The Following Reports was send to me by Brian Howards, who is
interessted in the 106th ID, because his father in law was a proud member of
the Lions Division. From his fathers in law´s collection was taken the
newspaper article. Sorry, we have no date or any name of the newspaper...
Thank you Brian.
Barrage Opens Attack
The attack started at 5:50 AM on the 16th with a tremendous artillery barrage against the 106th' line, which curved northward from the center of the Schnee Eifel in a sector held by the 14th Cavalry Group, an armored outfit attached to the infantry. Then the barrage moved across a field artillery battalion, also attached. By 6:20 AM more than 100 rounds had hit squarely among the artillerymen.
Five minutes after the shelling of our lines started the Germans opened up against St. Vith itself. The civilians, most of whom had pretended to be friendly but actually were pro-Nazi, were in their cellars when the firing started. They popped out again promptly after the last shell fell at 2 PM. The Americans later captured a radio receiver by which the Germans had notified the civilians of the impending shelling.
The Germans turned their guns then on the 422nd and 423rd Regiments and followed with infantry and tank assaults. By daybreak (unreadable in my copy) the Germans had thrown two divisions into this part of the front and by mid-morning enemy columns were swarming around the Schnee Eifel. They swamped the 422nd and 423rd Regiments and the 424th was forced to withdraw.
Report Tell Of Disaster
All the time, until radio contact was lost, the two regiments continued to send back reports of the fighting. They were routine in nature but they all added up to disaster. There was no sign, however, that the men realized this or were overly concerned.
At 3:35 PM on Dec. 18, the radio sputtered that all units of the two regiments were in need of ammunition, food and water. Parachuting of supplies was out of the question because of the fog.
The last message came from the 422nd at 4 PM that day and from the 423rd at 6 PM. They were addressed to Lt. Cole Earle B. Williams, Louisville, Ky., divisions signal office, and were signed by sergeants who had had charge of the regimental radio sections.
Both messages were in code and were identical - “we now are destroying our equipment.” That was all. Presumably most of the two regiments were taken prisoner.
Engineers Fought Heroically
The Germans then headed for St. Vith and were stopped temporarily by the 81st and 168th Engineer Battalions who fought heroically. They were outgunned many times over and it was mainly by guts that they held the Germans off all night with three tank destroyer guns and three 57-millimeter guns.
Early on the morning of Dec. 18, division headquarters began moving west out of St. Vith. Some units were halted by MPs who had on American uniforms and talked with a Midwestern accent. The MPs turned out to be Germans. One of them fired a rocket which signaled the opening of a terrific barrage against the halted vehicles.
After a stiff fight by the 424th, one combat command from the Ninth Armored Division which had moved up on Dec. 19, the fighting engineers and the 112th Regiment from the 28th Infantry Division, the Germans occupied St. Vith at 11 PM on Dec. 21.