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the V and VIII Corps boundary. [5] At this time (the evening of 16 December) the situation did not seem too ominous and the division commander merely was told that he should alert his units in the rest area. Shortly before noon of the following day the corps commander, Maj. Gen. Raymond S. McLain, telephoned to say: "I don't know any of the details but you are going south. I think it is only temporary." The 30th Division was to move to an assembly area north of Eupen where the V Corps commander, General Gerow, would issue detailed orders. Gerow's instructions, actually received at noon, directed the 30th Division to relieve the 18th Infantry (1st Division) around Eupen and prepare for a counterattack to the southeast in support of the 2d and 99th Divisions farther south. The rapid advance of Kampfgruppe Peiper, however, would catch the division in midpassage, drastically changing the manner of its ultimate commitment. (See Map II.)


At 1630, on 17 December, the division started the forty-mile trip to its new assembly area moving by combat teams prepared to fight. The 30th Reconnaissance Troop, the 119th Infantry, 117th Infantry, and 120th Infantry moved in that order, with tanks and tank destroyers interspersed between the regiments. Despite the presence of a few German aircraft which picked up the column early in the move and hung about dropping flares or making futile strafing passes, the leading regiment closed by midnight. Meanwhile the V Corps commander, apprehensive lest the 1st SS Panzer Division column thrusting south of Malmedy should destroy the last connection between his own and the VIII Corps, ordered General Hobbs to switch his leading combat team to Malmedy at daylight.


Since the 119th had detrucked and bedded down for the night, the assistant division commander, Brig. Gen. William K. Harrison, Jr., caught the 117th Infantry on the road and directed it toward Malmedy. Its way fitfully lighted by enemy flares, the 117th (Col. Walter M. Johnson) moved cautiously south from Eupen. In early morning the head of the regimental column was bucking the heavy stream of traffic leaving Malmedy when new orders arrived: one battalion was to go to Stavelot, erect a roadblock, and prevent the Germans from advancing north of the Ambleve River. Colonel Johnson hurried his 1st Battalion toward Stavelot, deployed the 2d Battalion on the ridge between Stavelot and Malmedy, then organized the defense of Malmedy with the 3d Battalion and the troops already in the town.


At daybreak on 18 December the remainder of the 30th Division was on the road to Malmedy with the 120th Infantry in the lead, under new orders for a division attack to the southeast. The V Corps G-3 had told General Hobbs that he expected this attack to be made not earlier than 19 December. But the German attack on Stavelot during the morning caused consternation


[6] The records kept by the 30th Division are in a very good state and are particularly valuable in that they include a telephone record, attached to the G-3 journal, of important conversations between the commander and his chief officers. Published works on the history of the division include Robert L. Hewitt, Workhorse of the Western Front (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1946); History of the 117th Infantry (Washington, 1946); and History of the 120th Infantry Regiment (Washington, 1947).