In honor of their World War II service, the 9th was officially nicknamed the "Phantom Division." This village lay on a slope and had not been occupied, although American patrols moved in now and then at night to check suspicious lights. The all important bridge at Steinebruck which had been left standing because of possible use was blown at 1200 hours by a platoon of Company “B”, 9th Armored Engineer Battalion. John W. Hall) would lead from the Savelborn assembly area north to Berens and then drive north to Company C while the second task force, Task Force Philbeck (Maj. Tommie M. Philbeck), attacked to the east and northeast to reach the other two companies. Sergeant Abraham was killed in this action. By noon the 915th Regiment held Longsdorf and Tandel, the latter two miles from the Our, and had patrols to the south only two thousand yards from the main supply road linking Diekirch and Bettendorf on which the 3d Battalion, deployed facing the Our, depended. This left the Tank Company isolated. General Leonard borrowed the 90th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (less three troops) from the 4th Infantry Division zone, where a part of its parent organization, the 10th Armored Division, had initiated counterattacks the previous day. This move was accomplished by 2045 hours. At about 1430 hours, warning reached Service Company, 14th Tank Battalion Command Post, by foot messenger, that enemy columns were two to three kilometers from Ligneuville and approaching from the north and east. on Führen from the south. Strict orders had arrived from the Seventh Army headquarters, located at Ingendorf (a little village southwest of Bitburg), that the 352d must start the attack rolling once more and take possession of the vital crossings at Ettelbruck. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The unseen enemy, firing behind the cover of huge boulders and trees, had the upper hand; at dark a platoon of cavalry assault guns laid down a protective barrage and the American task force withdrew to the hills flanking the exit from the Waldbillig-Müllerthal defile. In Ettelbruck demolition parties remained at work until the morning of 20 December; then they withdrew, blowing the bridges behind them. The situation on the flanks in the CCA sector also was unfavorable to the Americans. Each combat command was a combined arms military organization of comparable size to a brigade or regiment and loosely patterned after the German combined arms approach to mechanized warfare. Here Company A was deployed in the woods above the Sauer with observation on the river but with insufficient strength to block the numerous ravines running up the wooded heights. Here, during the night, the 14th made a crossing near Kautenbach, opening the way to Wiltz and the west for the main forces of the division. As was customary the armored infantry had been placed in line in this quiet sector for combat indoctrination, and in the first few days the Germans on the opposite bank of the Sauer showed so little inclination to disturb the prevailing quiet that Collins was concerned lest his battalion secure no combat experience whatever. Middleton therefore told Cota that the 109th was to hold, but if forced back it should retire to the west behind the Alzette, a stream line directly south of Ettelbruck. By midafternoon the 2d Battalion of the 915th Regiment, which had bypassed Bastendorf earlier, was pressing in on that battery and Battery A, 108th Field Artillery, emplaced nearby. 9. As yet the enemy made no attempt to utilize the natural sally port, but in the 4th Division sector German infantry surrounded Berdorf, which controlled a lateral road descending into the gorge. The division relieved the 3d Armored Division along the Mulde River near Dessau and held that line until VE-day. As the day progressed, however, the enemy spread through the rear areas of the 109th and menaced the gun positions west of the Diekirch-Hoscheid road. Several other members of the 14th Tank Battalion’s trains were captured in this action. small. Menaced from two sides by superior strength, the American tank destroyers and cavalry were ordered to withdraw to the ridge south of the village. Twice the American 76-mm. As a result complications would arise once the 5th Parachute Division and the 352d Volks Grenadier Division advanced beyond the river. “C” Company, 14th Tank Battalion, supported by mortar fire from the battalion’s mortar platoon, successfully counterattacked this formation. He determined to continue the attack, nevertheless, this time using the newly arrived supporting weapons to bring his left and center regiments together in a coordinated thrust against Waldbillig, the anchor position for the south flank of the 9th Armored Division. General Hoge, CCB, 9th Armored Division, and General Clarke, CCB, 7th Armored Division, agreed that in the event CCB, 7th Armored Division had to withdraw to the west of St. Vith, CCB, 9th Armored Division would be isolated to the east because of a railroad embankment, and its only route of withdrawal would be trough St. Vith. Despite substantial casualties, he was still prevented from capturing St. Vith. Company “D”, 14th Tank, was repelling attacks along its front all day. The light tanks, forming the advance guard, had moved only a few hundred yards when the Germans opened fire with bazookas, knocking out the lead tank and blocking the road. Company B, now missing the platoon sent with the Hoscheid task force, moved a short distance along the road between Tandel and Führen but likewise was checked. With the river momentarily secure at its back the regiment dug in along an arc facing out from Diekirch. CCR, 9th Armored Division, and the Road to Bastogne []. Company “A” of the 14th Tank Battalion was attached to a company of the 325th Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. toward Ettelbruck. Company E, which had served to deflect some pressure from the 3d Battalion by its stubborn defense at Führen, was no longer in the fight. About the same time the tanks which had been in the Hoscheid task force were ordered into the fight and rolled from the north in on the enemy. During the day enemy attacks were repulsed and enemy armored vehicles destroyed. Also, the German armored vehicles and heavy weapons, which had been observed just at dark assembling across the river facing Führen, had yet to be encountered. The Attack by the German Left Wing But the gap between the 9th Armored Division and the 109th Infantry was too large to be covered by a minimal cavalry screen. Next in line on the Our the 352d Volks Grenadier Division would cross into the zone held by the 3d Battalion of the 109th. “C” Company maintained this roadblock until 1800 hours on the 24th of December. The compromise solution that moved one much depleted battalion of the 109th southeast to make contact at Stegen gave General Leonard's tanks some badly needed infantry protection but could hardly deflect any determined enemy thrust around the left flank of the 9th Armored Division. World War Two Historians, Teatchers, Students and Researchers Ressources Center 9th Armored Division (-CCB): fell back to central Luxembourg from Southern Center 10th Armored Division (task force): came to aid of 4th Infantry Division after initial attack 10th Armored Division (detachments): central Luxembourg XII Corps: 4th Inf Div, 9th Armd Div(-), 10th Armd(elem), 109th Rgt of 28th Inf div, 2nd Cav Gp left a large bomb crater in the road close to the Our. Combat Command "B", 9th Armored Division diverted to the Winterspelt area on the night of the 16th December, arrived in St Vith before dawn on the 17th, and received its final orders. With company fronts a mile wide, the fight became a series of squad actions as the enemy infantry filtered through and behind the American "line." Elements of the 9th Armored Division Battle at the Sauer 16-20 December. As soon as the Allies had broken out of the Normandy Beachhead, they pushed the Germans back rapidly until they had reached the German Frontier in November and December. The counterattack was to be made by two task forces. Finally, in two night marches the division concentrated on the east bank of the Sauer, its zone of attack defined in the north by Wallendorf (at the junction of the Our and the Sauer) and in the. In this instance, however, the military axiom that a commander who is worried about the enemy may reflect on the worries besetting the enemy commander, was proven by the event. Moehring's division had been reconstituted during the autumn following almost complete destruction in Normandy and the retreat across France. The 2d Platoon of the 707th's Company C, supporting Companies F and G of the 109th, was refueled and resupplied during the night. How the Battle of the Bulge Was Won (And Nazi Germany Was Placed Near Its End) Combat Command RCCR of the U.S. 9th Armored Division sacrificed heroically to win precious time at … If this plan were successful the 5th Parachute Engineer Battalion would ferry the assault companies across the Our, then join the advance and reach the Wiltz sector with ferrying equipment by the end of the first day. Finally, about 1530, the Hoscheid garrison received orders to fight its way out and join the relief force. The 276th Volks Grenadier Division had failed to seize control of the Sauer heights. Having failed to take the heights by frontal assault, the 916th Regiment started a flanking attack along the south bank of the Sauer, moving for this purpose into the zone of the 276th Volks Grenadier Division, which thus far had been held in check around Reisdorf and. Despite continuous counterbattery fire, the gunners had given steady and effective support whenever called upon, expending about 4,000 rounds during the two-day action. But when night fell Dempwolff brought the 987th Regiment through Müllerthal and into the gorge running west to Waldbillig. Colonel Collins sent word to withdraw, via a radio which a forward observer from the 3d Field Artillery Battalion had repaired and by officers from the isolated companies who previously had made daring dashes by jeep through the Germans to bring out wounded and carry forward ammunition. CCB,9th Armored Division, was deployed along a defensive line that joined the right flank of CCB, 7th Armored Division, at the west edge of St. Vith. General Hoge conferred with General Jones (Commanding General, 106th Division) and they decided to withdraw from the river to the northwest on slightly higher ground. Author Unknow This is a day by day narrative of the action of Combat Command "B", 9th Armored Division, in the St Vith, Belgium, sector during the period, 16 through 23 December 1944. An hour or so before, the American gunners had seen figures moving through the fog but mistook them for Americans. Only small local reserves were at hand to reinforce the vastly outnumbered American troops facing the four divisions under General Brandenberger's command. The 109th, fortunately, was given a few hours to rest and better its defenses before the enemy continued the advance to wipe out the Diekirch-Ettelbruck bridgehead. At 1300 the tank platoon at the battery positions on the Hoscheid road hooked up the artillery pieces and started south. Bigelbach. At 1300 two Mark VI tanks appeared on the Longsdorf road and with infantry assistance attacked the vital road junction 206. The light tanks beat off the Germans but were forced to give up their screening activities in this area. The situation in the 109th area developed as follows. CCB, 9th Armored Division broke contact with the enemy in the St. Vith salient and made a daylight withdrawal to blocking positions set up by the XVIII Airborne Corps. That the 109th had used every weapon at its disposal is shown by the ammunition expenditure for these days: 280,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, 5,000 rounds of mortar, 3,000 grenades, and 300 bazooka rounds. In point of fact the 109th already was on the march west through Ettelbruck. Artillery, high velocity gun, and mortar fire being received along all CCB, 9th Armored Division positions. Campaigns. Company “A” lost three medium tanks and knocked out five German tanks during this action. Troop B, 89th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, came up to reinforce Company B, 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion, whose 76-mm. During the afternoon the situation of the 109th Infantry rapidly deteriorated. 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