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and the bulk of the army troops for the task. (On 20 December, however, after a visit to Middleton's command post, Patton found that the VIII Corps was in such shape that it could not be used offensively and that the two Third Army corps would have to carry the ball.) A telephone call from Verdun, using a simple code which had been arranged before Patton left Nancy, informed the Third Army chief of staff (Brig. Gen. Hobart R. Gay) that the XII Corps was to disengage at once, that the command post of Eddy's corps and an advance command post for the Third Army were to transfer to Luxembourg City, that the 26th Infantry Division was to start north on the following morning, and that the 35th Infantry Division-which had been in the line for 160 consecutive days-was to be relieved as quickly as possible and be sent to Metz for much needed rehabilitation en route to the Ardennes battle. At midnight of the 20th, the XII Corps front was taken over by its southern neighbor, Maj. Gen. Wade H. Haislip's XV Corps. The 4th Armored and 80th Infantry Divisions had that day passed to the command of the III Corps in the Arlon sector south of Bastogne.


The next morning General Eddy and his immediate staff departed for Luxembourg with a new mission: to assume command of the American troops north and east of Luxembourg City who had held so tenaciously along the southern shoulder of the original German penetration. General Eddy's new command, aside from corps troops, consisted of those units already in the area and the 5th Infantry Division, which had been added to the roster of Third Army formations rolling northward. It moved in piecemeal as it was relieved from the XX Corps' bridgehead at Saarlautern. [4] The troops in the line when Eddy took over were the 4th Infantry Division, the 10th Armored Division (less CCB), CCA of the 9th Armored Division, the 109th Infantry, and other smaller units of the 28th Infantry Division. (Map IX)


When the XII Corps took control of its new zone on the 21st, the German thrust into eastern Luxembourg had been pretty well checked. The three German divisions which the Seventh Army had thrown into the initial attack were drastically depleted by then and apprehensive that the Americans might undertake a counterattack in such force as to penetrate this part of the Seventh Army's blocking position on the southern flank of the German salient. The Americans likewise were concerned lest the enemy make a last major try for a breakthrough before the promised reinforcement arrived from the Third Army.


There was, however, a fairly continuous-although jagged-line of defense confronting the enemy. The new corps' front, facing east and north, reached from Dickweiler, near the west bank of the Sauer River, to Schieren, on the Alzette River, due north of Luxembourg City. The eastern wing was defended by the 4th Infantry Division and task forces from the 10th Armored Division. The northern wing was held by the 109th Infantry and CCA, 9th Armored Division, backed by detachments from the 10th Armored. This wing, at its


[4] The combat interviews with the XII Corps provide an enlightening account of the problems encountered in the Third Army ninety-degree wheel to the north. See also the XII Corps AAR and G-3 journal. The semiofficial history of the XII Corps is Lt. Col. George Dyer's XII Corps: Spearhead of Patton's Third Army (Baton Rouge: Military Press of Louisiana, n.d., ch. 11, passim.