randum to the XVIII Airborne Corps commander setting forth the hard facts of the case already put to the British captain.
. . . Unless assistance is promptly forthcoming I believe our present position may become serious for several reasons, namely:
a. Our supplies must come in through a bottleneck over a bridge near Vielsalm.
b. We may become subjected to enemy artillery fire from practically any direction.
c. The road net within our position is totally inadequate to the troops and vehicles concentrated therein. The map shows many roads, but on the ground, the majority of these are mere tracks on which even a jeep bogs down if more than two or three travel on it.
d. If the 2d SS Panzer Division attack should succeed in driving back the two RCTs of the 82d Airborne Division now between Salmchateau and Hebronval even as little as 3000 yards we will be completely severed from any source of supplies.
Since the chances of assistance in the immediate future do not seem bright, I would like to suggest that consideration be given to withdrawal of the 7th Armored and 106th Divisions to a position to the right (west) of the 82d Airborne Division where they may be of assistance in halting a possible advance north by the 2d SS Panzer.
The withdrawal of CCB, 7th Armored Division, last night from St. Vith was expensive. So far we are missing at least one half of Clarke's force. Of course many of them will show up, but they will be minus weapons, ammunition, blankets and rations as well as at a low physical level. *I don't think we can prevent a complete break-through if another all-out attack comes against CCB tonight* [italics (between asterisks, LWJ) supplied] due largely to the fact that our original three infantry battalions have at present melted to the equivalent of only two very tired battalions.
It was about an hour before noon. Hasbrouck had not yet sent his message to Ridgway when word came of the German advance against the north flank of CCB, 7th Armored, in the Rodt sector. General Hasbrouck now had a postscript to add, one bringing tenseness and urgency to the precise military form and phraseology of the main text.
P.S. A strong attack has just developed against Clarke again. He is being outflanked and is retiring west another 2,000 yards refusing both flanks. I am throwing in my last chips to halt him. Hoge has just reported an attack. In my opinion if we don't get out of here and up north of the 82d before night, we will not have a 7th Armored Division left. RWH.
This message reached Ridgway's headquarters ten minutes before noon.
Hasbrouck was not alone in this apprehensive view of things to come. Over the field telephone General Jones concurred in the opinion furnished Montgomery and Ridgway, but at 1250 Jones dispatched a memo to Ridgway saying, "My intentions are to retain the ground now defended." Without further orders the two commanders, their staffs, and subordinates set to work on plans for demolitions and a rear guard stand to keep the escape routes to the Salm open. During the afternoon the 7th Armored Division trains, whose officers and men had done a remarkable job in supporting the troops in the salient, got through one last supply column of ninety vehicles to Salmchateau. The arrival of gasoline, rations, ammunition, and the presence of a few replacement vehicles in the division park would make the last-ditch stand or withdrawal, whichever it might be, a little easier.
In the middle of the afternoon the order came-withdraw. Montgomery had consulted with General Hodges, the First Army commander, and here