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Armored Division trains, commanded by Colonel Adams, and by two combat engineer battalions, the 51st and 158th. As the 7th Armored advanced into combat around St. Vith on 18 December and it became apparent that German thrusts were piercing deep on both flanks of this position, Adams received orders to move the division trains into the area around La Roche and prepare a defense for that town and the Ourthe bridges. Most of the vehicles under Adams' command were concentrated west of La Roche by 20 December, but large stores of ammunition, rations, and gasoline had just been moved to dumps at Samree. (Map 3)


The 51st Engineer Combat Battalion (Lt. Col. Harvey R. Fraser) had arrived at Hotton on 19 December with orders to construct a barrier line farther south which would utilize the Ourthe River as a natural obstacle. The battalion was minus Company C, which, at Trois Ponts, did much to slow the pace of Kampfgruppe Peiper's westward march. It did