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by paratroopers from the 101st who seemed to materialize out of nowhere. The losses sustained by CCR cannot be accurately determined, for a part of those listed in the final December report were incurred later in the defense of Bastogne. [2] The 58th Armored Field Artillery Battalion had lost eight of its howitzers; the 73d Armored Field Artillery Battalion had lost four. That these battalions were self-propelled accounts for the fact that so many pieces, closely engaged as the batteries had been, were saved to fire another day.


While the battle for the roadblocks and Longvilly was going on, a third task force from CCR (Lt. Col. Robert M. Booth) had been separately engaged. As a guard against tank attack from the north, the CCR commander sent Booth with the headquarters and headquarters company of the 52d Armored Infantry Battalion, plus a platoon from the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion, and a platoon of light tanks to occupy the high ground north of the Allerborn-Longvilly section of the main highway. During the night of 18-19 December Booth's position received some enemy fire but did not come under direct assault. Communications with CCR had broken down, however, and German tanks had been identified passing to the rear along the Bourcy road.


Booth decided that the best chance of escaping encirclement lay in moving out to the northwest. At daylight on the 19th the column started, picking up stragglers from the original roadblocks as it moved. The light tank platoon dropped off early in the march to fight a rear guard action against the enemy who was closing in on the column and to protect a number of half-tracks which had bogged down. Hard pressed and unable to disengage its vehicles, the rear guard finally escaped on foot. The main column dodged and detoured in a series of small brushes with the Germans, who by this time seemed to be everywhere, until it reached Hardigny, three miles northwest of the starting point. German tanks and infantry were waiting here, and in the ensuing fight the column was smashed. About 225 officers and men escaped into the nearby woods and after devious wanderings behind the German lines, some for as long as six days, finally reached Bastogne.


The Advance of the XLVII Panzer Corps


Luettwitz' XLVII Panzer Corps was coming within striking distance of Bastogne by the evening of 18 December. The 2d Panzer Division, particularly, had picked up speed on the north wing after the surprising delay at Clerf. Luettwitz' mission remained as originally planned, that is, to cross the Meuse in the Namur sector, and the capture of Bastogne remained incidental-although none the less important-to this goal.


Having erased the two roadblocks defended by CCR, General Lauchert turned his 2d Panzer Division to the northwest so as to swing past the Bastogne road nexus and maintain the momentum of the westward drive. This maneuver was according to plan for there was no intention to use the 2d Panzer Division in a coup de main at Bastogne. Lauchert's column followed


[2] The total losses for December 1944 (which include those sustained later in the defense of Bastogne) are reported in the AAR as being about 800 killed and missing; the 2d Tank Battalion lost 45 medium tanks and 1 light tanks.