0220– With the bulk of 1/8 Cav having arrived outside of Luthorst, the battalion commander makes the decision to push forward with what he has on hand at present. The single company and support elements bringing up the rear would just have to catch up. Sunrise would come at 0530 or thereabouts, with first light coming 30 minutes earlier. There was a lot to do between now and then.
0235– 8th Guards Tank Division’s commander arrives at the newly prepared forward division headquarters on the edge of the village of Brunsen. This was the place where he would coordinate and fight the first phase of the day’s battle. On the short ride from Einbeck, he saw columns of self-propelled artillery and armored vehicles snaking their way down Routes 3 and 64. These were from the 94th Guards Tank Regiment, one of two that would attack at 0700.
0249– 1/8 Cav moves straight into the 8th Guards TD rear area as it presently stands. M-1s and Bradleys engage enemy vehicles at long range with cannon and missile fire. The night vision and laser range finding equipment on the American vehicles is a major advantage. Before the enemy is even aware of just who is engaging them or from what direction, two American companies are moving deeper into the rear and shooting up anything that appears to be of military value while searching for more. Fuel depots, repair yards, communications equipment, and of course, unit headquarters all have high priority on the target list.
0300– 1/32 Armor, the next battalion from 2nd Brigade/1st Cavalry Division begins its passage through the corridors established earlier and into the Soviet rear.
0310– Sounds of explosions and tank guns firing in the distance can be heard outside of 8th Guards forward headquarters. This is reported to the division commander who immediately tries to contact the 94th Guards headquarters, without success.
0335– AH-1 Cobras and Kiowas reconnoiter the area around the Leine river crossings at Greene and the nearby staging areas. The pilots discover less security present than the intelligence reports had led them to expect. This information is passed along to 1/8 Cav.
0340– Mustang 6, 1/8 Cav’s commander, orders the company nearest to Greene and the Leine to disengage and head directly for the river at once. As his sister battalion arrives in the area he intends to begin moving the rest of his units towards the river.
0355– Multiple reports of enemy tanks inside the division perimeter are arriving at 8th Guards TD’s forward headquarters. The division commander has no idea what is happening, and the reports coming in contain little solid information. The 9th Guards TD sector is quiet, so what the hell is going on?
0400– At 3rd Shock Army’s headquarters the same question is being asked. The reports and pieces of information being heard on the communications net are painting a confused—but alarming picture.
0415– C Company, 1/8 Cavalry begins to crest the ridge 1 kilometer west of Greene. Below them is the river and the bridgehead. At the moment, a column of BMPs is preparing to cross from the eastern bank. Upon seeing this, the company commander relays a situation update to his battalion commander and then, almost as an afterthought, informs Mustang 6 that he’s engaging.
0419– “Enemy tanks at Greene!” The communications officer’s report brought a pall of shocked silence to the forward division headquarters. A staff officer demanded to know which enemy, and was answered with a frustrated growl. “American tanks!” The division commander did not believe the news and demanded confirmation, knowing it would take too much time to obtain. He then grabbed the first staff officer he saw and ordered him to get a vehicle, head to Greene and personally report on the situation.