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1948 - 1949
Rfrn,JRN 1'0

- .. , " _. . ..
HAY 1949
The purpose of this report is the study of armol"at
BASTOG1lli., The southern ARDmn1ES counteroffensive, of which_this is
a part) took,place during 1944 January 1945. As this
docwJent is primarily a studyqf strong emphasis has been
placed on that role, while the :1"ole8 played by other arms and units,
even though they have actually been of equal in the action
reView, been of necessity either omitted or only briefly
mentioned. The first chapter, however, is devoted to the initial
of the lOlst' ,Airborne Division because its stalwart stand
at strategically important BLSTCGNE set the stage for the acti-on of
the annored w1its described in this report.
have been fortlUlate in havil1gat hand the facilities of
the of The Armored School. tho resources thus
afforded us, as 111011 as the capable and cheerfui assistance of the
personnel in charge, our search for would have been very
hq,vcsurveyed,. as source r.aaterial, .the After Action"
Reports of the units actua.lly involved plus those of adjaccntunits,
pertineri't publications of the Department of the lW![ty', unit histories,
several publica.tions by recognized autho:rs, and havealso obtained
personal interviews lvith some of tho personnol concerned in the
operation. AIJCJhough we have had available a vloalth' of material
concerning, some of the large units, we have on tho other hand had
extreme difficulty in finding about tho $laller ones.
This. operation was pcrfo!'tlcd rapidly-and thus allowed little time for de
tailod pl"ior planning',. changes of command, shifting of units,
lack of ul"ittenordcrs, to oral 3rdcrs, aU
trom. the fluid acti.:>n, were understandable happenings
I,>rCsontod quite a. puzzle to those of us 1[[ho tried to. sort thea ot;lt.
of the area concerned us trouble.
$l,Qcts were plcntif\ll dut'ing tho wa.r arc now .almost itapossiblo
t.ofind. One .section, a.lcoy i.ri our study, was n?t obtainablo
nor fr?L1 Uashington. Wo w'oro VC:'':i fortunato in that Eajor
Ralph I.t. Click, 'iiJ'ho. was 2J,llOllg those sent during tho campaign,
x:oad, advcrtiscaont of OUl
S and lent us his personal
Eajor Jamos B. 'Duncan, first tho S-3 and later the Executive
Officer Qf the 20th AIHorod Battalion, furnishod us .cluch
given in severa.l Interviews, ho producod Do ,c:x_lplote sot of lJOttincnt
situc.tionmaps madJ after the. action.,. Lorriam., author of Q.cember, paic;l us a.
visit hisroccnt trip Tho Am1orod School o He assisted us
considerably in th:Jclc.rification of points.
It is desired to acknowledge the assistanco by the
following officOl'8; Lt Col .t'\.lcxandcr-GrahaLl (then Colonel),
Officer, Division Artillery, 4th Armored Division,
for ini'orIlw.tion Dn tho g,)X).oral situation; Lt Gol Albin G. Irzyk (thon
Major).t formerly Officer, 8th Tank Battalion, for
on of CCBof tho 4th Division; Lt Robert E.
Jr., forLlorly Officer, 94th Armored Field Artillery
Battalion, for details of the final attack of' Reserve COf;.1fLland, ,4th
,At'f.lorod Division, through Eajor Edvrard Bautz, fortlCrly
Exocutive Officer, 37th for details on the action
# ,.r- I ..
of that unit; lID-jar Edward, Ii. l..[arkcy, fornerly S-4, CCB, 4th' i\tf.lorod
Division, for dotails on the march to Hajor Hobert B.' Crayton
.(then captain), f.::>rLlorly Officer, Gonpal.1:y C, 19th Tank
Battalion, fordctnils on torrain, weather, the action of'
his unit; and to Iilajor J. L. Greone of the Research and li!l[\.l
Section of Tho Anlorod 80ho01fo1" his advice and guidance in the
organization and preparation of this study.
I. , , , , 1
\ .. ,
II.. lOlst iJH.BORl\IE DIVISION " " '" .. 6
IV.. " 'e 27
v. CCB DEJ?EIJDS , . 56
VIII .. 4th ARLORED DIVISION:IIDENS TIlE CO&1IDOR.... ".. "...... 154
CES ' " ' .
e" I US Order::>f Battle.. , , , i
II Germand Order of' Battle , e' X
III Terrc:,in and Tleather ... e', ".. ,., xviii
IV Pers ties lit' ..r.' .... ';' . xxv
Statistics,.. , ..' ' ' .' . xlv
Orders e.nd Fl,e)orts ..'. . . ...... xlviii
VII Maps and Sketches . .., -..,. ''" lxxxii
BIBLIQGIL..PHY. ".. " .. ,,- '. ,.'.' ,.-,., . " ..
The Pr.::>blom.
Arnor and armored units played a vital role at B.ASTCGNE,
BelgiUL1, during the Battle of tho Bulge. It is tho intent
of this report to the OLlploYIllcnt of arr..lorod elements during
this phase of tho both L1 the defense of tho belouguered
city and in the brilliant attuck that ntfoctodits reliof. Prinlarily
it is a study of armor in the m:>bile defense, a.l1d armor in a hastilj'r
planned a."",,d cxecuted
The basic principles of artJ.ored vlClrfaro mobility; shock
action; surprise, gained by doing the fire and maneuver,
based on firepower Bnd speed; concentration of and
cooperation, coordination, and tODLwrork of tho conbincd' ar.r:1.s. Suc-,
ccssfulan.l0red action is chara.cterized by deliberate planning nnd
violent exocution. In instances "I.'!horo theseprinciplos woro violated
vrehavc sought to dctorr.un.o tho reason ;;n.nd the, rcs'ul t. Conclusions,
regardloss as to' vTI10thcrQr not they Grc in accorde)1co vdth theso
doctrines, arc thorQughlynnalyzcd in an attompt to dcternine thoir
U t
haJor .m. s
Eany armol'cd units were employed in the 'area during
tho period covered by this roport. Hur.lorous VOlur.1CS "1f\Joulq be required
tQ cover conpletcly tho actions of each unit. Thorefore, this report
has been dovotod to tho activiti9s of the 4th Lrnorcd Division and
GCB 0f the 10th ..4.n:1orcd Pivision. ,+he actioll of thesQ unital"las
variod an0 ugh to give G\!1 accurate of tho cclploynlont of armor
in tho critica.l aitua:tion trh.icho:Ki$tod tho Allios during thoso
hectic, daY's in 19J+4.
. .
.Allied pressuro and l---apid since tho invasion of
NOH.EiJ'IDY had greatly lOl'lcrod the t1.jfa1o of tho Gcr,nJ8.ll,pooplo. Hitler
roalized this and, while recovoring frO,tl the attack on his lito on,.
20 Ju1..y' 1944, dccided sonothing !.i.u$'t be done. His e.nS1.rror tt> tho
pr.:>blcn VTas the plan for u lUl
gc sC:l,lo Gcrnan offensivc'. For this
purpose ho, built L1p as largo f.:>rcc p::>ssiblo; 'vrhich, whon assoabled,
consisted of four Arnios.
1'ho four tIe.!'" pickod to cc.rry out his plan wore tho
I:iftoollth, ,,ixtJl . F:.fth end ..cvc!1lli. Fifteenth
.. on the right was tJ, its defonsive tussion in fr:>nt of
First US iJ:'f.1Y'S left flnnk. Tho ucl.n effort, through the, centor would
be r.1adcb:r the Si):thSS linjY" under the of SS Goneral Scpp
..... ,I""
Dietrich, and Fi:ft.h ?U11zer\ under the cor.:lnnncl of General Von
\',fould be givon tho uissio'n o:C protecting
tho loft flank.
':110 vras t.::> strike west bot-1Joon 1:0NSCHAU and
ECTERNACH froLl an as'sonbly c.rca n;)rth of tho LOSELLE Trost of
COBlZNZ. The :Sixth .. VJouldbc on tho right' of centor and tho
Fifth Penzar 1'J.'f,1V on tho loft. Each l{2.S have n. uininum. :)f
_ .. "
four pnnzor divisions. (SOc sketch No,. 2, .Appcnclix VII... )
- 2
With this plane.nd an overall f.lissiJh to drive through the
Allies, destroy thirty or more IJ.liod divisions, and capture tho
city of liNT\JERP, tho Gcrr:tan Arms launched its ARDE1!NES offonsive
16 Docombcr 1944. Hitler-fs of a large scale offensive to
bolster the cruc.lbling morale of the Germe.n- people was n.:>w in action.
Thoro is no apparent the decision of the
Germ.ems to usc virtually tho Sar:1G fo'!' tho l:JIDENNES offensive as
they had used in thciri.1arch into Franco in 1940. Hitler personally
Ciaphasizcd that the pri.cl2..ry <:>bjocti.vo of tho offonsive V1['.8 the destruc
tion of encL1Y forcos and n.)t tho acquisition of territory. The thrust_
toward jJJT(':.ERP sooDod the best LlOthod to this because it would
cut off not tho Ar.1cricQ.tls in the A:.CHEN area, but 0.180 tho
British 'who vrorc deplojrccl along tho Dutch front. - The nissioncc.llod
for the destruction enomy north of tho lino BRUSSELS,

During tho carlJr part of DCCCI.lber 1944, Allied plans 02.110d
for the advanceLlcntof the northern andoontro,l groups of armies! or
ward to tho 1(:\,','-101" reaches of tho' RHINE River. It tw.s bolioved that
frou those positions along the RHINE, the final crushing b101Nsagainst
the heart of \Gormany could be deliverco.. Asa secondary _ tho
southern group of arm.ies was 'directed to to'v>Tard the RlITh'E.
This D0VC was designed to attack in the north casier by
- 3
hQ1ding asnany Gornatl forces as possible in the south.
To cnrry out the nb.:>vo plan, naxinun forces, v;oro c::>ncontrn.tcd
in the iJio-CImN' area to il.1surerapid movement to the BlIINE' across
the: most terrain. Remaining nere to
?usta;ipthe 'Pi the 'Third 'US l.rn13 in. its pla.nned offensive.
1tl.e 1;'ef1ults of troopsvrore sect;>rs
of the very lightly held.. such sector' that held
b;sr, VIU Corps, the flank of. First US l>Xffi.y. This ltraS
covering a distance of about 75 miles with The
divisions did have wero battle. weary from. long periods of
combat or Ugreen", untosted units. Themc.=tl.ntcnancc ora. very thin
line to make morc troops., available. in the no:cth and south -vIas a
calculat{od risk taken by the Supremo COJjlDlandcr. This decision
was based on tho difficult terrain and the lack of ;my strategic::
objectives in tho VIII Corps arca.
It was into this zono tha.t., tho
. . I .
German offensive broko on 16 1944. (Seo sketch Ho. 1,
J\ppondix VI):.);
. The GerfitDJl
The Gcrmc:ll1" a.ttack hi t very woak and surpised Jlllied.. forcQ
as it rolled out of tho daun of Dcccmbormorning. liany
.. aga.inst the ndvancing enomy, but. at best
it. Vla-.S, only delayL.'1g action 'against an ovorrrl101n1ing force.' Theso
actions harassod and hanlporod tho.. enemy and SlOVICd his advanco, but
did not stop him. By night of 20-21 December, Bi.ST(XHJE ,"las complete11
encircled. The units in the city rrore cut off from their
supply lines and isola.ted froll1 friendly forces on their flanks and
to their rear,.
The ImJ2?!tanco of BASTa:UJE
The city of BASTOGNE In.y 'in the path of the e.dvane.ingGcrman
Fifth .!:?Eze,r lrJ,ny:. At tho bcginm.ngbf tho Germall offonsiva it vras
the site of VIII Corps Headquarters. It was a. vital cornm.unicntion
center controlling nillilcrous good highways and manlIer roads tmich
converged tho city. As long as it was held ,by the .Atooricans,
it repJ;"oscntod a tho.rn in the side 6f tho German
The capt urc of the' c1ty would hcl"ve ' givon the enemy free
access to the r09-d net it ,controlled. As day after day wont. by" it
becamo apparent to the Gorman High COIrJIland tha.t Hould hnvc
to be taken. Thetowl.1 itselfi with the im.rncdiato vicinity and cross
roads it was absolutely !J.ccOssary for the rear 'area
lines of communica.tions and supply. Thus' BlSTOGI\fE had a vital
moaning fort11o success or failure of the Gerraan offonsive.
Such was thQ s:ttuation in BASTCXXlJE when the Third US I;rrflY wq,s
ordered to tutnnorth.
lllReport of Oporati::ms, First US :lITllJt, It 1 August 1944 to
22 February 1945, p.
2pcrcy Ernst Schramm., npreparation for tho Gcro.c'1Jl Offensive,
in the lJIDENItES) It Soptcubcr to Dcccr.lber 1944.
3"Roport of tho SuprcmeCofilJllandcr to thOCJ.L:lbinod Chiefs
of staff on tho Oporations in Europe of tho Allied
Forcos, 6 June to 8 Eay 1945, 11 p. 72.
Ibid, p. 75.
- .
5percyErnst SChrDJiu'll, "Course of Events of the Gernatl
Offensivo in thc p. 9.
- 5

I thJ.nk: that l'fO put thQll\ thoro, 11 said li2.jol'" rrOUoral

R. Asslstant ::If starr, SHioEP', utha place has'__
',... \ 1' '. .'
best net in tho 1hus the tiloOVono.nt o the.
. .
Dtyisi,on BQ1giOO1,.

firat. in o'tror the lJiros' at SH.lU
thg,t :;>f strength_ had boce m!tdG m, tho'
.. 01:' tho. 16th
,;;2hitoly t.urned to. his- troop U'S.t. 0:. rc.aorvca.,
Jist tho only tW'D.ilttblo reso;eVO$.:)n tho.,continont.t"{c.ra
lOlstand S2d' .tax-borne Diviai:>ns. These tW"O d1:viaions had' boon
fOn:lod into tho XVIn under' tho.. acting c;>nm.-md of
lIajor G<Jnoral JtimOS 11. Gavin_ FAuploying' this strotcgia. rcsorvo in
a. gronnd rolo had bcen tho least Supremo Hoadc:uartors 1 dasiros.'
It had bevn hoped that y.rith the coming of spring thoso
could be used to exploit Do success: of .ono of tho armies in crossing
tile groat lUlIlJE Eivor parricr in GCrlnany. 11lltclyt s t.i.moly decision
on tho 17th DOCC1:1bcr lias tho difference betweon losing-the critical
c.:xnrAunication hub at B... and. stopping the (in rushing GcrmDJ1
Tho lOlst NeaiV'cd its j1l:JvoLlont oroor while it wa.s resting
in Camp llOURljELON Franco, hc.vingjusti completed 73 dcs of sustained
combat in H:)llc...1.d, Companies TIoro undcrstrcngth and'tho division
- 6
was sorely in need of equipment.
the division on: short order proved a tromcndoustask
for SHAEF. Qrgul1ic transporto.tionwas.: insufficient. All additional
vehiclos of the "cattle vnt'ioty ,..TOre sccured from the Transporta.
Corps. Those trucks YlerC as they sped along the URed
BallllHighvmy h:)W1d for tho combat arCaS loaded 1:rith supplios. They
Vl1Oro immediately unlonded and diverted to MOURi.:1ELON. At 1400 h:.>urs
on tho 18th, tho last troops of tho lOlst wero outloaded for tho front.
Original, frngnontDX'Y from XVIII Corps' indicated that
tho lOlst 't'rasto proceed rrith Ut.L10St speod to nERBOtIONT, Belgium.
Brigadior GCl1craX c. acting 00 of tho diVision,
10ft lr:un,od:iatoly to meot m.oiilbors of tho corps staff at l'!ERBCEOHT.
ECAuliffc wa.s COIl.lplctoly unawnrc nt this tirao about vrha'C, was taking,
placo o.t the point ,vrhcro his division wast',) bo roudiod for cor.l!ut
mont. thQt thero be little tun.o t;) get vitnl inforr.:tn.
tion on tho situation, decided to stop at VIII Corps CP
in B.ASTOGlJE. It l'tn,s during trip to .meot mombers of the corps
,staff th(;.t other directi vas frJ,i1 SHllEF ordered thut tho lOlst be
attached to VIII Corps.
rrncn tiGl.i.ullffc arrivad at VI!I Corps" Lajor General TrOj!'
H. Eiddleton, commanding tho Corps, had 0.lroady hoard that tho lOlst
'was boingconnittcd in the but ho did, not know that the division
had boen attached to his corp,s. As EiddJ..cton and r:cAu.liffc wore dis
cussing tho situo.tL:m, nrrivcd tIith the message attaching the
lOlst to VIII Corps. It was one of the strange chain of events tJ
... 7
follow that McAuliffe decided to stop in
TIERBOLIONT under original orders. McAuliffe, 'wi th no quartoX'ing
party to movothc division bivoua.c, directed that
Kinne.rd, his o.ccompanyingG-3,:,.and he take .a, svdng Tresto! to,:'mto
seo if they could locate an As it turned out,
:decisi,an placing the division 't:'lcst of t01';n in a. sheltered
assofJ.bly nrcn. until it vms rcad;rto strike influenced the action
. .
to follovt.' Kintlard now !;)und :it noccssnry to get to tho crossr?acls
at SR!1::0NT 'west ::xf town in t!l1'nttompt to tho l()lst. colur:m.
Lucldl;r the 82d IJ.l"bornc Division left Franco first' ondKinna.:rd
dircetcdan VIII Corps MP to divert tho traffic following the 82d to
BI.5TOON'E. This action Sfn.oothcdtho 1'1hol0 .movorilcnt.. Colonel Sherburne,
Divisi;>n Comm,andcr, wr.s tho first to: arrive at the cross
roads Mel posted en officer gUido to insure that no units of the
lOlst slipped by iIi the approaching had placed
the 501st Pro-achutG Regiment at tho head of the column and by 2300 01'1
the evening of tho 18th" Lt Colonel Julian J. c:J.mmanding tp,o
reguaent, closed hi$ unit into its area.
2200 the same evoning" 1,.i:cAulif:f:e and Liddlaton 'Horo trying
to figure outlthc1"o to oomrJ,.it tho 501st. The situati::>n being so fluid
and obscuro 1,icAuliffc suggested to Lj.ddlot::m that they send tho 501st
towa..., ....d LONG-VIILY, cast of BASTOONE, to develop the situati;n. Hid....
dloton,knovdng ,that units OfU1G 2Sth InfantrJ Division and tho
9th Armored Divisi;)n were suppose to be holding in that vicinity,
grabbodupon' this idea ?os being a.. "good old s:-Jluti.::>n
of tho prob,lom. II McAuliffe sont for Erroll of tho 501st and outlinod
hi mis$ion. Sp0ceifically Ew'Oll Was told to seize a r,:)ud juncti::m
l'lQJ,.l boyond 'LONGVILLY. In this way it was hoped the could
boclarifi,od and tho definitely located.
As the l"ost of tho lOlst closed on durin.s: the
night. of the 18th of December, the 501st prepared tJ jump off at
(1a;vm. At 0600 ()n tho 19th the. 5Clst moved throLl,gh tOl:n YJiththc
l$.t B:t.ttali,':in lending. Ewell .;J..cft the rO!J.o.inder of the rog:L:lcnt r:ost
of: Bj.STOGiIE, oJvmitirig his Jrdel:'s support the nttack sh:Juld it bCCOf.1C
':tho 501st mot hoavy 5000 Y2..rds cast of
und Qomnuttod in that 10r tho rest of the operation.
on the morning of the 19th, tho 506th
HegU.lont to proceed north jn tho l"',Jacl to nOVILlE'
izo tho high nOar FOY. he issued tho orders, Colonel
Roberts, C;)f.u.laJ:'.:ding CeB of the 10th IJ'f.1orod Division,
arrivod at his CP.. R,Jborts told I:cLullffo thn'c he had received
a messago f'r'0f.l the 20th ii111lorod Infnntry Battalion in N01J"ILLE
'" .. t'\ , I
roguest '(,0 \'iJ lloborts vw.nted to knovr if
It nppoc::.rcd to bo the first
knotTlcclge that. tho lOlst ho..d that someone elso iT1lS fighting in tho
area ,,\Ii. tit specific' ordors fr,::ifll VIII C01"pS to hold tho to'lim ;)f,
nOVILL:i. lIcAuliffo0rdorocl tho 1st Battalion :)f the 506th,
by 0010n01 La Prado, to proceod to NOVILIE to support
the 20th itIB. La Prado arrivod at tho Cf ,of tho 20th AlB at 1130,
19 December. The;; rcmail1dor ;)f tho .mnrchod into NOVILLE
at -1330. lajorTIillinm R. Dosobry, commhnding the 20th JJB, was in
the midst of trying to stuV'O off threo directions.
Tho 3d a"t tallon of tho 506th. to FOY on tho aftorno::>n
of tha- 19th l?JlCltho 2c;l, Bahtnl1.ol1. "Ilaa held in l"oaCrVe. Tho ,06tl:r
Rogiment was n01'Y Committcc\in tho soctor of
llid-aitorno:Jn of tho 19th saTl 502d
'" }
Pt'Xachutc rtogimcnt to LOUGGHl1JPS 't'J'C at -9.f tho p::i sitiona of tho 506th.
It"" tho morning ,altho 20th foundhimsolf faced i7ith
"tJ10 SnlJ.lO sltu..'1tion us Hobcrts had tho /,Prevloli.s day. It VltlS n. decision
betweon having, tb,o troops in l'iOVII..LE vrithdro.W' to fightaeainor hold-
ing tho ground at all costs. Corps gave its apl')rov21 to tho TiTithdra::r
uland the oporntion begun irn.r..lGdiatcly. La Pr'ud.e had been killod Q1ld
Lajor Ht.'.r\::ick, the execlltive officer, found himseLf hard-rrcsscd to
withdrp;VJ his batt.alion. The.3d Battaliouof tl10 502d w3.sordQrod
to attack tovvnrd NOVILIE paro.l.;Lol to nnd 'litOS"!:. of the It vms'
hoped this would x'vlicvc thQ pressure on tho units in tovm
sinco thoy were about to be oncil"'clcd.This battalion established
contnct llith tho 3d Battalion oft.ho 506th in the t,oV1J.1 of RECOGHE
vrost of fOX FD,C ordered to hnltt' It was notT felt thn.tthc 3d
Battnlion Qf tho 5:J2d might become involvnd i.n a costiy fight to
relioye NOTv'1LLE. 0:1 the a.ftoi"noon of tho 20'0h the units in NOVI LIE
-- fought th3ir t':fe::J south to FOY.
EcAuliffo now had his 501st., 506th, and. 502d,utc Rcgi
!tlonts arrangod in a somiciruLilnX' dofense froLl NEFFZ on tho O[:.s,t to
LOJ:-JGCILJU='S on tho northrrcst protecting tho appronchcs of
In fucahtiL1C on tho 19th of Doccnilicr, Colonel JosephH.
Harper, commanding the 327th Infant!"'], took over his cOfl.:unand .
post at };IiJIDE ST. ETI ENI1E. The; regiment hn.d. no sooner settled
down thaha call tor help camq from. tho 501st cast' of BASTCGlrE. The
1st B'lttalion was dispatched immodiately ,to support the i--ight lanlc
of tho 5blat which was being At 0400 on the 20th,
tho 327th Command Post .o..nd tho:2d lIorc movod. to BJ.STOGiTE.
Yt1t:lOUt pauso the 2d futto.lie>h moved straight into EJ'.i1V!E, cast of
" .- J
tovrn, nnd tool( over the villngo. Tho 3d Battalion of the 327th
rcmainod in tho vicinity of FLIJ.ERGE the 502d on thoir
right in LONGCH11.TS. TrJ.s finnl fl'lOVQmont fully COfiunittod the troops
of tho 'lOlst Division.
In tho proceeding nctions itwust be romembered that although
vritsbriotod nA his mission in B:$TOGI1E' bJr General I .Iddloton,
ceB of the lOth Anmorcd Division had comraitted in
LONGVILLY, eJld knOTin this" he cCl--tainly would
not ho.vo sont the 501st d01\Tn tho road to LOITG'lILLY Yfithout sccuring
further CeB of tho .;LOth :lormorod Pivision. HC./1.uliffc
o.nd Roberts both reportod to tho VIII Corps Commander f?t the samo
hour and were briofcd on their missions. Both units wore operating
under their own comm0l1c1.ors and this undoubtcdlJr i.5 tho reason for
the, lack .of cooi"cl.ination in the initial phases of tho battle.
Gcnortt.. 1.. attachod CeBo! tho 10th to tho
lOlst on tho Zlstof Decomber and they remained attachod for the
durGtion of tho operation.
- 11
lo:>lonol 8. L. lat"shall, tho' 'First light
(Uashington:, Ihfantry 1946), P,' 8.
2Ibid, P. 31.
-' J.2
Cqf.t.1bat COINnand B ot the loth Armored Division. played a
role 'along with the gnllant Airborno Division in
holding B.t"1STCGNE vrhilo Third US Annyel.ome11ts svnmg north. Due to
thoirmobility, nrmorwas first to arrive on tho scene; and, a1- .
thQugh fe-vrorin numbers c..nd historically less conspicuous , eM 1'1011
be accredited for the initictl salvahi6n of tho city. -In this chapter
lifO shall sec how th
:; combat COfiU.liand V{2.S shifted suddenly from a
qui<:t sector near l':ETZ to rush to tho assist&'1co of tho'
disintegrating Reserve Command,' 9th .l\lTiwred Division" . The 9th
Armored had been in VIII Corps reserve backing up the infantrj
divisions on the line; ond, vThentho Gcrmoo attack started, it was
CORmlitted to fighting hopoless delaying actions as the
forces follback. 110 shall soe how CCB, 10th ArraorodDivision,
movod into this fluid, vague situ2tion of
sources of intelligence; and hO\1 it 170.S cloplo.yod initially to
block tho throe principal entries into the city..
On the crucial 16th of December" Combat CO!1lrnand. B, 10th
Division, was in tho vicinity of RTI::ELING, France, undcr
going a rohabilitntion period from prcviouscombn.t. RumOl"S, cm.ina
ting from tho north, circulated tho vague story of n Gorman attack
on the First US front. Events dovclopcd' rapidly. in the
morning of1? Dccombcr
tho combo.t. command received ordors to move
- 13
to tho vic.L'1ity ::4 IlrAJ1JtOOURG. ' 1320 clements hit
thorot\d, by 2155 .tho closed'in tho vicinity-of
Mtl ST.Ri:$SEN about l',rost,' dld slightly north of the city.. Hero tho OOnltaand "'as" placed on one hour
alert to m.ovo on division orclorw countorany enemy threat.
me troops a.ssigned to OOB this tife roughly of
ono 2nd one
artillcr.y battalion of.cavulry, antiaircraft,
and (soo Orga,nizctional Chart 'lITo. 1)': those cloments
COlonel WillinmL. Roberts, venorable COIJ:lJ.lfl.,nding officer, moldoc
. throo
totUns of ems. Team CherryJ comm21lded 17J Lt 0:>1 Henry 1.
Cherry" (Soc Chart r'b" 2); Tcnm Dcsobry, commanded
lIajor Tlilliacn R. Dcsobry (Sec Organizational Chart No.3); Team.
O'Harn" cO.l"iJ,ma..f1dcd by Lt 0:)1 Jamos O'Hara, (Soc Org,:l...t1izational
Shortly aftor0900 on the 18th) .:>rdcrs from division
for GeE to join VIII Ii. lialson ofi'ic0r, I.iajor Johnson,
3-2 of dC}Xl.rtcd Goner8.1 Eiddlcton IS houd
quartors" t.L{;,}n Q.'':' R:lSTOOr:g, Bclgiurn. the column
prcsso.dO!l to IJ;lLON to' awnit, the of the CC'rpsCc-m
,1.-mdcr. Johnson arrived at the hoadquartors in BASTCGNE
at about noon <lnrl i.mmodii'ltclJf wont into a hudcile vrith tho Cr-].
Tho extent cf th;; GCl'.man:1.ttackstill wasn I t complotely npparont,
bO\"lovcr, tho troops of the thinly hold VIII Corpa
1101"0 being sQvorlJly mauled, Jl1d r:apidlj." falling back. Inf,:1r:na.....
tion, .friondly nnd hostile) 112.5 \T2.guc :.'.nd c:;11.f:u30d.
- 14
I, ft a,Q, =_
..... Itt (. Go')
'_AS' (- ..0)
J4th. C_L '.Aa oJ
_""I. ..
ej II laC- 1'1.)
' ~ .
~ __ I (+)
a ~ ~ A I I (. Cos A&0)
00 I,. ". fk
lPln, 00 D, 'rift EM
1 nn,Q.t> a, S,tn llD
1. Pln. 00 OJ iQ9tb fJ Bn
l,st Pln, r,p D" 90th c.v Sq
. A. ...
- '.. '.'.,.... #' ....':;,.,' .
, 'X./ I

54th .AlB (- 'Co A & C)
Co C, 21st Tk En
1 Pin, Co D, 30Tk Bn
1 Pll1, Co C, 55th
3d PIn, Trp D, 90th Cav Sqd
1 Pln., Co C,609th TD Bn
Cl1GliNIZllTIONAL CHliliT 1{O.4
Reports VIera few and far between in addition to being exaggerated
and often incoherent. About all that could be stated positively
. . 3
was ltthat the situation was fluid and obspure.
CCB was to
move into anuassembly area
just 'of BASTOONE which
0-3 indicated on his situation
';]hen the column r'eached ARLON, Colonel Roberts went ahead for
luore detailed instructions and by. 1600 in the presence' of the
VIII Corps veteran comlnander,., llajor General Troy H. LIiddleton.
tiThe 28th Division and the 9th Armored Division are ahead
of us" It (east) said the General, ltbut badly cut up. Tho 'situation
. 5
is fluid. Horr many teams can yDU .(nake up?lI
Colonel Roberts replied that he was on the road in three
balanced teanlS plus a battalion of field in direct 8Up
port of the co.mbat CD1,:]ffW.nd.
General s tone was terse, his directions concise:
"CCB Yfill move i;'fithout dcla:r in three teams to the follo\'ring posi
tions to counter enemy threa.ts. One team to thosouthE;ast
(610517):; one team to the vicinity of LONGVILLY (639591); and one
team. to tho vicinity of NOVILLE (588646).. Hove 1"J'ith tho utmost
speed. Hold those P9s.itions at 'all costs."
Thore was no mistaking those instructions. The situation
was not only lIfluid,n itvffis critical. Ti.rne "VIas of the essence.
Tho General Qxpected his armpr to exp,loitits speed. If the
BASTOGNE area were to ro:nain blue on C...cneral Eisenhowerls situu...
tion map, it was up to CCB.
19 ...
Roberts,' 'who had 't;'Jitnessod mass rot',reat at CHATEAU-THIERY
in 1918, recalled a vital facto'r: "Sir
tl1Qrc will' be stragglers.
I vlant authoritJ' to usc theso m.en.
? To this tho corps cO!Jmandcr
011.0 milo south of BASTOONE, Robct'ts met tho vanguard of'
his column in the gathering wil1ter dusk. As tho team passed by
in order, 420th AFA, Cherry" and Dosobry, Colonol Roberts
rolqycd instructions to each of the After briefly
SCD.nning a map fora favorable position, tho nrmorod artillery
was sent into position just cast,of tho town. Tho progress of
the units through thcstl,"ccts of BASTCGNE, jarnmbd with straggle:rs
and bustling corps, personnel, was greatly impeded. It became
necessary. to COlIlll1.aJ1<?-cer stragglers t:l,S upt s to supplemont those
'which vroro organic to the combat commond. At least one tCaIJ1
(Cherry) qmploycd its cavalry'to guide the VTay ..
At 1815 CeB Tras placed under direct-control of the VIII
Corps. Lator the 35th and 158th CO!J-hut EnginoorBattallons wero
atta.ched to the tom.bat comm.and. f Both units W'ore used nsinfantry
to supploment tho defense of ,tho city; the 15Sth to the northip
tho vicinity of LUZERY and FOY; the 35th to tho south and south.
cast toward ldliRVm and ROIOIFOSSE.
For. tho b<).lanco of the night BASTcnNE was free of enemy
action, but tho affoct ,of his adva,nce YJasapparont. Hundreds of
stragglers the roa.ds moving.sQuth and west.' No attempt 'was
made to stop these troopsbcctl.usc Colonol Roberts did not fco1 that
it was proper to do so as long a.s a occupied
..... ': ;"
the city. At times tho confusion andter:ror of these b<:n'vildercd
refugoes bordered on One artillcry:orgnnization
their guns right in the city streets; lator an officel'"
made than return to got them. Corps, headquarters withdrew during
the night to NEUFCHATEAU. In: spito of tho imminence of the C-ermans
uponthoir very backs" .many of tho vehicles departed from BASTCGHE
with their hoadlights blazing merrily. i The Germans could ha.rdly
have missed tho fa.ct that troops 'were clearing O\.lt of tho city.
Blt for trio 28th .Infantry Divisionis stubborn stancl at v'JILTZ nnd
the 9th Armorcd DivisionIs roo.dblockso'ast of LONGVILLY., tho
GOrIlJal1S might well have seized BASTCGNE that night.
throe antlored toams girded thomselves -for combat.
ToeJn Desobry probed north through FOY toward MOVILLE in a column
formation. At about 2200 his advance guard, consisting of tho
Intelligonce and Reconnaissance 20th AlB, and a section
of tho 1st Platoon, Company D, 90th Cavalry Squadron, entered
NOVILLE to fi..lJ.d it freo of orgu.p.izcd troops, friendly or hostilo.
Straggling Glts drif.'ted in
from tho direction
. an hour the complete tCMt closod on tho tOl'm. In the
dnrkncss Eajor DosC?bry tho.t the establishment of Do
conplotc defense would be irilprnctical, so a hasty perimeter of
throe outposts was established about a halt a milo from
i'lherc the ground Jvcrlooks the tOlfn. - Each outpost was composed
of '0. section of medium ta.t"1{s and about C\ p1D.toon of a:rmorcd
- 21
infantrY. One group 17as to tho northeast 011 the important
r:.>ad to HOUFF,ilLIZE, one tJ.1.e BOORCY l"::>ad. the cust,andthc
third to the northwest on thQ road to VAUX. (SCo Sketch No.1)
The onginocX' platoOn\'fAS directed to puti in mine fiolds;.;
and" ,-D.lthough tho holes receive them 'V'loro dug, tho mines YlOr.:;
.... ..
not omplaccd dUG '(,0 thccontinuod arrival.. of stragglol"S. Acting
on ColOi"lol Robert t s to commandeor thoso peoplo,
Dosobry collected, many stray>infant:ry"::non and n.ttempted to fit
. '
them into h1s organization.' HovJ'Ovcr, it 1'-laS In.ter found thcJ.;
these individuals of littlo value 'when ,things
got hot. ono organizod plato,on of fourtoen mon and. an officer
!roni 9th Armored Divisijn, wa.s tho excoption to this rule 0
t.Lt.l.oy stayed Ydth tho tC:)lD. and fought wo11 in tho action which
bof::>ro lSOO, on the high ground south of TTlUllJIN,
tlt'B!ll O'Hara st::>l.)pod for. the night. (Soo Sk:.; No.1; ,,\ fer;
outposts \ICrC put out to secure tho area" but no strong defense
was attctDptod. Tho night Was qL1ict oxcept;, f:>r stragglers pass
ing tpr.:y).gh; LO::Jt thom roar area troops of thcbattorcd'
28th InfaJ.?-tr;:r Divisiol1. j holding fIILTZ to tho southon"st.
Chorry wheeled' oast to T..oUGVILty in t",TO teams,
arc.a. ncar Bi$TCGHE. At 1920 1st Edvrp.rd Tiyduko, co.mmnnding
Company 3d Tan!,; w.ttQlion, halted tho leading olo11'l.ent
west of LONQVILLYIt 'I'ho tovrn, which nostled in n. dopression
B ( )

420 I
II' '
T6AM 35
I \
B 10 I
' ,
I I ,
( )
10 8
- - - -.... \
" ...., NON T '
c.. I --
- ....... ," HEFFE \
B C",-----,,) I 0
\ "'\.
., I ..
I /'V' ...
, '(
" /
'"uA RVIE)' . (
, '" :,-:/ :
- I '
, ,
( )
182400 DEC '44
between several adjacent hills, lintS j01tlfficd \'rith tho vc11iclcs of
elements of CCR, 9th Armored Division. .Colonel ChorFI and his
8-3 went to ,ascortain intentions of this outfit and
to learn TThat ho could of tho onomY"scdv0lcc. T'!ith one battnlion
'of in!nntry, two batteries of artillery, cind su.pporting tnnks,
CCR had sot up .:roadblocks cast north of tho to"wn, anG! had
roceived several attacks during tho cvcn.1ng. At that time they
had no orders, no pla.n, and did not knot'! nhethor they YTould pull
out or rcmtiin in LONGVILLY. At this very fl1.::li1ent, although, of
course, the ilUCrica'1.s did not knoll it, tho German's 'Vroro by
the town to the south. Cherry retu.rned to his column re
fueling along the BASTOGlJE road. He dirocted Lt Hydukc to rccon
n.:>itcr tho ground lfost of tho tOl'ln nnd :Jccupy it with his forces
before daltm. Ryerson's forces were to roi1c.'lin approximatoly where
they 1'101"0 until thoro lm.S a chango in tho situation of GCR.
Colonel Cherry thon returned via EAGERET' to BASTCGNE with the
report for Colonel Roberts. route he ?CRfs
trcd.ns moving ronrwnrd indicating CCR hn.d l11ado u dccisi:::m.
C.:.:>loncl Roborts direoted Cherry to cover this force if itwithdrcw,
but to hold LOHGVILLY in cny
By 2339 tho clements of CCR began their withdl"nwa.l.
C;)l:mol Cherry recoivQd tho wJrd from tt" Hydukc after midnight that
he Ryerson held tho LONGViLLY area This bad news was
supplemented by that his vehicle
'had boen hit ncur i:.J.'1othcr sourco reported a strong
- 24
GormM in this t.own. Tho enemy Wt1,S .:)n the r.:)ad bctvtoenTeam
Cherry and itsCP at NEFFE. (sec Sketch No.1)
c...'1ptriin TJillinm F Ryerso,n, communding Com.pany G, 20th
Infantr:l Blttalion, V'raS directed by radio t.)' n
pntr.:)l 1'1C stward trXl LONGVILLY to reopon the road to rlEFFE. 1'10
squnds of nrnlorou' reinforced with a tank
. .
destroyer set out on this missi:a1.. Enst of l.:AGERET they dis
ffiountcd and stcalthly c.pprouched the village. Quickly they observod
at loast a company' of Gerii18.n infD..ntr
reinforcod with soveral tank$
ncar tho crossroads in the c:>wn. This they decided v'vaS tao hot a
turget for thoir forcos, so they scurried bnck to Captain Ryerson
Yrith tho report.
Thus beB was disposed on the night of their a.rrival at
BJiSTCGNJL. all briof interval, tho tODmS wore precisely
a.s had boon directed in tho cJrps cOL'1il1.DJ1dcr
s orders. Three teams
in three isoln.tedp0sitions, llidoly dispersed, with long 1inos
communication, and rrith.:Jl1t lo.tcral c .Jntacts" o'r infantry support ..
APproaching were the aggressive. end victorious GornM.' panzor c:>lumns;
eager seize llhnt thc:r"" purticularly D.lirizQ iil<:o Bl1STOGNE,
the principnl cOLnunicati3ns center in the It was most fortun
ute for the iJ.licd,cD.uSO that the GoreD-MS' hnd adopted tho ricochot
ing tactics of an force in tho oxploitatiJn; dodging to the
right ::>r lofto! a center of. ,ever seeking an unopposed
avenue 'VlOstYJ'crd tJ tho l.IEUSE. H;:,wcvor, the grey foggy norning of
tho 19th of to bring sharp to each of the
;. f) *'.
lllftcr li.ction Report, 3d Tk TIn, :$tatcs thn.t CCB D.16rtcd
to LUXEEBOURG at J.8301,/ on the 16th of Dec 44.
Interview', 1I-41, p. J.j' and l$tor Ilctioll Hoport,
3d Tk 13n. '. A slight discrepancy the tro:>p organiza-'
tion listed in tho intorvieVi of Col Roberts o.nd the After Action
Roport, '3d Tk B.I1,' in so i'J.r as the 'latter lists only t,'Ij'O plnt00ns
of Go C:, 20th AIB, than the rrholo compo.ny, [tnQ. .)[.uts tho
tank dcstroycl"s'o,nd euvalry Later in the some
report, howevor, both tho 2d Platoon, Troop D, 90th Cavalry Squadron,
and a tonkdc,stroyol"unit 'arc ucntionod, indiCating tho discrop2J1cy
is inthc. 3dTk En .
Interview" I.I-41" p.
4co1 Interview mentions the fact that Brig
McAuliffo, acting C:Jli.lJllMdcr ::J! tho lOlst Division, was
prosontat tho' Corps Co.r.'lr.1QJ1d when he visited it. Ho elabora
tod no further, but it is inferrod thnt CeB at the t.into bccUtlc
aware of' thcintcndod employment of Ithc lOlst in tho vicinity
, 5GCn 'lliCldleton IS rCf.lo.l"ks arc extracted from. Col Roberts I
Intcryiow, p. 2.
6Gori lI.lddlotonI S r01l1urks arc cxcractod from Col Roberts l
Intervicw" 2.
Ilobc)l'ts I rCfJ.urks arc oxtro.ctcd from Col Roberts I
Intcrviovi, p. 2.
I t Interview, E-41, p. 3. Gon Lidc}.let::>n
s coni'irno.
tion of this D..grccIi.lcnt rm.s ['.$ folio1,'Ts: 11190106 HD.j Gcn r:iddlcton
directs th2.t you havo authority to t clee ovor>c.ll or My part ;)f
Reserve" 9th Div, in cuse they sho"VT the
inclination to retire. do to prevent back
in the area 'Jill bcgivert fullest bo.cking.
:&/ sending tho artttDr to ood lONGv"ILLY.. General
1..licldloton had tlwm.rt the attacking Pahzcrs 'troll to the
cast and north of tw,:, factors ::>f this plan did
not lend themselves to F:i.rst, D..S has boen point/od out,
the by-pussing' centors of and qSil1g secon
dary routes. Second, a. combat Was not a strong
onough force to hold on to those scattered posi tiona without
support. we shall soc how two tcaos of CeE fared under those
unforosoeable circunstancos. actions ,1.ill bo dealt with in
ra.ther oinute detail in order to strcs$ the vigor of the German
assault, tho lack of combat intelligence D,vail.'1blc to our forces,
and, the of individuals, Dlld units in a rapidly
fluctuating situution.
TCDI.l <lat HOVILI;'ffi
At 0430 tho of Docember 19th, stragglers
stopped strcnr.1ing into Dcsobry's lines in front
::>f NOVILlE __
IL1Jll0diatcly the tr,)ops bOCUCl,C alcrtnnd suspicious; Gcrr-1Ms woro
closo at ha.n4.
At 0530 a fivo to oight half-tracks clattered out
of tho dD.rkncs.f3 bcf':>l"'C the roadblock to the cast of tho tOTrn, nlong
the road .to COUTIey.. Tho Don on the r.Jr.ldbl,:>ck could not be sure these
vO,hiclcs c.::>ntainocl Gcrncns or nora ii]CricM strc.gglcrs. Sinco I.lines
ha.d not been "In,id the arid the tv,,? medium tnnks supporting
woro severnl hu.l1clrod yards t.:> tho roar,' there was tl-O physical barrier
to stop the approa,chingvchicles. Thai fiTst sentry stationed along
tho ba.l1kab;>il0 tho ron,d ca.lled Jut IJhali;A four timos before the
vohiole ground to a stop directlY beneath tho of tho
::.>utpost. Thcdrivor muttered something in German. This was cnJugh
for the .iinlcricans. They shol'wrocl tho vehicle witp
grenades from their vantage point .:>n thQ overhanging bank. Uany
of tho'Jcnades la...l1.ded directly in the carrier exploded among
tho screaming GCTna1ls. The rest of tho cneI.l1 quickly caue off
their carriers and took positions in tho ditches on cither $ido of
tho road. 11 sharp developed bctvtoon those men. and the. ::>ut...
. post llith granD-dos fu'1d snail 'arms. lu'tcr -about. tvront:! minutes,
Sgt LO:)h D., who cor.lf.lnndcd tho outpost, realized thut ho
WJuld havo tJ Yfithdro:w in face of this superior f3rco. He gave
tho order to pull baok about u hundrcc1 yards so as to escape
the i1potatoo masher" grenades which the "Vlero flinging
about. Tho two nOdiUl:l tanks supporting tho outpost ab.Jut a
hundred yOX'c.:s D;Vw.ydid not fire in spite of all tho shooting which
had gone on. This V'J";lS probably bccnuso thoy foured hitting their
own I.10n, and a.lso because itwns to;) d(J,rk to soc tho Gorr.1D.n vehicles
dartod buck to thai.!- half-trncks, wheeled t:'.b;)ut, c..nd dis2.ppoarcd in
the darknoss whence they had COf.10. Sgt ,Gantt went to 2d Lt
Allen L. Johns:.>n, COI.:lr.lnnding tho two tanks, and asked why hc. he.dn t t
- 28
'fired. Johnson claimed he hadn't beon $urc of what to do; 'which, as
has beon previously statod" so'cmod plausible. At this time, however,
since his ront was cleared of friendlt.troops he fired several
rounds down tho road. It that these rounds caused
Lluch d[U11n.,ge. At dawn (about 0730) the roadblock foll back to
NOV!LLE a.s had boen its instructions tho night

'00;1"'0 frO[ll
Tho significance of this action is cnhan<:ed to aU1Jst re
k1.r"kablc in a statctlcnt by Colonel S. L. A. Earshall
in his book, "Men Fire., It as f0110178:
could there be a bettor oxlliilplo of the miraculous
possibilities of a sua.llvolumo of fire than tho incident
at tho BOURCY roadblock to the north of BASTOGtm on the
morning of Decembor 19, 1944? Tr'lclvo nrm.:>rcd
fJ10 n, twelve very nervous infD.ntr:y"mon fired. er
rndically in tno dnrlu10ssat a group of approaching
cncrrJY soldiors. Thoy fired fI.nd fell back. They 'VIore
looking for bottor ground. They-thought that thoy had
probably turned bdck a Qerman reconnaissance clement
and that thqir firo m2S' have hit four or five. men.
But tho gr.Jup '!i'vas the Df an infantry
reglll1Cnt 'which was leading the c::>lumn of the 2c.1 Panzer
Division. rthad recoilod on mooting thc'surp;isc fira.
Tho CO,clI:lc:ndor reported, quite inc.:I!Tcctly, that ho was
being ::>plJoscd by superior forcos.. The word Vfas p<lsscd
tl1rough two higher headquarters and corps orderod
Pnnzc:r: Pivisi.:>n to change its, route. and
sliTing northTrard, theroby wasting precious time oncl
traversing unnecessary space. Had the enemy made a
lunGo against the BOURCY roadblock, he coUld
have turnedsouthvrvrd ontered before the
lJllOricnn foi:"ccs hud assam.blod. The 1,'i11010 h:)(l;y' of
'evidence frouour o'wn and cneuy sources su.pports tho
conclusi:::m that had this happened, tho .hRDENNEScnmpaign
would have soon a!ar different course thoonoLw"yould
n.ot have beon checkod of tho line of tho MEUSE
.AbJut a. half a 1.110 nest and north tho {ilCn on tho HOUFFALIZE
road outposts listened intently to the Boundaf the 'action on the
BOURCY road. Shortlyaftor tho soundo! the firing had subsided
throe teJ1.kS npproachccl their position. Sgt .Eajor Jonos, Hqs Co, .
20th 'li!B, had stationed himself about 75 yards ahead of the road....
block in a cut in the sloping bank beside the road. It
soomed to hint that these teJ1ks sounded like tho Jur 114 fa,
and hG believed more. stragglers wore "in. As they noared his
isolD.todfOYJ101o, ho ted "Halt" J and fired a quick burst from
'. .
his over tho b::;w' of tho len-ding vehicle. The tank halted and
Sgt/ Jones hea.rd the .:)ccupants speaking in English; h:::rvTovor, his
caution was quickly restorod by a burst of most un!ricndly sound
ing .50 callbor fire inches .froD. his hoa.d. Somoonecricd ttCease
fire, thoY'rc friendly This may have fr'om the
occupants of the tanks orfr.Jffi the roadbl::;ck behind. H.'YTCYOr,
tho tl'vO M4' s supporting the r::>o.dblock, failt3d to heed the cry
'whether it was a wD.rning or a hoax. The Ar:1crican tank on the
right or east side of tho road. fired two rounds at tho lOtlding
tank. Six quick rounds wore received in reply, ending the in-
dccisi':)[l as to whether the force 1ms friendly or h::>stile. Both
X:I4' s were destroyod in this deadly volley; h.:::r\ilGvor; the ruined
vehicles soncrrl1at blocked tho road nnd provided sone cover from
wHich n. half-track 'could fire its nachinc guns .In the
el1OCIJf. il. hot ongugomcnt blazed awny 01" about a.n hour, during
which an unsuccessful attempt, to got at the cncrlY' arno).'"
with an infantry borne bazooka. 0730 tho f:)g doscended
... 30
suffici.cntly for the platoon to discnga.gc itself from the ,tire
fight and fall back on NOVILLE.. As tho group withdroVf the
\ .
C-61"'f;.1al1S wore rcinforcirtg their tanks infalltry.
Tho roadblock on tho VAUX road had hoar.d the actiontak.Lig
pluccut the norccastcrnly positions
but had not itself boon
attacked. As they llithclrow' to HOVI:LI.;E in tho .fog, howover, ,
sound.s the of' thccneny in that quarter too..
Capt Gordon Geiger, Headquartors;; Cor..1.Cl.a!ldant, 20th had
sot up a pcripctcr along tho outskirts of NOVILlE during the night
, , .
of tho 18th - 19th. "This force consisted of' a thin SC1"ccn :)fin
fantrywith uutonotic reinforced with tam(s and assault
gunSc;},t the point,s of cntr;t to the.' The lir.lited
number of infantry was mqinly on and ca,st circum.ference
with the south Mel west guardod with lone tanks. This por.iraotor,
th:>Ugh wonk in SP;)ts, 'aided in the dofense and aff:)rclod a line
the 'l"'otiring fall
The r::>adblock crows hncl s)onor gotten. back to the tovm
vfhcn a Garnan B8-[J[1 bogan firing Jut :>f tho fog from tho Tho
GorUMS, th::!J-f-:h t,hoycouldn' t soo at all, could toll fr:)!".1 thoir uaps
thct their fi1"'0 w,:)uld causo havoc in NOVILLE,. as' the lIOUFFhLIZE rond,
along which tho:/, tmre firing" rnn strn.ight intJ tho tovm. NyI' wore
they 'wrong:, h['.1f anho,ur of continu:)us pounding three hal'
, '
, .
tracks, a jeep 1jfCrc tho confinod area
iJOVILlli.'Lirn,euiously, n.J personnel wero hur't.
fog n::>t 20 yards frorll. 3no of Ct?pt Gicgorts:: rtl,achine gun positiOcns
:,)n the HOUFFALIZE within visual!gc also was a friendly
E4 tani<: anti a 51-f.1Ll gun. InY.1ediatcly, opened fire; the
Ll3.chino gun crow CLlploying D. bazjoka. All of these crews cla.i.rncd
crodit f or these Tigers as both began to.. burn. Their crews attempted
to b:.Ul out of tl!o fiery hulks nnd oscS-U:)C in the fog, but it tlm.s im...
probrtblo that many escaped in the hail'!>! Sfik'\ll arms fire that groet
odtho.Gl. 'At r:.ny rate 'no prisoners ifJ'or(i' taken. 80.10 had
advanced behind tho Eark VI f s; but discreetly V<1"i thclrcw a.t the
s;)und Df firing.
At about 0930 tho Cl1CI:1Y bego.n a. serios of pr:)bes from the
west, where tho cLrgfcl1s0S -l'fOrO thin. The officer in charge of this
sector, 2d Lt Eugene Todd, Vias now in nction and. felt that the
wh:,)lo German ArI1lY' was upon hun. V-]hen he. permission
to withdravv, Capt Goiger replied ttHoll, hold your ground and fight. n'
Lt Todd courageously complied.
The rLU:.lbling of vohicles 2nd tanks arid othor s;:>unds ofa
build-up to the defonders a major attack was develop
ing bCy:1nc1 the shroud of fog. SUddenly at 1030 tho mist rose like a. Tho' laD.dscttpC V'TD,S filled th tc.nks. Capt Qll.:l.rR. Billett"
. . ,
co.mmnnding officor::>f C0mpnny B, 20th., AIB, sa.w more tho.n 30 tanks
from his second st.ory, s:choolhousa OPo Thore vvasno one vrho could
sec ['.11 of the encmyt s forces from any ono spot., but it 1"Ta.S estimated
that thoro "fore at loast 50 or 60,tn,nks. Surely an cntil"'e panzer
division attacking. an the ridge tOlynrcl .VAlle .fourtc,en tMks
appeared in a. sldrmish linq/ benri,&gd:::rwn on NOVILlE. Everything
thatw:)uldfirc was brSught to bohr on those inva.ders. Even .50
caliber muchino guns" which
were ineffective aga,inst
the armor, hailed heavily on sencling off streams ,.of
ricocheting bttllots. At .'d,' range of about 800 yards, tho
tanks haltod 2.nd bcgah iht:,) tho town. For an hour the
fight raged in tho s'Vlirling fog.;, Intermittently the curtain rc.isod
<mel lowered.. tho f:) urt,oon were disabled on the .t"idgc.;
three of thoIl'J. burning, vrhich mhdc thOt1 positive kills. One or -tho
rema.ining fi va chnrgod cl:)1.'ln the highway, nnd vras set ablaze abJut
500 yurds from tho towh. So effective waS tho fire of our tanks,
tank destroyers just a$ the panzer forco'was fl.t"st
revoaled) and assD.ult guns that six other Gorman tMks, did
vdthdraw after tho engagoment. One panther VTD.,S dis....
ablod by ,a Single round frOfil thc37"'nli..l gun of an lIfS armored car.
TVlo other to.nks, "'.'ihich VlOrc at a closer than tho tanks
on tho VAfJX ridge when tho curtGin wont up" charged tho c::>mnianc1 post
at about 25 EFH in the mannor of the uwcll kno1'm irresistable force.
'Confusi)l1 :;:,,''::.:;.l1ol1 for a fOVf ninutes, but n l05-mm assualt gun opened
fire on tho loading at D., range of thirty yards. This round
stopped tho tank but did not disable its gun or crew. The Gormnn
firod at tho AG and nisscd; thon ho tried t,) back off One ra::>re
105 round finished hirn.. Tho second Gcrmc.n tnnk WD.,S .dostroyod -by
'To the oust :)f tho town tho Germ.ans attacked with infentry.
- 33
Q:l the extreme right the fr'icndly fog sudd,only <:..rose nnd revea.led
largo numbers of foot tr.:>ops advanci!''lg across the flat ground.
Their intent had boon to' sneak i,oto distance
cover of the but when the fog prematuroly thoy
turned end ran. eyer 700 yards of open ground had to be covered
before the nearest cover c.)uld be roached, and our autC>f.latic
'l.veapons firo cut 'them, to as they;''!'ctrca,tcd.
the fight the enowy had boon placing heavy indirect
0 ..'
artillery firo on tho t.:)wn. In response to Eaj or Dos.Jbry f s urgent
request tho 420th Field trying to support each
of tho clofll.onts of the cor.1batcoI1Ul1a.(ld from a. position east ;:,f
B1LSTCGNE, fired ut range; their shells barely clca.ring the
buildings of lJOVILLE. It is doubtful if their firo kn3cl<ed 3ut
<.my tMks; Mel, of course, the artillery was bcy.:)nd l'*<mge,
but, with tho snoak attempt on the right,
eel Gorman infct!ltry fro.m joining the attack.
},Iajor James B. Duncan, 8-3 of the, 20th IJB, speaking o:Jf this \
action scvcralyonrs latar, remarked that during the morning 'the most
1:U, ';:',:',3,\ ::;:;' t:10 stuff Vlas trying tj make tho tanlc
change their posit.ions citor firing. The targets 1iferc just too
for the tankers to spend time their vehicles
to alternato firing S30ch3Wtho tank crews
did not fdl victim to this DJld Llade i'rcqucn'c char.L[;cs in
thoir a result, bUC tank ccstr:)yor hit by cneuy
arti'lle.ry VTa.S thoir Jnly cnsulty; whore C',s tho tanks sustained
- 34
nwnerous losses.. Here is conclusive evidence that a tank must not
c-onn:tlotQly sacrificoits ty tn order to employ its fire pOTtOr
'During the height :Jf the qttack, Lajor Desobry had requested
of Colonel Roberts tovlithclraw to :FOY. hnd boen notivatod
by tivo faetors. tho grounq. vvus defonsively poor, pnrticu:)..arly
when dealing with superior;. forc,Gs;$ as has been. proviously
the grogncl n::)V'( i.n GorJllan. ho.nds' cO;ll1L1C\l1dodmOVILLE with excellent
routes into tho town. Socondly, 'contact patrols which had boen
sent towarcr the roar that norning had not returned, indicating
that tho enomy might already be 0n. the only escapo route. Colonel
Roberls, after with General Higgins, Assistant DivisiJh: .
COInfilander of tho newly arrived lOlst IJ.rb::1rne .Division, anclboing
prom,tsod support of one parachute rQpllod to
tho request as foll.Jws: IIYou use yc)Ur' CJvm judgoment/a.bout
vdthdrawing, but lfn csendiryg o.battaJ.iJn of t.J re
6>.rce you.
ui'li get. ready to as soon as 7
returned Hajor Dcs.Jbry.
L;. By 1130 al,lWCl$ quiet, Gx.ceptfor c, fow harassing rOlll1cLs
At this
tir.loLtColJamo$ >La Battalion C::;r,::ncnclqr, l$t Bntali.Jn,
])psobry1sOP. His troops,ho bohlnd,hin nlongtho FOY
due to their sudden departure from the day previous. lIajor
Desobry il1mt6diately ordered his 8-4, 2d Lt George C. Rice, to l"'eturn
to FOY f or the necessa....y supplies. Enroute Rice 111et the advancing
1st Battalion and L1.quired for their 8-4. He was told this officer
had returned to BAS1'CGNE, so he questioned them as to their most
critical needs. Trds proved to be anmlunition of all types. Ofr
dashed Lt Rice to FOY where he loaded up his peep wi th hand grenades
and 111 ammunition. RetLu'ning to the lJal"atroop colu.mns advancing on
either side of tho I'oad,: Lt Rico made a run.ning issue oihle load.
more leap-frogging resupply missions were made before tho head
of the column rea.ched NOVILLE/) On theso trips Rice supplemented
his peep with an overloaded truck, and the loads in piles
to type along tho XJle troopers threaded amol"Jg
t.hese dumps as they advanced to securo that "r-rhich theY' i.'1dividually
needed. Eillergcncy typo ratians that tho carriod on their'
vehicles in quani ty 1'TO.1'O distributod on an vidual basis, in a
.nl<mnar which could most accuratoly be 6,cscribcd as 0 It
Colonel La Prado ::':Xld. l:a.:ior Dcsnbry enjoined in
atl attack pla::l embodying .J.. c:Jordinatcd assault on
all tho high ground porth and east af U10 nOH in th:; hands of
the foe. It lias to be alttmtual affui,r
sine0 tho status of ono unit
to the Dtho:t.' n>.i boon defined. Tho paT::-d',roopors 1IOV.1ei. attack
irJith t.hrcc abreast, SUPPol'tcd 1.15_,t.:n tanks and armored'
infantry the tyro 1nain roads.. (830 Sketch Ho o 20)
Company C of tho ,,)6th attack on tho righJe, alone; tho axis of
- 36
o J TKS, 1J4
@ 4 TI<5, M4
\ \
: 1/
.\ ~
I ~
\ r-:: ~
I ~ B N 506
1914JO DEC 1944
the BOUHCY road to seize the high ground to east; COOlpany A,
with its left along the HOUFFALIZE road, would assail the ridge
northeast of the town; while Company B, vdth its right on same
road, would strike for the V.A.UX ridge, now, a Gorman tank graVe-
Shortly after 1430 the attack got. un.dor Tray. There vias no
artillery preparation, and the unchallenged German batteries harass
ing tho town succeeded in proper reco.rmaissanco and orderly
Tho assaulting companies had, baroly cleared the t01vn 'when
a C-erman tafl..k effort over the very swno ground descended upon them,
Company A and tho arrnor on both rt>ads VIas immediately blocked by
. .
tank firoand forcod to return to the town. Company C on _
the right flank YfaS hit hard, but managed to keep moving,. LlicoTlise
on tho loft Baker Company ViaS able to continue tho advance until
thoy renched the slopos of their objective. At this the
Germans launched tank-infantry, countoratta.cks at tho tTlO fla.-11k
Again tho fog descended, shrouding a vicious
small arms battle in which both sides could ha.rdly SGO oach other.
At dusk, thoso gallant companies Withdrew again to NOVIL.IE.
In tho lull 1"lhleh followed, tho paratroopers minglod 1/-Tith
the infantry on the porimotor, and tDak the opportunity to in.
Shortly 1700 German artillery bcga..11 arrcn:r its interdiction
of the In tho middle of this sholling a platoon of tho
, 9
705th T.:mk Dostroyer Bo:ttilion arrived to bolster tho defense.
It was decidod, ufter aconferoncc with General that the
town would be defended for the night by of the 1st Battalion,
506th, holding the porU:J.otcr, vlith Team Dcsobry in tho centor of tho
town as a mobile striking force.
At 1800 an 88-mm shell entered the conunand post, end struck
o.01'1n both t.he infantry f',nd the armored eOiInnanders.. Lt Col La Prade
tlC1.S killed outright, and Ljor Vias vToundod so severely that
he W2,S iInmediato1y ovacuc..tcd. Eajor Robert F. Harvfiel(, executive
officer, 1st 5Q6th, assumed of tho combinod
forco; Lajor Charlos L. Hustead took over tho armor.
Throughout the night tho Germans engaged in a series of
probing attacks Yli th ta.nks in twos and throes supported infantry.
The troopers woro kept busy beating off those fog enshrouded sorties
vrith bazoolm.s and small arms. An occasional round of artillery fell
in the town, however, several nITmunition trucks wore success
fully brought forward from FOY. Sounds of a major build-up d.rifted
in to the ncr-ValiS defonders, but for somo reason tho enemy did not
attack in strength throughout tho night.
On 20 Docomber action Vias vigorolwly renewed in the NOVILLE
area. TriO GerDan tanks CD;.'TI.e ronring through the fiolds along the
HOUFFALIZE rand at 0730. As thoy roached the buildings on the edge
of town thoy pulled to hQlt Dl mutually protecting positions.
Thoir guns blazed into the village. Ono poep VIas hit
anddomolished. Hot ten yoards from the invnding tanks a para
troop :bazooka tOt1Ifl set one tank aflc1!Ilc TTith their first rockot.
Staff Sgt I.Iichc.ol Lesniak, 8. tc..n.k corJ.mnnder, dismounted from his
- 39
vehicle to reconnoiter the situation on foot. Peoring around a
building he ascertained the exact position 6r the remaining enemy
tMk. Thon he l"cturned to his own tnnk, rotated his gun in the
required direction, alerted his gunner, and >:drove directly into
the mnll1 street in the path of the German. One quick round finished
the surprised foe. 'But another enemy tnnh: lurked on tho road be
yond in tho fog. APparently its nussion had been to support the
other two tQrucs or to covor them in the event of a hasty it lIas just marc timid or marc discroet. At any rate it
suddenly opened fire blindly along tho road. One round struck
Sgt Lesnink!s in its turret, damaging the traversing mechanism
so ho was to his gun to the loft. Fortunately, the
crew 'Vras unhurt.
By 1000 tho fog thiclconcd to t1soupo If Visibility was about
ten yards. th a roar a Tiger tc.nk drove b2.indly into NOVILLE.
Evidently t.he Hark VI hadntt realized he hc.d come so far, 2nd he
ground to a halt directly in front of tho building used as the CP
of Company B, 20th AlB. Slowly the big 88 rotatod to covor the
door, so huge it prQctically touched tho entrance. Capt Billett,
oth8r in tho headquurtors, experienced sevoral trying seconds.
Again it Vfo.s Sgt Losniak to the rescue. Rotating his crippled
tarrot slightly to tho right he fired threo quick rounds into ,the
Gorman without injuring hila.' Confused as to the source of this
volley, the Tiger hogan to back up. As it did so, its track
passed 0ver a ps.rkod jeep, crushing it to a pilo of' junk.
the Jeep under one track tho lio.rk VI tipped d,;..ngorously." This VIas
enough for the c1"evI, out 'of the tank thoy cam.e, and sprinted
'in the fog.- Before the team c1epar:tcd from tOYfrl, this undCUllaged
1:.Lark VI was dds,troyed 'Frith thermito grenades. Colonel Roberts
fumed because tho prize Yfnan I t brought back to B,ASTOGlJE., but
drivers VIere too scare to accomplish salvago missions.
Throughout the morning tho t2.l1k destroyers of the 2d Platoon,
Company C, 705th ID En, ate-tioncd south nnel soutb:wcst of the villa,ge,
heard hostile track vohicles beyond tho fog. Once n high velocity
rOW1d from. an unkno"\'Jl1 quaI'ter scored a direct hit :::>n ono of their
vehicles" killing the gunner and tho rest of tho creVT.
Shortly after tho Tiger tank pnid its Co.11 :)n COf.1.pany B's CP the
fog suddenly lifted and the sky clonrod. Fifteen Gormnn tanks
appearod in fr:)nt of the IDI s hoc.cling for thoir OTTn lines at 2.bout
1,000 yards range. Four of these tD.nks 1101"0 c1isnbled tho tank
dostroyers before their fire becnmc inoffectanl.
The briaf clear spell non rovo.:llcd TThat had boen suspected
for some time. Looking southlilost towm"'d BAS':2CGNE, N0VILLE' S do
fendors could SGO Gorman armor before FOY [tad During the
night and under cover of the fog, Lnjor Hnrr-rick and Hustond
ho.d hoard tho hostile ,;U'L1or l"wubling ab:iUt them, noy{ it W',:',.s apparent
they YlerC surrounded. T2> add t,) the lnisgivings were two other criti
cal factors 0 First, radio cDnto.ct 1Ti th friondlJT forcos had beon ::yut
for several hours ;' secondly,. arLlor piercing arnmtU1ition was running
Before! tho :[:og lifted La.jor 1st Lt Horman C.
Jacobs, the adjutt!lit, in a half.... track to contact tho 506th Para
chute; Infantry in the vicinity of FOY, and:Lo relny the situati:::>n
through thom to CeB. Jacobs bucked small enemy
groups to FaY only to find that the 506th wasn't thero; pressure
that morni..!1g had forced the single battalion (the 3d) to retire
south of tho .tonn. Jac.Jbs continued on to BASTCGNE and reported
to Colonel Roberts. Tho comba.t reserve, consisting of
one antiaircraft was sent to reinforce Hustoad, but
before it could roach tho onolilY had blocked tho l"Jute.
,/it 1300 radio C:x,1Elunicati::m was rc-establishod vnth Lajor
Harvlick and Hustead via the artillery net. They were informed
that .tho second and battalions, 506th Parachute Infnnt1"Y,
Tlould make a divcrsionar;/ attctck on FOY to reliove the pressure
on NOVII.lLE. tl1is c.tto.clc got under wa.y 1Jl.O fox'ces 'were to
[;1nke a brenk for BA3TCGlJE via the Bj.3TCGNE-HOUFF.:J.JIZE road. (Sec
Sketch No.3.)
SVliftly tho withd.r2.1!iul rlan wns made. Company C, 506th,
ulready in reserve positi811s south of the villagc(Tould bccoac tho
roar guard. Throe t211.kS vlould support it. C:X.1PMY A, 506th, would
load out on f:':>Qt, vrhilo the balnnco followed .')n tho vehiclos of
TO<?Jll Hustead., At this time thoro wore [iWre than fifty non-ambula
t:.:>ry casualties to be evacuated. Of courso, thesn men received
priority, and tho vehIcles upon 'which thoy Tforo loaded woro placed
between tho l02.dingnrr.lor 2cnd tho .mQin body. Thoro Has a good deal
- h2
20 DECEMBER 1944
S C A ~ E 1:14,400
./ "'TEAM HUSTEAD ....
", a 1/506
t1 /
t:a b ~ .
bo dcstr.Jyod Lnj:;P Hustead anel Lt ,Frank, the
cngincer :>fficor, had it pilod Clgainst ono tJttcringbuilding,
tho .Jf itsexpl.Jsi:>n wjuld cause tho structure t.J
fe-II across the highw'aY. Hustead pcrs.:>nally rcmDincd behind to
lllsuro that all vehicles wore under way before Giving Lt Frank tho
word to detonate the charge.
Fortune continued to snile on the Arnericans' cn,uso. Through
out the noon and up until 1300, the sky was cloar as a bell .
NOl"f at 1325 as tho coluLln bogan to .[love, the fog sat down again.
In the haste of tho dO:)al.. turo tacticul w1iWwass.::Jfilcwhat impaired,
however, as they got lli!clor way most of tho monquickly located thoir
rospoctivc Qutfi ts. Thoro Tlc.s littlo doubt that tho Germans could hear
the vehicles, tho 'l:{QS TJOuld tho enomy to
hit tho moving C01ULll1 in tho flank? Behind thon tho blnst of
Lt Frank's afn,munition dW:1P 1'r0.5 henrd, but thJ colu:ln moved on
easily toward FOY.
Not long after tho start ono of Hustond's crippled leo,d
tanks broke dovm and had to be abandoned. the crew paused
to dostroy tho tank vii th thornito" the lono IJ3 arI'.J!"ed car VJith
point continued down tho road at full spood. This vehicle wont
clear to HASTffiNE wit.hout a iilishap.
Just a couple hundred yards north of FOY 80r:10 German inf
antry had positioned thomsolvos in and around a faIn house cast
of tho highWCljr. It Vln$ at this point that the serenity of the
vrithdrawal chunged completely. For same reason" perhaps surprise,
this group let the uS through vr.i thout a scratch. With the colwnn
it was a different story.
ILajor James B. Duncan, S-3 of the 20th AlB" and for a day
now Hustendts '-'exec", rode in the loading half-track. The Germ.ans
greeted the cavalcade YTitha fusillade of automatic fire and gren
ades from the farm houso. Ivlachino gun bullets splattered thcstoel
windshield of Dunctln IS half-,trclck; dropping tho vis0r shutter and
throilJing fro.gmonts into tho driver I s faco. lIaj or DtL.'1co..n ronched
for tho hn..nd The half-track following had had its brakes
shot out and due to tho suddcnoss ()f tho h2.1t ere.shed int,') the
rear of DuncM rs vehicle.' Behind the cntire eolur;:l.t1 ground to a
standstill. Eachine gW1nors on the half-tracks blazed away, sup
ported disLl.JW1tocl riflomon in the ditchos. In ten minutes the
syJ-rnish Vlc:..S over 2.nd. the oncDy driven off in the fog. The throe
leading he.lf-tracks, less Eajor Duncons, up Ol1d filOvcd out
toward FOy.
But the heavy fire in the south YThere the 3d Bri, 506th,
was attaeklng D.::>rtb. misled the colurn.n to fool th2.t tho
wore still
being strongly opposod. Kajor had gone back to bring up
the tnnks. Ho and liajor Hustead, vn10 f:JTI:urd when the colur.n
halted, succeedod in locating tw.::> usable tanks sent
them against the now abandoned farm house.. Sovox'al rounds sot
the building .JIl fire nnd tho tEtnks backed up for instructi.:J11s".
During these preciolls r;.unutos throe tanks, perhaps alerted
by the infantry retreating from the farr.l house, crept in from the
- h5-
east to open br::>ndsido on the two M4s. Both llmcrican tCi.hks vrere
hit before the fire could be returned.
Captain Willialn G. Schultz, CO of Co B, 3d Tk Bn, c.JIn,manding
the fifth ta.nk in line walked fJrvlard to sec if he couldn't help out _
The third tD.nk on the road, now in the lead, (to'1ks one nnd tV'J":) wero
those deEcribed in the paragraph above) was short of crevmlan, so
the cc.'-ptain swung aboard and .moved out past the tvroknoc'ked out
1.14s. Obviously, these taJ.1ks nero beyong helping; but since no
hostile fire YT(lS clro.wn he drove on, the column would fol
low. But they didn't. Schultz drove on through FOY and continued
500 yards beyond it before enemy fire diso.oled his cOmfilandeered
vehicle. He and the crC'liT escaped w1hurt, onel lnter hitch-hiked
lIeCll1while, the .:>fficers of TODD Hustead strovo to get the
colwnn rolling again. One of the 705th tank dcstr");/crs ceL1C up
arou/.'1d the stallod train to get a sh::Jt at tho onoL1Y tnrJc
that had knocked ,Jut the Mhs. As he appr:JD,chod tho nurclbor i,Jul"
tank (sinco Shultz departed it was now in the lend) suddenly back
ed up. Tho Tn reversed quickly to provont a collision 9.11c1 ran
;)ver a 20th AlB joep which was nor.clally assic;ned to Eajor Duncan.
Nunlberfour t r u ~ had just boen Inaneuvering, cilld soon moved forward
again to sook out tho German arm.::>!'.. But again the foe gJt the
drop. Tnnk four explJded with a terrific blast. Its turret
blew off into tho road, and effectively blocked it to furthor
vehicular traffic.
- 46 ~
Now the fifth tank sat driverless in the rnad. Schultz sent his driver fOl,,\:\[ard to man tho numbor two 1,,14 that vias de
molished in tho first volley; D.!l(1 hc himself had out vlith tho
third to.rue through FOY;. l.Iajor Hustead, Cnf>t Billett, and tho first
sergcn..nt Df the tank CQIllpany fumed up nnd dDvm the colunm seeking
a driver. Tho paratroopers and armored infantry.ulen felt that the
tc:.nkers had deserted thcL1; but actually all tho ttJl1.k operators
no"V'J' killed, wounded, Jr driving olsevihere.
Lieanvrhile tho TIQunded in tho carriers woro
a beating. Jack Prior, battaliJl1 surgeon, rTorkcd 1/Jithout
cover during tho action on the road eJ1oad, )n.tching the TToundcd
on their opcn carriers. liMy of thoso casualties vmra rcwcunded
by the occasionnl suall arf.lS a.nd 1llortar f ira c.lircctod :)n thon fr:)Il
onon1Y cast of tho highway. Prior himself vm.s struck by a f.lJrtar
fragnont, but remained at his post, caring for the
. J. 11
more ser10us _y
Sonn the first tank clash had started the parntro:;.pers
behind dismounted and started fOTI"JQrd on bnth sides of the road.
Th-Jse viho svrept o..round t:J the right Vlont all the way tn FOY, on-
countering but few onrulY cnrouto, taking Bost of those as prisoncrs,
Tho gr:)up which lv-cnt t:) tho loft didn rt l)rogress much beyond the
site of the farm house before they encountered the phontnn Gernun
tanks in the fog. They hurriod pack to Maj or Dunca.!1 l'dth tho report
that prnmpted hiQ to nrdor the tanKsforffard.
Capt Billott, of the paratroopers successful swing
... h? - ,
tJ the right, felt his ::>ught "to attenpt to cloar a routo f8r
the tanks al1d I-12.1f.... tracks. Ho sont for his compnny, less the
drivers; o..nd althJugh cno platJon did' not arrive, he movod out with
t11Q other tTlO platoons to tho Ylest ::>f the road. This gr::>up reached
FOY nnel reported t,) the cOLinwclor, 3d Bn, 506t,h Infantry. The poor
visibility hQd f.:lnskocl both ,)f those flanking r.1,)VOfllonts fr')n1 HnjDr
Hustead TlhJ at this tii:10 adopted a sioilar pI2.n. He gathered twenty
or so pnratr::>opcrs o.nd sot Jut 011 still clrlothor hOJk arolUld thcwost
flank. " This gr:::>Up SHun.::; IJLlch wider thc.n the first tvv::> pnrtios and
ontcreclFOY directly froi:'l tho west. Enroute thoy captured
twico their JrTl1 strength in Gerl:t:.n priJsnc:rs., H.:,sto,::'.d 8.sked the
trJJpers of tho 3d En to the north if the arnor had Gono He ncant, :)f courso, his nain h:;dy. Tho l)arachutist had
seen first the arcorocl later Capt ;'Jaclclell and the throe
loadinG half-tracks, and finally Capt Schultz 15 tank go by, so
they ansYTcrocl "Yos, the nrLlor has 0Jl10 throuGh. II So Eustoad
borrowed a peop and headed f or On the edge :Jf the town
ho ["lot Capt and learned that the C:JlUCill had n.)t arrived.
iJhon Eajor Hustead rep.::>rtod to C:>lonol H::>borts, he could only say
that the t02J.l lilCiS on the
EajJr Hustead, via radiJ, and Capt Billett over
the infantr:r not frJm FOY b:Jth urged the c::>luran tJ como around tho
right. H;)wcvcr -' lLaj:Jr Duncan and 2d Lt Burliegh P. Oxford,
officer, 20th AlB, UJ.'1nindful of both r.lossages, were already jockcy
i..l1g tho colunn over th2.t rou.'to. Paratroopc;rs had clirJ,bcG. aboard the
- 13
crevrless fifth tcnkvO\ling that they '\"lould run tho f1Sonovabitcl1, II
and they did. Just wost of FOY the gr:.:mnd became s:Jft and muddy
anc: tho vehicles began to bog d::nrrn. By pushing and pulling and
wi.nching vri th the trooper manned tank and dismountod infantry the
tired caravan roached FOY dusk. Tho originnl had been
for the tOBID. to set up a defensive on tho first high ground south
of the but since the outfit was s6 depIcted and oyJ:laustcd
Colonel Roberts then on to BA3TOGNE.
TeaLl Desobry7had g::me to NOVILLE Tlith fifteen tanks c0f:1pleto1y
Llt1aWarC of tho situation. Only four remained ','Then tho tOc.ull liillpod
back into BASTOGITE. Tho bitter fighting in tho n::>rth had taken
its toll in arnor, but throush,Jut the tho ono.lY had paid
vlith 31 known tanks Mel norc pr,Jbnblos .
TCClC1 Chorr
Tho position of TGCIJ. Cherry ,,/rCl.S none t.:o secure as tho m.urky
dawn .Jf tho 19th broadoned. The forces under Lt Hyduke was IIsot up
-' 14
on throe sides of LONGVILL1 and roady to t::> tho roar. II
During the night these had already brushed with the cneny.
Eastward on the road to tho vehicles of CCR, 9th Arnorcd
Division, tho roads, unable to withdraw because their
was blocked by Toa,r:l Eyorson. In turn, Ryorson was stynied by
tho onony forco in tlAGERET. Bcyon,d that t.')wn, CoL)l101 Cherry
and his headquarters company had established a command post in ?
stoutly walled che.tcau a couple hundred yards south :)f the village
:)f HEFli'E. It vras Jbvi.JUS to Colonel Roberts and C010no'1
- 49
that LONGVILLY could not bo hold in this manner, S0 8rders wore
issued whereby Lt Hyduko become the rcarguard, while RycrsJn
Dlldtho .main bJclybattored their way back through the enemy force
in these orc:ers 'VIere received, Cherry's cOLJIaand
VietS already uncleI' attack.
At 0630 the Reconnaissance PlatJon, Hqs 3d Tank Battalion,
outposting the crossroads in NEFFE lIas hit by Gorman L'1.fantI"] and
tcU1..kS. fron!. the cast. The CP was notified, and Chorry .Jrganized
tho chatoau- f.Jr defense. At tho SDI.l0 time he clispatchocl two .
mediVIa tanks to reinforce the roconnaissnnco plat.Jon in MEFFE.
This c.Jmbinod group destroyed tw.J G01"1:1.<:'111 tanks before being f.Jrced
to withdraw to tho chateau. During the rotiremont, hJ,vover, .Jno
of tho battalion headquarters tllnks was knocked out by an oncay
infMtry-borno r.Jckot launcher. Thr.:Jughout tho tho sLlQ.ll
dotacb.Elcnt in tho chatoc:ubcat off attcr.lpt after attonpt to ovor
whelm it. AUt.JlllD.tic woar<ms were strippod off tho vehicles and
Olilplaced in tho vr.i.ndows to cover the nppr.J8.ches tQ tho buildinG.
:'ihile this furious fight wc.s raging tho 3d Bnttalion,,501st
Purachuto'InfQl1try, lOlst idrbJrnc Division, which had boon dis
pt1.tchcd fr;)1:1 B.l'lSTOGNE at 0600 tQ IIrestore tho r;)adbl::>ck cast of
was probing oastvvard Jut of UONT. T.Jward raid-
afternoon clements of this organization Hore engaging tho enemy's
right flank north Jf NEFEE anel their fire compelled the Germans
to clicinish their attacks against 001.J1101 Cherry's chateau bastion.
- 50
right flank and entered the f oi"t. But the rein' orcements had
arrived too late. The roof of the bUilding was afire and the
blaze and smoke nere fast making it untenable.. At dusk the force
uithdrerlJv to the trooper LiJ10S at As he departed Colonel
flashed this message to BASTOGNE _.... "He t:re not driven out.;.
ine vre'L"0 bUl"ned out. not tdtihdraWing--v-re
The roarguard and mainbody nere having thair tribulations
too. At daybreak Hydukels positions recoived heavy rocket ,firo,
iirhich uas followed by &'1. interval of dc.adly silence. At 1000 the
dim outlin.e of tyro cnem:>' tanks Vlas discol"'nahlc about 1500
southeast of LOl\UVILLY. Thoy tIero atter the CCR al'i".Q.or on
the r.::>ad o All the American arrn::;r opened fire ?,nd both enemy:tan.ks
exploded in flam.os. This action provoked a shelling of the
tovln Gorman o.rtil1cry00
At 1.'4-00 t.hc bolt struckl Enoruy tanks: closed in fronlthe
front 'a,.l1d loft 'flank. In fivo minutes hc.lf-tr8.cks, two .medium
panic flared up among the vohiclos on tho. r'oe"do A group of strag
glcrs,orgti.:.'1izod to cover the lQft fl;:;d leaving
but 23- arfilorccl infontrJrmcn of a/20th to hold that entire sector. In of this confusion, Lt Hyduke. mainta.ined excellent control of
his Qwn force, and continued to 'fight until at 1430 an order from
ChQrrytS,t firc-Sl:lOpt ci1C4tca'u dirocted him to fall back on, R;rerson.
It TraS a black half-hour for the order simply
oQuldn1.t. be carriod out . Tho Here absolutely blocked TIlth
vehicles, and enomy small arms fire now scorching tho r o ~ o a prevented
a dismounted withdr8.Y[al. l..Lany of the vel+iclc's sought to tUl:>n around
Dnd return to tho ground thoy had defended. As they milled about,
fi vo light. tanks, a tank destroyer and a tank recovery vehicle were
destroyed. The half-tracks in front w e r ~ abandoned, eJ1cL ene.nlY
artillery knocked out tYTO IJ.lodium tanks. 'Of the tVfO mediUl11 tanks
left, one lost a track an,d vias abandoned, tho othor -1'I1'2.S cut off
and surrounded b ~ l GormclXls. Tho crO'T.NS of tho romaining throe light
tanks destroyed their vehicles to prevent capture by the enemy.
1", s m.ain bod.;;.T troops had their taste of battle too.
Having receivod Col Chorrj"" s ardor to smash back through lIAGEHET
at 0830, Ryerson's troops bogan to v;oaVG theIr vmy through the
congested vehicles of cen. turrard their ob5octive. As the lead
tank rounded a bend in the road 300 ya.rds east of tho toyrn, a
concealed AT gun opened fire on it. Tho tDnk was destro,yod,,_
right 'where the lIAGERGT-IONGVILLY road ran through a deep cut,
and its hulk effectively blocked tho road to tho vehicles fol
In tho hail of she-11s Dnd bullet.s tho infantry C<:ul1C off
their carriers and prossed Iorvfard to the reverse slope on either
side of the rdad where the tank had boon hit. They could go no
farther bocause of tho intenso 1ire falling on the forward or
western slope. Finally, tTro l05-mrn assault guns liore manouvered
up to the ridge, &'1.d brought to bOc..T on the eastern edge of' the
town. '1ith thoso guns firing the hostile shoD_ing diminished.
~ 52
At 1500 Lt HydlJke
s lllen began to back to Team
Ryerson from thoirbittel" struggle around: 'LONGVILLY. Small arms
and mortar fire from :MAGERET had 6nsidorably, and a
force of supported by two l.I4 0.11 assault gun
probed around the right flank. This group }:-cceived some fiI'o
from tho southern portion of the village, but fina.lly succeeded
in entoring the northeastern fringe of buildings. -Enemy vehicles
'Were visible, but the tanks '.nd tho assault gun vlith the })D.rty
couldn't find suitablo firing positions to engago them. To dis
lodgc ..thc Germans, it l10uld be necessary to attack it from Mother
Toward this endCnpt Ryerson organized a Group of 40 strag
glers (mostly Hyduke t s men Md the 9th A1T:WI'od Di into four
squads and reinforced them vith tV!O t.:mks. At 1600 this
force r..clv2.l1ced against the southc:..l.steI'n )ortion of HAGEHET.. Tho
tanks proved incapablo of negotiating the ground south of tho
road and the advance quickly bogged down.
As darkness foll Team Ryerson, 11ith tho remnants of Hyduke t s
forces and miscollaneous stragglers from other actions, continued
to cling to tho northoast.ern edge of EAGERET as the enemy whittled
P.t their front, flanks, and roar. At 2145 the Gerrnans lauchod a
well coordinatod tame and infantry assault through the
village. This lunge VTas finally beaten off by the weary Americans
supportod by tho firos of the 420th Armored Field Artillery.
In tho oarly morning darkness of 20 Decembor, Gnpt Ryerson
was ordered to fall bnck to BIZORY. Using back roads the toam
reached that at 0730 and joined cloments of the 501st
Parachute Infantry. For the next 2h hours they rend.ered direct
fire support to this unit with their tacl{s and assault gtillS. On
the Q.ftornoon of tho 21st they 'TiferC Tvithdrawn to B1l.STOGNE.
Thus, tVfO teams ofCCB were forced to retire from their
advanced rondblocks in front of BASTOGNE. (Soo Slcc:tch No.4,
APP VII.) Tho anomy had attacked oach ,vigorously o.nd -rrith
apparent intent to cnrry them. Being unsuccessful in this, he
had by-passed sought other unopposed routes tonard
the city. Both t001l1S, finding themsolves II out on the liIn.b" ,
Hero forced to fight their Vl[l';l back to tho rapidly fOl".ll1ing lOlst
perimeter. Hoavy cnsualtios in m.on and vohicles resulted. Hovr
over, the German attacks had beon met vlith detern.ination; men
and equipment had functi:med officiently. tho con
ventional "solution" tho troops had boen quick to lm
proviso M. alternato" in spite of tho heavy odds that constMtly
prevailed against them. liost importnnt of 211, procious tlifrO
had been gained in Ilhich tho lOlst ii.irborno Division could com
plate their dispositions for the defense of
2Desobry's IntervioW', 11 45, P. 4; 1ir. S. 1. A. 1lInrehall,
First Eight..Po,ys,p. 54
- ....
4Ibid."p ..8.
5Uajor Duncan's Interview, 16 February 1949. Four or
five vehic1esand a'tankdestroyer were knocked out, and about
13 men :>f Company B, 20th. iirrl.l:>red Infantry Battalion were wounded..
s. L

Harsha11" The First Eight DQYs, p. 60.
7Ibid- Dosobry's Interview" H 45, p. 9.
p. 8.

.j.,.. r. s. ,.lie .L. LIcxshall, The First Eight Dnys,
P 65.
10rbid, p. 94; Eajor Duncan's Interview, 16 February 1949;
Dcsobry's' Interview, 01;I 45, P. 18, . These vehicles under
of Capt 11addell, S-3, 20th Infantry Battalion, CCB,
10th Arnlored Division. '
11Uo. jor Duncan's Interview, 16 February 1949; Dcsobry's
Interview, U h5, p.20. For his heroic vmrk before, during, and
after tho llithdralilal" GaptPrior wasuvTarded the Silver star LLcdal.
'12Desobry's Interview, E 45, p. 20. ,Spenking of his actions
later, Enjor Hustead statod, U! don't know if this was the correct
decision or not, but at the time it seemed the only logical thing
to do. I didn't know that these other two pnrties had gone :)ut.
13Desobry's Interview, IiI 45, p. 21; Liajor Duncan's Inter
view, 16 February 1949.
14After lj.ction Report, 3d Tank Battalion; Er. S.L.
IJarshall, The First'Fight Days, p. 48.
l5riIajor Vlaltor E. 3, CCR,. 9th Armored Divi
sion, states he and vehicles of COR by-passed Ryerson's
vehicles to tho nQrth on'the night of 18-19 December and re
turned to He further stated that he followed secon
dary roads all the into frJffi the northeast
bet1fveen the ro.ilroad and BIZOHY.
\fter L.ctionReport, J,.Oth Divisi:::m"19 Doc 1941+.
17Ur.,.S. lIarshall, Tho First Eight Days .. - P. 50.
- -55
CI-tilPTER v
Since 1'T.ARDIN was closer't::> BASTOGNE than the other ob
joctiVGS assigned to CGB, Team. OtHara yras to faro bettor than
tho other units., AtthJugh initie.lly Team. OIEare. TlO.S forced t::>
Trithclruw slightly to take advantage of more casilydofended
ground, we shull seo how they dug in on tho southeastern ap to BL.STOGHE, &"lQ held u sector bot-rTeon the 50lst Pnra
chute o.ucl the 327th L'1fal1tr:r. Here 't'TO soe an
armored infantry with tonks employed in the
sustnincd defonso, 1lhi10 the balance of the combat command func
ti.ons 2,S the mobile reserve of the [llQ.jor combat unit. The C'.rm.or
demonstrates its versatility and oasy adaptation to varied rXls

sions. In this chapter also vte Shall sec exemplified the mobility
of tho c.rm; hOlT it lias COL1Illitted on short l1Jtico to rush to
throatened fronts, and h01'f, TJhon its job TIns completed it was
quickly releo.sed t::> be again o.vnilable to the C0f1C1Mdcr us his
llaco in tho holo.
Colonol OIHara's team south ::>fTjjJlDIN.noeded information
badly.. The Jnly way to find ::>ut what lay boyond the fog was tJ
get out after i t q Pr<:Jmpt ly, patr::>ls yrero dispatched t.J the
east and s::>uthoast toward BRAS, e.nd to the north and northeast
As tho Intelligence and Heconnaissance Plat:x)n, 54th
_ 56_
Infantry BRAS 1140 a
was Qbservcd advancing alQng tho 1'JILTZ-BASTOONE
highvray., T Sgt Stillm.c'"U1 D. McMal1Ql1, figured this might
bo a vohicle for a larger column, so he allowed it to come
.in close. The vehicle cQntinuod -vrithin 75 yards of the patrol and
as it still appeared alono, the scrgoMt gave tho ordor to open
firo. At tho very thoy ;)poncd fire, tho anticipated
column appearod---two Mark IVs, a holf-track, and f.leny nore close
'tchind in tho mist. Tho platoon no weapons to d cal Ylith
armor, thoI'efQro, quickly radioed their predicamont to
or Hara, etnel vri thdrovr as the 420th Field Artillery Battalion
shelled tho t OTm. (Soo Sketch IJo. 4.)
SUtultano:1usly, tho northorn partyaade cQntact. Capt
Edward il.. Co..rrigo, 8-2, 54th Infilntr:l Battalion, and 1st
Lt John D. Deveraux., cOIJmnndiJ.lg Comp'aL'1Y B, junped .in a poop and
procoeded west along tho BASTOQ}m r;)Qd, then ilQrtheast into
7JARDIN. Here in the fog TTrappod to'{ln, the:{ encountered tho :>thor
security patrol and vlora inforuod thnt c"11 uas quiet. Tho tvro
officers continued thraugh tho village t:>l'rard tho high gr:>und to
the northeast. Suddonly their poop 'FlaS struck by a round on tho
fr.')nt bum.per. t looking for tho gun that had fired upon
them, the tVTO officers sped back to t:> Cllort tho patr.')l
thero, and pass tho vTord to Col OlHara.
At 1200 the visibility someTmat incroased, 2d Lt Tho:>d;)rc
R. Haner, tho artillery observer frOB tho 420th l1FA, moved his tc:..nk
- 57
,.. -l. L 'I
TMlt...<'.:;,O'HA A
f"':: -_...."
I e\ : (
\ " ~ ~
w ~ ~ ~ g w s ~ ~
~ ~
19 DECEMBER 1944
toa small crest (609555) in front of tho main position in an
effort t::> locate targets hi.s ,batteries. Five other tanks
of tho tearn already occupi.ed the hill.- AlfllOSt
1t Ht!,[i1cr' $ tank rccoivccl a direct hit from a high velocity YfOt'"pon
301:10Vr1101''o to tho loft front. ,Simultaneously, one of the other
M4s Tras hit in tho turret, dealing death to the gunner. The
unnerved driver of this vehicle backed 1:rilclly down hill, refusing
to stop untilho bogged cl,Jlrn in the Cl.uck at the base of tho in-
cline. -This tcnk c,Julcl not be s2.1vaged, Dl1d vras later
Tho quickl
quit their positions on the crest without
over locating tho guns "i'Thich fired upon thOI:.l. In tho VfakC of
this sudden sortie, GerDnn artillery firo bog::m to fall.
The next oncm.y novo ::>ccurrocl :)11 tho
r::>ad nhoro tho tCc;Ll laid a hasty ninofiold. Sh.::>rtly bOl::>ro
130J a V::>lksvK:.g::>n drOll up to tho minefield. Calmly tho occ-upunts
disnountoc1 froD the carrior nnd bogan t::> rCIilOVO tho [.1ines. 14t u
range of just 200 yards five infantry half-tracks and five modiur.l
tallies openod fire at, this daring eroTT, but sOLloh:)"rr the GoruDns
ual1aged t::> get back to their vehcilo and dashed away in the
hail of bullets. As this incident took place un outp.)st ::>f
C;)L1pcny B, 54th iJ:B, ::>n the south flank spotted GormtUl infLUltry
Doving northeast the wo::>ds in front of tho maDl position.
APparently theso troops came tho vicinity of ACHINECHA and
norc advo.ncing on "JLH.DIN. Ono ip_ericnn E4 . sent for
ward and put them under firo.
- 59
Hen in strang6 green suddenlJ appeared the
in tho roar :)f O'Hara's lX>sition. Conpany I, Para
chuto D1fantry had arrived. Their groen, .fitting
suits tho tankers but the Good news ti"avoled
fast. I vras attacking across O'Hara's
left rear, to Witl{ paratr30pors in the village, the out
the 54th LIB vras lJithdrawn.
Instead ::;f forcing their way westwnrcl !:.;.lorig tho T.1ILTZ
BASTCGHE highway as Col O'Hara had eiXpectod, tho onofJ-Y s':>llght to
by-pass tho north thr.:>ugh T.:> accomplish this tho
cloverly to infiltrate small of infantry
up D. gully parallel to O'Hara's front until at least a h1.mdrod
had nado it. The gully TJ'D.s$ufficiently deep to afford cover fron
direct tMk fire, al1d Bufficiently far a'Nay to prevent much small
arLlS daLi.2.go. Tho artill ory, vlhich c.:>uld. have broken up
this venture, 1'II'1.S c3.Llplotoly occupiod sup.:"\:)l"ting t E:I
causo in nOVILLE. As a :r'esult, German woro able to re
inforce their effort at T'JilHJJlli.
Through out tho nftornoon tho'cnof.1y c.)ntinued his activity
in front of 0lHara. Once, a group crune in closo enough to
fire a bazooka round at n tank. No one spotted the s;)urce of this
sh.)t, but tho half-tracks anel tatll{s sprayod the vicinity with
bullets <':lPd shells. At ab::>llt 1530 direct high velocity fire came
fr.:>H tho vici.l.'1ity .:>f rIlffiDIH. Tho iV1crican tanks wi thdroVI a fOT!
hLU1drcd yards tJ a defiladed spot and tho firo stopped.
- 60
The AT firo from his left front cQused Co18no1 O'Hara
groat concern. Had not Company I boon sont to seizo
Four vralking iiloundod from I Company driftod into the tankers
lines \'Tith an' to this quory. Tho COfJpany hnd gone into
;I.LPJ)IN, but practically lilipoc1 .Jut and f.)rcod to with-
This information wasn't too much to base a decision on,
but 1iJith an aggressive on thG left fla.nk, constant pro
ssuro on the front, and no friends on the right, tho QriD.orael
position vras at bost, precarious. At length O'Hara roquested
CCB for r..crnissi::m to \'rithclraw.
In reply Co1.)nol Roberts radi.Jod, "Contact friends on
your loft, hold Tv-hat :rJu
ApP8.l"'cntly cOLlbat cOi][Jct.Ucl still
th:;uzht there 'Horo ltl'ricnds tI in this Trasn' t
with tho vray things had developod'. Hathor than c'.iscuss it on
the air, Colonel 0 'Hnrn sont his S-3, Capt George L. Ron:::m-x,
to 001::>1101 FLoberts l:'J"ith the clotnils of tho situati.::m, Trhi10
he hir.1solf 1V"Ol1t roc:tJ'warcl to rec:mnoi tor fDr bettor ground.
At nbout 1715, COB ordered the tOLln to withdraw to tho high
ground north of HlffiVIE, tho exact ground O'Hara had
selocted 011 his
Hendquo..rters compnny, heavy woc.p.Jns company, and tho
enginoer pluto.Jn began the vlithdrC),1'J'al. rn10n thoy 1"101"0 emplaced
on tho 'nol"[ position, tho rost ,)f tho forco foll back on thoD,
covered by a hoavy barrago by tho h20thArmorod Field Artillory.
In front of tho nev}" defonse lino, a hasty mine field was cf:.lp1aced
- 61
on tho road. The ta.l1..k:s Tiare positioned in the hodges for cODccal
m.ent. Sovol"v.l M4s 1/:Toro sent to c;)var tho 10ft (north) flank, nnd
aftor contact was established on the right 'with clements of
Airborne EnGineers in MLH.VIE, five light tanks :Vlore sent thero.
Lt Clendcnon, 55th took a squad of his engineers several hW1drod
fOrl:fard along the road to cJnstruct a rJndblock.
Lcclline guns of tho infantry on the hill ,,'fore placod to covor this
block, tho artillery assigned a concentration 'to it. EY&2200
the Trithdrawul l,ras c3Llplete. Throughout tho night the 420th harassed

At d2ylight GcrC1El11 artillery bogan to fallon Colonel O'Hara's
roaclbl.:>ck, a. thQusand yards southoast .:>f his infantry pJsitions.
( Soo Skat eh lJ:). 5.) The fog Basked all observation, but by 0300
tho r.DVCLlent of arGor vms 8..lKlible bo
onc:,1 the bnrricade. .tin
hour lator the curtain rose, revealing a dozen industri.:>us
solc:iors t.rying t:) rOLl.:)VC tho treos. 56 Able, pre
paroe. tho previous ovening by tho 420th lJ?/i., was called
'81". wore killod bQlw1cO boat a hasty retreat.
Another atteI.lpt VTas nelde to tho b1:)ck, this time under the
cover :Jf 0' Hare. r S Don, an infantry
thrJugh the screen, t:J8k tho entire sm:Jked area under 'fire vrith
assault 0L1nS and r.1.ortars. Ib attack natcrializod. Thwartod by
tankers guns, the ene1Y had eli verted his at tonti ons t.) I[flRVIE,
due Vfest .Jf tho r:Jadblock.
At 1100 the 2d Battalion, 327th Glider Infantry, in the
- 62
20 DECEMBER 1944
SCALE 1:14,400
:)1 rclioving elomonts of the 326th Engineers in Ii:lillVIE,
began receive artillery fire. The five light tames sent to
tho village the night before rOIJ:lainod t::> support tho newly arrived
glidermon. Twenty r;linutes after the shelling four
Hark rv tc"nks, a 75 gun, and six infantry-carrying
half-tracks moved Jut of tho east of tho tovm. liI?parontly
thoy had seen the light as concentrated their fire
against the ar.C.1.Ol". The E5s repliod Tli th their 37-r.l.Os, but these
guns lacked tho rD.J.'1go to cL.) 2l1j- cl:.uuago. Bolder gretl the Gerr:tans,
and moreintonso thoir fire. Tho light taru:e cOIJ[1Ol1cler realized
that he
t helping tho infantryLl.en, but was only drawing high
volocity firo onto them. On those cr:mnds he requested pcrr::issi.)n
Darting frorJ cover to cover 2Iil0ng the buildings tho !.I5s
made tovrards the nJrthcrn ed.go :)f t:JI'Jn. ,But they waren' t al
to:;cthcr successful in their elusive tactics. One tank wus sot
f'., (though it g.Jt just tho snmo) Qncl an,)thor was struck
in its suspension systom. Tho c1c..v.lago on this lutter tD.nk was
such that it had to 1;.1a1\:0 i ts back t,) TO(,'l,Ll O'Hara in I'cverse
All during this ong<:>.gOI:lcnt O'H0.ra's medium tanks .In tho
hillside held their firo TJ"ai ting f::;r tho enemy t.J adv8.nce suf
ficiontly to his flank. Tlith tho light tanks in retreat
tho Germans "FlOrO overc;:n.le by the chonce for an easy kill, and
camo barrelling in with the SF leading. This V'J"(lS tho tanks
had waited for; tho enemy at 700 yards.
One ShormM a IIark IVt The second Shorraan hit
and a he.lf-trnck. Tho third enomy tank ran wildly for
HARVIE, 'whore tho glidermen set it blazing a the'
remaining l.:ark IV hightailed it back to the woods.
As O'Hara's tanks fell upon the IJark IVs, tho Gorman
half-tracks increased their interval ::>no the other and made
a dash f or the village. One 0 inside the fringo buildings, they
jurnpccl down frOLl their carriers and ducked into the houses. For
h::>urs the 2cl BattalL:m, 327th, battled with this f::>rce fr::>m
house t::> hol,lso. But in the end thirty GerLlM infuntry were killc,'d
and tho rest were captured.
of Operations, CCB, lOth Division
Decembor to 31st
21 December 1944
General Eicldleton had called Col::;ncl Roberts personally
on tho morning ::>f 20 December and announced that the combat com
mancl was attachod to tho lOlst Division. "Your work
has beon quito satisfnct;)r;l, II said the GOllore.I, "I'm atta.ching y,)u
t,) the 101st, because I have s:) naIlY eli visions that can r t take
ti.r..1C to study tVl:) sets rcp::>rts fron the same a.rea. ,,3 Roberts
iClmcdiately roported t:>Gcneral lic;l.uliffe to perform c0fi1!J1and
liaison, and at his hoc?dque-rters the siege."
CCB was assigned tho mission of IXl0bilo reserve, to be hold at

21 DECEMBERlt 1944
SCALE 11510,000
SIBRET II ..,..'..........
BASTCGl\JE in readiness t:> counterattack any threat :>n division
:>rder. Tho "firo department of BASTCGlfElI had c:>mc int:> being.
(Sec Slwtch N:>. 5, It had become necessary, duo t:>
tho pr:>yJUnity of the 50lst pcrinoter to m:>vo tho 420th
IFA t:> new firing positions sJuthoast Jf SEHONCH.AEPS. Cnpt Ryerson's
remnant forces reinfJrcedtho reserve at 1455 on the 21st after having
battled their vfny to BIZORY from their oxpJsod p:>siti:>n east of
. . .
hlAGERET, (soe Sketch 6.) O'Hara remainod on'the E.L\RVIE frJnt
occupying n defense sector botweon the left of the 327th Glider
Infantr.{ Mel tho right lHing of Col Eve11, s 501st Regt. .L'"lso on
this day the 755th Field ,,'j,rtillcry BattaliJn, with sovon HI 155-rJnl
howitors, went into position neo.r tho 420th and fJught gallantly
throughJut the battle.
It was on this m.)rning :>f the 21st tho.t tho GcrnMs com
plated tho oncirclenont of by cutting the highvltly t:>
NEUFCH"!J.TE.. Shortly before 1000 Co,pt Koi th J. Lnderson, D TrJJp,
90th Cavalry Squadron, with two'.ult guns and a ID Il1Jved dJ'V'l!1
the highvltly :)n reconnaissance. CLOCHILONT he observed onemy
soldiers in uniforns mounted In Nlerican vehicles.
I1 little Inter 1st Lt .Arthur B. Arnsdorf, o..lso D!90, led anothor
nr.m:)rocL patrol to IJ.SSENOIS. Here t.oo tho enemy was in f;)rce, c:ug
These ropJrts, c:Juplod uith othors that Germans were in
VILI.EROU'.l., SIBERT, I 7.0RHET, [u'1.c1 CHElJCGlill made Lt Col BarrJ D. Bro1imo,
COL.1l11o.nding the 420th ..'Yl., feol rather ".Jut on [I. ,,4 Inc1eod,
- 66
both his,nksand. his rear were unprotocted. Accordingly,
he turned onG of his batterios tJward SIBERT, and rushed a for
ward observer to register :::>n that tovm. Even as this was being
accomplished a motorized colwun of tho 333d FA Gr:::>up came dashing
down the r:::>ad fr:::>m CHENCGNE.Thoy had occupied that town until
Germans were up:::>n their very backs, then withdrew without guns :::>r
Not far behind tho 333d, a second column of
peeps and 118 carS appearoG bearing down on the batteries. As
this cavalcade camo int:::> range they suddenly deployed and begnn
firing lntoCol Browne's troops. p'yle, which had boon
alerted to the artillerymen, returned the fire and the
nVfolvcs in sheep's clothing" turned off into the BOIS DE FRAGOTTE.
More support arrived from Team 01Hara's now quiet sector,
consisting of a platoon of tanks and a platoon of armored infantry.
This c::>Inbincd force Ijushocl f:::>Twnrd through the forest driving the
enerny before thom. Ono Gorman SP 75-mIrl. glU1 WQS destroyed and in
turn a tank Vlas lost. By night fall, C.)lonel Browne had 19 tanks
and over 300 infantrn.{men supporting his Cause. these troops
ho established a perimeter SJInO 4,000 yards long extending
out;)! SENONCH.:IIPS toward the NEUFCHLTEAU-Bl1STCG1.TE highway.
That night ,:1n e.ttempt Vlas made to break thrJugh to tho
cJmbat cOElmand trains in after dark,
1st Lt Yantis with a mcdilli1 tank, tWJ light tanks, and tw:::> squads
:>f armJred infantry 11lJvod out ;)n tho road. BeyJnd I.:ONTY
they struck Jut to the southwest on secondary r3ads and by cross
- 68
country movom.ents,., Suddonl!l, 'TJ.Ji th::>ut the slightest warning,
brilliant played on Yantis' vehicles, followed by
a fusillade of small arms fire. In tho scrap that followod all
of the Llllorican vehicles wore lost, but the men infiltrated back
to R'lSTOGr.TE ni th the rop.:>rt of this new tactical innovati.:>n.
Thr.:>ughout tho day, artillery harassed Thero
was a when the ac?uracy .:>f this fire on CPs and moving
vehicles gave cause to fear thnt an .:>bserver was right in the
tovm. Team Snafu (such was dubbed the miscellane:::ms pers:>nnel
cOf.1I:J.anded by CCB by authority of General Liddloton' s order) in
stituted a thorough house to house search, but no observer was
32 Deconber 1944
The 22d of December was a day of comparative respite.
(See Sketch No.7.) The snOVI which bog;an the evening before,
blanketed the area in white, gently .:>bliterating the recent
scenes of bitter combat. Back in BJlSTOGrlli the supply officers
were searching f:)1" white paint and bedsheets with which to
camouflage vehicles and men. :'[eary soldiers cropt out of their
foxholes to shavo, anu visit straddle trenches
.:..t 1027, Troop D, 90th Cavalry Squ<1dron (less the third
platoon lilith Colonel O'Hara at E.ARVIE'), pushed a patrol northwest
through l ..t GIVRY the enemy was observed in largo nwnbers
with tankp , infantry,. trucks, and guns. Throughout the day s
- 69
artillery that town.
Throe separate sallies were made against Col Browne's forces
at SENONCHllIPS. But each attempt was beaten off with tanks of Team
Pyle and the artillery. Lt Col V:Jillimm T. S. Roberts, Executive
Officer, CCB, was' sent to conmand these miscellaneous forces so
Colonel Brovn10 could concentrate on his artillery ctuties.
1/.1 h:mr before n.Jon tho Germans made their new fDJ110US ul
timatum attempt, and received as a reply General l.IcAuliffe's
i1l1fil.Jrta1 "Nuts. It The Naziimajor, bearer of the surrender terms,
huffed .Jff down the road toward REEOIFOSSE at 1350 exclaining,
will kill many :lffiericans. . This is war. ,,7
Team .. Jaade an.)ther rec.Jnnaissancc d.)wn the NEUF-
CrUlTE./loU highway at t.J the VILLEROUX- ,i..SSEHOIS road. The enemy
was n.)ted in f.)rco in the area, but no attack
That night the Luftwaffe paid its initial respects to
23 Decei:tbcr 1944
Dawn heralded tho begiru1ing of the clear and cold weather
which was t.J favor the balance .)f the f"iCg3 . (See Sketch No.8.)
0955 a fleet of C-47 aircraft arrivod over tho drop-zone pre
pared just west of the city, and rained preci.)us artillery ammuni
tion and medical supplies from the sky. Escorting the cargo air
planes cane waves of P-47 fighters, which cavorted up ,and cbwn
the perimeter, scorching the wherever they exposed
[0] 255



23 DECEMBER 19 4\4
SCALE /:50,000 I
themselves.- The Air Fjrce was just beginning tQ unleash their
venom... Through:>ut battle, fighters and
freighters d:>llunated daylight operati:>ns.
The hardened ground alsb greatly increased the efficiency of
armored movement. Early in morning T.3. Roberts I f:>rces at
SEIJONCHIJ.IPS sent into the forest before them, and found
the enem.y still there . The D..ctivity of allied aircraft kept tho
Gcrmnns lying low in the VJOOGS until 1417, when nine caClouf1aged
t:mks with supporting infantry moved agains t the jJD.oricans. The
attack was net with a. stronget' attack by CJI Roberts I men, and by
1430 tho Germans had retreated beyond ranGe.
The principal enemy effort of the day was thrown against
Col O'Hara's tOaf.l and tho 327th Glider Infantry at Uli.RVIE. TeW:1
Cherry, the c:ivisiJn roserve, h.:-.c1 been sent to countor threatened
penetra.tions, tOYJard LOfJTY ,-mel CH:1IP at 1820. Ten rainutes la.ter
Team OIHara. Vias hit hard, frontnlly and in the right flank with
tai1ks and infnntFJ supported by withering artillery fire... It was
more than the defenders cJuld handlo; they called immediately for
help. The 420th IJ=i'.Lfirod all their battories on the assaulting
Germans; nncl Tonm. Cherry, well on the road tJward was
ordered t::> return to in light of the new devolJpmcnt.
with the assault on O'Harn's front, Nnzi tnnks
and infantry stormed tho 2d Battalion, 327th , .. from
the south. .ColJnel Harper, commnnding this battalion, screamed
to O'Hara for tanks,' not knowing the 54th was fighting for their
- 73
own lives.. Finally at 2000, Harper radioed to O'Hara, "It is the
commanding general's order that two SherlTlE,n tanks move into M./i.RVIE
at once nnc1 take up a defensive positionoll
This was not the truth,
but it brought results. A few m.inutes later two H4s Clrr!ved to sup--
port the 2d battali, on.. Eoanwhile, the Gcnno.ns sent a. self-propelled
gun cha.rging up the ;'JILTZ roacl. O'Hara's tonks took. it under fire
Md set it blazing beneath a hay-ladened farm building. Both the
gun and the building burned ao fiercely that it illul1unatcd the
entire jpillricnn front. To escape detection, O'Hara withdrew
about a hundred yards to a now dofensive lino.
patrols of tho 4th hrnorcd Division were reported
at at 231320 Doc.
24 DOCOLlbor 1944
At 2hOl15 Toar;."). Cherry was ordered to support tho 327th
Glider Infantry in tho bitter fight at (Soo Sketch No.9.)
Colonol O'Hara's two ShonAans had greatly assisted the cause in
this vill['.ge by knocking out throe Hark IV tnnks. This had c1is
couraged further armored attacks, but the Gernans persisted with
infantry and intense artillery fire . It was not felt that
Col Cherry's armored force cJuld holp Duch in the darkness,
but their presence iifould bJIster mJrale, and would be quite ef
fcctivo at dnylif::;ht.. Cherryrs Lton and tHO batteries of the
8Ist En fJrfD.Gd a socond line alon;; the high ground just
abJve tho t OVID .
- 74
I: 50,000

24 DECEMBER 1944

100 0

But it never bocnme necessary to comrnit the ann:)r and anti
aircrnft. The Germans again made the mistake :)f attacking on
only one front. C:)mpany 501st Parachute Infantry, alerted
from the quiet LO}GVILLY road sector, counterattacked through
Ii;illVIE restored tho 327s grip on the situation.' Cherry's
Den remained north of l:iiRVIE until 1325 when it becanle apparent
that the Germans were through in that sector. Five light tanks
under Lt llrns(:orf, t,Jok over, and Team Cherry returned tJ BI.STCGNE
vIhere they once again reverted, tJ cl.ivision reserVee
colonel n.T.S. Roberts scntpntrols into tho woods in front
of him at 1000" nncl this t,imc it WD.S f illloccupied. However,
atl1.).:Jn tho Germans shelling tho 420ths oxp:)socl positions,
mortally vwundine Lt Cal Barry Br;yvvno.
It Was obvious that the
artillery havo to movoQ 1504 tho 420th waS ordered to
now positi.)ns n.)rthwest of (P543583), and by 2000 had
completed tho displacement.' 1st 327th Glider Infantry,
assumed control :)f Col \J. T. S. Hoberts' miscolla.'1.oous forces and
took ;)vcr the sector shortly thereafter.
Tho Forco c their activity through;)ut the clay.
l ..t 0905 and (lenin at 1505 C-/{ls dr.Jppod [.l;)ro supplies t;) tho bo-
sieged. P-47s had a field day striking tho Germans everywhere.
The 110st snccos.sfu.l sortio was against an nrLlOrOo. column moving
;)ut of lIORHET at 1115.
During the niE;ht the Luftwaffo paid two calls on
- 76
Lt Talbot of the 80th liedicalBattalion had established a hospital
in a building ih the south portion of the city. A bomb in the
first raid scored a. direct hit on this installation, killing a
French civiliancnurse, and burying twenty casualties in the debris.
Another bomb of the S8rr sortie fell on CeB headquarters. Lt John
Burke, liaison officer from the 20th AlB, was killed.
25 December 1944
..... I
Christmas was far from merrj'l', but the weather wasn1t bad. The
Gennans seized the opportunity to employ their armor over the hardened
ground, free from aerial by a coordinated attack
on, CH.ALiPS at 0350. (See Sketch No. 10. ) This sector was being de
fended by tho 502d Parachute Infantry supported by Troop D, 90th
Cavalry Squadron and clements of the 705th TD Battalion. By 0700
these troops had bOen pushed back east of the village by the savage
onslaught of eighteen hostile tanks t:hc:tt had broken throt;igh the
327th Infantry, and St\rung north into their left rear. Confusion
reigned for over an hour, but in the ond eighteen German tanks
porished along rilth the infa.ntry. It i"ras a gallant
fight by the and tank Team Cherry vms
ordered to support this action at 0800, but the fight was about
won vThon thoy arrived on the field. Throughout the day Cherry
remained in an ovor-vratching 1"010 and returnod to BASTOGNE at
Just before Cherry hac: moved out tovrards CH.AMPS another
- 77
y; l2SJ 560 VG
I;fi l2SJ 26 VG
25 DECEMBER 1 ~ 4 4
SCALE ':5o,Of O
LQj4 ~ ~ 5
threat had arisen along the road to MONTY., Team Ryerson moved/
out to counter the threat, which developed into an attempt to
infiltrate German infantry on either side of tho road. Ryerson's
men moved aggressively into the infiltrators, and by 1250 the
survivors had vJithdrawn westward toward HAlIDE ST ETIENNE.
At 1145 a fighter located eight field guns just south of
ASSENOIS and notified BASTOGNE. The 420th AFi\. had the data on
the town and wore able, with a few corrections from the pilot)
to quickly destory these guns. From this time fonrard hostile
daJrlight artiller'".{ diminished remarkably.
26 December 1944
............ ;
At dawn the Gcrmans tried again in the CHIJ\iPS aroa. Troop
D, 90th Cavalry Squadron :reported seven enemy tanks he,?ding for the
502d lines at 0335. (Soc Sketch No. 11.) they were
cngagc?- by the supporting TDs and light tanks and tho sortie was
beaten t)ff. But shortly after 0600 four l.iark IVs succoeded in
breaking through the infantry defenses at HEHROULLE, and headed
> !
for the 420th r s guns. Direct fire from the batteries and light
ning swift maneuver of the tank destr:Jyers spolled dO:Jm for those
invaders. By 0800 the original per1meter had poen restored.
threat developed along tho MONTY road whore the
attemptod infiltration had occurred tho day previous. Team Ryer
son of Colonel Cherry's reservo moved out of to counter.
By 1025 RJrorson' s patre>ls hit a largo German force in tho woods
- 79,";'
I 26 DECEMBER 1944
L ." ....
seA L.E.__. _

!:f; 0


/}5 PZ
500 yards of ISLE LA HESSES. Throughout the morning tho
team engaged those Gormans by frontal assaults, until the balance
of Team Cherry arrived at 1637 to around Ryerson's
right flank. .. BY' 1720 the enomy had boon destroyed.
As dusk foll tho leading elemonts of CCR, 4th Arril0rod Divi
8i:)n, pushed through to contact tho 326th Airhorno En,gineers in tho
sector s.)uth of BASTCGIJE; 'r11i$ was tho begir.ning of a new era for
CCB. B';J ffi:::rning armored l"'oinf;rcemcnts \\I'ould be pouring into the
city. Cn tho heels of tho 4th cClIle tilo 6th and clements of the
11th Annorcd Divisions to the rGD..iof of the vTeary B.t'iSTOGlJE tankers
and their battered, and shot-up equipLlent. It hadboen a rugged
fight, with bitter episodes; but the combat 'was proud to
havo served in a major-role in the salvation of this critical
objectiva. The gallant lOlst Airbjrnc Division, for v.rhich the
tankers had developod a sincere respect, was to go with
the fresh Third Army troops and further distinquish itself
in assisting to dri vo tho enemy to the OUR. For three
weeks the. lOlst c:::ntinuod to operate in the aroD., Md
whilo' it did so th3'combat command remained as tho division mobile
reserve. But tho I/first oight da.ys II wore past, those critical df\VS
'when the fate of the ARDENNES hung $0 precariously<l
lotHa-rats Intorvim'T, 11,: 44, pa 5; Harshall., 8,L.,A., BliSTQJl'JE
tho First Eight Days, po 46
.....,.,. ..,.... u._..
- 81
2olHara" 2E p. 6" refors' t q the troops in
at this time as the 327th Glider Infantry. HOl/lOVer, the 327th
did not got to the MARVIE aroa.':unti1 1100 on the 20th.
3colonel Robert.s Interview, !vI 41., p., 6.
41vIarshall, op cit., p. 113,
5'Tcmn Pyle v:as composed of tanks and armored infantrymen
from the 9th Armored Division",Aftor Action Report, CCR, 9th
6After Action Roport of the 9th Armored Division makes
no montion of the consolidatiop of these forces under Colonol
iJ. T.8. Roborts.'
7Marshall, 2E cit 4 p. 117. ,
81viarshall, .E c1t., p, 126.
9Colonol Browne died at noon Day in
- 82
The 4th Armored Division played an outstanding part in
the operations to relieve BASTOGNE. Before it could participate
:in the fighting in the breakthrough area, however, it had to move
up to the area of ARLOH from its position near SARRALBE far to
the S()llth., The events leading up to narch, the march itse,lf,
and the preparations preceding the attack occupied the period from
the 16th through the 21st of December 1944, e.nd are covered by the
first,chapter of this parte This chapter is the story of a classic
example of the' strategic nobility of armor.,
Since the full iJ.lpllcations of strategic tlJbility are not
to be found in the numericalspeeq by a unit, but rather
in the relationship of its movenents to that of other units, both
friendly and enemy, it is necessary to consider first of all the
situation of the larger units of which the 4th Annored Division
was a. part. On 16 Decen-.ber 1944, Third US Vias holding the
front between BESCH and HOTT'JElLERCi A 3D-mile vvedge had been es"
tablished in the Siegfried Line across the SA/ill River, and General
Patton was preparing plans for an alL-out offensive through the
wedge. This ",ras scheduled for 21 Decer.1ber.
The Arny had three
corps in lino' from left to' right: the XX Corps, cOL1f.1anded by Eaj or
General YJalton H. the In Corps" cOJ::trJanded by Uaj or 'Genoral
John Lillikin; and the XII C()rps, COfilL1a.'1clcd by Eajor General Hanton 8.
- 83
Eddy. The 4th Armored Division, comm.a.nded by Genera:l Hugh J.
Gaffey', was in XII Corps reserve and "V'Tas located in a 'rear
area in the vicinity of FENETR:lLJGE, Fra:ncE.'}, south of SARRALBE" the
XII Carps Headquarters. XII Corps had, the 2d Cavalry Group, the
35th Division, and the 87th Division lino fran left to right,
and vas preparing to move the 80th Division and the 4th iUnbred
Division into line abreast Df the 87th. In preparation for this
operation the 37th Tank Battalion of tho 4th Annored Divisi.Jn
was ,attached to the 87th Division, and'the Division's 25th
Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron was patroll:U.1g the gap between
the 87th and 7th Army J s 44th Division. The ronainder of tho
Division was engaged in rest, rehabilitation, training, and
maintenance" At a C-3, .moeting at XII Corps ::;n 17 Decanber,
plans were tentatively made to Clove the 4th ArLlored Division by
echelons Ito the vicinity with priority to CGB and tho
25th Cavalry Reconnaissanco
On 16 Dece.mbor tho enemy opened up with a saries of bat
tali.Jn and company size attacks alung the VIII Corps front. They
hit a nc'wly arrived division and two tired depleted divisions.
On 17 Deconber thoro were twelve new identifications
on the VLII Corps front, bringing to 16 the nillilbor of enemy
visions ,idontified in the Tho first word of this groat
attack Caino to the Ar'!'1orod Division in a from XII Corps:
UTa G-2, 4th Armored Division:
"Germans cCJUl1.terattackcd in First Army Sector using
.. 84
estimated 11 believed bo the following:
1st SS Panzer Division, 2d Panzer Division (east of .
CLERVAUX), 116th Panzer Division of PRml),
.326th (southeast of HONSCHAU),
276t,h InfantIX pivision at 5th Par.::ttroop.
lath Infantry Division, ftLth Infantx:y Divisi1.n,
and an unidentified division. Paratroops were dropped
on a. CF north of VIII CF using 50-90 troopI carrier
planes. Germans lade a yard penetration and
t the f ollowing . ECHTERNACH and BERDORF.
Enemy planes wore busy bombing and strafing. Un!'!"'
report that 350-500 tan.t<;:s were usod. PH
taken by First liJ.'Oy stated that this was the all out
effort and that the initial objective was ST. VITH.
Third reactod rapidly tho German attack, antici
pating its conmlitmont against thoonemyts south 6n the
18th Docowber, Ganeral Patton telephoned his chief of staff,
Brigqdier General Gay, and dirocted that tho attack of
the 80th and 4th Divisions bo halted. Tho 4th AnJored
Division was bo prepared to raove on the night of tho 18-19
Docol.1bor, with one cQmbat to m8ve on LONGl'JY at midnight,
followed by tho remainder of tho Division at davm.,4 ,The 4th
Armored was transferred to III Corps, vn1ich was being shifted
to attack to the north
At 190800 a mooting was called by Gene;ral Patton in the
G-3 office. Hoannouncod that the Germans had made a
breakthrough in the He had talked to Generals Eisenhower
ood Brc.dloy t,ho day before by tolephone, and they were all throe to
Illeet at VERDUN at 0930. His general plan, subject to ch<3.ngc, was
. to have XX Corps northeast, III Corps move 3lld XII
Corps take over the Army front with one combat of tho
- 85
4th Armored Division in corps reserve".: He also approved tho J:.;rmy
, .
artillery officor's rec.)mmendation thai{ the VT fuze be, released'. 5
The actual plan adopted was sLtghtly different'. There
had been much German, activity and evidence of attack preparations
on XX Corps front, and XX Corps was 'loft .)(1 llrmy front. III
and XII C.)rps were to make the attack to the north. The actual
execution of this movement "waS a brilliant military accomplish
ment; corps and urmy staff w0rk of the highest order wore dis
III Corps Hondquarters ffiQvc'd to lillLON. When SH1l,EF
tra.nsferred operational cQntrol of First and Ninth Il.!'mies to
21st Army Group on 20 Docof.lbor) VIII Corp!3 WD,S givon to Third
Army'. 'rhird Army consisted Q( f ::mr corps, anq. ten
infantry, four armored, and one airborne divisions. (Soo
dix I.)
On tho 17th vf December tho 4th lirmorod Division, located
ih its rear assembly area, had little inkling jf the part it waS
to play in a few days in the Third .4l.rmy
s northward counter
0ffons1va. ceB WaS making plans to move into .)n the
19th and was ready tJ move on one hour notice after 24D017 Doc-
ember. .:lrrar..gem.cnts wore being made for the relief of tho 25th
Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron which had boen supporting the
80th Division. At 0100 on tho 18th one Qf the po.ratro,op scares
that were so frequont immediately follov,ring tho Gerr.lan attack
occurred in tho division,? and the division area was hastily
organized intoz onos 8nd patrolled. The roport to be
- 86
On the 18th of December, 704th Tank Destroyer Battalion,
commanded by Lt Col James W. Bidwell; moved out to assist the
87th Infantry Division. Tho Tank Battalion, commanded by
Lt Col Creighton W. Abrams, was also supporting the 87th Division
at this time. staffs c:::'Jntinued to make arranger<lents for the move
of CCB to the aroa west of SlJtRALBE to back up tho 35th Division,
and at 1530 OperatLJn Instructions No. ll" dirocting this movo,
were distributed. Thon all of a sudden everything was changed.
At 1630 vfard was received that the eastward movement was called
off. All units of tho Division were alcrted. At 2030 CCB
received word to be ready to movo at rniculight. CCB, which
1lm.s cOLlrll.anded by Brigaclior Genoral Holmes E. Dager, included
at this time, and for most of tho two weeks, tho units
shown on Organizational Chart No.1. CCB left CUl'!!N(} at 0300
on the 19th. The route passed through LiORH1J\JGE, PONT-1J;-1.l0USSON,
CHiHBLEY, BRIEY, ll.ill,::ETZ, LONGUY,:, EESSANCY, LfEGLISE, and termina.
ted at V..'JJX-LES-HOSIERES. During this [narch the 'loading ,vehicle
in each company used full headlights until' reaching tho vi.cinity
of Sono maintenance difficulties harassed tho unit
:;fficors since no ono had had an o'pportunlty to completely catch
up on their nclntono.nce during the rest poriod
9 halts the
trains sent fOrVifo.rd gas,)line ::>n trucks rofuel the tanks.
Gasoline 1'la.S a critical item at thi$ ti.c.le because the chango
of front being executed by Third Army roquired a relocation
B [Q]4
46 B
18I 22 - Lt 001 Arthur O. Peterson
" - - - - - , ~
10 - Maj Harold Cohen
Composition of GCB for the march to ARLCJN.
'of army supply During the march Thlrt l."irmy moved a high
gasoline convoy past CCBto ostablish a. class III dUfup
. , . :,' 10
at where CCB refueled upon its arrival. The column
closod VAUX-IES-ROSIERES at 2000, came: temporarily tmdcr
the cO'ntr:Jl of VIII
The Divisionwa,s a.ttached fa III C.?rps on the 19th and
marched at 0900 In that day toward -,'illLON, where III CJrps Head....
- q,uarters was established., (SOc Appendix VI, No.1.) Celi., com
Brigaclic:.r General Herbert Ear-no at, was c,Jroposed of the
units shown in Organizational Chart No.
In 'a. fi.loffiJr,j,ndum to Goncra1Earnost, Goneral Gaffey i.ndi-.
cated, that tho of tho DivisiJh 1'laS still un
.knov.Jn, and tcritativcplans woro made to bivJuac in tho area
AUDUN. (sec VI, No.2.') Following tho $qI;.lO route that
CCB had taken" CC.:\ reached its assoElbly area. ncar at 1600.
At 1$30 ::>rdors Vlora roceivod to c.)ntip.uG tho .march after refueling
L."1 placo, and all units of the COii:lbat Command clQsed in tho troD,
'sQuth of by 0230. on
Meanwhile" tho Division oncountero-d difficulty in gathor
ing t'Ogothor th,:lsO olcmcntsthe.t hlld been left behind'. The relief
of tho 25th Cavalry RecJnnaissance Squadron by the 92d Squadron of
tho 12th Armored Division progressed very slowly(, Tho-Squadron
roturned t:) Resorve at 1915. I.IoMl\rhilo, the 704th
Tank Destroyer Battalion and tho 37th Tank Bn.ttalion had returned
from 87th Division, At 0730 on tho 20th,l1esorvc Command loft
... 89 ..
Composition of GGA for the march to ARLON.
the old area and moved in two colwn.ns; tho inner or eastern route
followed generally tho sc:una roads that wore used by the earlier
portions of tho Division, and the outer route went through
the $.:) uthcrn cdge of PONT- A-EOUSSON, THIAUCOURT, LONGUYON,
and a route farthor to the and west than the inner
route. Rcs,?rve Command, commanded by Colonel Blanchard,
closod south and west of at 2400 on the
20th. The 53cl "lrmorod Infantry Battalion was attached to Reserve
Cammand at that timo and the 25th Squadron reverted to DivisiCln
troops.. A cocpany of tho- 704th Tank Destroyor BCl,ttalion also
Tho march by tho 4th Lrm.Jrccl Divisi:)n t;:> the vicinity
of .AHLON was a major achievenent. ".'1. largo part of tho march waS
rn.adcat night; tho prescribod speed was oight [Alos por hour and
only Heat
s cyen lights v>(Ore permitted dUl:'ing the latter portion.
Units hud to march 1vithout kn01'ling l'lhore thoy would finally halt,
and route reconnaissance wo.s oxocutod more or Ie ss "on tho run"
and frequently at night. Enemy air WJ.S reported active and a
distapce of 70 yards cctween vehicles was maintained in daylight.
Radios on listening silo_ncc coulet not contribute to column control.
Tho most adverso weather conditions prevailed, and many histories
mcntion the 01ttor cold under which all these operations took In spite of thoso obstacles, a road march of 160 miles
was executed without accidcnt,13 and a powerful division placed
in a position whoro it could act at a crucial moment VIi th the
- 91 ..
greatest speed.
CCB W'C'.S the first OlOlIlCl1t of the division to arrive in
the vicinity of ./JU,PN. They bivouacked in tho vicinity of VAUX
LES-ROSIEliES on the main road lec.dinG from NEUFCHATE!l.U to B...
(see Sketch No.1.) NEUFCHATEAU wq.s neVi headquarters of VIII
Corps" which had pulled back from B/l.STCGNE and 10ft the lOlst
Airborno Division, reinforced by of the 9th and 10th
/ .
]l.nIlorcd Divisions, preparing to meet the oncoming Germans.
Friendly troop$, possible from the 28th Division, wero reported
to be occupying REtIQIVILLE ?-nd . 28th Division
Heo.clquarters vvaS at SI:pRET/ during the night. ;it 0300 on the
morning of tho 20th, CCB ordered the 8th Tank ButtL!.lion nnel the
lOth Battalion to send out small taclc-infantr.y
patrols to patrol tho to'wns and ronds to tho north and
These patrols VTCre ;)f, tyro plato)ns Jf Com.pany D" 8th Tank
Battalion (eight tanks), and t170 platoons frof.l the lOth lJX'IDored Jirl'
antry Bo.ttalton. No contact was establishe-dwith tho enomy. I1t
0945 CCB ordered a task force c.')mposcd of Com.pany ii., 8th Tank
Battalion; Company 0, 10th Armo:rcd Infant!"J and
Battery C, 22<:1. Armored Field Artillery and cOIhnlanded
by Captain Ezell of tho 8th Battalion, to proceed to B:3TO
to aid tho IOlst Division as needed. On the way to
B...3TOGNZ the task f .)rCQ enco\..tntercd elements of, tViTO battnlions of
friencUy artillory in lx)siti:::>h but desertc,d. Somo of the vehicle
were still The battalions had apparently been
- 92
B ( l-j ) 126
B 46
B C""'---_) 4
B C"'------'
C C.B 4
I' 60,000
early that morning nnd left. their equipment
,t -I- 16
J"n aCU(l
The task force as much this equipment as it
CJuld back to CCB vThen it returnc(l later in tho cLttyo In BASTOGNE
the task force co,mn'1endor contacted tho lOlst Lirborne Division and
\'vas told to got 1n touch with C:>loncl Robertis, of '
the lOth Ar:nl:::red. Roberts gave Ezell several rt1.isB:i.ons , but \'lhen
he 1J'Vc;J;S about to execute the first one, 'ho wasrecaLLcd on :)rqcrs
from the 4th Division, and'tho task forco rejoined CCB
.i\fter its short halt noar let to on tho 19th,
reached its bi'l',rOU8,C area during the night tho 19th to 20th.
Tho unIts 'tIGre disposed in tho general vicinity of s:)l)."::,h
,i'..t this tiD..O Division .',rtillory, t110 53d l:.rmDrod Inf['"ntry_
end both TX'DJpS and B Df tho 25th Cavalr3 Roc:Jnnaissancc Squadron
\l'mro under the c::ntrDl of eGA, on .'vlhich ho.d boon me-de
fDr march So During thoLDrninG, tho aroa GOJ3t of the :..ELON
highwny assignod to tho 26th nnc1 moved
l1:Jrthvfcst" At tho S[Ui.1C timo CG.:!. TrJ:Jp B Df the 25th
Cavalry joining CCB, the 53d f1rm,JX'oa Infc..ntJ,."y BattaliDn being
attachocl to l10servc Co.ranc:.nd upon its nrrival
e (Seo Sketch
During'-this [:love GcncrcJ. Patton was conferrinG with Genern.l Lillikin
CJ!ld Gencr::d. GcJ:f'oy in :.RLONr- rncy discussed plctns fo'l" the forthcDI.ling
Dpor2.tion, :'.rtd the Divisi;)n 1'JQS succossful in [;ottin:; apIlr:)vnl for tho
reassignmont Df caSto the Di visi:.>ntl ....
This gtlVO Di-:rision COIfl ,
nn J..
, " ! +, ':"" .!- '"' C .... n' s l.1.. ,':i ",to +l,ll"'l 'lrol S .nnr1 CC'P, -IT'"> S
....... 1". .. (_, vJJ/.l. v, U t_ .._vJ VV tJ .1 b.t ... .., '1_. c..: .. ' \JL. _.LJ ,',C"\,
eGA 4 ~ ARMD 01 V
SCALE 1;50.,000
9) eme
\\ 9S
R C) 4
( )
,..... IV r
4I.b. ARM0 0/ V
SCALE 1:60,000
( ) 4
moved south and east on the afternoon of tho 20th to the area
lIELLIER:'''L:t.EQLISE. (seoSketchNo. 4,.) the SaLle time Divi
'; ,
si.)n ord{)rc.d CGA to:reinforce the security clements north of
and push. out .anadditionalkllomoto,r. 17 To implemont
this ardara task force under Captain Rockafoller of tho 51st
:.rLlorod Info.ntry Batte.lion, consisting of assault guns, armored
infantry" and light tanks -' moved north of Ql1d prepared re....
movable roadblocks for the throe mainr'oads north and cast out
of tho town. Patrol-ling Was conqucted 'botvveon tho roadblocks,
but theyuero not omplacod as units of tho 26th Division
wore im.own to bo out in front. (Soe .,(+ppcndix VI, No.3,)
On tho night of the 20th-21st Decomber, the Germans cut
off BLE3TOGHE on tho north, and south. C01UG1J1S subsequently
joined west of B....STCGNE and the ca.rrison was finally
'The Germa..'1 5th Paro.trJop Divisi-::;n, having an ost.1.mntod strength
, ..... ...
of 8,000 Den, hold the line below B:1STCGNE.
Ontha 21sto! December tho situc..tioh' had not clarified.
Sick and ren1."1ants of the 28th Division, the 9th Armored
, 18
DivisL)n, c.nd Corps lirtiller:r and units stumbled in.
'Theenqny 8i tuation Was very vague. The nearost enemy was rc
ported at nED.:.NGE in ,tho 26th Infantry Divisi::>n zone'northeast
of :.RLON, and were reported 'utGIlOSBOUS .further to the
known to be cut off and ostim&to6
pIo-cod the strength in the, BASTCGNE area a.t ,Jno infnntry
'. l' .:. 20
nild one panzer Cd. on.
III Corps docided to attack as svon
SCALE /:$0,000
as coordinatiqn could be obtained with three divisions abreast;
4th li.rmorod Divisi'Jrl on tho left, 26th Division in the center,
80th Division on the right. Tho 4th Armorcq issued its
attack jrdor on the morning of the 21st. (Soe VI,
No., 4.) -The ordor called for an attack in tv.;o columns with
'f ,(\f.
eCA on the right. (sec ,Sketch No.5.) Tho clivi;i;nhad the
mission of overcoming and destroying all eno.m.y in
its zone as well as prvviding flank protection for the Corps.
This meant that the attack could not bo conducted as a true pene
tration, was a major reason for the relative slowness of the
adv<lnco as with the nQrnlal cQncept of an armored attack.
Reserve CQIrJ11t'.;,nd we.s t.) foll.)w eGA prepared for comruitment as divi
siQn reservQ. Engineers and logistical elements were placed in
normal support roles, but artillery battalions were attached to
combat cQmmands. Corps had placed hvo additiQnal armored field
artillery battalL)ns unc.ler division cbntrol, the 274th and 25Jd,
and one of these was attached to each of-the combat cOmfilands&
The 94th .Armored Field L.rtillery Battalion VIas hold undGr Divi
_siQn Artillery control in general. prepared to furnish
direct support to Reserve COD1!l1and if it woro committed. The
25th Cavalry Squadron, which was at this time screening 0.long
the line HABliY-Ll..-NEUVE--lJLLON,21 waS to be relieved by the
cavalry troQps nttachod to cQmbat cQ.1Llancls, nndwQs to screen
tho dIvision left flank. Strict securit;:t I:.1Gl.'.sures, including
troop [l10Vomont cQntrol by the Di.visi::m Prov.)st were
- 99

22 1944
SCALE ,1:50,000
FOR 22 DEC 1944
SCALE 1:100,000


I ---

I "
AT 220730 DEC
AT 220730
L..-__ ......... ---.l-.---.:-----,--..-"
prescribed" and spociai mGasures wore lJrOvorit ar:lInuni....
tion"vohicles, woapoils, and from falling int:) enemy
Liaison planes forbi,ddeh to fly until tho attack
jumped off.
At the smne timo the Division C:::>r.:l[.. Genoro.l Gnffey,
conceived of till alternate plan which he C:X.1Du.nicated to General
In this letter he sto.tcd that if' CGA 1'V'ore hold up a:t the bridges
. . ." 19
in lLJi:TEL.. 1:Jhich wore kn:::>wn be bl:::>wn, ho pla.rmcd t:::> divert
eCB froD its axis to tho main jRLON-BASTOGNE
highINay" . where it Hould load the a.ttack follow'cd by eCA. it
turned out this 01tornate plan vras not pIncod in ,effoct.
Those plQns wore all for D-day, H-hour, which was
eX:i:;ectod t:) bo some tir.1G :)n tho 22d. At 212000, C.Jrps
that the attack wCiuld jllr.1P 3ff at 0600 tho follJwing day,20 and
Division notifiod its sub3rdinato units. The luttor had mean
'while been ffi3.king their 3Vin plans.
COB ?lanned attack it!. a single c,Jlumn. (Soc Appondix
VI, No.6.) . The IP wa.s set Tho po:'nt W"n.s to
consist of Tr,J0p B, 25th by a plat,J3n of
light tanks Mel a platoo.pJ. .of The point
would precede .the main bQdy nn,dmaip.; 'with eCA on
the right and the 25th Squadron (minus)
on tho e
h1)any B of tho 2,4th.l11....m:::>rod Engineer' Battalion
would furnish a mine party to Cl-ccompany tho The
- 101
guard was to consist af C:Jmpany A of tho 8th Tank Battalion
inf;)t'ced by assaultguhs,. rccoh11aiss0.ncb clements, engineers,
and tank cLestr:>yers.. Tho main body followed. The C:)mbatCommand
CP Wb.S to in preparation for the attack"
:mcl radio silence was ordered at 210900 to last until contact
waS nado" vv-ith the enemy. The axis of attack ran through
FJJjVILIERS, and CHATJEONT. After dark on the 21st,
ceB assembled in attGck assembly areas in the vicinity of HABAY
LA-I:JEUVE and LIEGLISEto organize for the attack.
Upon recoipt of the division order, immodintoly sent
Troop H' 25thCnvalry Hoconnais sance Squadron, up to screen
north of .;J."'1LON. They operated along the lL'1.o
NIEDEl1COLP..'LCH with their CP at l.:ETZERT. The Troop reported that
friendly engineers were all set to blo1Y the bridge.s at NIEDERCOL
and OBERCOLPI.CH, but that tho CO of the Tro,op prohibitod this.
A 1:?ridge north of these bridges (exact unknovJ'n) had been
blovJn, and a 20-foot crater was in the main road south of W.up
ERLE. Obstacles like these, nany of which were executed after
the need for them was ovor, wore to prove to be a considorable
to tho advance of our troops.
CC.L\. planned to attack in tw::> columns. (See '/l.ppendix VI,
No.7.) Tho left c::>lwnn,callecl Task Force I.lanis, v'ras composed
of tpe 51st Armored Infantry Battalion minuc one compnny, rc
.. inforced by Comp2.ny B, 35th Tank Eat The column also had
enginoer, tank destroyer, an:dmodical Sl1ljport. Tho column,
called Task Force Odon, was fonned arjlmd the Tank Battalion
with Con1pariy i G; Infantry Battali::;n attached,
and with engineer, tank destroyer, and medical suPporti eCL. placod
tho 274th Armored Field Battali:;n in direct support :Jf
TF Alanis and the 66th .Armored F5.uJ.d la-tillery Battalion in direct
support of TF Oden. The 274th W'ont into position near STOCK8E
and the 66th near on the afterrloon of the 21st t::>
carry out their missi::>n ::>f being prepared to support the m.Jvcrnont
, to fon7ard assembly areas during the night, dnd to support the
attack., CC.i\ prohibited registrati.Jn by.its artillery in. the
interests of ,secrecy. Tho two task forces asscrnbled during
. the aftorno::;n, Tf illanis in and TF Odon in
After dark the task forces ffi;)vod up to their attack assembly'
areas, 'IF Alan,is noar TATTERT, and TF Odon ncar QU,ATREVEN'rS.
ReS9rvo C0wnand notified all clements under its control
to be ready to on sh::;rt notice, the c:Jmmancl plan-
nod to m.ove to tho old a.ssembly area,
at 220730, after tho att'ack hadjumpod off. The Division
Trains wore to c:>ns,;)lidate at R.;lCHECOUI':tT and IJEIX-l.E-1'IGE under
tho Reservo ColTItD.and tr4.
Lrtillory Hendquarters moved t.J J\RLON and set
up'in the building with Division Headquarters in order to'
promoto close coordination during tho attack.
By 0600 on the 22d, the 4th Armored Division was propared
tD launch its attack as part of III Tho Divisi:m was
concentrated, ,n.Jtdispersed, ready for employment- in mass. It
was 'reinforced by additional artiIlery'fircpowor. The high com
mand ha.d insured that the ffiJst impJrtant conditions fJr the favor
able of arntJr existed. This was to be the initial
stroke of tho great countoroffensive Jf all the Forces
to destroy the still-deepening German' penctration.
1:JaJ-1o,cc, and His Third p .. 1360'
2G-3 tJournal, 4th il.rmorod 17 December 19440
';al1ace, OPe p-, 142.'
4P2tton, IJ:...tos on tho BastJJ?:no 0Eerution.
E. citro, pp.
Blonni[1,:LrtGPort to th9 Secretary Jf TJar, PP. 41+-45.
7G-3 Journal, 4th J.lTI110red Division, 18 Docomber
8,,Aftor l1ctiJn Rcport, eGE, Lrmored Division, 18 December
9rntorviovf, 'Lioutonant Colonel ll.lhin F'
10Interview, l.Iaj.:;r Edward E. l=arkoy.
4th ..\rf.1Jred DivisiJn, 19 Decembor
12JiJ'tor ilcti:>n Report, 51st Infantry .Battali on,
19 Docember 1944.
13Aftor ActiJn RepJrt, 4th lirmJrocl Divisi:>n, 19 Doqofabor 1944.
After li.ctiJn Report, CCB,4th Armored DivisiDn, 20 Dec 1944.
15Clarko" Combat' HistJry of tho 4th ArmJred DivisiJn,20 Doc
omb<n." 1944.
f'tor Action Report, 8th Tan.k 20 Doconlbcr
;L7G-3Jou'rnal, 4th Arm:Jred Division, 20 December 1944.
'l8aden, ",T110 .4t,h Arm:Jred Division ,in tho Roliof of Bastogne,
p., 41.,
191ct'tct- Action Report, . 51st lirm:Jrod InfW1.try Battalion,
21 DcccmbcI' 1944. '
20Clarko, op.cit
, 21 Decomber 1944.
21 Roport, Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadr.Jn,
20 December 1944.
' . 4::" . , eCA, 4th trmored Division, 21 Decem '. J.I,.V l..J-..J
bor 1944.
23Aftcr Lotion Rop:Jrt, ReservQ 4th Arnlored Divi
si.Jn, 21 DCcofllber 19Lr.40
- ;105
During tho period-from the 22c1 thr.?ugh tho 26th, the 4th
Lrmorod Division attacked'to reach BfiSTOGNE. This chapter is the
story of the pr:::>blcms met and jvcrCO,tlle by tho Division; how tho
Divisi:::>n acted to clear its zone and opon a route into B/iSTCGNE;
hOYT the o.ttnck was supported by artillery; and how tho
initiativo was by tho use :::>f the Reserve COfDmand
22 December 194.lz
At 0600 .In tho 22c1 .Jf Decom.bor, tho III Corps, attacked
wi th throe divisions abreast., In the 4th Division, GGA
adV2rlCcd in tTlO co).umr.l,s and ct':)ss-ed tho line of HEIN...
STEUT- , at thopreseribed' time in a heu.V'"J snoiiffall. (See
Sketch 'No.6.) The right COlilllill, of the 35th Tank Bat-
tali::m., reinforced, and called Task Force aden, moved Jut thr:>ugh
BONNERT and toNIEDERCOLPACH, f.JIIQwihg arQutc tQ the
west ;)1 their assignod axis. bl:-YVll1 bridgo at NillDERGOLPAGH halted
the c;)lwnn. Tr;)op .

Jf tho 25th Ca.vnlry, scouting out in fr:>nt :>f
the colunm,;) reported tlw,t a bridge just north :>f PETITE NOBRES
SATIT was blown. General Earnost:Jrderec1 'tho c:>ll1ffin t:>
C1.Ove via NOTHOLB Qnd PAHETTE and join the west column :)n tho m.ain
hiGhway west of Tho loft cjlurnn"c.)nlp:>sed :)f the
-106 '
SCALE '''60,000
-- --
ltPTD GLEAR 1160
51st Aimo!'ed Infantry Battalion, reiriforceq3j its attack posi
tion at 'rATTERT at 0515 and crossed the line of, depa:rture at
STERT around 0730. A heavy mist ren.dered vlsibility poor. At
0745 eCA broke radio and directed reconnaissahce to in
vestigate all t01ynS on the flanks. No E!nemy wete, to be bY,L.;passedl
At 0930 the cavalry troops reported an impassable crater
cut at HONSCHEID. The column halted and the engineers came up to
bridge the crater. The bridge was put in by 1230. l'iieanwhile, the
cava.l.ry troop reported that HOLTZ was but that thore were enemy
in PEELE. Shortly after noon, TF Oden proceeded through PERLE and
on tov(ards to the no.rth. Their mission was to, block to
the east and provide i'ircsupport for TF lilanis in their attack on
lilillTELANGE. preparations for tho attack on l.';.ARTELANGE vrore \
being made, the cavalry troop moved up on the east. During the
afternoon, they met stiff at FLATZBOURHOF and deter
mined by means of patrols that the enemy were occupying BIGONVILLE
in strength.
Plans for the attack on Mi.RTELAl'JGE 1'fere completed about
noon. TF Alanis vms to make the main effort_ tho town
ported by fire .from TF' Oden. (Seo Skotch No. ?) },lARTELANGE, which
was built on successive levels, was defended by a company of the
German ..5
,h They 'FIBrO also holding the west
end of HAUT-EJ1.RTELiillGE. Tho plan calLed for Company A of the
51st Armored Infantry, on foot, and support,od by a platoon of
tanks, to clear after \'Ihich. B nO.untccl on
two tank platoons and a section of tank destroyers would seize
the \trest side of Iif.ETERANGE proper up to the river. (See
-' 108
/(; I 'I

, , ( Q } I ~ H
~ 1
"IO'J 1<1' CH.
l!iPpendix VI j N<;>. 8.) ',' The companies were to, be prepared to
establish a bridgehead across the SURE, Rivcr. At 1?30 Company A
the attack and in half an 'hour had occupied the western
portion of HAUT-iJU1RTELANGE unopposed. Colnpany B moved up on the
left and \'la$ near tho center of tOV1ll -v1hoh considGrnblc snall a.rms
and bazooka fire struck them fran the west' side ot the town. Bitter
street fighting continued all, during which one platoon
of Qompany B (or tho 51st) was pinned dovin' for several hours, bY' fire
trom commanding buildings as they on the road l1rlil
lory shells set firo' to soxnc buildings but tho resistance
.After dark the bright moonlight and now fallen snow madQ 8111' movo-+,
.' ,
.mont in the open conspicuous. At 1800 the was rcnel'od and
the :fighting continued all night. Thotovfn ,vras finally clcarodat
0400 the follolnng morning.
of CCB were up at 0300 to start getting in order for'
tho attack. snoW' and darkness made it very difficult to asse:nblo
the units, CCBloft its attack positions at 0430., Tho column waS
tormed at LOUFTEl:0NT a.s tho various olemcnts arrivod trom the wost
and south 'by interspersing ,tho infantry and tank elements in the
column as planned. At 0600 the 8th Tank Battalion crossed JthcIP.
At 0838 ,tho column ViaS two kilometors south ,of theb1ue phase,
line atFAUVILLERS. The halt was at the initial objective,
,. ..
FiAUVILLERS. Patrols were sent out, 'which'Toturned at 1000 and re
ported no 'c'ontact. Tho column rostuned its advance through FAUV:tt- '
IERS} HOTTE, and some small arms fire from.
- 110 ....
the latter. Just south of BURlJON tho bridgeYw.s fDund destroyed
and,Company B of the 24th E1gincers prepared to span the
n10 8th Tank Battalion was given the of patrolling to the
cast, and they received direct fire from the vicinity of STRAIN...
CHill,IPS. Elcmentsaftho lOth Armored Infantry t'ordod the streD!a
outposed BURNON at 1700 after fire from the 8th Tank Battalion
had silenccdsol'l1o cnemy resistanco that had de'V"eloped in tho town.
At 1900 the bridgcwas completed. Orders wore received to continue
tho move all night, but at 2040 cct; had not started moving .11- Two
liaison officers returning from CeB headquarters to tho 8th Tank
and 10th Jirmo:rod Inf3.ntry Eattal:.ons ordors for tho continua
tion of tho attack made tho wrong turn at qnd wero
ambushed by the Germans on tho road to Ono of thom
oscapod" but tho loo.ding did not recoive thcVlord
te> continuo until into at Tho
YlOre hold up by fire
coming from tho woods north of BURNON t.nd were not able to nd
vance midnight. (Soc Skotch Eo. 8.)
On 0730 on t?C 22d, Reserve COmL1and moved as planned to
nt to Orders for this move VJora issued at
noon as soon as Reserve Command had closed in UDANGE. Tho dis
placemont. to QU.ATRE-VENTS 'V'Tas ,comp}.eted at (Sec Sketch No.
9.) B"j this timo the division commando.!' hnd roceived the' report
'from that tho enemy occupied BIGONVILLE in stl'ongth., Ho
issuod ordors for Resorvo Command to attuck BIGONVIIJ1E. Reserve
22 DECEMBER /944
SCALE 1:50.000 \
B t ~ J 2 5
o o[Q]2S

00" o ..+J
< ( ) " v ~ ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ~
22 DECEMBER /944
seA LE 1 1 60,000
Command issued orders Dot 2300 for a move to HOJ..JTZ' to COrtUilCnce at
0600 the following day. .t\ tank reinforced by a pl.atoon
of 0.rmol"od infantry 'lila.S to form tho advance guard" follotIod.' by
the 37th Tank Battalion and tho 53d ll.!'ffiorcd Infanti"y Battalion.
The 94th Field Artillery Battalion and Battory C of the
l77th Field" ';lrtillory Battalion 'howitzers) were attached,;
Division ,Artillery continued to support the attacl<:.- During
tho morning the 177th Field Artillery' Battalion (155-nmhowitzcrs)
WAS attached to the Division. At 1400 the 776th:Field it'irtillery
Battalion (155-Jrun hO'lidtzors), was attached to the Division and was
further attachod toCCB. HOTIevcr, this battalion did not
until later. These t1:'10 battalions 'ltfCl"C short on clothing, cquip
and supplies, including anmW1ition" and wore vory glad to
como under the Yling of n. division 'which could look out for them
tu1d resupply them. Fortunate1s" tho 4th ,,'lrIhOl:'od Division made a
practice of carrying alltiunition, although they
organicnlodiwn artillery, on the chanco that CO!PS artillerY
medium. hattalions to 'the Division from timo to time
ht"b h t J, 6 Th" 't1,... D.. .... ttl
fLlJ.g c s or . on ;LS gave HO a "0 e.
of soven artillory battalions supporting the attack; its OTln threo
organip battalions, two armored bc.ttalions, and two towed
155.-mm battalions.
The 25th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron Eot off to an
inauspicious start on tho 22d when Troop C and squadron hcadquartc:s
found thomselvQsblockoo. by tho column of GCB at lJ'JLIER until 1630.
Troop D managed to Dlfiltrate forward in tho CCBcolunm and move
north and west to set up a scroen extending from. 1JITRY to a. blO'l/fn
bridge abol,lt a half to VOLllIVILLE. Troop C
finally got through andoutpostadto the north and V10St of BURNON.
(Sec S.ketch 8.) During tho day both troops idontifiodl$th'
15th Parachute Regiracnt,of tho .Gcrmnn 5th Paratroop Division as
the wlit that boenin
On this day the 4th Division dolivered its attack.
The situation wns still so confu$od(1s a result of tho disruption
caused by the German breakthrough that tho enemy dispositions 1"10re
unknown li'fhcn tho attack commonced.. Stragglers from IJncrican units
added to tho confusion. The- 25th Cavalry picked up somo from the
28th Division; CC.h found eighty who had,- boen previouslY' cut off;
and CCB pickodup two officers and tVlonty non reported to be from
tho 707th Tank Battalion and tho 44th l:rmorod Info.ntry, wh.:> had been
\'Jandering aroundi'o!' four days Md had to bo evacuated for Inecticnl
As might be expected resistanco in the
zOUQ was un'even, placing CCB about six and a half l<:ilomctors
ahead of eCA, and leaving its right flank considerable exposod.
Tho Division Coqmandor decided to continuo to push.the ,attack
in spite of this danger, but he was .still very concerned a.bout
his right / Tho Division received a wnrningduring the
day,from III Corps not to lot itsolf be cut off as tho forces
in vlOre,
and tho Division CommnndoT decided. qqickly
to commit tho RoservoCownand 1';hon a dnngorous threat to his
.... 115
flank developed at BIGONVILLE.
23.Decembor 1944
At 0400 after an all night GGA finally cleared
l\U.JlTELJU:JGE.of tho enemy. Tho bridge across tho SURE Rivor on
themain high1!'la.y Vlas complot,ely demolished, btlt the bridge on
the RfJ)EL1U'JGE road loading' wost out of t OVIn \!tas only part ially
destroyed and was passable for foot troops. 0500 Compcny A
of the 51st /l.r&otbCl. Infantry Battaliol1VTc3.S acrbssthe river, and
had securod the'high ground to tho north of tho town vlithout
oPPQsitionlJ CeAr-aport,cd that about lOOparatroopcrs had beon
holding tho town. Corps Qnginocrs (the 188th Engineer Combat
Battal.Lo.ri) cwncup to install a 90.... foot Bailey bridge.. By 143'0
the bridge 1'{as ready., and TF ,odon
thoroinrorcodtank battalion,
crossed the river, follwed by TF Alanis. At about 1600; a mile
north of enomy 20-rmn fire causod sone casualties
among the infantry riding the lead tanks, but the fire was soon
silenced. Tho anomy. was overrUh by tho tanks armored infMtry
and an estimated company' of tho 5th Paratroop PJvi.siotl nnd
two' ant'ita.nk guns wore wiped out. Alittlo f1;trther to the north,
about three kilometers from lL'Jll'EL./il"\IGE, .the hottd of the column' ran
into heavy small arms, antitank, and mortar firo from the direction
of vJARNACH ,which is located a short distance cast of tho main high
way. Company C of the Armorod Infantry' Battalion l::>st two half....
.tracks to the firo; and a this company supported by four
.... 116 ...
light tanks moved on ':L"JuL\CH. Tho enemy repulsod this force VJith
bCB had sent word to Ceil. that it
had'observed cnGmy v ehio los moving south an 'the
road, appat'ontly to reinforce tho GcrIJiM forces facing CCA. General
Earncst decidod to by.... pass TUnIL+CH vlith the bulk of his force. Ac
cordingly CompanJ!- B of the 51st, mOl,lnted on tanks ofCompnny B of
tho 35th, movod vrestaff the rbad. a mile north of 1:IARTEL;JJGE, and
followed tho tank battalion to tho northwest by bounds. Koanwhile,
after a proparat lon I by the supportipg artillery a forco of tanks
and infantry attackod :the t ownn.nd drove the enomy out 1,' the
vifobds to the north. ''!hcn' tho woods Were attacked, howevor, the
tovln ViCl$ loft unguarded, _and the enem.y infiltrated back into the
t"wn from the cast. jj,ttoupts .to drive but tho enemy after dark
failed. Hoanwhilo, forw"ard olcoonts of TF Oden reached the high
ground south and cast of.. STRiJJJCHlJ:PS where they hal tqd for tho
flter refuoling and after their fight at BUPJ\TOn /'
on the 22d, GCBresumod their advanco during darkness early on
the 23d. Before daylight the leading eld.G19nts of CCB the
road jUl1ctionsouthrrest of GHAUEONT. this point strong enem.y
direct firo recaivod, tind CGB forced to halt until daylight.
Tho 8thT.:truc Battalion lost tTlo light tanks. By nbon CCB l'iaS on
ground southrrost of enemy wore a ctivG in
tho northwost 2,nd south of tho t01'Jn. This was the first day
of good 1,'loather, [))1d our planosshot d017n tw'C) enomyplanos in CCE t
~ 3 5 - C/51
19 0
. and
" '\ 25 CAV RON SQDRN (..)
23 DEC EM8 ER I 9 4 4
SCALE /: 50, 000
rear area. During tho afternoon, CeB ,moutit6d an attackngainst
CHAUMONT. Under covering fire from Company A of the 8th TCll1k
Battalion, infantrymen of the lOth .Armoro-d Infantr;l, mountbd on
tanks of Company B of the 8th, attacked
Under covering fire from Company A of tho$th Tank Battalion on
tho high -ground. south'!,'lcst of CHAUJ::IONT, infantrymen of tho lOth
Armored Infantry, [Jountod on tanks of C.:>mpnn:r E and a platoon
of Compah,:l C of attacked and ce;tpturcd CHAUlIONT. the
same time another platoon of C of the 8th attempted to
outflank CHAill.rONT to tho west. FivQ tanks bogged down in a
patch of m.ud, which WclS l,llloxpoctcd inas.much as most of tho ground
t'ras at this tine. Tho tanks W01"CSO solidly stuck that
when they were recovered t,yO later it required throe tank
rocovery"vohiclos to pull each 01lt of tho mud.
organizing in CeB VTCl.S strafed by planes, who
had not been i.nformed that tho town VIas tukon.
1720 the Germans launchod a filtrong courltcrattacl{ against
CHAUl.IONT. Tho first indication of tho cou.nterattack was Gorman
infantry infiltrating into the town, and this Was reportod by an
outpost of Company C of tho 8th in tho north edge of .tovmo Sud
dobly diroct fire opened up on CCB from hill 490 northeast of
CH../JJLDNT anc.:lthctown in1.mcdintoI
"bocamo untenable. Tho tank guns
_of af tho town could 'not roach tho onomy.3
The Germans: usod tanks, and Gorman infnntrs' auflankod
the town on the oast and VTost-f; 11 I the enemy tanks wore
- 1.19 ..
IJllorlcan Sherm<1l1s:l nit11 $ tars a..11.p. pap,ols ,. . Tho 8th Ta.nk Battnlion
lost 11 medium in the town, although some of them v1crc only
. ,. th d 12
After the fight, CCBrogrouped on the higb
llUrCa. o. mu.!,
ground southvtfcst of to hold. their positions. Sketch
.R.esorve Command had been ordered to attack on
this cL-W, and it dGpnrted early from its [l'.ssombly aren near QU:lTRE-
VENTS, but icy roads move.merit and it did not reach
HOLTZuptil hcid that was OC"'"'
cupied by the enomy.. .A Caril-pony of. the 37th Tank Battali.Jn ond a
compe.hyof the 53d Infantry.moved through HOLTZ and
edFL......TZBOURHOF and by 1230 hadscizod the high gro'und north of the
town. Numerous hind9rccl the a.t and the
CnCI:1Y had mortnI'S in on the road junction th'cro .14 Tho
attackers, rcpuised $evc'J:'al enemy ta,nIcs, and capturod a number of
prisoners wcaringwhito C:2.PCS ond holmets.. lJext the 53dc1ea,rod
the VJoQds south of BIGONVILLE in an in v111ioh fixed bajronets'
were used; 15 30 GerriWJ1S wore killed Wld 15 taken prisoner. Thoy
were from the 13th of the ;?th Q.}vision.
1,-l2XlY mines were encountered on tho approaches to BIGONilILLE and
Reserve COJJmand wasunablq to tako the town before dark. (Soe
Skotch 11,) At 1700 about 200 cneray rcinfdrcements wore
. . 13
served cntcring- thQ town from the north At 1900 orders were
issuodfor M attack at 0745' the next day.
Th,e 25th Cavoiry Reconnaissance Squadron (minu.s) contil1t+cd
4 1944
:2 DEGE,
. 000
SCA l. e: I : 5 ?
. \0\274
.tol?crocn the division's left flank during t'p.o day. it.t the end
. ;....
,of tho day its screen from CCB's P?sition .southwest of
CHAUl\iLONT to VOLAIVILLE. i(Soe Sketch no. lQ:.) The squadron
. ''.!'
, observed on onomy build up in REl:IOIVlLLE-NlVES area, on which
Tr.oopE fired with some effect. Prl.sonors taken by the cava.lry
. lndicated their oppononts wore the i& Battallon, 14th Parachute
. I
'supported by a of thp:' 408th
Ihrtil.lcrir .corps. Other prisoners indicated tho presence of tho
of tho 14th Parachute and at ,least a com
pany of the. Bat:.
4.1ion, both of the Gcrmnn
5th .Paratroop Division on CGB'sfront<.' The organization of the
.. srnsrv
4.o8th .ypllcsgronn,dier", CorHs is interesting as an oXOJl1.plo
of formed Volksgrcnndicr units tho Gormans wore forced
to make useDf at" this tine. (Soc OrganizationaJ Chnrt Ho.
On this clay the enoountered some of
the hardest fighting of tho cnrupaign. Tho Cl1om.y" cOillltorattackod
strongly ngainst both of the leading combat commands, and succeeded
in their counterattack at CHjj,UUONT in clriving CGB 0Ut of thctown.
As an eXample of tho severity of the fighting,- tho 8th Tank Batta
lion reported that its CompnnyB'had no tanks left, and that the
Battc"lion f s effective medium. tank strongth'VV'cis 22. }1.t the surno
t.i.m.o the. flank .socu:rity problem providod tho, grcC'.tcst difficulties
to tho division and comb2.t c.:>nlCilnndcoI;l.C1Unders. /On tho left -the
onelilyhaddrivon the2$th Division out of and
the troo,ps'thcre had TTithctrawnto HEUFCHATEAU.
-122 ...