Page 344


ing morning Maj. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway, who had resumed command of the airborne corps, opened his corps command post near that of the 82d, once again under Gavin.


Later in the morning at the First Army headquarters (which had moved to Chaudfontaine), General Hodges gave Ridgway the directive which would make the airborne corps operational and flesh it out with troops. The corps' mission was to block further German advance along an irregular line extending from the Ambleve through Manhay and Houffalize to La Roche on the Ourthe River, placing the corps' right boundary twenty miles northwest of Bastogne. Three threatened areas were known to be in the newly assigned zone of operations: the Ambleve River sector, where the 119th Infantry was deployed; the Salm River sector, especially at Trois Ponts where a lone engineer company still barred the crossings (although this information was unknown to the 82d); and the general area north of the Ourthe