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Battalion, 116th Panzer Division, arrived from Houffalize and started running combat patrols through the woods in front of La Roche. Hogan, under orders to hold up his own advance until Orr could take Samree, finally received a change in orders about 1300 which directed his task force to fall back on Amonines. It was crystal clear by this hour that there could be no advance to Samree. Hogan's column moved north, skirmishing with small German forces along the way, but at twilight ran into machine gun fire and lost its lead tank to a German bazooka just at the edge of the hamlet of Beffe. Without realizing the fact, the Americans had hit the assembly area of the 156th Panzer Grenadier Regiment. There was nothing for it at this time of day but to pull away. Task Force Hogan retired to the south and bivouacked on a hill near Marcouray. Although their plight was not immediately apparent, Hogan and his 400 men had been cut off from the rest of the 3d Armored Division.


The eastern column, Task Force Kane, alone of the 3d Armored forces passed the morning of the 21st without enemy contact. As planned, Kane sent a detachment south to the important crossroads at Baraque de Fraiture, on the Vielsalm-Samree route, to reinforce the mixed group of Americans already there and to take part in the final attack on Samree. This detachment reached the crossroads in the middle of the afternoon and there met the 7th Armored Division cavalry which had come in from Vielsalm the previous evening. Caught up in the fight already started at the crossroads, the tanks and armored cars were unable to proceed to Samree. The remaining troops of Task Force Kane received orders during the afternoon to move on Dochamps as part of a projected concentric maneuver to retake Samree and did advance about a mile south of Grandmenil before darkness closed in.


The 3d Armored Division had met a superior force on the 21st, had failed to retake Samree, had been forced to use its reserves in a fight to reopen the road to Hotton, and had seen its western and center task forces pushed back. But there were some reasons to expect an improvement in what had been a deteriorating situation. The Hotton bridge had been held and there was word that the 84th Infantry Division would lend a hand. The 3d Armored Division was going to get back its own CCA, although under a corps prohibition against using it save in dire circumstances, and during the night of 21 December CCA did close north of Manhay. At least a battalion of the 517th Parachute Infantry was on its way to reinforce the Combat Command Reserve at Soy. The eastern flank had been more or less secured by contact made between Task Force Kane and the 82d Airborne Division during the day. All this was heartening, but there remained the worry as to what the full enemy strength and intentions might be.


Operations maps posted on the night of the 21st in the bunkers housing the Wehrmachtfuehrungsstab showed the LVIII Panzer Corps as the most advanced unit of all the German forces driving west, with its 116th Panzer Division at Hotton, only twenty air-line miles from the Meuse River. But the fight at Hotton, despite what the operations map might show, had convinced the LVIII Panzer Corps commander that,