http://www.germanwarmachine.com/fallsch ... 194445.htm
Gradually the Americans fought their way forward, suffering heavy losses in the process, until they were on the outskirts of St. Lô itself. The key to the town was Hill 192, a commanding height 4.8km (three miles) to the east. The defence of this feature was initially in the hands of the 3rd Battalion, 9th Parachute Regiment, and the 1st Battalion, 5th Parachute Regiment. Following a heavy artillery barrage, the US attack began at 06:00 hours on 11 July. Resistance was its usual fanatical self, and soon the Germans were feeding in new units to hold their positions: the 12th Parachute Gun Brigade, 3rd Parachute Reconnaissance Company and 3rd Parachute Engineer Battalion. However, all the Fallschirmjäger units were badly mauled in the fighting, and by the next day the 3rd Parachute Division was desperately scraping together its last reserves to form a new defence line south of the St. Lô-Bayeux highway. The nature of the fighting for the hill is described by a para who fought there, and shows that even élite troops have their mental and physical limits: "Carried my machine gun through the enemy lines into a slightly more protected defile and crept back again with another fellow to get the wounded. On our way back we were covered again with terrific artillery fire. We were just lying in an open area. Every moment I expected deadly shrapnel. At that moment I lost my nerve. The others acted just like me. When one hears for hours the whining, whistling and bursting of shells and the moaning and groaning of the wounded, one does not feel too well. Our company had only 30 men left (out of 170)." In three days of fighting the 3rd Parachute Division had lost 4064 men. By 14 July II Parachute Corps had no reserves left, and Meindl informed Rommel that, as he had received no replacements, he could not hold his present positions. But hold the paras did, at least until 27 July when US forces finally broke through at St. Lô. The "Battle of the Hedgerows" cost the US First Army 11,000 dead, wounded and missing between 7-22 July.
Of more importance than the terrain was the enemy that defended Hill 192. In the first days of the fighting south of Omaha Beach, the enemy had been for the most part members of the static coast defenses, including Russians. As Hill 192 was approached, however, a new brand of opposition developed. These new defenders all wore mottled camouflage suits and all seemed to be armed with automatic weapons. They were’ soon identified as members of the 9th Parachute Regiment, 3d Parachute Division, who had been rushed from Brittany to halt this American penetration of the Normandy defenses.
They were clever, tenacious foes. They fired their “Burp’’ guns from trees, hedgerow corners, and buildings. During the period from 17 June to 11 July, while the Americans awaited the order to resume the attack, the paratroopers converted each hedgerow on the northern slope of Hill 192 into a maze of dugouts and firing positions. Tunnels were dug through the base of each hedgerow to afford apertures.
Firing pits dug along the tops of the hedgerows were zigzagged for greater protection. Machine guns as well as towed and selfpropelled antitank guns fired from prepared positions throughout the defended area. Movement laterally and to the front was covered by the hedgerows themselves and the many orchards and tree-lined trails throughout. Mortars were emplaced in countless positions covering every american position and avenue of approach. The Germans’ greatest asset was the caliber of the troops themselves.
They were always in the next hedgerow. Our patrols sent out at night were shot up hardly or gobbled up entirely. If we withdraw a hedgerow or two to bring down fire on their positions, they followed us back and were there again—in the next hedgerow. I watched as a group of paratroopers was being questioned after the hill had been captured. One ragged, bearded survivor expressed the spirit of the 3d Parachute Division when he was asked what he thought of the Americans now.
Looking, fixedly at his questioner he answered without hesitation: “Germany will win!”
The Attack on Hill 192, 11 July 1944
"A German Soldier's Last Letter":Hill 192
http://www.texasescapes.com/WorldWarII/ ... Letter.htm