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Battle of Hatten-Rittershoffen: 14th Armored goes on the offensive
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With the Germans now occupying significant portions of Hatten and Rittershoffen, the Americans fully committed the 14th Armored Division.
‘This powerful force (of Germans) had struck, all along the line, drove back men of the 42nd Infantry Division, and cut off men of the 79th Division. The 14th Armored Division was ordered to counter-attack to restore the MLR.’
History of the 14th Armored Division (Carter p176)
The 14th Armored Division launched two attacks from Combat Command A (CCA), led by Colonel Karlstad, and Combat Command B (CCB), led by Colonel Gillespie. The latter was given the ambitious task of attacking from north of Rittershoffen towards Hatten and looking to cut off the German supply route between the two villages via the sunken creek. The attack commenced at 1130hrs and it soon became clear the open fields CCB had to traverse to get to Hatten were a killing ground for well-placed German anti-tank guns and panzerjagers situated to on the slightly higher ground to the north of Hatten. After a number of tank casualties the attack was called off.
Karlstad’s CCA had more success as his brigade pushed into the German portion of Rittershoffen in support of the 3rd Battalion, 315th Infantry who remained holed up in the south-west corner of the village. The Germans were slowly forced from the western portion of the Rittershoffen and gains during the day were measured by individual houses. Several tank duels erupted near the church as several panzers counter-attacked. By the close of the day, the village of Rittershoffen was divided in half, with the Germans occupying the northern half. The American defensive position was stronger; fully guarded now by the 68th Armored Infantry Battalion, working with the depleted 3rd Battalion, 315th Infantry Regiment.
(Next: 13 January 1945)