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quences. On the night of the 19th the battalion reached Bastogne. The 705th was equipped with the new self-propelled long-barreled 76-mm. gun which would permit a duel on equal terms with most of the German tank guns.


The 755th Armored Field Artillery Battalion (Lt. Col. William F. Hartman) was sent from Germany on the evening of the 18th with equally vague orders to proceed to Bastogne. The battalion reached its destination the following morning to find Bastogne jammed with vehicles. Middleton ordered Colonel Hartman to keep his bulky prime movers and 155-mm. howitzers out of the city until, in the evening, some traffic order had been restored.


The 969th Field Artillery Battalion (Lt. Col. Hubert D. Barnes), also equipped with medium howitzers, joined the Bastogne defense more or less by chance. Originally assigned to support the 28th Division artillery, the battalion had been ordered to displace west as the enemy broke into the open. Sent hither and yon by liaison officers who apparently knew no more of the situation than did the cannoneers, the battalion was moving out of the Bastogne sector when orders came to emplace and fire by map on German troops along the road entering Noville from the north. Thus the 969th joined the Bastogne battle. Ordered by McAuliffe into the slowly forming perimeter, it took firing positions at Villeroux near the 755th and the 420th Armored Field Artillery Battalions. These three battalions together would form a groupment firing from the west around the entire sweep of the Bastogne perimeter. [7]


The 101st move from Camp Mourmelon to Bastogne was made in rain and snow flurries; for the later serials most of the 107-mile trip was in darkness. All parts of the column were forced to buck the mass of vehicles streaming back to the west. But the move was made in good time, the 501st in the van taking only eight hours before it detrucked at midnight. By 0900 on 19 December McAuliffe had all four regiments in hand.


There could be no prolonged pause for an integrated division deployment, for all through the night messages of apprehension, defeat, and disaster-none too precise-came into Bastogne. Middleton counted on CCB of the 10th Armored Division (Col. William Roberts) to heal the breachfor a time at least-opened on the main road east of Bastogne. He expected McAuliffe to support this force, but as yet the enemy dispositions and intentions were too uncertain to permit any wholesale commitment of the 101st.


[7] The 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion AAR, 755th Armored Field Artillery Battalion Unit History. and 969th Field Artillery Battalion AAR are must reading for anyone attempting to reconstruct the Bastogne defense.