advancing on a route almost at a right angle to that followed by the 68th, the 50th Armored Infantry Battalion pried a few grenadiers out of the cellars in Oubourcy and marched on to Michamps. The reception was quite different here. As Wall's infantry entered Michamps the enemy countered with machine gun bursts thickened by howitzer and Werfer fire coming in from the higher ground around Bourcy. This time twelve artillery battalions joined in to support the 50th. At sunset German tanks could be seen moving about in Bourcy and Colonel Wall, whose force was out alone on a limb, abandoned both Michamps and Oubourcy. (Wall himself was partially blinded by a Nebelwerfer shell and was evacuated.) The German tanks, two companies of the 12th SS Panzer which had just arrived from west of Bastogne, followed as far as Oubourcy.
South of the rail line the 15th Tank Battalion (Lt. Col. Embrey D. Lagrew) came forward in the morning to pass through Brown's 44th Armored Infantry Battalion, but this march was a long one from Remichampagne and it was nearly noon before the 15th attack got under way. On the right the 9th Armored Infantry Battalion (Lt. Col. Frank K. Britton) came in to take over the fight the 44th had been waging in the woods near Wardin. It was planned that the armored infantry would sweep the enemy out of the wooded ridges which overlooked Wardin from the southwest and south, whereupon the tank force would storm the village from the north.
Britton's battalion was caught in an artillery barrage during the passage of lines with Brown, became disorganized, and did not resume the advance until noon. Shortly thereafter the 9th was mistakenly brought under fire by the 134th Infantry. There was no radio communication between Lagrew and Britton, probably because of the broken terrain, and Lagrew reasoned that because of his own delay the infantry attack must have reached its objective. The tanks of the 15th Tank Battalion gathered in the woods northwest of Wardin, then struck for the village, but the German antitank guns on the surrounding ridges did some expert shooting and destroyed seven of Lagrew's tanks. Nonetheless a platoon from Company C of the 9th, attached to Lagrew's battalion, made its way into Wardin and remained there most of the night. All this while the 9th Armored Infantry Battalion was engaged in a heartbreaking series of assaults to breast the machine gun fire sweeping the barren banks of a small stream bed that separated the wood lot southwest of Wardin from another due south. This indecisive affair cost the 9th one-quarter