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his officers to "take it easy," avoid commitment to an action which would involve their whole force, and deploy to right and left as soon as they hit resistance so that they would not be easily cut off and surrounded. [1]


Hindsight, of course, bestows a view of the American and German dispositions at 0600, when the 101st advance guard marched out, which was denied Ewell and the corps and division staffs in Bastogne. The battles already described were now coming to a close on the roads, in the villages, and through the woods east of the town as the 101st was taking its stance. During the night of 18 December the three small task forces of CCR, 9th Armored Division, which Middleton had ordered Colonel Gilbreth to position on and overwatching the Allerborn-Bastogne road (N 12), were cut to pieces. Some men and vehicles would escape to take a part in the fight for Bastogne, although some of Colonel Booth's command took six days of dodging the enemy before they reached the American lines. At Longvilly, next, and to the west, on the Bastogne road, Gilbreth had gathered what was left of CCR and its attached troops to fight a rear guard action until the 19th dawned and an orderly withdrawal might be effected.


Gilbreth started his guns displacing to the rear some time before daybreak, but the main force commenced to defile through the western exit from Longvilly about 0800, only to be ambushed and thrown into disorder when approaching Mageret, midway between Longvilly and Bastogne. Team Cherry (Lt. Col. Henry T. Cherry) of CCB, 10th Armored Division, which had been sent along the road toward Longvilly the previous evening, found itself involved in a series of disjointed actions as enemy troops cut the highway. Team Hyduke (1st Lt. Edward P. Hyduke) was caught up in the fight east of Mageret, subsequently losing all its vehicles in a sharp and aggressive armored action which the 2d Panzer commander dignified as an American "counterattack." (Late on the afternoon of the 19th Lieutenant Hyduke led his men on foot out of the melee under orders to rejoin CCB. He was afterward killed at Bastogne.)


Team Ryerson (Capt. William F. Ryerson), the main force belonging to Cherry, had laagered during the night between Mageret and Longvilly-and thus would fight an action almost independently of the Longvilly columnbut before daybreak Ryerson knew that the enemy was in Mageret and that he would have to punch his way back to the west. Cherry sent orders confirming this withdrawal about 0830. Ryerson found his team outnumbered and outgunned by the Germans holding Mageret, but on the night of the 19th four squads of his armored infantry held a narrow foothold in a few houses on the eastern edge of the village, waiting there for help promised from the west. Colonel Cherry had gone back to Bastogne to see the CCB commander late on the 18th, returning


[1] Middleton recalls that he directed McAuliffe to reinforce the 10th Armored roadblock on the Longvilly road. (Ltr, Middleton to Col. Marshall, 1 Jul 45.) The S-3 journal of CCB, 10th Armored Division, notes at 0740 on 19 December that Ewell's mission is to relieve "the surrounded groups" and assist CCB. The 101st AAR simply states that Ewell was ordered to attack to the east and "secure Bastogne." The story as given in the text is based on Ewell's recollections (in a conversation with the author on 22 July 1961) and squares with information given the author by Middleton and McAuliffe.