By midnight CCB had ended its 150 mile ride and closed in villages on the east side of Vaux-lez-Rosieres; all the journal sergeant could enter at this hour was "mission unknown." But by the morning of the 20th the status and duties of Dager's command were really confused, for the III Corps had opened its command post at Arlon and proceeded to give orders on the assumption that the 4th Armored Division in its entirety was reporting to General Millikin. The VIII Corps had ordered Dager to send an officer to Bastogne at daylight on the 20th to determine the exact situation there, but about 0500 that morning someone on the VIII Corps G-3 staff- who it was cannot be determined- ordered Dager to send a tank company, an armored infantry company, and a battery of self-propelled artillery into Bastogne.
Although Dager argued against this fragmentization of his force, at 1030 the small team was on its way, led by Capt. Bert Ezell, executive officer of the 8th Tank Battalion, who earlier had been named the liaison officer to the 101st Airborne. The only mission specified was "to aid CCB of the 10th Armored Division." Since CCB had bivouacked close to the Neufchateau-Bastogne road this route was used. There had been rumors that the Germans had cut the road, but nobody seemed to know for certain and American reconnaissance was woefully lacking in this sector. En route the team received- or heard- a little small arms fire. In Bastogne Ezell reported to the 101st chief of staff, who turned him over to the division G-3, who passed him on to General McAuliffe, who assigned him to Colonel Roberts, commanding CCB of the 10th Armored. Roberts ordered Ezell to assemble his task force at Villeroux two and a half miles southwest of Bastogne and gave him a number of missions.
About 1400 a radio message from CCB rescinded Ezell's original orders and told him to return to Nives, the 8th Tank Battalion bivouack. This is what had happened. Telephone connection between CCB and General Gaffey's 4th Armored command post had opened, giving Dager an opportunity to express his concern over the way in which his command was being whittled away piecemeal. Gaffey immediately ordered Dager to recall the task force at Bastogne and to move CCB into assembly with the rest of the division northwest of Arlon. Figuring that someone higher in authority would inform Roberts or McAuliffe, Ezell and his team started for home. On the way into Bastogne the task force had noticed two battalions of field artillery beside the road, the pieces and prime movers jammed together, equipment scattered, and most of the gunners fleeing along the road to the south. This time the task force stopped, found one dead man lying by his prime mover, shot in the head, and an artillery captain singlehandedly trying to hitch up the guns and move them to the road. Lieutenant Kiley, who commanded the tank company, hitched three of the pieces to his tanks and left a few of his men to help the anonymous captain. Seven hours after the team set out it was back with CCB. Ezell had counted only three artillery rounds during the trip and had seen signal men calmly laying wire along the highway. At dusk on the 20th, then, the Neufchateau-Bastogne road still was in friendly hands. Why was CCB as a unit not put in to hold this corridor