Page 621


3d Panzer Grenadier-heeding his call for assistance-moved troops into the ruins of Chenogne. [12] This division had taken little part in the day's activity, probably because of the intense shelling directed on its assembly area in the Bois de Fragotte by the 4th Armored and corps artillery, the cross fire laid down from Villeroux by the tanks of Task Force Karsteter, and the uncertainty of Remer's situation.


The western advance on 30 December by CCA of the 11th Armored met almost no resistance during the first few hours, in part because the 28th Cavalry Squadron had driven the German outpost line back on Remagne. The immediate objective, Remagne, was the anchor position for the left wing of the new and attenuated Panzer Lehr position, but this division had just completed its shift eastward and had only small foreposts here. One of these, in the hamlet of Rondu about a mile and a half south of Remagne, seems to have flashed back warning of the American approach. In any case the 63d Armored Infantry Battalion, leading the march as Task Force White, had just come onto the crest of the ridge beyond Rondu when, as the men on the receiving end vividly recall, "All hell broke loose." The two tanks at the point of the column were hit in one, two order. The armored infantry took a hundred casualties in thirty minutes while digging madly in the frozen ground. Task Force Blue (the 42d Tank Battalion) was shielded by the ridge and received little fire. Since the 87th Division had not yet come up on the left, the 41st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron moved around to the west flank in anticipation of a German counterthrust.


It was midafternoon. German high velocity guns were sweeping the ridge, and there was no room for maneuver: the Ourthe lay to the west and the Bois des Haies de Magery spread to the east, separating CCA and CCB. General Kilburn asked the corps commander to assign Remagne to the 87th and let CCA sideslip to rejoin CCB east of the woods. Middleton agreed and a new maneuver was evolved for 31 December in which all three combat commands of the 11th Armored would attack to concentrate at the head of the Rechrival valley, thus following up the drive made by Task Force Poker. An hour before midnight CCA began its withdrawal.


On the left wing of the VIII Corps the assault units of the 87th Division were trucked northward on the morning of 30 December to the line of departure in the neighborhood of Bras, held by the 109th Infantry. [13] Since the first major objective was to sever the German supply route along the St. Hubert-Bastogne road the attack was weighted on the right, with the 345th Infantry (Col.


[12] Remer's operations west of Bastogne are described by Remer and some of his officers in MS # B-592 (Remer) and Die Geschichte Des Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland, vol. II.


[13] Since the 87th Division and the 11th Armored fought side by side during this operation, their journals and histories should be used together. The 87th Division AAR is of little value but those prepared by the regiments are quite detailed. See Also Historical and Pictorial Record of the 87th Infantry Division in World War II (Baton Rouge: Army and Navy Publishing Company, 1946). The records of the 11th Armored are surprisingly complete for an armored outfit in its first operations. See also Hal D. Steward Thunderbolt (Washington: 11th Armored Division Association, 1948). The combat interviews are very comprehensive in coverage of the 11th Armored but have virtually nothing on the 87th Division.