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sault Chenogne at noon on the 31st, the armored infantry walking through knee-deep snow. The Sherman tanks mired in while attempting to cross a small creek, but the light tanks and a platoon of antiaircraft halftracks wielding the dreaded .50-caliber quads gave sufficient fire power to force entry at the edge of the village. Inside was a scratch garrison recruited from the 39th Fuesilier Regiment (26th Volks Grenadier Division), the 3d Panzer Grenadier, and Remer's brigade. The mainstay of the defense in this sector, however, was a group of twelve to fifteen tank destroyers which had Mark IV carriages mounting the high-velocity, long-tube L70 guns. These were brought into action late in the day and drove the Americans out of Chenogne.

CCR carried out the first phase of its blocking mission with no opposition, scoured the woods northwest of Magerotte, and gained the ridge there. On the reverse slope some of Remer's grenadiers were entrenched, but the Shermans machine-gunned the way clear and the attack moved on to put in the next block at Pinsamont. German mortar and artillery fire was so intense here (this was a special groupment of weapons which Remer had positioned to protect his brigade's flank) that CCR withdrew to the Magerotte crest line. That night Remer's 3d Grenadier Battalion essayed two fruitless counter- attacks. This rather minor series of skirmishes on the 31st cost the 55th Armored Infantry Battalion over eighty casualties.

German action on this date was not solely directed against the 11th Armored. There was some fighting at Sibret, although by noontime Field Marshal von Rundstedt's headquarters had agreed that any further attempt to break through the Bastogne corridor via Sibret would have to await success by the eastern counterattack force. Surprisingly the enemy broke the quiet on the 502d Parachute Infantry front with a foray directed against Champs. [22] Actually the attackers were trying to get a foothold in three houses just outside the village. The paratroopers reported two hours of "bitter fighting" before quiet was restored, for the enemy had been ably supported by artillery fire. Thirty prisoners were taken from what the 502d reported as an "assault wave" of three officers and fifty men. This minor affair is mentioned here only because it furnishes a very revealing commentary on the state of the German formations which had been in the Bastogne fight through all the recent days: the "assault wave" was the total strength of two rifle companies from the 77th Grenadier Regiment of the 26th Volks Grenadier Division.

If the 11th Armored attack was to click, the trailing right wing would have to break through at Chenogne. General Kilburn ruled that the main effort by the division on 1 January would be made by and in support of CCB. This attack would be coordinated with that of CCA, 9th Armored, which thus far

[22] Although the 502d had no offensive mission, the paratroopers had been involved in continuous small-scale combat with the enemy in their sector. During one such affair on 29 December a division aid man, Pfc. Floyd P. Marquart, went forward under fire to help a paratrooper who had been struck in the throat by a shell fragment and was slowly suffocating. Marquart performed an emergency tracheotomy with his belt knife, then dragged the wounded man back to a place of safety. He was given the Silver Star.