On the second day of Operation Nordwind, the 6th SS Mountain Division “Nord” was committed in an attempt to interdict American lines of control and to secure key crossroad villages. During the night of 2/3 January, 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 12th Light Infantry (Gebirgsjager) Regiment moved south from Melch and then west alongside a trail on the floor of Rothbach Valley. The 3rd Battalion moved into the lead and climbed toward the summit of the pass on the west end of the valley. Around midnight its recon elements encountered an American defensive position.
Attacker: German (SS) (6th SS Mountain Division)
Defender: American (1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division)