Document Source: Attack on the High Ground outside Grand Halleux, Belgium, January 15-16, 1945, Battle of the Bulge.
Personal Experiences of a Company CO, Maj Allan J. Bogardus.
This archive covers the operations of Charlie Company, 291st Infantry Regiment, 75th Infantry Division in the Ardennes Campaign near Grand Halleux, Belgium. The action to be discussed in detail is that of Charlie Co in the attack and subsequent holding of a high key terrain feature on Jan 15 and 16, 1945. In order that the reader may be more fully informed on the US 75-ID, and the major events leading to that situation, it will be necessary to flashback to the month of June 1944.
The US 75-ID was rapidly training filler replacements at Camp Breckinridge (Kentucky) – 3500 men from (ASTP) Army Specialized Training Program and (USAAF) US Army Air Force replaced a duplicate number of reinforcements who went overseas immediately after maneuvers. On Jun 6, 1944, the invasion of France was launched by Allied Armies. Members of the US 75-ID now realized that soon they too would be moving to the combat zone. On Oct 22, 1944, elements of the US 75-ID embarked for the (ETO) European Theater of Operations. On Nov 2, 1944, the 291-IR docked at Swansea, Wales, and departed immediately for camps in Pembrokeshire, Wales. On Dec 9, Orders were received assigning the US 75-ID to the US XVI Corps, US 9-A. On Dec 13, most of the troops of the 291-IR bivouacked at Saint-Paer, France. On Dec 19, orders were received by the US 75-ID, releasing the division from US XVI Corps (9-A) and assigning it to the US VII Corps, US 1-A. By 2400, Dec 22, the division command post had opened at Ocquire, Belgium, and all elements had closed into nearby areas. Now, the US 75-ID prepared took its place in the front line to stay the German Winter Offensive.
On Dec 16, the Germans launched their offensive into the Ardennes with the 5.Panzer-Army, the 6.Panzer-Army and the 7.Army. The Ardennes, a mountainous, broken terrain, steep hills, deep and narrow valleys with a great number of small streams and cross compartments, was thickly covered by fir trees as only man can plant them. Into this terrain, covered by snow, shrouded in fog and mist, the German Armies rolled deep into Belgium. American units in the path of the offensive fought valiantly to halt the tide, but fog, snow, and the terrain were as much a foe as the Germans. Since time prohibited coordinated defenses, the US 75-ID was committed piecemeal.
On Dec 23, Gen Joseph ‘Lightning Joe’ Lawton Collins, Commanding General of the US VII Corps, issued orders attaching the 289-IR and the 290-IR to the US 3-AD while the 291-IR was ordered to outpost the Ourthe River between Bomal and Grandmenil, Belgium. On Dec 24, the 2-291-IR was attached to the US 2-AD while the remainder of the 291-IR was assembled in the vicinity of Sommeleuze, Belgium, as US VII Corps Reserve. During Dec 23 and 24, Charlie-291 was working with elements of the 2-AD and it was not until the late afternoon of Dec 24, that word was received that Charlie-291 was to join the 291-IR at Sommeleuze.
The period of Dec 24-26, saw the height of penetration by the German offensive, the lifting of the fog permitted the Allies to launch one of their greatest air offensive against a single target, the German columns on Dec 24. The seemingly haphazard employment of units piecemeal into the stemming of the onslaught had blunted and at least stopped the Germans. The stubborn resistance at Bastogne, the US 3-A counteroffensive launched on Dec 22, together with the ever-stiffening of the forces along the northern flank of the salient had burned the tide. On Dec 27, orders were received assigning the US 75-ID, less the 289-IR, and the 290-IR which were to remain attached to the US 3-AD, to the US XVIII Corps (A/B). The 2/291 was to remain attached to the US 2-AD until Dec 28 and then was to join the Regiment. On Dec 28, the 291-IR was en route to relieve elements of the US 7-AD at Vaux-Chavanne. The 1/291 on the left flank tied its left flank to the US 82-A/B while the 3/291 on the right, near Manhay, tied with the US 106-ID. At 0900, Jan 2, 1945, the US 75-ID reverted to the US VII Corps control in preparation for the Corps offensive.
The US 1-A intelligence believed that an immediate offensive by elements of the 6.Panzer-Army against the west flank of the salient had been shelved until the thorn of the American US 3-A and Bastogne could be removed. The US VII Corps plan of attack was to launch its offensive at 0830, Jan 3, seize Houffalize and its vicinity and at the same time, cut the Highway Houffalize – St Vith to prevent the withdrawal of the German troops. The US 2-AD and the US 3-AD supported by the US 83-ID and the 84-ID were to spearhead the attack. The planned VII Corps offensive launched as scheduled on Jan 8, 1030, and the US 75-ID was assigned to the US XVIII Corps (A/B). The division (less the 290-IR) was then ordered to relieve the US 82-A/B in the western sector of the US XVIII Corps (A/B) along the
SITUATION 1/291-IR, JAN 8-15, 1945
On Jan 6, the 1/291-IR was located outside the city of Spa, in Creppe. On Jan 8, the battalion received orders to move to Basse Bodeux, on one of the toughest forced marches they were ever to encounter. The march was over unused roads, at times knee-deep in snow, covered by ice, in freezing weather. It was a tired battalion that closed into Basse Bodeux at 0330, on Jan 10. By 1700, plans and recon had been completed and the 1/291 was once more on the move, this time to relive elements of the US 82-A/B near Farnières.
While the move to the position was only about 5 miles, the route was through the woods, over fire-breaks that were deep with snow and blocked by discarded German equipment. By 2300, Jan 10, the battalion had completed the relief and had patrols operating to the front. As the dawned bright and clear, on Jan 11, the Battalion and Company Commanders of 1/291 could see their position clearly for the first time, all three companies were on line covering a front of 4000 meters of broken wooded terrain. Reorganization of positions had to be accomplished over the entire sector. The Battalion’s CP was established at Farnières, Baker on the right, Charlie in the center, and Able on the left flank of the battalion. A series of strong points were established in each company’s sector and were connected by patrols. Contact was established by patrols with the 289-IR on the right and the 3/290 on the left. Continuous day and night patrols were the standing orders. The Germans had established a stronger counter-patrol screen across the front and on the Salm River, this was very effective in countering patrol efforts.
Contemplating an attack order, the Regimental CO, Col Harry S. Robertson, had ordered the 3/291 to increase the bridgehead over the Salm River at Grand Halleux. At 1300, Jan 12, Love Co launched an attack and captured its objective, the high ground east of Ennal, but received à counter-attack at 1700 and lost the position. Love Co retook the position and held it on Jan 13. The men (95% of the T/O strength) of the 1/291 spent most of their time, while not on patrol, repairing and cleaning equipment, drying clothing, and keeping the war in the best way that could be found during the period Jan 11-14, inclusive. On the afternoon of Jan 14, orders were received for all company Commanders to be at Battalion at 1915, that evening.
DIVISION PLAN OF ATTACK
The US XVIII Corps (A/B), of which the 75-ID was a part, will make a concerted drive against the northern shoulder of the salient of the Ardennes and force a linking with the elements of the US 3-A attacking from the south. The 75-ID will attack in the morning of Jan 15, with the 289 and 291 RTCs, in a double envelopment of the city of Vielsalm and be prepared to continue the attack to the east and south. The 298-RTC will attack at 0300, Jan 15, seize Salmchâteau, force a crossing of the Salm River, continue the attack to Burtonville, and be prepared to continue the attack to the south and the east. The 291-RCT will attack at 0730, seize the high ground north of Vielsalm, Ville-du-Bois, Petit Thier and continue the attack to the southeast to establish contact with the 298-RTC in the Burtonville area.
The 291-IR will attack at 0730, Jan 15, through the positions held by the 3/291, with the sunken road running parallel to the front at the line of departure. The 899th Field Artillery Battalion, reinforced, will fire a 10-minute preparation from H-10 to H, and fire on-call after H hour. 2/291 will be on the left, 1/291, on the right. Charlie-291 will protect the right flank of the 291-RTC. Battalions will seize high ground north of Vielsalm and be prepared to continue the attack to the southeast and seize Ville-du-Bois and Petit-Thier while Charlie-291 will seize the high ground 1500 Meters south of the Line of Departure on order.
1/291 – PLAN OF ATTACK
The Line of Departure will be the sunken road now help by the 3/291, H hour will be 0730 on Jan 15. The battalion will cross the Line of Departure with Able Co on the left, Baker Co on the right, and Charlie Co echeloned to the right rear of Baker Co. Able and Baker will seize the high ground in their zone of action, 1500 Meters south of the Line of Departure, and be prepared to continue the attack to the southeast on order. Charlie Co will protect the right flank of the 291-RCT, and be prepared to seize the high ground overlooking the Salm River south of the village of Hourt. Dog Co will attach one heavy machine gun section to each of the rifle companies, remaining section to remain in general support. The 81-MM Mortar Plat. to be in general support of the battalion, and one forward observer will have to be with each rifle company. The AT Plat. will establish a roadblock at the south edge of Hourt after H hour. Attachments are effective as of now, and each company will move to the Line of Departure independently, companies will coordinate their move to the Line of Departure through battalion headquarters.
Prisoners captured by the 3/290 on Jan 13 had identified the Germans holding the wood line southeast of Grand Halleux as the 752.Volksgrenadier-Regiment. Earlier intelligence reports indicated that elements of the 62.Infantry-Division, 326.Volksgrenadier-Division and 9.SS-Panzer-Division were operating in the vicinity of Vielsalm.
PLAN OF ATTACK – MOVEMENT TO DEPARTURE LINE – CHARLIE CO
The Charlie Co Commander called his Executive Officer, telling him to have the platoon leaders and sergeants at the company Command Post by 2030. Dog Co Commander stated that the section leaders of the Heavy Machine Gun Section would be at Charlie Co by 2030. As Charlie Co had been sitting for 4 days directly across the Salm River from their objective, all members were fully informed on the terrain over which they would move on Jan 15. Charlie Co would cross the Line of Departure, the sunken road in the 3/291 sector, following the right rear of the right attack platoon of Baker Co. The time of the crossing was based upon the situation of Baker Co.
The company would be echeloned to the right rear by platoons, in order, 1st Platoon, Light Machine Gun Section, 2nd Platoon, Heavy Machine Gun Section, and finally, 3rd Platoon. The Company Commander would be at the rear of the 1st Plat., the 60-MM Mortar Section, and the Company Headquarters Group behind the 2d Plat. One bazooka team was attached to each rifle platoon. The 1st Plat. will maintain contact with Baker Co, the 3rd Plat. will have one squad ready on call for patrolling when required. The 899-FAB reinforced will fire on call thereafter. Each rifleman will carry two bandoleers of ammunition, the BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) teams a full load for the guns, while company transportation will carry LMG (.30), HMG (.50), and 60-MM Mortars to the Chapel, at the south edge of Grand Halleux.
The tentative plan for movement to the Line of Departure will be columns of platoons: 1st Platoon, LMG Section, 2nd Platoon, HQs Co, 60-MM Mortar Section, 3rd Platoon. IP Command Post, time 0500. Route recon to the Line of Departure will be made by the 1st and 4th Platoon Leaders and the Company Commander. Recon was made of the routes to the Line of Departure, plans coordinated with Battalion S3, and the time of crossing of the Initial Point had to be set up to 0445 to allow Baker Co to clear through Charlie Co’s area at 0500. Platoons were notified of the change of the time of crossing the Initial Point. At 0445, the 1st Platoon crossed, and each section and platoon was picked up as the column passed. The 3rd Platoon was slow in forming as two of its members had been allowed to sleep until the platoon was forming and had not secured their equipment. Charlie Co cleared the area before Baker Co’s column entry into the area. The movement to the Line of Departure was uneventful, Charlie closed into its forward assembly area at 0710, mortar and machine-gun squads were sent after their weapons and ammunition and by 0725 had returned to the assembly area.
The artillery preparation that was being fired drew return mortar fire on the positions held by the 3/291 but no known casualties were inflicted by this counter-fire. From the position of Charlie Co the artillery preparation could be seen falling in the woods held by the Germans and as the last round fell at 0730 the first man of the 1st Platoon crossed the Line of Departure, keeping in close contact with the right assault platoon of Baker Co.
THE ATTACK – JANUARY 15
It was very quiet as all the elements of the 291-IR crossed the Line of Departure, not a shot was heard by Charlie Co. The forward movement was deliberate, visibility was about 200 meters, and the snow in places was quite deep. The first 200 meters were up a slight slope, then across the level ground – contact with Baker Co was firm during all this time. Just as the leading elements of the 1st Platoon reached the level ground, a thunderous roar of automatic small arms and mortar fires could be heard all along with the 291-IR sector. It was all incoming.
Mortar fire could be seen falling on the center and right portion of Baker Co, however a slight rise in the terrain prohibited visibility of the remainder of the Battalion and Regimental sectors. The right Platoon of Baker Co halted and took cover and the support platoon of Baker Co side-slipped to the right to get out of the mortar fire zone. As the support platoon moved to the right, the contact with the right assault platoon of Baker Co broke contact with the right, thereby maintaining contact with Baker Co’s support platoon. This move placed the support platoon of Baker Co behind a rise in the ground, providing them protection from the small arms fire, all of the German mortar and artillery fire at this time was falling on the left and the center portion of the zone of advance. By 0800, small groups of Baker Co’s support platoon could be seen rushing forward in short bounds toward the woods 200 meters to the front.
Charlie Co’s Commander ordered the 1st Platoon to utilize only one squad to maintain contact with Baker Co and to move the remainder 100 meters to the right, keeping in defilade all the times. The sound of the battle was rising in intensity, no other information was to be at this time on the progress of the attack. Baker Co’s support platoon was making its way slowly toward the wood line to the front. Trying to get a clearer picture of how Baker Co was progressing, Charlie Co’s Commander worked his way forward to contact the platoon leader of Baker Co’s support platoon. It was about 0830 before the platoon sergeant was found, and when asked where the platoon leader was, he replied: to the best of my knowledge he was with the first squad and that squad was along with the rise in the ground about 70 meters to the rear.. What is Baker Co’s situation and what is the plan of your platoon? was he asked again,the two assault platoons caught it when they were crossing the slight rise in front of the Line of Departure, and how far forward they have gone I don’t know. What the plan of the platoon is, I don’t know, I am supposed to keep behind the 3rd Squad and see that it keeps in contact with the 2nd Squad … was the reply!
The 3rd Squad of Baker Co’s support platoon was beginning to swing to the east in what appeared to be an attempt to flank the German position on the edge of the woods. The squad stopped after it entered the edge of the woods and took up firing positions. By this time a heavy volume of small arms fire was being directed at the support platoon of Baker Co. The situation of Baker Co had not changed, one squad of the 1st Platoon was being used to maintain contact with Baker Co, and the remainder was echeloned to the right rear of the platoons. LTC Sanders was contacted on the SCR-300 radio and told of the situation, location, and actions of Baker Co’s support platoon and the location and disposition of Baker Co. LTC Sanders stated that: the 2/291 had advanced about 400 meters and is now pinned down by the heavy fire; Able Co is in the same fix and form information received, Baker Co has now advanced about 400 meters on the left swinging around to the right in a figure ‘J’ with all 3 platoons committed, as things stand now it does not look like either Able or Baker Cos will be able to move forward. Keep Charlie Co out of the fight until you receive orders.
The Company Commander contacted the 1st Platoon Leader, reemphasized his orders of maintaining contact with Baker Co but to keep the platoon in defilade, and told him that the company commander was going to the 3rd Platoon. The Company Commander then went back to the 3rd Platoon, passing on the information to the 2nd Platoon Leader, regarding the situation. The 3rd Platoon Leader was informed of the situation and the plans were discussed regarding sending a patrol of one squad from the 3rd Platoon out along the edge of the road for 400 meters, then to the east of the edge of the woods, to reconnoiter along the edge of the woods to where the ground rose sharply to the south. The squad was briefed and the route they were to take was pointed out on the ground. The patrol departed at about 0845. Word was passed to all members of Charlie Co that a squad from the 3rd Platoon was patrolling to the front of the company.
Lt Knobel, Platoon Leader of the 3rd Platoon, was informed that if the patrol returned with the information that the route they had taken was either lightly or undefended, the 3rd Platoon would lead the attack to seize the high ground if Battalion gave the go-ahead signal. The plan would be for the 3rd Platoon to move out in columns of squads, LMG Section, HMG Section, 60-MM Mortars Section, and then 2nd Platoon. The 1st Platoon would maintain contact with Baker Co and the 2nd Platoon using strong combat patrol. When the lead squad of the 3rd Platoon hit the edge of the cliff in the woods it would follow the lead squad, turn and assault at the same time, 3rd Squad would continue straight forward until they reached the top, LMG and HMG would follow 3rd Squad, 60-MM Mortars, and 2nd Platoon to follow on order. 3rd Platoon would push quickly across the clearing and take up defensive positions. All platoon leaders were informed of the contemplated plan of action and told to be ready to move on ten minutes’ notice.
The Patrol returned at about 0915 without firing a shot or being discovered, patrol leader reported that the route was well covered from the wood line up to where he turned to the east and they saw what appeared to be a two-man outpost just inside the woods about 50 meters from where the ground rose sharply to the south; the soldiers in the outpost were observing in a northeasterly direction toward the sound of the battle.
The Battalion Commander was informed that it was believed that Charlie Co could take the objective and request permission to attack. The Battalion Commander said to stand fast, that clearance from the regiment was required because of the present situation, 2/291, and all but Charlie from 1/291 were pinned to the ground. At approximately 1000, LTC Sanders called stating: attack when you are ready, keep me informed of your progress, you are on your own. Within a few minutes the squad that has done the patrolling moved out followed by the Company Commander, Lt Knoble, the remainder of the 3rd Platoon, and other elements of Charlie Co falling in the column as planned. Charlie Co moved rapidly along its reconnoitered route, at the point where the route turned to the east, the company halted while the lead squad moved on to capture the outpost without making any noise if possible. The LMG Section was brought up to cover the squad.
The squad moved out in a short time and captured the outpost without firing a shot. These Krauts were from the 2.Company, 752.Regiment, 326.Volksgrenadier-Division. The POWs were turned over to the 1st Platoon to be taken to the battalion while the rest of the company continued the attack. The lead squad moved forward but had not progressed more than 20 meters from the outpost when a burst of MP-38/40 fire sprayed over their heads, by a second outpost that had not been seen. The BAR man, Pfc Stark, wheeled and fired a magazine burst at the outpost, wounding a German in the shoulder. These 2 men quickly surrendered and it was found that they were from the 5.Company of the same regiment as the first two captured.
The woods at this position were quite dense and movement was slowed down for careful observation of additional enemy positions. As the lead squad started into a thinly wooded area at the base of the cliff a hail of small arms fire splattered the trees above and around them. The squad hit the ground as one man and started searching the area in an attempt to locate the source of the enemy fire. The company objective could be seen through the trees, and it was from there that the harassing fire was coming. The battalion was called requesting artillery support; the Company Commander would direct and adjust the fire through the Battalion because Charlie Co was initially the reserve company of the 291-IR and did not have an artillery observer.
The first round was estimated to be 500 Meters right and 200 meters short, whereas the second round was about 100 meters over. Word was relayed through the battalion, for artillery to drop 100 meters and fire for effect. The on-the-way was received just before the whine of the incoming shells could be heard, they hit with a deafening roar. The short rounds of the battalion concentration were hitting the top of the cliff, less than 100 meters in front of the lead squad.
Orders were issued for the squads of the 3rd Platoon to move to their assault positions, but to watch the company commander for the signal to assault, which would be given when the word was received that the last round was on the way. When the lead squad, 1st Squad of the 3rd Platoon, was at its assault position, the request to cease fire was relayed to the artillery. A slow count of ten was made after word was received that the last rounds were on the way and the signal was given to assault. The assault group was already at the base of the cliff as the last round exploded into the objective. There was then a mad scramble up the cliff, which sloped from 60° to 90°, by the three assault squads in what appeared to be a race to see which would be the first to reach the top. Machine-gun sections, not to be outdone, were pushing the riflemen so that they could also reach the top.
Within a few minutes, the 3rd Platoon had pushed across the clearing and was setting up a defensive position to the south and southeast. The 2nd Platoon had moved on to the objective and was setting up hasty defensive positions from northeast to east, tying in with the 3rd Platoon. At 1100, the Battalion was notified that the objective had been taken by Charlie Co with no casualties, that 7 Germans had been killed, and 20 captured, of these, all were wounded, some seriously, and 4 stretchers were required to evacuate them. How to accomplish the evacuation presented a real problem. It was decided that the aidmen would patch them as best as they could and when the 1st Platoon made its next contact, all walking wounded would be turned over for delivery to the battalion, and the stretcher-bearers were to return with the patrol to pick up the litter cases.
Defensive positions were closely coordinated, security elements were pushed out, and work on individual foxholes and fields of fire was pushed with all the speed to meet the anticipated counter-attack. The 60-MM mortars went into position behind a large boulder near the edge of the cliff, the HMG section was on the south flank of Charlie Co firing northeast, and the LMGs dug in on the north flank and were firing southeast.
At about 1400, all foxholes were dug and the men were beginning to place an overhead covering over them when the alert warning was given indicating that motor movement was heard along the trail from the south. Two bazooka teams were sent to the roadblock south of the trail, while every other man in Charlie Co prepared for what was thought to be the counter-attack. About 5 minutes later a very slow-moving full tracked lightly armored vehicle (Steyr RSO) entered the clearing on the trail. When the vehicle had advanced to within 40 meters, both bazooka men fired, one round smashed into the tracks of the vehicle setting it afire, the two occupants jumped off and ran away back into the woods amid a hail of small arms fire. The burning vehicle soon sounded like a small battle as it was loaded with small arms and mortar ammunition which were now exploding due to the fire. It was now apparent that we controlled one of the supply routes leading to the German front line, several hundred meters to the north.
At about 1500, a radio message from the battalion ordered Charlie Co to withdraw to Grand Halleux as the regimental situation was the same as it has been at 0900, the 2/291 was still pinned down to the ground on the left flank, Able and Baker Cos being also pinned down on the right flank. Battalion requested to change the order, allowing one platoon reinforced, to remain on the objective they had captured earlier and the remainder of Charlie Co to withdraw. The orders were changed as requested, and 1800 was the time limit set for the remainder of Charlie Co to close into Grand Halleux. Charlie Co’s Executive officer, Communications Sergeant, and one squad of the 2nd Platoon were sent back to the company transportation. The Executive Officer was instructed to establish a CP, have wire laid from the battalion, have the Communications Sergeant string wire from the company CP back to the 3rd Platoon position, and have him bring enough wire so that a second line be laid to the company CP, and finally, to have the squad bring back 60 rounds of 60-MM mortar ammunition.
Work was immediately started in establishing the perimeter defense location for the 3rd Platoon, this platoon was to remain on position, and by 1700, all positions were dug, the assignment of sectors of fire for each rifle squad, machine gun squad, and 60-MM mortars section, LMG section less two ammunition bearers from each squad, and the HMG section less the assistant gunner and two ammunition bearers from each squad, while the bazooka team attached earlier in the day was also to remain. At about this time the Communications Sergeants and the squad with the ammunition arrived. A telephone was installed and checked, ammunition was redistributed so that each rifleman of the 3rd Platoon had four bandoleers, the BAR men had a double load at each gun and the aid man of the 2nd Platoon gave all of his supplies to the 3rd Platoon’s aid man.
The 2nd Platoon and HQs Co led by the Company Commander started back to Grand Halleux, laying a second telephone line as they went. The 1st Platoon was picked up on the way back, informing the right flank of Baker Co of the situation and continuing on Grand Halleux. Charlie Co (-) closed into its new area in the town at 1800, the Company Commander reported to the battalion to give them the situation and receive instructions. There were no instructions for the immediate employment of Charlie Co, but LTC Sanders directed that plans be made for a night flanking attack across the front of the 1/291. The Company Commander of Charlie Co was against an attempted night attack because it would be impossible to coordinate his actions with elements of the 1/291 and 2/291 who were pinned down along the front. Plans were made for the night attack and submitted together with a recommendation that it not be used but rather at dawn Charlie Co be permitted to expand the position now held by the 3rd Platoon, cutting east behind the German lines and on order turn and attack south toward the regimental objective.
LTC Sanders took the plans and recommendations to the regiment, informing Charlie Co’s Commander to remain at the Battalion CP for orders. With nothing to do but to wait, instructions were phoned to the Executive Officer to have as many men as possible get some sleep, and that hot food would be sent forward within a short time. The telephone lines from the 3rd Platoon’s position were spliced into the battalion line at Charlie Co so that direct communications to Lt Knoble and the Company Commander were possible.
The situation of the regiment and the possible employment of Charlie Co in a night attack was told to Lt Knoble, his situation was very quiet. A continuous flow of information was maintained with the 3rd Platoon and at 2300, Lt Knoble stated he thought the movement had been heard to the east of his position, the men were on alert but nervous. At 2330, the platoon sergeant reported: the Germans can be heard all about our positions but we can’t see a thing, Lt Knoble is out making sure all men are awake. At 2400, Lt Knoble reported: we have been hit but a counter-attack is on the way and the Germans are yelling all over the place, have the artillery fire 200 meters east of our position. A five-minute concentration was fired and by 0130, Lt Knoble reported that all was quiet. The 3rd Platoon was intact, ammunition was plentiful, and one man of the platoon had been wounded, but he was in good condition and could wait until morning for evacuation.
LTC Sanders had returned in the meantime, stating that the night attack was off and that Charlie Co would spearhead the attack at 0700. Lt Knoble was notified of the plan and was told that the remainder of Charlie Co would see him at that time. The remainder of the night of Jan 15-16 was quiet and at 0600, Charlie Co (-) moved out to join the 3rd Platoon on the high ground. In conjunction with other elements of the 291-IR, Charlie Co launched its attack at 0700, Jan 16. To sum up the results of this action, Charlie Company, 291st Infantry Regiment did succeed in accomplishing its mission:
a. Protect the right flank of the 291st IR
b. Capture the high ground overlooking the Salm River south of Hourt.
From the standpoint of Charlie Co, it was a very successful operation, the objective was taken in a minimum of time without the loss of a single man. From the Regimental standpoint, however, it did not appear to be a complete success, as the German position did not weaken or withdraw on Jan 15. The success of Charlie Co getting behind the German lines on Jan 15 either caused the Germans to withdraw on the following night or they had so planned as the attack at 0700, Jan 16, moved very swiftly meeting only slight resistance.