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dun. By midnight one combat command of the 4th Armored Division was on its way north to Longwy; at dawn on the 19th the 80th Infantry Division had started for Luxembourg City. And through the night before the Verdun meeting the Third Army staff worked feverishly to draft plans for the intervention of all or any part of Patton's forces in the battle raging in the north, for Bradley had intimated that Patton was to take command of the VIII Corps and other forces moving to its assistance. Bradley already had directed that the III Corps headquarters would be moved from Metz to take command of an attack to be mounted somewhere north of Luxembourg City. Patton's general staff, therefore, prepared three plans for a counterattack: on the axes Neufchateau-St. Hubert; Arlon-Bastogne; and Luxembourg-Diekirch-St. Vith. The final attack selected would, as Patton then saw it, be delivered by the VIII and III Corps. When Patton arrived at Verdun on the morning of the 19th, Eisenhower asked how soon the III Corps could launch its counterattack. Patton replied that he could start a piecemeal attack in three days, a co-ordinated attack in six. The Supreme Commander, who seems to have felt that Patton was a bit too confident, subsequently informed Field Marshal Montgomery that the counter- attack from the south would be made on the 23d or 24th. [3]


The master plan outlined by Eisenhower in the Verdun meeting of the 19th turned on a major effort to plug the holes developing in the north and the launching of a co-ordinated attack from the south. To free the force needed for this initial counterattack, Eisenhower ordered all offensive operations south of the Moselle to be halted forthwith and turned over the entire Third Army sector (except for that occupied by Maj. Gen. Walton H. Walker's XX Corps on the border of the Saar) to General Devers' 6th Army Group. This northward extension of Devers' command would spread the American forces in Alsace and Lorraine rather thin, but Devers (who was present at the Verdun meeting on the 19th) was promised some of the Third Army divisions and artillery.


It was now clear that Patton would be responsible for a major effort to knife into the German southern flank, that he would have at least two of the three Third Army corps, six of its divisions,


[3] See below, Chapter XXI, note 2, for documentary sources relating to Patton and the Third Army.