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Remembering Skyline Drive Part II

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  • Remembering Skyline Drive Part II

    On the morning of December 16, 1944, 57th Panzer Corps’ massed artillery, reinforced with a brigade of Nebelwerfer multiple barrel mortars, opened fire and plastered the positions of the 110th Infantry along Skyline Drive. The barrage died out after half an hour, but by then all the field telephone lines from the forward positions to battalion and regiment had been cut. 26th Volksgrenadier Division assault troops had already crossed the Our River and quickly infiltrated past the forward string of company strong points. Surprise was so complete, and communications so disrupted, that for much of the day the American infantrymen in the line had no idea they were in the middle of a major German offensive. They knew they were under heavy attack but assumed it was a purely local affair.

    When the routes forward to the line companies were cut by infiltrators, the 28th Division released two medium tank companies from the attached divisional tank battalion. These had to fight their way forward to link up with the infantry, but still the resistance could as easily be due to German patrol activity. Only in the afternoon of the 16th did it become clear the Germans were attacking throughout the Ardennes, and attacking in overwhelming force. By then all six forward*rifle companies were surrounded and under heavy pressure. Several had already turned down demands for surrender. But every German attack had been stopped by U.S. fire. The field artillery battalion attached to the regiment fired concentrations most of the day, when they weren’t ...


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