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at bay for over an hour. The eight Shermans by this time had run out of armor-piercing ammunition and half a dozen panzers tried to close in. A fresh platoon of tank destroyers from the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion, sent up by Higgins, took a hand and broke up this sortie. In midmorning, when a promised platoon of quad mount antiaircraft failed to appear, Harwick and Hustead learned that the enemy had cut the road to the rear. The two aid stations could handle no more wounded-most of the medics and aid men were casualties-and the enemy grip obviously was tightening. The word relayed through the artillery net back to Bastogne told the story: "All reserves committed. Situation critical."


McAuliffe and Roberts consulted, agreed that the Noville force should withdraw. To free the troops in Noville would take some doing. General Higgins, in charge of the northern sector, already had acted to meet this crisis by sending the 3d Battalion of the 502d Parachute Infantry (assembled near Longchamps) into an attack northeast against the Germans who had descended on the road linking Noville and Foy. The latter village, 2,500 yards south of Noville on the Bastogne road, had been occupied by the 3d Battalion of the 506th, which had its own fight going. Foy lies at the bottom of a pocket and during the night elements of the 304th Panzer Grenadier Regiment had wormed their way onto the hills overlooking the village from north, west, and east. With this vantage the Germans brought their direct fire weapons to bear and forced the 3d Battalion back onto the high ground south of the hamlet.


But by noon the 101st had a solid base for a counterattack. The 2d Battalion of the 506th covered the right flank of the 3d and was in contact with the 501st on the east. The battalion sent from the 502d was in position west of Foy. Beginning the counterattack at 1400, paratroopers pushed back through Foy and dug in some 200 yards to the north where late in the afternoon they met the column fighting its way back from Noville. [5]


The smoke and fog that run through all reports of the Noville fight did good service as cover when the Americans formed for the march out. The main German barrier force had arrayed itself just north of Foy, complete with armor and self-propelled guns. Four Shermans, in the van with a few half-tracks, were put out of action before they could return fire. While one paratroop company attacked to open the road, Major Harwick sent for two tank destroyers from the rear of the column. Shells were bursting among the troops crouched by the roadside, and the clank of tank tracks could be heard approaching from Noville. But the tank destroyers and their armor-piercing shell did the trick-and an assist must be credited also to the Americans in Foy who were now on the enemy's rear. By 1700 the column was back inside the American lines. The fight at Noville cost the 1st Battalion of the 506th a total of 13 officers and 199 men killed, wounded, and missing. Team Desobry has no record of its casualties but they must have been very heavy, both in men and vehicles. The 506th estimates that the 2d Panzer lost thirty-one vehicles in the Noville fight


[5] For bravery in this action Pfc. Gilbert Van Every was awarded the DSC.