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Chapter III




Chapter Index



The German counteroffensive in the ARDENNES started on 16 December and, on 18 December elements of the 3rd Armored Division were on their way to meet the attacking German columns as they raced westward.

Combat Command "A" was the first of the Spearhead's elements to move south out of the AACHEN area. This command, consisting of

Hq Detachment, Combat Command "A"
32nd Armored Regiment (- 1st Bn.)
3rd Bn., 36th Armored Infantry Regt.
67th Armored FA Bn.
Company "A", 23rd Armored Engineering Bn.
Company "A", 45th Medical Bn.
Detachment of Co. A, Maintenance Bn.
1st Plat., Co. A, 738th Tank Bn., (SP) ME

was detached from the Division and attached to V Corps. They cleared the area near BUSBACH at 1200 and moved into new assembly areas near EUPEN as mobile reserve. They remained attached to V Corps until 1530 on 21 December, when they were reattached to the 3rd Armored Division and started moving to the Division's sector near GRANDMENIL. During this period, General Hickey's force was charged with the defense of Eupen.

There was one combat job to be done; this was handled by part of the Combat Command's infantry. A few German paratroopers (part of the force whose mission was to cut the EUPEN-MALMEDY road) were in the woods along the west side of this road just south of Eupen. The infantry quickly liquidated this force, taking a few prisoners and a considerable amount of ammunition and light weapons, principally machine guns and mortars, which had been dropped to the surrounded paratroopers.

Combat Command "B" was detached from the 3rd Armored on 19 December and attached to V Corps, initially with the mission of protecting VERVIERS. When they arrived in assembly areas, they were attached to XVIII Corps (Airborne) and committed to action in the La GLEIZE-STAVELOT sector on 20 December.

2nd Bn., 33rd Armored Regiment
B Co., 36th Armd. Inf. Regt.
Platoon, Rcn. Co., 33rd Armd. Regt.
Platoon, B Co., 23rd Armd. Engineer Bn.

was attached to the 30th Infantry Division on 20 December and was given another infantry company (E Co., 120th Infantry). The job assigned this Task Force was to move south from FONT DE LORRAIN, which had been reached without making contact, and establish a roadblock on the LA GLEIZE-STAVELOT road east of La GLEIZE at main road junction and to assist in the capture of STAVELOT, where the 30th Division was already fighting.

As the Task Force moved south, they met an enemy convoy of several ammunition trucks, two 150mm towed guns and a towed 75mm field piece at the junction of their route with the La GLEIZE-STAVELOT highway. This convoy was destroyed and a block was established as ordered. The Task Force then continued south and reached a road junction near TROI FONTS, where they intended to turn east toward MALMEDY. Here they met enemy anti-tank fire and lost the four leading tanks of the column. Since the enemy seemed to be concentrated in some strength between this point and MALMEDY, Lovelady set up another roadblock here and left Major Stallings, his executive officer, in charge of this critical position. For support, another block was set up further to the north of GRAND COO. These three road blocks employed all of the infantry of the Task Force except the attached E Company, 120th.

When the situation had developed to this stage, Lovelady was ordered to move east from PETIT COO across the high ground to PARFONDROY and cut off the road south of PARFONDROY at its junction with the La GLEIZE-STAVELOT highway. (All these operations were parts of a general attack bent on retaking STAVELOT and establishing a strong defensive line running generally east and west just south of STAVELOT. On the morning of 20 December Task Force "Lovelady" moved out in the attack toward PARFONDROY, following the secondary road across the hill from PETIT COO. A heavy ground fog covered this movement, and the town was reached without incident. It was here that Colonel Lovelady's forces found evidence of German atrocities against civilians. They discovered the bodies of several murdered women, children and old people in some of the buildings.

On 21 December, the Task Force held its positions while the STER-PARFONDROY area was consolidated. Patrols from Stalling's roadblock found that the enemy occupied the high ground to his northeast. When Lovelady was ordered on the next day to take this hill, he found that he could not use the road on which he had entered PARFONDROY since it was cut by the enemy. To further complicate the situation, the enemy had attacked from the woods of PETITE COO, overrun the battalion aid station and cut the road leading south to Stalling's force.

On 23 December Lovelady had got his forces back to GRAND COO in position to attack south, clear the enemy from the high ground and open the road to Stallings. The attack started that day but only reached PETIT COO. Then another infantry company was attached to the Task Force from the 30th Division, and on 24 December the enemy position was overcome. Late that afternoon the Task Force was relieved in position and reverted to control of Combat Command "B", assembling, again, near SPA.

Meanwhile, the other Task Force of Combat Command "B", Task Force "McGeorge" was fighting just to the west. On the morning of 20 December, Task Force "McGeorge" attacked south from La REID in two columns. General Boudinot had assigned these columns (McGeorge on the east and Jordan on the west) the joint mission of passing through elements of the 30th Division at COUR and CHEFNA and clearing the road from STOUMONT to La GLEIZE. Jordan was to take STOUMONT, then turn east and join McGeorge in La GLEIZE. The fighting strength of each column consisted of a company of tanks and a company of armored infantry, reinforced.

Jordan's column on 20 December met no opposition until they were just north of STOUMONT, where enemy tanks and anti-tank guns stopped their advance. On the next day Jordan's force was attached to the 119th Infantry Regiment (30th Division) and the attack on STOUMONT was resumed (Jordan had withdrawn slightly during the night), but little progress was made until 22 December when a coordinated attack by a battalion of the 119th, plus Company F, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment supported by the tanks of Task Force "Jordan", was launched following a heavy artillery preparation by the 391st Armored Field Artillery Battalion. This attack took both STOUMONT and the adjoining town of ROUAT.

McGeorge was having trouble trying to get into La GLEIZE. He was stopped by tanks and anti-tank tire on his main route and on all the routes that he attempted to use to bypass the opposition, but he continued to press his attack.

On 24 December Jordan's force had reached a point near the western edge of La GLEIZE, having continued the attack to the east from STOUMONT. From here a battalion of the 119th Infantry Regiment launched a coordinated attack on the town with Jordan's tanks and assault gun platoon supporting the three infantry companies while the fourth infantry company moved in an envelopment to the north. McGeorge continued his attack from the north and east.

Jordan's troops forced the town, capturing or destroying twenty-six enemy tanks, four self-propelled guns, and taking 150 prisoners. The battalion of the 119th took an additional 300 prisoners. On 25 December Task Force McGeorge assembled with the remainder of Combat Command "B" near SPA.

Back in the STOLBERG area, the 3rd Armored Division shorn of about two-thirds of its combat strength was attached to XVIII Airborne Corps at 1145 on 19 December and was ordered to move to the vicinity of HOTTON-LE GRAND PRE.

At 1145 on 20 December all elements had closed in this area after an all night march through STOLBERG, AACHEN, VERVIERS, AYWAILLE, BARVAUX, HOTTON.

Upon arrival, orders were issued to attack south and southeast from the vicinity of HOTTON-LE GRAND PRE, destroy all enemy in the zone and secure the road from MANHAY to HOUFFALIZE. The attack was made by the 83rd Armored Reconnaissance (reinforced) in three columns. The left column followed the MANHAY-HOUFFALIZE road. The right column followed a secondary road parallel to the OURTHE River on the east of this river and the center column went through EREZEE, AMONINES, DOCHAMPS, SAMREE, etc.


Hq. 1st Bn., 32nd Armd. Regt.
(One Co. M-4's)
D Co., 83rd Rcn. Bn.
A Battery, 54th FA Bn.
AA Sect. from 486th AA (AW) Bn.
3rd Plat., Co. C, 83rd Rcn. Bn.
1 Sq., Engr. Rcn. Plat., 23rd Engr.

Hq. 3rd Bn., 33rd Armd. Regt.
A Co., 33rd Armd. Regt.
A Co., 83rd Rcn. Bn.
1st Plat., Co. C, 83rd Rcn. Bn.
A Battery, 54 FA Bn.
Section of 486th AAA Bn.

B Co., 83rd Rcn. Battalion
2nd Plat., Co. C, 83rd Rcn. Bn.
1 Co. M4's from 3rd Bn., 33rd Armd. Regt.
B Battery, 54th FA Bn.
Section of 486th AAA Bn.

The attack was launched at 1220 on 20 December and advanced initially against no resistance. As the center column approached SAMREE, they met heavy artillery and encountered resistance of infantry supported by tanks. But they succeeded in getting a patrol north of SAMREE and down to the objective line. This patrol set up a block on the La ROCHE-VIELSALM road just east of where it crosses the MANHAY-HOUFFALIZE highway. The vicinity of this road junction was the scene of much hard fighting that followed for the next month. The right column (Hogan) reached a point near the OURTHE River 3-1/2 kilometers due south of SAMREE, where it was ordered to coil for the night. The left column reached the MANHAY-HOUFFALIZE road just west of MALEMPRE and was ordered to establish contact with the 82nd Airborne Division at HEBRONVAL. Division Reserve following the center task force sent the 1st Battalion of the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, less one company, to reinforce Orr and stabilize the situation at SAMREE.

The 83rd Armored Field Artillery battalion was attached to 3rd Armored Division at 1100 on 20 December.

So far, so good. The attack to the southeast by the Spearhead's relatively light forces may be called, with some reason, a bold bluff. How well this move succeeded in screening the assembly and deployment of VII Corps, may be gauged by the story of the actions that followed.

Chapter Index


For a clearer picture of the part played by the 3rd Armored Division in stopping the German Ardennes offensive, it is well to consider the actions of those elements of the enemy force which were met, in whole or in part, by the 3rd Armored from 20 December to the time when the German offensive power was spent, about the end of December. The following account of enemy intentions and movements is based entirely on intelligence information available at Division level. It may not agree in detail with more precise interpretations which will no doubt be made as more and more material is collected, but it will serve to outline the enemy's operations with sufficient clarity for the purpose of this account. It is interesting, moreover, to take a "back-sight" on just what was known about the enemy while the battle was in progress.

Two Panzer Armies were, by 20 December 1944, attacking west and northwest with the probable objective of enveloping the American and British forces in Belgium, Holland and northwestern Germany. On the left of the offensive, the Fifth Panzer Army, consisting of XL, VII and LVIII Panzer Corps, was apparently directing its efforts to secure a bridgehead across the MEUSE River and to drive on toward ANTWERP. On the right, the Sixth SS Panzer Army, made up of the I and II SS Panzer Corps, was thought to be directing its main effort toward LIEGE, with a possible further objective of AACHEN.

The boundary between these two armies during this period of action was in the vicinity of the highway running from HOUFFALIZE via crossroads 576853 to MANHAY and north of AYWAILLE.

In the Fifth Panzer Army, the LVIII Panzer Corps was on the right flank. It operated west of the HOUFFALIZE-MANHAY highway and north from the vicinity of SAMREE and La ROCHE. Two of its divisions, the 116th Panzer and the 560th Volksgrenadier, were attacking in the HOTTON GRANDMENIL sector.

In the Sixth Panzer Army, the II SS Panzer Corps was operating on the left (western) flank adjoining the HOUFFALIZE-MANHAY highway. However, its main effort at the beginning of these ten days was in the direction of VIELSALM, and as yet none of its divisions were north of the crossroads 576853 along the boundary route.

Composition of the LVIII Panzer Corps included the 116 Panzer, 560 Volksgrenadier Division, 62 Volksgrenadier Division. II SS Panzer Corps included 2nd SS Panzer Division and 9th SS Panzer Division.

When the 3rd Armored attacked on 20 December in the sector HOTTON-MANHAY, they were opposed by the 116th Panzer Division on the west and the 560th Volksgrenadier on the east, which were likewise attacking.

After the 116th failed to seize HOTTON (21-23 December) and penetrate farther to the northwest, elements of the 560th were used to bolster the attack. This latter unit had been fighting on the east of the 116th in the area between DOCHAMPS and the boundary highway. Beginning on 23 December, it was shifted farther west, assisting and then relieving the 116th, which then attacked on the west side of the OURTHE River and MARCHE. On the same date, the pivotal crossroad 576753 was attacked and bypassed by elements of the 2nd SS Panzer Division. The boundary highway had now become the main axis of advance for the II SS Panzer Corps, and, in successive attacks (23-25 Dec.), the 2nd SS Panzer Division reached MANHAY and GRANDMENIL. However, by the following day, its efforts were spent, and American troops reoccupied first GRANDMENIL and then MANHAY. Likewise, on 26 December the 560th was organized into two Combat Commands with the mission of holding at all costs on the west of the 2nd SS Panzer between the OURTHE and AISNE Rivers.

The consolidation of the 2nd SS Panzer Division position south of MANHAY and GRANDMENIL and the organization of the 560th south of HOTTON and SOY left a gap between the two armies. Into this gap, with an axis of advance SAMREE-DOCHAMPS, thence north through the BOIS DU PAYS, the 12 SS Panzer Division was committed on the night of 27-28 December. The immediate objective of this Division was to cut the HOTTON-GRANDMENIL road and seize the town of GRANDMENIL. This may have been an effort to shake loose the defense in the GRANDMENIL-MANHAY sector in order to provide a penetration through which the SS Panzer Army could proceed toward LIEGE. The attack failed to accomplish its immediate objective, and any plans for more extensive operations were therefore abandoned.

By 30 December, the American forces had established a secure line of defense south of the HOTTON-MANHAY road. No further major effort was made to break through this sector.

Within their sector, the 3rd Armored Division engaged four German divisions. Captured documents, prisoner interrogation, and intelligence reports from adjacent and higher headquarters give us considerable detailed information about these divisions.

The 116th Panzer Division had the apparent mission of reaching the MEUSE and striking for Antwerp. Its tanks and infantry worked together in Combat Commands. On 20-21 December it struck at SAMREE, and then drove north to DOCHAMPS. Here the bulk of its leading elements turned west to DEVANTAVE, then north to BEFFE, TRINAL, MELINES and the HOTTON-SOY highway. On the day and night of 20 December, elements of the 116th contacted Task Fore "Orr" near SAMREE and north of DOCHAMPS. Other elements first bypassed and then contacted Task Force "Hogan" west of DEVANTAVE and in the vicinity of BEFFE.

The strength on 20 December was about three-fourths its full strength (125) in tanks and a proportional number of other vehicles. Personnel was a little more complete. Their zone on 21 December was the SAMREE-DOCHAMPS-AMONINES road inclusive to the OURTHE River on the west.

It is believed that elements of the 560th Volksgrenadier Division worked with the 116th to hold DOCHAMPS against Task Force "Orr" and Task Fore "Kane" 21-23 December, while other elements held strong positions at BEFFE and fought against Task Force "Hogan" at MARCOURAY. Combat Command "Bayeux", elements of the 16th Panzer Regiment and the 60th and 156th Panzergrenadier Regiments reached TRINAL on 21 December, cut the HOTTON-SOY road and attacked HOTTON, holding a roadblock at a road junction just west of SOY. This roadblock held against Combat Command "R" (3rd Armored Division) while the rest of the German Combat Command attempted to take HOTTON. Probably operating under the general instructions to bypass all possible resistance, they attempted to bypass Combat Command "R" at SOY, but were apparently unwilling to proceed until HOTTON and the river crossing there were secured.

The other Combat Command held DOCHAMPS from 21 to 23 December and fought Task Force "Orr" to take AMONINES, but failed.

Losses in the 116th began to mount up, and on 23 December they apparently gave up the idea of seizing HOTTON and penetrating the American lines in that vicinity.

The 560th Volksgrenadier Division operated on 20 December in the sector SAMREE-DOCHAMPS road, east to the HOUFFALIZE-MANHAY highway.

The 560th began to relieve the 116th on 23 December. The 116th then crossed the OURTHE somewhere south of HOTTON and went into position south of HAMPTEAU, MENIL and perhaps MARENNE. On 24-25 this movement was completed, and for the next ten-day period the 116th faced elements of the American 84th Infantry Division and 2nd Armored Division and made no progress. Infantry companies were down to forty to fifty men and tank losses were proportional.

On 22 December a regiment supported by tanks (probably from 116th Panzer Division) attacked Task Force "Orr" in DOCHAMPS. This was probably the 1128th since the 1129th was in WY in zone of the 116th Panzer, and the 1130th replaced Combat Command "Bayeux" astride the HOTTON-SOY road.

2nd and 3rd Battalions, Headquarters Company, and the anti-tank company of the 116th Panzer were attached to 1130th at time of relief. The bazooka teams of the anti-tank company were split up among the infantry companies of the 1130th Infantry Regiment. Company strengths were about 70 men.

The general plan appeared to be for the 560th to attack in conjunction with the 2nd SS Panzer Division on the east, take AMONINES, and cut the HOTTON-MANHAY road near SOY, but they lost their grip on the HOTTON-SOY road on 25 December and failed in the AMONINESS attack against Task Force "Orr" after which they abandoned the offensive on 26 December and reorganized on a defensive line: WERPIN, TRINAL, MAGOSTER, to the AISNE River south of AMONINES, thence east along the valley towards road junction (500869).

The last offensive action in this sector was a local attack against 1st Battalion, 289th Infantry Regiment (American), which gained nothing. Losses had been heavy.


Mission: Apparently, with the 6th SS Panzer Army and the LVIII Corps of the Fifth Panzer Army halted and contained strongly, it was decided to commit the 2nd SS Panzer Division and send it up the highway from HOUFFALIZE, through MANHAY, WERBOMONT and AYWAILLE toward LIEGE. Army boundaries were shifted to give the attacking division the road net. The strength of American forces in this sector was probably miscalculated.

Elements of the 2nd SS Panzer Division attacked the roadblock at crossroads (576853) on 22 December, bypassed and overran this block on 23 December and took ODEIGNE. They pushed on up the highway and attacked Task Force "Richardson's" roadblock at BELLE HAIE, and attacked FREINEUX 23-24 December.

On 24-25 December a battalion of infantry from the 355th Panzer Grenadier Regiment and 15-20 tanks seized MANHAY and GRANDMENIL. Another column of infantry and tanks attacked at 1130 on 25 December to secure OSTER and the road net, but American air support and artillery defeated this push. Elements of the 4th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment pushed north of MANHAY on 25 December and encountered Combat Command "B", 7th Armored Division, and were stopped.

A force of thirteen tanks and an unknown number of infantry tried to push north from GRANDMENIL, but on 26 December, the whole force was driven out of the town completely. Tank losses were heavy. Ten were lost between MANHAY and GRANDMENIL alone. The infantry surrendered in large numbers. (One fourth were Hungarians, Italians, or Slovaks.) After MANHAY was retaken by the American 7th Armored Division on 27 December, the bulk of 2nd SS went on the defensive in the vicinity of GRANDMENIL-MANHAY. The 3rd SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment was sent west to DOCHAMPS on 27 December to furnish a combat group for the newly arrived 12th SS Panzer Division on its west flank. The Sixth SS Panzer Army now took over more of the Fifth Panzer Army's sector, at least as far as the SAMREE-DOCHAMPS highway.

On 28 December, 1st Battalion, 2nd SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment attacked from TRINAL towards AMONINES, which was held by Task Force "Orr". Three tanks and five artillery pieces supported the attack. Heavy artillery concentrations broke up the attack and the Battalion suffered over two hundred casualties.

This attack, which was coordinated with the attack of the 12th SS Panzer Division to the east, was the last offensive action of the 2nd SS in this sector for the period.


On 26 or 27 December this Division moved into the center of the HOTTON-MANHAY sector in the vicinity of DOCHAMPS, between the 560 Volksgrenadier Division and 2nd SS Panzer Division. The apparent mission was to break the American defensive position in the vicinity of GRANDMENIL and allow the attack to continue to the north. On the night of 27-28 December, the 25th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment attacked north. The 1st and 2nd Battalions, which penetrated the American lines through a gap, planned to capture the town of SADZOT and cut the east-west highway to the north thereof. In the fighting that followed (27-29 incl.), these two battalions were defeated and suffered very high casualties. The 26th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment was not committed. (Probably as a result of the failure of the 25th to take their objective.) No further offensive action was undertaken by the 12th SS.

Chapter Index


On 21 December, Combat Command "A" was reattached to the 3rd Armored and started to move into assembly areas near GRANDMENIL. The additional force was most welcome, since the enemy was applying heavy pressure throughout the Division zone. Late on the afternoon of 20 December the Division Command Post moved to EREZEE, leaving its Signal Company, Headquarters Company (except for necessary operating personnel) and Headquarters Company and E Company, 23rd Armored Engineer Battalion in HOTTON to follow the next morning. During the night, a force of enemy, later estimated to be an infantry company supported by seven tanks and a mortar platoon, moved northwest and occupied the high ground between SOY and HOTTON overlooking HOTTON. At about 0730 on 21 December this force fired a brief mortar preparation on HOTTON and started to move into the town with four tanks followed by a few foot troops. Available for defense were only machine guns, bazookas and one M-4 tank. The enemy tanks got into town all right, and destroyed six engineer bridge trucks and several lighter vehicles, but two were knocked out, and the crew abandoned a third undamaged. By noon the town was quiet.

Combat Command "R" was ordered to move his force via SOY to HOTTON to repulse enemy action there but was unable to get through a German roadblock just west of SOY. A force of four medium tanks and three light tanks accompanied by about twenty infantrymen succeeded in reaching HOTTON by bypassing the SOY roadblock to the north. Under the command of Major Fickesson, executive officer, 23rd Armored Engineer Battalion, a defense was set up in HOTTON, and, except for patrol activity, there was no further action at HOTTON that night.

The main force of Combat Command "R" remained engaged at the SOY roadblock for the rest of the period.

Task Force "Hogan" moved out at 0800 on 20 December to seize the crossings of the OURTHE between GOUFY and HOUFFALIZE and to contact friendly elements on his right. He met strong enemy elements and engaged tanks and infantry supported by heavy artillery and mortar fire and was unable to gain his objectives. Due to the fact that he was in danger of being surrounded, he was ordered to withdraw north of BEFFE.

Over on the left, Kane had made the contact with the 82nd Airborne at HEBRONVAL, and beat off a determined attack by tanks and infantry at this road block.

Orr, in the center, reinforced by 1st Battalion, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment (- I company), continued his attack on SAMREE against increased enemy pressure. Enemy tanks and infantry with supporting weapons countered in force, and Orr was forced to withdraw north about a kilometer.

The 3rd Armored was further reinforced by the attachment of the 1st battalion of the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment on 22 December, also the 643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion (Towed).

Very early (0130) on the morning of 22 December, Combat Command "A" closed into assembly areas astride the MANHAY WERBEMONT road.

32nd Arm. Regt. ( - 1st & 3rd Bn's)
3rd Bn., 36th Armd. Inf. Regt. (- Co I)
1st Plat., Co. A, 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
1st Plat., Rcn. Co., 32nd Armd. Regt.
67th FA Bn.

was ordered to move to the main highway junction seven kilometers north of MARCHE, cut the MARCHE-BASTOGNE road, and gain the line SAINT HUBERT-LA ROCHE and establish road blocks at intersections in this area. Doan cut this road at HARGIMONT and about 5 kilometers east thereof by 1615. Combat Command "A" also furnished a tank company and an infantry company from Task Force "Richardson" to reinforce Combat Command "R" in the SOY area.

In BEFFE, Hogan was receiving strong attacks from both the north and southeast. He was very short of gasoline, and cut off from supplies. After beating off determined attacks all day, Hogan fought his way to MARCOURAY, which was on high ground and generally better suited to the defense, where he secured the town and set up an all-round defense. Arrangements were made to drop supplies to him by air the following day.

Kane continued to defend his road blocks south of MANHAY and pressed his attack on DOCHAMPS, where the enemy defended strongly with artillery, mortars and small-arms fire. He reached a position about one thousand yards north of the town and was stopped.

Task Force Orr received reinforcements consisting of one tank platoon and one infantry platoon from Combat Command "A" and continued to advance southwest. He repelled a strong counterattack and secured AMONINES.

In HOTTON, elements of Combat Command "R" plus Division Headquarters Company; Signal Company; and Battalion Headquarters Co., 23rd Armored Engineer Battalion received an infantry attack at about 2230. The attacking force, according to a prisoner taken, was two companies. Some penetration was made, but the town has held.

On 23 December several changes in troop lists were made. The 3rd Armored reverted to control of VII Corps. The 290th Regimental Combat Team of the 75th Infantry Division was attached (One battalion moved into the Division area on the night of 23-24 - remainder followed at first light.) The 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion and the 188th Field Artillery (155mm howitzer towed) were attached. Task Force "Doan" was attached to the 84th Infantry Division.

Combat Command "R" continued with its mission of clearing the SOY-HOTTON road. One Company, 1st Battalion, 517 Parachute Infantry Regiment, plus one platoon of medium tanks was sent from SOY northwest through NY, then south into HOTTON, arriving about 0400. The mission of this force was to attack east from HOTTON toward SOY and meet the force attacking west from SOY. Their presence in HOTTON relieved the pressure on HOTTON, but their attack met very stubborn resistance just east of the town and, at the end of the period, had not advanced past the edge of town. The force attacking west also met heavy resistance, it advanced very slowly south of the road but was pinned down north of the road.

Kane continued to attack DOCHAMPS, but enemy resistance stiffened. His attack was made from north to south up a smooth open hillside. The defending force was equal to his own. Logically enough, the attack failed. Over to the east, his roadblock on the highway was heavily attacked by infantry and tanks which succeeded in cutting the road between the block and MANHAY. Six medium tanks and one company from the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion were sent from Task Force "Richardson" to restore the block, and Richardson took over the sector from Kane. The block was further attacked and at 1958 was overrun. Richardson succeeded in establishing and holding a block three kilometers further north in a defile at BELLE HAIE.

Task Force "Hogan" remained surrounded in MARCOURAY. C-47's attempted to drop supplies to him, but missed.

Task Force "Doan's" blocks received heavy pressure throughout the day, but they all held firmly.

Task Force "Orr" continued to attack Southwest, he was engaged throughout the period, and succeeded in securing the town of AMONINES.

With the attachment of the 289th Regimental Combat Team (75th Division), the 730th Field Artillery Battalion and two companies of the 87th Chemical Battalion (4.2 Mortar) on 24 December, and the return of Combat Command "B" on Christmas day, General Rose had under his command a force approaching Corps strength. In addition to the organic elements of the Division, there were two complete Regimental Combat Teams, two battalions of parachute infantry, four battalions of artillery, two tank destroyer battalions and two companies of 4.2 mortars. Division Artillery controlled nine battalions of artillery.

On 24 December the north flank of the German salient was stabilized along most of the line. However, the best intelligence information available indicated that the enemy was regrouping and massing preparatory to continuing his attack to the north with at least part of his main effort directed at the 3rd Armored Division sector. Accordingly, the Commanding General, VII Corps ordered the establishment of a strong defensive line (See Sketch No. 20) tying in firmly with the 7th Armored Division (XVIII Corps) near GRANDMENIL on the east and with the 84th Infantry Division in the vicinity of MELREUX on the west flank.

To establish this line, it was necessary to attack south in the Combat Command "R" sector and withdraw Richardson's roadblock, on the left, narrowing the sector from MANHAY to GRANDMENIL. The withdrawal operation was to be conducted after dark in coordination with the 7th Armored Division. Combat Command "A" now controlled the entire left sector and Combat Command "R", the right.

The 290th Regimental Combat Team attacked in the zone of Combat Command "R" to secure the main line of resistance, already described, at 2330 and made good progress against light resistance. Other elements of Combat Command "R" cleared the SOY-HOTTON road.

Task Force "Hogan" remained cut off. Air supplies dropped, missed him again.

At 2230 elements of Combat Command "B", 7th Armored Division started moving back to the proposed defensive line in the vicinity of MANHAY, and a contact point, at the railroad station in the south edge of GRANDMENIL was agreed on. Richardson was to withdraw his roadblock forces beginning at about 2330 and act as the contacting element.

At about the same time 7th Armored Division elements started moving back through MANHAY, eight enemy tanks and some infantry moved northeast out of ODEIGNE, and got behind Richardson's roadblock. These tanks moved rapidly on MANHAY, which was then full of traffic and not very strongly defended, and soon got into the town and opened fire on several houses and vehicles.

As soon as Richardson saw that he would not be able to defend MANHAY successfully with his headquarters personnel and the light tank platoon attached, he issued orders to Major Brewster at the roadblock to withdraw to the northeast through MALEMPRE and rejoin him. He then moved his headquarters to GRANDMENIL, where Task Force "Kane" had a headquarters, in order to warn Kane and assist in stopping enemy tanks already moving from MANHAY toward GRANDMENIL. Meanwhile, Brewster, in attempting to withdraw through MALEMPRE, met tank and small arms fire in the town and was fired on from the rear. Two of his four tanks were hit and destroyed. He was forced to abandon and destroy his remaining vehicles and withdraw his troops - two platoons, H Company, 32nd Armored Regiment; one company, 509th Parachute Infantry; and one company, 75th Infantry Division - on foot. The majority of this force succeeded in fighting through to friendly lines. Enemy tanks and infantry occupied MANHAY and GRANDMENIL by 0330 on Christmas morning.

On Christmas Day, Combat Command "B" reverted to division control and assembled in the Division area, except for Task Force "McGeorge" which moved to the Combat Command "A" sector.

In the morning Combat Command "A" attacked to secure the objective line (proposed MLR), and Task Force McGeorge, (2nd Battalion, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment less Company E; F & I Companies, 33rd Armored Regiment; Company A, 33rd Armored Regiment; 2nd Platoon, D Company, 23rd Armored Engineer Battalion) attacked with a tank and an infantry company to retake GRANDMENIL and restore roadblocks to the east thereof. Tank, anti-tank and heavy weapons fire from the town stopped McGeorge's advance initially. The remainder of the force was committed with infantry leading. Eventually, on 26 December, the 3rd Battalion, 289th Infantry Regiment (75th Division) was also committed to this attack and the town was secured at 1800. The Combat Command objective line was reported taken by the 289th Infantry Regiment.

Combat Command "B" sent a tank company and an infantry company to secure the Division right flank by occupying the high ground and crossroad in the vicinity of MELREUX. This objective was secured against little opposition, and a firm link was established with the 84th Infantry Division. Combat Command "R" reached its objective line after overcoming small arms and artillery fire, which necessitated the commitment of 1st Battalion, 517th Parachute Infantry to assist the 290th Infantry Regiment.

Chapter Index


In MARCOURAY Hogan prepared to destroy his equipment and infiltrate back to friendly lines after dark.

Attempts had been made by the 54th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, whose battery C was with Task Force "Hogan", to fire medical supplies into MARCOURAY in smoke shells; but the supplies were damaged beyond use.

Two attempts to supply the surrounded Task Force by air failed. After long and tedious preparations involving complicated arrangements through G-4 channels and dissemination of instructions from Army to Task Force, the planes carrying the supplies missed the targets.

A German officer had visited Hogan at his Command Post and demanded surrender, threatening the surrounded Task Force with attack by three divisions and two Corps of Artillery. Hogan refused this ultimatum, and continued to defend his position. "I figured it would take at least a Regiment to kick us out, and apparently they (the enemy) didn't consider it worthwhile," be said later.

Meanwhile the troops of Task Force "Hogan" beat back many enemy patrols, taking a few prisoners. They were in position to observe the enemy's movements and direct artillery fire on his columns and on his installations.

Casualties suffered in MARCOURAY were relatively light, but the situation looked almost hopeless when the Division Commander ordered Task Force "Hogan" to destroy all equipment in place and return on foot to the American lines.

All equipment had to be destroyed without burning or demolition to avoid attracting attention. Motors were run without oil and with sugar added to the gasoline. Sand and dirt was put into transmissions and other moving parts. Weapons were rendered useless by destroying and burying certain parts. When this was finished about dark, the Task Force started north in groups of twenty at twenty minute intervals with only individual arms and such personal equipment as they felt able to carry over the ten miles of wooded, snow-covered mountains. The wounded had to be left behind. A medical officer, a dental officer, and several aid men volunteered to stay with them. The prisoners were guarded by one of the less seriously wounded.

By noon of the following day, all but a few of the four hundred had returned safely and reequipping was under way.

In a letter of commendation to Lt. Col. Hogan, Major General Collins, C. G. VII Corps said, in part, "Acting with the characteristic spirit of the 3rd Armored Division, Task Force "Hogan" had pushed out in front ..., the entire VII Corps was thrilled with your refusal (to surrender) and with your continued fight which contained the German forces and prevented their joining in the battle farther north.

" ... Your indomitable courage and leadership not only assisted in checking the German advance to the north, but resulted in saving some four hundred men from capture. Equipment can always be replaced, but not such men."

On 26 December Task Force "Kane" was withdrawn from their positions south of the main line of resistance of Combat Command "A" under heavy fog cover along trails thru SADZOT.

The Division front then seemed pretty solid except for the left flank where contact had not been made with the 7th Armored Division. There were four enemy tanks in dug-in positions on the high ground about one half kilometer due north of the road junction at GRANDMENIL still causing considerable trouble. Contact had to be made by patrol at the GRANDMENIL road junction.

Combat Command "B" took over Combat Command "R" sector on the 27th December. The Division front was now held by the 290th Regimental Combat Team on the right and the 289th Regimental Combat Team in the Combat Command "A" sector in the left. The defenses were improved and some elements of the 3rd Armored conducted what maintenance and rehabilitation was possible in assembly areas near the front lines.

There was only one action of note on the 3rd Armored Division front on 28 December. It started soon after midnight on 27 December and developed into a somewhat confused battle in and around SADZOT in Combat Command "A"'s sector. The troops refer to this action as "The Sad Sack Affair". It is discussed at some length here because it was typical of many of the confused actions that, together, make up the Ardennes campaign.

By the night of 27 December the defensive line in Combat Command "A"'s sector was established by the 1st and 2nd battalions of the 289th Infantry Regiment (75th Division) with the 1st Battalion on the right (west). The exact position of the 1st Battalion was not determined. Its right flank was tied in with Task Force Orr near AMONINES. Its left flank was reported to be fifteen hundred yards to the west of the contact point with patrols on the point (this patrol was probably eight hundred yards farther to the west). The 2nd Battalion was securely established along a line from the south edge of GRANDMENIL through La FOSSE and thence southeast along the edge of the BOIS DU PAYS to the point where contact should have been established with the 1st Bn. There existed, therefore, a gap between the 1st and 2nd Battalions as General Hickey knew. Due to a virtual breakdown of communication in forward elements and faulty location reports, and particularly to the nature of the information, the extent of the gap was not known.

At this time, the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion was assembled west of EREZEE along the main highway, and remnants of Task Force "Richardson" were between them and EREZEE.

At about 0200 the 54th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, which was in position north of SADZOT with forward elements in the town, reported that enemy were in SADZOT and in the woods south of the town. (The infantry battalions on the line had been sending in negative reports up to within an hour of this time.) In SADZOT, C Company, 87th Chemical Battalion, a platoon of Tank Destroyers and forward elements of the 54th were resisting the attack.

General Hickey immediately sent the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion south with instructions to secure SADZOT and protect the artillery positions. All three companies were committed in a short time. One held a reserve position north of the town, while the other two companies executed a double envelopment to the east and west. Elements were sent into the town itself while the main forces planned to join to the south thereof.

Task Force "Richardson", reduced to 2 platoons of infantry, a medium tank company at one-half strength, and a light tank company at full strength was alerted and moved to BRISCOL. They were told they might have to assist the 509th. Fighting continued that night, and, when the Commanding General of Combat Command "A" arrived in SADZOT about 0830 on the morning of 28 December, he discovered that SADZOT had not been completely lost as previously reported. Elements of the 87th Chemical Battalion in the town resisted the enemy strongly and held several houses in the north part of town. By 1100 the enveloping companies of the 509th joined south of the town.

The enemy force in this attack was identified as two companies of sixty to seventy men each from 25th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, 12th SS Panzer Division. Their losses, killed, wounded or captured were about ninety men.

There was still sniper fire in the woods as far north as the east-west road through GRANDMENIL, so strong patrols were ordered to comb the woods to determine enemy positions and strengths. The 509th and Task Force "Richardson" continued to protect, the artillery positions by a defense line south of SADZOT.

Before the patrols finished their work, the 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry (28th Division) was attached to Combat Command "A". The Commanding General planned to use them to close the gap between the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 289th by moving them south and then east behind the 1st Battalion, 289th. This movement got under way after dark. The 1st Battalion, 289th reported that the tail of the column of 2nd Battalion, 112th passed its east flank at 2000 hours. At this time, communication failed and runners had to be used. The exact position of the 2nd Battalion, 112th was not determined that night, but it was known that they had not made contact with the 2nd Battalion, 289th. Patrols sent from the 2nd Battalion, 289th, to try to make the contact, found enemy on the ridge in the gap.

At about 0900 on 29 December, the executive officer, 289th, who was with 2nd Battalion 112th, reported that he could see friendly troops about four hundred yards away. He thought they were the 2nd Battalion, 289th, but it developed later that they were elements of the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion and Task Force "Richardson" south of SADZOT. The Battalion had missed its direction and formed a line running from the east flank of the 1st Battalion, 289th, almost due north, to the defenses south of SADZOT. This fact was not known until much later. The Combat Command plan called for two leading companies to close the gap and the third company to face north toward SADZOT to resist any attempt of the enemy to break out of the trap. It was not known how many of the enemy had slipped in.

Thinking the gap was effectively closed. General Hickey ordered the 509th to attack southeast from SADZOT with the trail toward La FOSS as a right boundary.

This attack began early on the morning of 29 December, supported by some light tanks of Richardson's force. They advanced about twelve hundred yards and met an enemy attack by the remaining two companies of the 25th Panzer Grenadier Regiment supported by two 75mm anti-tank guns.

Three of the light tanks were lost, but the paratroops soon overran the enemy guns and inflicted severe losses. The shock of this engagement was considerable, and the 509th withdrew slightly about noon to reorganize. At this time, A Company, 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, which was screening south of the highway from HAZEILLE to GRANDMENIL, was committed to the attack. It was coordinated with the attack of the 509th and started about 1800. Very light resistance was met.

The same night, the 2nd Battalion, 289th, was issued some illuminating mortar ammunition and flares, and these were used to assist the 2nd Battalion, 112th, in correcting its position and making contact with the 2nd Battalion, 289th.

While these movements were in progress at 1600, the responsibility for the sector passed from the 3rd Armored Division to the 75th Infantry Division. General Hickey, however remained in command, his forces being attached to 75th Division. On the morning of 30 December, the lines were well established and Combat Command "A" moved with the rest of the Division to assembly areas in the vicinity of OCQUIER and OUFFET.

From 30 December to 2 January, the 3rd Armored remained in assembly areas in the OCQUIER-OUFFET area and rested and refitted preparatory to the launching of a counter offensive aimed at liquidating the German's Ardennes salient.

Chapter Index

3-19 January 1945

On 3 January, VII Corps started a new offensive to the southeast with the 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions abreast, followed by the 84th and 83rd Infantry Divisions. The objective of this attack was to drive rapidly to the southeast, with the armor leading, seize HOUFFALIZE and its vital road net, and join up with the Third Army coming up from the south, thereby pocketing elements of the German Army that had penetrated further to the west before they could be withdrawn.

In the zone of the 3rd Armored, the attack was made with Combat Commands "A" and "B" abreast. Combat Command "B" was on the right (west) of the zone. Each Combat Command moved out to the attack in two Task Force columns:


Hq, 32nd Armd. Regt.
2nd Bn., 32nd Armd. Regt.
3rd Bn., 36th Armd. Inf. Regt.
1st Plat., A Co., 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
1st Plat., A Co., 703rd TD Bn.
54th Armd. FA Bn.

3rd Bn., 32nd Armd. Regt.
2nd Bn., 330th Inf. Regt.
2nd Plat., A Co., 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
2nd Plat., A Co., 703rd TD Bn.
62th Armd. FA Bn.


Hq, 33rd Armd. Regt.
1st Bn., 33rd Armd. Regt. (- 3rd Plat., Co A)
2nd Bn., 36th Armd. Inf. Regt.
2nd Plat., Co. D, 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
2nd Plat., Co. B, 703rd TD Bn.
3rd Plat., Rcn. Co., 33rd Armd. Regt.
83rd Armd. FA Bn.

2nd Bn., 33rd Armd. Regt. (- 3rd Plat., Co. B)
3rd Bn., 330th Inf. Regt.
1st Plat., Co. D, 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
1st Plat., Co. B, 703rd TD Bn.
2nd Plat., Rcn. Co., 33rd Armd. Regt.
1st Plat., AT Co., 36th Armd. Inf. Regt.
391st Armd. FA Bn.

In addition to the organic elements of the Division, the strength was bolstered by the attachment of the 330th Infantry Regiment (83rd Division) and three artillery battalions: the 83rd Armd., 991st (S. P. 155 Guns), and the 183rd (155 Hows.). Each Combat Command had two battalions of infantry and two battalions of artillery in direct support. If a penetration could be effected quickly, it was felt that the forces were in sufficient strength and depth to drive very rapidly to the objectives CHERAIN and BOUVIGNY, bypassing enemy pockets of resistance and leaving them for the 83rd Division to mop up. That was how it had worked all the way from the SEINE to the SIEGFRIED LINE back in August and September. On this occasion, however, there were several factors that prevented a duplication of that performance. The weather conditions were such as to preclude effective close support by air, and affected adversely the use of our potentially overpowering artillery. To secure its maximum effect, this artillery must have good visibility and flying weather for its air observation planes. Snow and ice slowed vehicular movement to a marked degree and in many cases rendered the columns roadbound. Cold weather, in itself, was an obstacle. It reduced efficiency somewhat by rendering ordinary physical tasks harder to perform. In addition, the German had been given time (30 December to 3 January) to establish a fair system of defense in depth, which he continued to improve as he began to sense the American intentions. The cumulative effect of these conditions resulted in the division of the offensive into three phases.

The first phase covers the period from 3 to 9 January inclusive. During this phase the Division fought its way slowly against strong rearguard action, reaching a line PROVEDROUX-OTTRE-REGNE cross roads (576853).

The next phase runs from 9 to 13 January. During this period the Third Armored was passed through by the 83rd Infantry Division whose mission was to continue the attack to the southeast through the heavily wooded area that ran across the 3rd Armored zone in a band three to four miles deep beginning at the line reached by the 3rd Armored on 9 January. They were to establish a bridgehead on the south side of this woods on a line BOUVIGNY-BACLAIN-MONT LE BAN.

This line was not reached in its entirety when the 3rd Armored resumed the attack on 13 January, beginning the third phase of the action. This phase was characterized by many bitter battles of attrition against strong enemy positions centered around the little towns and villages, culminating in the seizing of BRISY and the high ground in that vicinity north of the OURTHE River, on 19 January. On 20-21 January, the division was relieved by elements of the 4th Cavalry Group, and the 84th Infantry Division and moved to assembly areas in the BARVAUX-DURBY area for rest and rehabilitation.

The attack started on 3 January.

Minefields and roadblocks covered by both small arms and anti-tank fire slowed the first day's advance. Task Force "Lovelady" got into and secured MALEMPRE after moderate fighting. Task Force "Doan" cleared FLORET and moved south on the main LIERNEUX highway, clearing a defended minefield in the wooded defile southeast of FLORET. They reached the GROUMONT Creek, where they found the bridge was out, and stopped for the night.

The next day the attack was resumed.

South of MALEMPRE, where the road enters the woods, Task Force "Lovelady" struck a minefield covered with heavy fire of all types. Lovelady pushed his infantry on ahead and started to clear the field. Meanwhile, Task Force "McGeorge" had bypassed a blown bridge over HEID Creek, reached JEVIGNE, where they made contact with elements of Combat Command "A", and drove on to BANEAUX which they took from the enemy's infantry garrison.

Task Force "Richardson" fought through JEVIGNY toward LANSIVAL. They encountered a minefield north of LANSIVAL, which they breached and moved on in to secure the town. Task Force "Doan" fought to secure a bridgehead over the GROUMONT Creek where they had stopped the previous afternoon. When this bridgehead was established by the infantry to the depth of about four hundred yards, the bridging operation was almost complete.

At this time, Task Force "Hogan" (3rd Battalion, 33rd Armored Regiment; 1st Battalion, 330th Infantry Regiment, 83rd Div.; 1st Platoon, Anti-Tank Company, 330th Infantry Regiment; 1st Platoon, Company B, 23rd Armored Engineer Battalion; and 1st Platoon, Company C, 703rd Tank Destroyer Battalion), was moved to the vicinity of MANHAY with the mission of advancing south down the main highway from there and securing Cross Roads (576853). Division boundaries were adjusted to accommodate this attack, which was to begin on the morning of 5 January. This new sector was given to Combat Command "R".

Elements of the 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion patrolled the Division zone between the advancing columns, encountering many anti-personnel mines and rounding up a few prisoners.

On 5 January, Task Force "Doan" passed through its bridgehead and moved on through the town of La VAUX. When they had done this, a part of the infantry was sent west to assist Task Force "Richardson" in its attack on LIERNEUX which was in progress and getting hotter. The 1st Battalion, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, was replaced by the 3rd Battalion, 36th, having suffered heavy casualties.

Task Force "Richardson" was counterattacked by tanks and infantry early in the morning, but the attack was defeated, and Richardson resumed the attack on LIERNEUX hampered by extremely poor visibility. Heavy artillery and mortar fire continued on his position north of the town. He succeeded in getting tanks and infantry into the north and west part of the town.

Task Force "McGeorge" continued to attack from BANEAUX and worked tanks into position to support by fire Richardson's attack from the west. The infantry of Task Force "McGeorge" worked through the woods toward the town.

Major Stallings took over Lt. Col. Lovelady's command when Lovelady was evacuated for sickness. He continued the attack to the south but failed to get out of the woods due to continuing heavy opposition, and very limited visibility.

In Combat Command "R", Task Force "Hogan" encountered strong dug-in infantry and anti-tank positions but was able to advance to a point on the main road near BEL HAIE, where the enemy had forced Task Force "Richardson's" roadblock on 24 December.

On. 6 January, Task Force "Doan" mopped up in LAVAUX and La FALAISE and moved south out of the town. The bridge south of the town was blown. This was bridged and the Task Force moved on, reaching the intersection of several secondary roads about one and one-half kilometers northeast of VERLEUMONT where they coiled for the night and sent strong patrols toward GRAND SART.

Task Force "Richardson" secured LIERNEUX by noon and attacked to reach the high ground south of the town. The infantry elements were able to gain the objective, but the tanks were stopped by mines. The work of clearing these mines started after dark.

Task Force "McGeorge" supported Task Force "Richardson" during the first part of the day and then continued to advance and seized a commanding hill two kilometers south of LIERNEUX.
Task Force "Stallings" got out of the woods in the morning and advanced all the way down to FRAITURE. Here there was considerable house to house fighting. An enemy battalion scheduled to make a relief the following day had been surprised by the Task Force and about 300 prisoners were taken.

Task Force "Hogan" continued to advance against moderate opposition. Felled trees blocked the only available road, so the infantry was sent on ahead. This infantry force reached the objective cross road and work on clearing the road for the tanks was started.

The 83rd Reconnaissance Battalion continued to sweep the division area in rear of the advance elements.

At this time, new orders were issued to continue the attack on the following day to secure an objective line just north of the next wooded area, running generally PROVEDROUX-OTTRE-REGNE-CR (576853). When this line was secured, the 83rd Infantry Division was to pass through the 3rd Armored and attack through the woods, then the 3rd Armored would resume the attack.

On the morning of 7 January, Task Force "Richardson" entered VERLEUMONT in the face of considerable small arms fire and artillery fire. Before noon the town was cleared of enemy and the Task Force started to move in two battle groups, one east toward SART and the other south to seize the high wooded hill about one kilometer to the south. Both of these forces were stopped by mine fields just at the edge of the town. Before these fields could be breached, Task Force "Doan" had succeeded in driving the enemy from GRAND SART and SART. Task Force "Richardson", therefore, continued south with the whole force reaching the high ground east of HEBRONVAL. A holding force of infantry was left on the wooded hill south of VERLEUMONT.

Task Force "Doan" started toward GRAND SART. They met and overcame an enemy outpost strong point about one kilometer west of the town and continued. The town itself was protected by a mine field covered by strong anti-tank positions. An attempt was made to bypass the town to the south under cover of a smoke screen laid by artillery but this approach was also well covered by anti-tank fire. Continued pressure finally forced the enemy garrison to retire, and Doan's column continued through SART, cleaning it up on the way, to positions just south of the main highway through REGNE and SALMCHATEAU near its junction with the road running north to LIERNEUX.

Task Force "McGeorge" advanced on REGNE, and, with the support of Task Force "Lovelady" (Lovelady had returned to duty) from the northwest, secured the town about noon. Task Force "Lovelady" remained in the town to secure it, and Task Force "McGeorge" moved on to the high ground east of BIHAIN, just south of the new objective line.

Task Force "Hogan" got the road north of its objective cleared of mines and felled trees and moved tanks down to the objective. Roadblocks were established south of the cross roads, and patrol contact was made with the 2nd Armored Division on the right and with Task Force "Lovelady" on the left.

On 8 January, Doan continued to attack toward PROVEDROUX, meeting dug in infantry, anti-tank and artillery fire. PROVEDROUX was secured and "buttoned up" by nightfall. Richardson continued his attack through JOUBIEVAL, which was well defended, and reached his objective by dark.

Task Force "Lovelady" remained in REGNE. Col. Welborn took command of Task Force "McGeorge", when McGeorge was wounded. Task Force "Welborn" attacked east to secure HEBRONVAL and then south to OTTRE. They encountered two mine fields and some anti-tank and small arms fire, but by 1705, OTTRE was secured.

Task Force "Hogan" continued to defend at the cross roads. Hogan's infantry battalion (1st Bn. 330th Inf. Regt. 83rd Div.) was relieved by 1st Bn. 333rd Inf. Regt. 84th Div.

The objective line was secured, and arrangements were made for the 83rd Infantry Division to attack through the 3rd Armored lines the following day.

On 9 January, Task Force "Doan" continued some mopping up business in the PROVEDROUX area and maintained' contact with the 82nd Airborne Division on the left.

Task Force "Lovelady" moved to HEBRONVAL, while the remainder of Task Force "Welborn" moved from HEBRONVAL to OTTRE.

Task Force "Hogan" was relieved by elements of the 84th Infantry Division and moved to REGNE.
The 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion moved into FRAITURE.

On the night of 10-11 January, the 75th Infantry Division relieved the 82nd Airborne Division on our left. Their mission was to defend the line of the SALM River and protect the left flank of the VII Corps.

Chapter Index


On 11 January elements of the 83rd Infantry Division directed their attack against LANGLIR and PETITE LANGLIR. The 3rd Armored issued Field Order 22. The mission was to secure the CHERAIN area and cut the roads in that locality. Combat Command "B" was to make the attack and was assigned the initial objective of the high ground northeast of BACLAIN. The Division Commander directed that Combat Command "B" clear the enemy in the MONT LE BAN area only sufficiently to allow the passage of the column, then proceed rapidly to secure CHERAIN. After which, they would secure the entire division objective which included VAUX, STERPIGNY, BHISY and RETTIGNY.

Combat Command "A" was ordered to protect the left flank, and Combat Command "R" to be prepared to move on to the objective if the attack of Combat Command "B" slowed down.
On 11 January, the 1st Battalion of the 389th Infantry Regiment started moving into Task Force "Doan's" sector to assume responsibility for the sector, while the 83rd Division was heavily engaged in the center of the zone.

Task Force Hogan, consisting of 1st Bn. 330th; H Company, 33rd Armd. Regt.; 1st Plat. Co. C, 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn., was committed on the right with the mission of attacking south from BIHAIN at 1600 to secure the line of the LANGLIR CREEK from PISSEROTTE to a point two kilometers east thereof. The Task Force met little resistance and secured the stream crossing on the objective line at 1900. Hogan was ordered to button up there and prepare for the 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion to pass through him the next day. At dark, the enemy counterattacked with infantry supported by three tanks. This attack was defeated and one enemy tank was destroyed. A second counterattack by infantry at 2100 was also beaten off.

The 83rd Reconnaissance moved from REGNE to BIHAIN, where "A" Company was attached to Task Force "Hogan" to assist in outposting the position there.

Hogan's fairly easy advance to PISSEROTTE indicated that it might be possible to side slip the enemy's main defenses, which appeared to be in the center of the division zone, and get far enough south to cut the east-west roads north of HOUFFALIZE, which the Germans were using to evacuate the part of their forces which remained west of HOUFFALIZE and were in danger of being cut off.

Combat Command "B" started to move into the LANGLIR-PETITE LANGLIR area, but there was still fighting in the LANGLIR area so the move was delayed.

When the 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion moved through Task Force "Hogan", progress was slow. The road south of BIHAIN was blocked by knocked out enemy vehicles which had been destroyed by our artillery and supporting aircraft. Enemy artillery, mortar and rocket fire was heavy throughout the period. An advance of about one kilometer was made along the wooded trails.

It became apparent that the 83rd Division was not going to reach the objective line assigned on 6 January in time for the proposed attack of the 3rd Armored on 13 January to proceed as planned. Accordingly a new Field Order was issued, (F. 0. 23) directing an attack with Combat Commands abreast to secure CHERAIN, VAUX, SOMMERAINE and the high ground northwest of SOMMERAINE. Combat Command "B" was to seize CHERAIN; Combat Command "R" to take VAUX, SOMMERAINE and the high ground.

Composition of forces for this attack was:


1st Bn., 33rd Armd. Regt.
3rd Bn., 36th Armd. Inf. Regt. (- 1 Plat. Co. I)
Plat. Co., C 23rd Armd. Engr.
Plat. Co., C 703rd TD Bn.

83rd Armd. Rcn. Bn.
Plat., Co. C, 703rd TD Bn.

3rd Bn., 33rd Armd. Regt.
1st Bn., 330th Inf. Regt.
Plat., Co. I, 36th Armd. Inf.
Plat., Co. C 23rd Armd. Eng. Bn.
Plat., Co. C 703rd TD Bn.

54th Armd. FA Bn.
Co. C, 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn. (- 2 Plt's)
Co. C, 703rd TD Bn. (- 3 Plt's)


2nd Bn., 33rd Armd. Regt. (- 3rd Plat. Co. B)
3rd Bn., 330th Inf. Regt.
1st Plat., Co. B, 703rd TD Bn.
2nd Plat., Co. B, 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
2nd Plat., Rcn. Co., 33rd Armd. Regt.
391st Armd. FA Bn., Direct Support

3rd Bn., 33rd Armd. Regt.
2nd Bn., 36th Armd. Inf. Regt.
2nd Plat., Co. B, 703rd TD Bn.
1st Plat., Co. B, 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn.
3rd Plat., Rcn. Co., 33rd Armd. Regt.
83rd Armd. FA, Direct Support

Co. B, 23rd Armd. Engr. Bn. (- 2 Platoons)
Co. B, 703rd. TD Bn. (- 2 Platoons)
Rcn. Co., 33rd Armd. Regt. (- 2 Platoons).

When the attack started on 13 January, Task Force "Kane" advanced initially on a very poor trail that required a great deal of engineer work to make it usable. The enemy held MONT LE BAN in such strength that a company of infantry was left to contain it while the rest of Task Force "Kane" bypassed to the west.

Task Force "Yeomans" met moderate resistance all day. By 1700, two companies had secured the high ground northwest of SOMMERAINE, while the rest of the force proceeded south to cut the CHERAIN-SOMME-RAINE road at its junction with the MONT LE BAN road. They were soon in position to fire on this road, and before midnight Yeomans was joined by elements of Kane and a secure roadblock was established. The last of the enemy's main escape routes was cut. Task Force "Hogan" remained in BIHAIN and attempted to establish contact with the 2nd Armored Division in PISSEROTTE without success.

Task Force "Lovelady" attacked from LANGLIR toward LOMRE along the road. In the woods north of LOMRE, they were stopped by felled tree obstacles with booby traps. When this was cleared, a coordinated attack was launched on LOMRE, which was strongly held. By 2200 the town was occupied and secured, and a strong roadblock force (a company of infantry) was astride the BACLAIN-MONT LE BAN ROAD in the edge of the woods just east of MONT LE BAN.

Task Force "Walker" reached a bridge north of BACLAIN that was blown and prepared to bridge it.

On the morning of 14 January, Walker encountered a mine field after crossing the stream, which was defended by anti-tank, small arms and supporting fires. When this was reduced, the Task Force launched a coordinated attack on BACLAIN and occupied and secured the town.

Meanwhile, Task Force "Lovelady" met tanks and anti-tank fire as they attacked south from LOMRE. They bypassed MONT LE BAN to the east and reached a point about one thousand yards north of CHERAIN at the end of the day's fighting.

Task Force "Kane" on the north and Task Force "Hogan" on the west launched a coordinated attack on MONT LE BAN at 1330. By 1500 the town was seized. Kane secured the town until relieved by Task Force "Miller" of Combat Command "A", while Hogan reorganized, and at 2400, launched an attack to take VAUX.

Task Force "Yeomans" had attacked toward VAUX at 1040, but very heavy artillery and mortar fire forced them to withdraw to their roadblock on the CHERAIN-SOMMERAIN road. There the Task Force reverted to Division control and was ordered to hold.

Many enemy columns were spotted moving east and northeast out of HOUFFALIZE. The weather had cleared somewhat and both air and artillery worked them over.

Orders were issued for Combat Command "A" to assemble in the MONT LE BAN area as soon as it was cleared to protect the division rear and maintain contact on the right and left. The objectives were changed slightly. Combat Command "B" was assigned the CHERAIN-STERPIGNY-RETIGNY area. Combat Command "R" the VAUX-BRISY area. Task Force "Yeomans" was ordered to clear enemy from its zone (principally SOMMERAIN).

Task Force "Hogan's" night attack on VAUX was unsuccessful, but during the day they fought their way into the town against heavy enemy fire and secured the town on the night of 15 January, after about thirty hours of sustained attack.

Task Force "Yeomans" attacked SOMMERAINE from the east, but was unable to penetrate its defenses.

Chapter Index


Enemy opposition became very heavy in the whole division sector on 15 January. Tanks, anti-tank guns, small arms fire and very heavy artillery and mortar fire were met all day. Losses in this day's fighting were severe.

On the night of 14-15, Task Force "Lovelady" had been driven out of his position just north of CHERAIN and had withdrawn about one kilometer north.

The plan for the day of 15 January called for Task Force "Orr" and Task Force "Miller" (Combat Command "A") to take over BACLAIN and MONT LE BAN; Task Force "Kane" to pass through Yeomans and take the high ground south of BRISY; Task Force "Welborn" (Formerly Task Force "Walker") to attack through STERPIGNY, thence to RETIGNY, allowing Lovelady to come into CHERAIN under reduced pressure. However Task Force "Kane" was able to advance only a short distance and Task Force "Welborn" got only into the western edge of STERPIGNY. Task Force "Lovelady" attempted to advance on CHERAIN. Again they ran into mines in a defile. Anti-tank guns caught the vehicles in column, and at 1530 they had NO medium tanks left.

Adding fuel to a fire that was already hot enough, an enemy column moved into STERPIGNY to reinforce the garrison there, whereupon Task Force "Richardson" from Combat Command "A" was attached to Combat Command "B" and committed to the STERPIGNY fight, but the situation remained virtually static. Only the western edge of the town was taken.

Task Force "Lovelady" was relieved in place by Task Force "Bailey" (a company of medium tanks and a company of infantry from Combat Command "A"). Lovelady's badly depleted force moved back into the Combat Command "A" area to refit and reorganize.

When Welborn and Richardson continued the attack on STERPIGNY on 16 January, another enemy column attempting to enter the town from the east was dispersed by artillery. Anti-tank and small arms fire started coming into the town from the woods to the northeast which was thought to be clear. The town itself was secured, but direct fire continued to come in.

Task Force "Hogan" was ordered to send a force into CHERAIN in the morning. He was able to get only infantry into the town because of a blown bridge between VAUX and CHERAIN. This force met little resistance. Having fought stubbornly for days, the enemy then withdrew. Task Force '"Bailey" was sent into the town to relieve Task Force "Hogan's" Infantry and secure the town to allow Hogan to assemble his whole force in VAUX for an attack on BRISY in conjunction with Task Force "Kane".

Task Force "Kane's" attack toward BRISY was stopped cold by heavy fire of all types. When Task Force "Hogan" got their infantry back out of CHERAIN, they attacked toward BRISY to assist Task Force "Kane", but were also stopped after a very short advance.

Task Force "Yeomans" secured SOMMERAIN, forcing the enemy to withdraw south.

By 17 January, Task Force "Hogan" was reduced to twelve medium and ten light tanks. The Infantry Battalion (1st Bn., 330th Inf. Regt.) was down to one hundred and twenty-five riflemen. Task Force "Kane" had eleven medium and seventeen light tanks left. The infantry strength, including Battalion Headquarters Company, was three hundred and eleven. Both of these task forces held their positions as did Task Force "Yeomans" in SOMMERAIN. Task Force "Richardson" continued operations over in STERPIGNY.

Task Force "Welborn" attacked from CHERAIN to secure the first hill to the southeast there, a distance of about one thousand yards. On the first attack, elements of the force succeeded in reaching the objective, but were forced to withdraw. The second attack carried to the hill and Task Force Welborn held there.

Elements of the 4th Cavalry Group took over the sector from VAUX west to the division boundary on 18 January, relieving Yeomans, Kane and Hogan.

On 18 January, Task Force "Richardson" continued to attack to secure the east edge of the woods east of STERPIGNY. When they secured this objective line, Combat Command "A" in two task forces. Task Force "Doan" and Task Force "Lovelady", assembled in the vicinity of STERPIGNY preparatory to continuing the Division's attack south. It was planned that Doan should seize RETTIGNY, RENGLEZ and the high ridge south of these towns while Lovelady screened his advance and protected his left flank along the wooded ridge southeast of STERPIGNY. Task Force "Kane", of Combat Command "R", was to attack south from CHERAIN and take BRISY and the dominating hill to the south thereof. Richardson secured his objective and the scheduled attack moved rapidly against very light resistance. Both objectives were taken on the afternoon of 19 January. The next day the division started moving northwest to rest areas centering around BARVAUX and DURBUY.

The portion of the German salient west of HOUFFALIZE had been liquidated, but the enemy had conducted an efficient withdrawal. The effort had cost him heavily, but he had succeeded in withdrawing a very large part of his forces not expended in the fifteen days of bold offensive fighting in December and the stubborn rearguard actions of 3-16 January. In rare cases was he forced to give ground where the loss would seriously endanger the extrication of his carefully hoarded armor without inflicting severe losses on the attacking force.

During a rest period there is plenty of work to do. The "rest" means that you are not in contact with the enemy. New reinforcements have to be fitted into their places and given additional training. New equipment has to be tested, and there is maintenance work in whatever quantity time permits. It is a time of rest, though. The tension of battle is gone. There is time for a few movies and recreational convoys to nearby cities, and there is time to count the score.

The decisive fighting in the Ardennes salient lasted from 16 December 1944 to 16 January 1945.

For this period there are two sets of concrete figures that can be juggled at will to propagandize either our cause or the German. They are the losses of men and material on each side. A third item for speculation: "what did Von Rundstedt's gamble gain or lose?", does not concern us directly in this outline.

Taken separately, loss figures may be used to prove almost anything. Together they serve only to emphasize that it was a hard fight. Here they are.

During the period 16 December to 16 January, the 3rd Armored Division suffered 1,473 battle casualties, of this number 21 officers and 166 enlisted men were killed in action. The rest were wounded or missing.

Battle losses in vehicles were as follows:


A carefully prepared day to day estimate of losses inflicted on the enemy for this period totals up to:

PRISONERS (actual count)

The estimated vehicular casualties inflicted counting only those known to have been destroyed are:

  TANKS (31 were Mk V's)

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