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3d Armored, was to clear the east and north banks of the Ambleve and establish contact with the 117th Infantry, which had its hands full in Stavelot. The reinforced 119th Infantry was to secure the Ambleve River line from Stoumont to La Gleize. The 82d Airborne Division was to take over the Salm River bridges at Trois Ponts, drive the enemy from the area between the Ambleve and the Werbomont-Trois Ponts road, and make contact with CCB when the latter reached Stavelot, thus completing the encirclement of such enemy forces as might be left to the north. The 3d Armored Division was to fan out and push reconnaissance as far as the road between Manhay and Houffalize, locating and developing the shadowy German force believed to be bearing down on the sketchy corps right wing somewhere north of Houffalize.


The immediate and proximate threat, on the morning of 20 December, was Peiper's force of the 1st SS Panzer Division, now concentrated with its bulk in