Page 314


Help was on the way to the VIII Corps, two airborne divisions and one armored. Of these reinforcements the 101st Airborne Division and the 10th Armored Division were expected to assemble in the neighborhood of Bastogne. The problem then, during the 18th, was to extend the slim screen already in position east of Bastogne so as to provide cover north and south of the city against any enemy interruption of the assembly process. On the south side the 1102d Engineer Group gathered ordnance, quartermaster, signal, and engineer units, placing them east of the highway running to Arlon. At the moment, however, this sector gave no cause for immediate concern, for the southern flank of the corps still was holding.


North of Bastogne a German threat was beginning to take shape. During the morning word reached the VIII Corps command post that the 740th Field Artillery Battalion had been overrun by the 1st SS Panzer Division at Poteau, west of St. Vith. Also, the left wing of the 28th Infantry Division had been forced back across the Our River and it appeared that a penetration was in progress south of St. Vith. To head off any roaming German reconnaissance units