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Gerow planned an envelopment of the dams. Maj. Gen. Edwin P. Parker, Jr.'s newly arrived 78th Infantry Division would attack through the Monschau corridor and continue through the eastern edge of the Huertgen Forest. After seizing Schmidt, the division would attack the dams from the north. Maj. Gen. Walter M. Robertson's veteran 2d Infantry Division would attack northward into the Monschau Forest from the villages of Krinkelt and Rocherath, approaching the dams from the southeast. A regiment of the 99th Infantry Division would secure Robertson's right flank.

The attack began on 13 December but halted three days later when the Germans began their counteroffensive in the Ardennes. The Germans still controlled part of the Huertgen Forest, Schmidt, and the dams. It had been a rough month for the First Army; from 16 November to 15 December it had suffered some 21,500 casualties with few gains to show for its losses.

In the 12th Army Group's southern sector, the Third Army had renewed its assault against Metz on 8 November. Patton used Walker's XX Corps to encircle the city and its forts, while Maj. Gen. Manton S. Eddy's XII Corps attacked to the northeast to seize Faulquemont, the first objective in the drive to the German border. On 18 November the XX Corps completed the envelopment of Metz, with the city surrendering on 22 November. But not until 8 December did the troublesome Fort Driant finally capitulate, while the last stronghold in the Metz system, Fort Jeanne d'Arc, held out until 13 December. By 15 December, the Third Army had closed to the Siegfried Line and had seized several crossings over the Saar River. Patton then paused to build up the supplies and ammunition necessary to assault the West Wall.

In the far north, Montgomery's 21 Army Group had also found the going tough. Having finally cleared the Schelde Estuary, Montgomery pushed Dempsey's Second British Army toward the Maas River. Although enemy resistance was not heavy, mud and mines bogged down the advance. Nevertheless, by 22 November, the British had cleared the west bank of the Maas opposite Roermond. Mid-December found the 21 Army Group generally situated along the river, except for their foothold across the Waal River, north of Nijmegen.

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