Army Signal Corps photos
from Dan Fong, Web Staff
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Hogan's "Black Face Boys"
during the Battle of the Bulge

  Cut off, surrounded, and facing annihilation, a group of about 400 soldiers from the 3AD's Task Force Hogan destroyed their equipment and snuck through German lines on foot at night to re-join Division elements. Some, with faces still darkened, are shown the following day in these rare photos below. Further below, see excerpts from Haynes Dugan's account of the events taken from his 3AD "Saga," which is posted in the Dugan section on the WWII Index.

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Excerpts from "Battle of the Bulge" Section of
Haynes W. Dugan


"Task Force Hogan moved out on 20 December [1944] to seize the crossings of the Ourthe [Belgium] between Goufy and Houffalize and to contact friendly elements on his right. He met strong enemy elements of armor and infantry supported by artillery and mortar fire. Due to the danger of being surrounded, Hogan was ordered to withdraw north to Beffe."

"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. He secured the town and set up all-around defense. Arrangements were made to air-drop supplies to him the next day."

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

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

"A German officer had visited Hogan and demanded surrender. Hogan refused the ultimatum and continued to defend his position."

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

"Casualties suffered in Marcouray were relatively light but the situation looked almost helpless when the division 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 20 at 20 minute intervals with only individual arms and such personal equipment as they felt able to carry over 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 the following day all but a few of the 400 had returned safely and reequipping was under way."

[NOTE: In "Saga," Dugan does not include accounts of the harrowing moments and close-calls faced by many of the 400 on the night passage. Efforts will be made by Website Staff to retrieve such first-person accounts from various archives.]

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