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Battle of Hatten-Rittershoffen: Prelude to the German attack
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The main German panzer reserve was released into action during the second week of Nordwind. The 21st Panzer Division from this reserve initially probed for weakness in the thinly held US lines around the villages of Stundwiller and Oberroedern in the north-easterly sector. The attack against Oberroedern was successfully rebuked by the 3rd Battalion, 313rd Infantry Regiment. Their actions earned the unit a Presidential Unit Citation. German efforts then settled on attacking the neighbouring villages of Hatten and Rittershoffen (‘Hatten-Rittershoffen’), located just to the south of Oberroedern.
The more easterly of the villages, Hatten, was guarded by the men of 1st Battalion, 242nd Infantry Regiment. This regiment was part of the inexperienced 42nd Infantry Division, who had only been in France for a handful of weeks and had barely seen any combat. For the initial thrust into Hatten, the German allocated men from the 25th Panzergrenadier Division, a unit whose combat strength was little more than a brigade but did contain a strong armored component.