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flares and knocking out our vehicles with direct fire." But the Americans held onto their little chunk of the village through the night.


While the bulk of Team Cherry was engaged at Longvilly and Mageret, the team commander and his headquarters troops were having a fight of their own at Neffe, a mile and a quarter southwest of Mageret. Here, cut off from his main force, Colonel Cherry had waited through the small hours of 19 December with the comforting assurance that troops of the 101st Airborne Division were moving through Bastogne and would debouch to the east sometime that day. At first light a detachment of tanks and infantry from the Panzer Lehr hit the Reconnaissance Platoon, 3d Tank Battalion, outposting the Neffe crossroads. The platoon stopped one tank with a bazooka round, but then broke under heavy fire and headed down the Bastogne road. One of the two American headquarters tanks in support of the roadblock got away, as did a handful of troopers, and fell back to Cherry's command post, a stone chateau three hundred yards to the south.


The enemy took his time about following up, but just before noon moved in to clear the chateau. For four hours the 3d Tank Battalion on command post group held on behind the heavy walls, working the automatic weapons lifted from its vehicles and checking every rush in a blast of bullets. Finally a few hardy Germans made it, close enough at least to pitch incendiary grenades through the Window. Fire, leaping through the rooms, closed this episode. Reinforcements, a platoon of the 501st Parachute Infantry, arrived just in time to take part in the withdrawal. But their appearance and the covering fire of other troops behind them jarred the Germans enough to allow Cherry and his men to break free. Before pulling out for Mont, the next village west, Colonel Cherry radioed the CCB commander this message: "We are pulling out. We're not driven out but burned out."


Through the afternoon and evening of 19 December Captain Ryerson and the little force clutching at the edge of Mageret waited for reinforcements to appear over the ridges to the south, for CCB had radioed that help (from the 101st Airborne Division) was on the way. Finally, after midnight, new word came from CCB. Ryerson was to withdraw northwest to Bizory at dawn and join the 501st Parachute Infantry there. A little after daybreak Team Ryerson took its remaining vehicles, its wounded, and the stragglers who had paused to take part in the fight and pulled away from Mageret. Forty minutes across country and it entered the paratrooper lines. The total cost to Team Cherry of the engagements on 19 December had been 175 officers and men, one-quarter of the command. Materiel losses had included seventeen armored half-tracks and an equal number of tanks. Team Cherry records fifteen German tanks destroyed in this day of catch-as-catch-can fighting, a likely figure since the 2d Panzer Division counted eight of its own tanks knocked out in one spot north of Longvilly.


The story here set down has been one of mischance and confusion. But regard the manner in which CCR, 9th Armored Division, and Team Cherry altered the course of the German drive on Bastogne. Through the night of 18-19 December General Luettwitz hourly expected word that the advance guard of the XLVII