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behind the CCR position. This came from Mageret, next on the Bastogne road, where German troops had infiltrated and cut off the fire direction center of the 73d Field Artillery Battalion. The firing batteries nevertheless continued to shell the road east of Longvilly, tying in with the 58th Field Artillery Battalion. Both battalions were firing with shorter and shorter fuzes; by 2315 the gunners were aiming at enemy infantry and vehicles only two hundred yards to the front. Somehow the batteries held on. A little before midnight Colonel Gilbreth ordered what was left of CCR and its attached troops to begin a withdrawal via Mageret. A few vehicles made a run for it but were am- bushed by the Germans now in possession of Mageret. When a disorderly vehicle column jammed the exit from Longvilly, Gilbreth saw that some order must be restored and stopped all movement until morning light. [1]


Under orders, the 73d Armored Field Artillery Battalion displaced westward, starting about 0400, one battery covering another until the three were west of Longvilly firing against enemy seen to the east, north, and south, but giving some cover for the CCR withdrawal. The 58th Field Artillery Battalion and its scratch covering force were hit early in the morning by a mortar barrage, and very shortly two German halftracks appeared through the half-light. These were blasted with shellfire but enemy infantry had wormed close in, under cover of the morning fog, and drove back the thin American line in front of the batteries. About 0800 the fog swirled away, disclosing a pair of enemy tanks almost on the howitzers. In a sudden exchange of fire the tanks were destroyed.


About this time CCR started along the Bastogne road, although a rear guard action continued in Longvilly until noon. The 58th Field Artillery Battalion, with cannoneers and drivers the only rifle protection, joined the move, Battery B forming a rear guard and firing point-blank at pursuing German armor. The head of the main column formed by CCR was close to Mageret when, at a halt caused by a roadblock, hostile fire erupted on the flanks of the column. There was no turning back, nor could the vehicles be extricated from the jam along the road. The melee lasted for several hours. Company C of the 482d Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion (Capt. Denny J. Lovio) used its mobile quadruple machine guns with effect, working "heroically," as CCR later acknowledged, to hold the Germans at bay. The two batteries of the 8th Armored Field Artillery Battalion that had been able to bring off their self-propelled howitzers went into action, but the fog had thickened and observed fire was wellnigh impossible. At long last the dismounted and disorganized column was brought into some order "by several unknown officers who ... brought leadership and confidence to our troops." (Map VI)


In midafternoon CCR headquarters, the remnants of the 58th, and the stragglers who had been accumulated in the Longvilly defense made their way around to the north of Mageret, thence to Foy, and finally to Bastogne, this move being made under cover of fire laid down


[1] Gilbreth was convinced that he must "freeze" the vehicles in place after he had talked to the Commander of the 58th Field Artillery Battalion who had witnessed such precipitate withdrawals during the North African campaign. Ltr, Col Joseph H. Gilbreth to author. 6 Sep 58.