afternoon, the embattled engineers, aided by a few men from the 3d Armored Division, had halted the enemy and saved the bridge-a feat of arms subsequently acknowledged by the German corps and army commanders.
About noon Bolling received word from the XVIII Airborne Corps that the 334th was to hold the enemy south of the Hotton-Marche line, both these villages to be the responsibility of his division. A few minutes later a corps message arrived saying that fifteen German tanks and an infantry company had been reported five miles southeast of Marche in the hamlet of Bande and that they were heading west. By this time General Bolling had a more precise statement of his mission, for he had telephoned army headquarters about eleven o'clock to report the enemy blow at Hotton and to ask whether his single RCT should be committed to battle on the Marche-Hotton line. The answer was "Yes, hold." The question posed by the commander of the 84th had been much in the minds of Hodges and Collins that morning. With the German armored spearheads breaking out toward the west, the risk entailed in assembling the VII Corps piecemeal as far forward as Marche was very real, and the American commanders considered that perhaps the corps concentration should be made farther back to the north. But with the order given Bolling the die was cast.
There remained the question of how best to bring in the rest of the 84th and the bulk of the corps. Collins asked for CCR of the 5th Armored Division, which was at Rotgen under V Corps, to be detailed to help the 3d Armored hold N4, the road from Namur. V Corps, however, still was hard beset and Hodges would not at this moment cut into its reserve. The commander of the 84th, who did not know that a 3d Armored picket still held Hotton, ordered the rest of his division to come in on a road farther to the west. By midnight of the 21st he had his entire division and the attached 771st Tank Battalion assembled and in process of deploying on a line of defense. About dark, as the second RCT detrucked, Bolling relieved the 334th of its close-in defense of Marche and moved the 2d and 3d Battalions out to form the left flank of the division, this anchored at Hotton where troops of the 3d Armored finally had been met. The 335th (Col. Hugh C. Parker) deployed to the right of the 334th with its right flank on N4 and its line circling south and east through Jamodenne and Waha. The 333d (Col. Timothy A. Pedley, Jr.), last to arrive, assembled north of Marche in the villages of Baillonville and Moressee ready to act as cover for the open right flank of the divisionand army-or as the division reserve.
During the night the regiments pushed out a combat outpost line, digging in on the frozen ground some thousand yards forward of the main position, which extended from Hogne on Highway N4 through Marloie and along the pine-crested ridges southwest of Hampteau. The division now was in position forward of the Hotton-Marche road and that vital link appeared secure. Earlier in the day the 51st Engineer roadblocks on the Marche-Bastogne highway had held long enough to allow the 7th Armored trains to escape from La Roche and reach Marche, but at 1930 the tiny engineer detachments were