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about 170 Americans, most of whom had been captured at Stoumont on 19 December. The prisoners they took, nearly all wounded, numbered 300. Twenty-eight tanks, 70 half-tracks, and 25 artillery pieces were found in the town. This booty, plus the German tanks and guns destroyed earlier in the operation, accounted for nearly the entire heavy equipment of the 1st SS Panzer Regiment. Although those of Peiper's troops who had escaped were back in the line with the reconstituted 1st SS Panzer Division, that elite unit could no longer be considered an armored division.


In an epilogue to the taking of La Gleize, foot troops of the 117th and 120th Infantry Regiments began the slow work of beating the woods in the triangle formed by the Salm and the Ambleve where a part of the 1st SS Panzer Division relief force continued to hold out. In the woods north of La Gleize some fifty Germans who apparently had not received the orders to withdraw tried to fight it out. All were killed. What German strength had seeped into this appendix at the rivers no one knew. Rumors of twenty-five enemy tanks hiding in the road cuts north of Trois Ponts had the result of delaying the relief of CCB of the 3d Armored Division. That some armored vehicles had crossed to the north bank of the Ambleve by improvised bridging seems certain, but most succeeded in escaping to the south. By the 26th the last Germans had been captured, killed, or driven off from the north bank of the Ambleve. The satisfaction which the 30th Division could take in giving the quietus to Kampfgruppe Peiper was alloyed by untoward events at Malmedy on the 24th and 25th. On these days American planes bombed the 120th Infantry (at least thirty-seven Americans lost their lives on the first day), killed a considerable number of civilians, and set the town afire. A mass flight started by the population was halted only with great difficulty. [2]


The 3d Armored Division Is Checked, 21-23 December


Still minus two of its combat commands the 3d Armored Division was prepared, on the morning of 21 December, to retake Samree, the communications and supply center on the middle route of the 3d Armored (-) advance which had been seized by the enemy the previous afternoon. (Map VII) With this intent General Rose sent a part of his very small reserve to reinforce the center task force (now Task Force Orr) north of the village of Dochamps. During the previous night Rose had asked General Ridgway for respite from his main mission, that is, the advance to the Liege-Bastogne highway and an attempt to re-establish contact with the VIII Corps, until the situation at Samree could be cleared up. At 0815, however, Rose assured Ridgway that the 3d Armored was moving once again to accomplish its major mission. Less than a half-hour later German tanks were discovered moving toward Hotton, where the rear command


[2] The unfortunate and costly bombing raids on Malmedy were the result of tragic errors. This was acknowledged by the IX Bombardment Division but the Ninth Air Force and General Carl Spaatz at first refused to do so and referred to the "alleged" errors at Malmedy, a view corrected in Craven and Cate (eds.), Europe: ARGUMENT to V-E Day, p. 670. Royce L. Thompson has a quite complete study of these air strikes in his unpublished manuscript entitled Malmedy, Belgium, Mistaken Bombing, 23 and 25 December 1944 (1952), in OCMH files. Thompson's work is based on official Air Force records.