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Battle of Hatten-Rittershoffen: US tankers relieve Hatten pressure

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‘For three days of incessant attack the two battalions in Hatten and Rittershoffen clung to the slim wedges in each town, neither larger than a baseball park. They fired mortars at ‘impossible’ ranges of 75 to 150 yards. They fired bazookas over housetops, lobbing them like mortars. They fired bazookas at the blistering rate of 40 rounds every five minutes, with loaders stoking each ‘stovepipe’ and diving to the ground to escape the blast. They even pulled pins from mortar shells and fired them at the Germans a la Commando Kelly.’

Combat diary of Lt Goodwin (History of 79th Infantry Division, p108)

 

At the start of the 13 January, the entire sector was formally given to the command of the 14th Armored Division. All US supporting arms could be more fully brought into the engagement. Inside Rittershoffen, CCA along with the men from the 315th Infantry Regiment were to clear the village. Combat Command R (CCR) under control of Colonel Hudelson was to attack Hatten from the south-west. The church at Rittershoffen again proved the focal point of both forces. For two days the battle raged around this key point and the Americans managed to gain a handful of buildings around this location. However, the Germans used flamm-panzers in the counter-attack, forcing the Americans to relinquish their meagre gains. So desperate the Americans became to dislodge the German from the strongpoint at the main church at Rittershoffen, they brought up a 155mm howitzer to fire over open sites at this position.