As long as I am engaged in shameless self-promotion
Player 1 briefing:
LTG Garrison H. Davidson, commander 7th Army, an engineer by training and the architect of Line Davidson at the Pusan Perimiter, decided that he had the luxury of an active forward defense due to the ongoing buildup of conventional forces. And he knew those forces needed time to work the kinks out of depot stocks that had recently been scoured out of every corner of Europe.
LTG. John K. Waters, Commander V Corps, had been rotating battalions from his 4th Armor Group through reinforcement exercises to the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment that had been forward deployed to the border since August.
COL William E. DePuy, Commander 1st Battle Group, 30th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division was eager to get in on the action and had been pestering the chain of command to get the assignment.
LTG Waters wanted to have his 4th Armor Group intact. MJG William W. Dick Jr., commander 3rd ID, was just as happy to have "his own eyes" on the border in front of him.
And so it was that on December 31, 1961, COL DePuy led his reinforced battle group out of Schweinfurt to relieve the 3rd MTB 37th Armored Regiment on border duty north and east of Camp Wollbach.
Losing a holiday to field exercises was nothing new to men serving under DePuy, or to the troopers of the 14th ACR. Everyone understood the gravity of the Soviet threats. Everyone knew they would soon be fighting for freedom and a better future.
COL DePuy took full advantage of the time he had to walk the ground with his company commanders. This close to the border, and in a relatively unsettled area, there had been every opportunity to clear out civilians and to add mines and obstructions. The 14th Cavalry artillery had been more than cooperative in passing on their pre-registered targets.
The weather was awful. The visibility was limited. The jamming was intense. The border outposts could hear the rumble of heavy vehicles manuevering beyond the border. And they still had good wire communications back to HQ. They too were wondering what the Soviets were up too after they declared they would oust the Americans from Europe.
When the OP's reported increased motor noise well in excess of what they had been hearing the engineers were dispatched to other tasks, and the company work parties were pulled in for hot food and a night's sleep.
A serious effort was expected in this area to focus the attention of the 3rd Infantry Division. And because Bad Neustadt sat in control of 279 west towards Fulda, and 19 south towards Wurtzburg. How serious an effort was not to be known until the shooting started.
Soviet Military Liason Missions have had ample opportunities to register target beyond sight of Soviet observation posts on the Inner German Border. Heavy artillery fire is to be expected.
Wow. I have some copy editing to do.