The corps commander refused to let Rose move; and even if adequate reinforcement for Task Fore Rose had been at hand the hour was too late. A flanking move had driven back the American howitzers, German assault guns saturated the crest position with white phosphorus, and when the Shermans pulled back to the rear slope the panzers simply ringed Rose's company. CCR headquarters got the word at 1430 that the northern roadblock and its defenders had been overrun, but despite the loss of seven Shermans Company A continued to hold. It had been forced back from the road junction, however, and the bulk of the 3d Panzer Regiment was moving out onto the Bastogne highway. The early winter night gave the Americans a chance. Captain Rose broke out cross-country with five tanks and his assault gun platoon, rolling fast without lights through little villages toward Houffalize, near which the detachment was ambushed. A few vehicles and crews broke free and reached Bastogne.
The southern roadblock came under German fire in the late afternoon, light enemy elements seeping past the beleaguered block at the northern junction. The Mark IV's and Panthers actually did not reach Task Force Harper until after dark. Sweeping the area with machine gun fire to clear out any infantry who might be protecting the American tanks, the panzers overran and destroyed two tank platoons of Company C, 2d Tank Battalion. Perhaps the weight of this night attack had caught the American tankers off guard: the enemy later reported that only three Shermans at the Allerborn block were able to maneuver into a fighting stance. The armored infantry, about 500 yards from the Shermans, had no better fortune. The panzers set the American vehicles afire with tracer bullets, then picked out their targets silhouetted by the flames. During this action Colonel Harper was killed. What was left of Task Force Harper and stragglers from Task Force Rose headed west toward Longvilly, where CCR headquarters had been set up.
Longvilly, five and a half miles from Bastogne, was the scene of considerable confusion. Stragglers were marching and riding through the village, and the location of the enemy was uncertain, although rumor placed him on all sides. About 2000 an officer appeared at Gilbreth's command post and, to the delight of the CCR staff, reported that a task force from the 10th Armored Division (Team Cherry) was down the Bastogne road. The task force commander, Lt. Col. Henry T. Cherry, he then announced, had orders not to advance east of Longvilly. This word abruptly altered the atmosphere in the command post. Two armored field artillery battalions (the 73d and 58th) still were firing from positions close to Longvilly, pouring shells onto the Allerborn road junction from which Task Force Harper had been driven. A handful of riflemen from the 110th Infantry, including Company G which had been ordered to Clerf and the remnants of the 110th headquarters which had been driven out of Allerborn, were still in action. These troops, together with four tank destroyers from the 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion (-), had formed a skirmish line to protect the firing batteries of the 58th south of the village.
Late in the evening firing was heard