X. Ardennes Counteroffensive

At this stage of the game, still about three miles short of the objective - - the Roer River, the battered and bleeding First Division was pulled out of the line and relieved by the Ninth Infantry Division. The Battalion, minus Company ''A" and the assault gun platoon, assembled in the vicinity of Hergenrath, Belgium, on December 6. Company ''A" and the assault gun platoon joined the rest of the Battalion at Hergenrath on December 13.

Somebody said that the German Army never would be content to permit the First Division and the 745th to rest, and he was right. On December 16 the enemy staged its well-planned Ardennes counteroffensive and broke through the thinly-held line occupied by the 99th and 106th Infantry Divisions south of Monschau. The German plan was to break through to capture our huge supply base in Liege and to swing northward to Antwerp if possible. The enemy did break through, but he never reached Liege, and he never swung northward because of the powerful defensive line that was built up in record time to stop the drive.

With the battle-weary men comfortably settled in buildings, a large number of men on pass to Paris and Verviers, and more than half the tanks in ordnance for a technical inspection and refitting, news of the breakthrough first came to the Battalion in the way of wild rumors. This was followed by rumors that paratroopers were landing on all sides and in all directions.

At 1400 on December 16 the Battalion was placed on six hour alert, and there began a wild scramble to return the tanks from ordnance and to fill vacancies left by men on pass. Since some of the tanks had their engines removed and. others were unable to run, ordnance grabbed every spare tank available in order to give the Battalion its quota of tanks. The situation was very vague, and this tended to cause rumors and speculations to run rampant as to just how serious the situation had become.

Because of the paratrooper rumors and because of the extremely heavy enemy air activity in the vicinity, there was little sleep on the night of the 16th. Tension was high, and there was little confirmed news on the developments to our south.

On the 17th Company "C" moved to the vicinity of Elsenborn in support of the 26th Infantry Regiment and later moved on down to take up defensive positions south of Butgenbach. Company "A" moved into the woods south of Eupen, and Company "B" also moved into an assembly area near Eupen.

The Ardennes counteroffensive saw the birth of Task Force Davisson which included Capt. Frederick F. Chirigotis' light tanks of Company "D", the assault gun platoon and the mortar platoon of Headquarters Company, along with the Reconnaissance Company of the 634th Tank Destroyer Battalion and the 1st Reconnaissance Troop. This force moved to the south on a reconnaissance mission and south of Weismes contacted an enemy armored unit. The task force then set up roadblocks in Weismes and held there until the second battalion of the 16th Infantry passed through to set up a strong defensive line at the southern edge of Weismes.

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