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of CCB, in fact was fearful of using its artillery against any targets to the east. Gaffey still expected CCB to make the breakthrough now that its west flank was protected. To this end General Taylor, impatient to reach his division in Bastogne, had joined General Dager's command post, bringing the first word Dager had that CCR had come up on his left. Even so the general mission for all of the 4th Armored Division remained the relief of the 101st Airborne.


On Christmas night Colonel Blanchard and his officers huddled over a map which had just arrived by liaison plane. This map showed the American disposition in the Bastogne perimeter, only six miles away, and a somewhat hypothetical scheme of the German order of battle as it faced in toward Bastogne and out toward the 4th Armored. The red-penciled symbols representing the enemy were most numerous and precise where they faced north; by now the 101st had had ample opportunity to gauge the German strength and dispositions hemming it in. The red figures farther south were few and accompanied by question marks.


Basing it on this rather sketchy information, Blanchard gave his plan for attack on 26 December. This called for an advance through Remichampagne, a mile and a half away, and Clochimont. Then the combat command would turn northwest to Sibret, thus returning to the Neufchateau-Bastogne road. At Sibret, which air reconnaissance had reported to be full of troops, the main fight would apparently be made. Fighter-bomber support had been promised for the morning of the 26th, and CCR had seen the sky full of American planes over Bastogne. The four firing batteries with CCR would displace from Juseret to new positions south of Cobreville, but because the exact location of CCB was unknown the howitzers would not be laid on Remichampagne. Immediate targets would be two: a large block of woods west of Remichampagne, for which CCR could spare none of its limited armored infantry; and the road from Morhet, leading east of the Neufchateau-Bastogne highway, on which spotter planes had observed German tanks.


When CCR started for Remichampagne on the morning of 26 December, the ground was frozen, and tank going was even better than it had been during the summer pursuit across France. The column had just gotten under way when suddenly a number of P-47's appeared. Although the 362d Fighter Group was slated to give CCR a hand, these particular planes, probably from the 362d, had not been called for. Bombing only a few hundred yards in front of the leading tanks, the P-47's shook all ideas of resistance out of the few Germans left in the village or the woods.


Next was Clochimont. CCR was reaching the point where a collision with the enemy main line of resistance could be expected or a strong counterattack be suffered. Carefully then, CCR deployed near Clochimont, moving its teams out to cover the flanks. Colonel Abrams dispatched one tank company northward hoping to uncover the next enemy position or draw fire from Assenois, straight to the fore, or Sibret, the objective on the Bastogne highway. It was about 1500 when these dispositions were completed. Orders called for the attack to be continued toward Sibret, over to the northwest, but this town was probably well