The 2/517th PIR and the drive to St. Vith

The 2nd Battalion of the 517th PIR, under the command of Lt. Col. Richard Seitz, leaves Goronne and heads to Neuville, 5 miles northwest of Malmedy. The 7th Armored Division is preparing for the final phase of the St. Vith offensive. Colonel Seitz and his men join Combat Command A (CCA) at Polleux.

Armored divisions differ from infantry and airborne. CCA orchestrates tactical actions and assembles infantry and armor units into "task forces" led by commanders. The 2/517th, reinforced by Company B of the 17th Tank Battalion and a platoon of Tank Destroyers, becomes "Task Force Seitz."

For a week, the Task Force awaits the attack launch. Paratroopers and tankers train together, refining their communications. On January 15th, the 1st Infantry Division attacks to seize the approaches of the "Ondenval Defile."

Facing snow, cold, and enemy resistance, the 1st Division's attack is slowed. On January 19th, the 7th Armored engages on the left flank of the 30th Infantry Division.

The attack begins on January 21st at 4 am. Task Force Seitz crosses the Deidenburg forest and captures the Auf der Hardt woods. Despite snow and cold, paratroopers surprise an enemy outpost. At dawn, tanks and Tank Destroyers join. The Germans fight stubbornly. Company E engages a group near log huts. A patrol led by Lieutenant Minard captures two intact Mark V tanks and destroys enemy self-propelled guns. The Task Force holds the woods under heavy artillery and mortar fire. By day's end, an estimated 150 enemies are killed. The village of Born remains uncaptured.

On January 22nd, the Task Force leads CCA's attack, traversing the In Der Eidt woods. The plan is to take the village of Hunnange. By nightfall, the Task Force seizes Neider Emmels and Hunnange, capturing prisoners and destroying enemy self-propelled guns.

On January 23rd, CCB fully liberates St. Vith. On January 24th, the attack to clear the St. Vith-Ambleve road begins. The 2/517th attacks alone and secures its objective by the next day.

On January 27th, elements of the 106th Infantry Division relieve the exhausted 2nd Battalion, which rejoins the rest of the 517th RCT at Stavelot.