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at Pironpre undisturbed, moving around it on the right and left. This second day of the new year the 347th made progress. The 1st Battalion captured Gerimont and the 3d Battalion took Bonnerue, in the process losing four of its attached tanks to armor-piercing fire (probably from the panzers hidden in Pironpre). But by nightfall it was apparent that a dangerous gap had been created between the two battalions, and Colonel Tupper ordered his reserve battalion to clean out Pironpre and the thick woods beyond. The 87th Division now could claim that the Bastogne-St. Hubert road had been pierced because the seizure of Bonnerue had put a part of the 347th athwart this highway.


The 11th Armored Division had regrouped during the night of 30 December with the object of consolidating the entire division for a drive north along the Rechrival valley. CCA moved over the icy roads south of the Bois des Haies de Magery, which had separated it from the rest of the division, and onto the Neufchateau-Bastogne road, where the columns ran afoul of those of CCB, 6th Armored. In the morning CCA turned off the highway and assembled around Morhet. The new scheme of maneuver called for CCA to attack in the center of the valley, erupt from it at Rechrival and Hubermont, then capture Flamierge. CCR (Col. Virgil Bell) had been brought up from reserve to cover the CCA left flank in a sequence of blocking positions at Magerotte and Pinsamont where branch roads gave entrance to the Hubermont road. CCB, still entangled in the Chenogne fight, had orders to take that village and proceed along the east side of the valley-which would involve clearing the troublesome Bois des Valets-until it reached its objective at Mande-St. Etienne. With Flamierge and Mande-St. Etienne held in force, the German line of communications west of Bastogne would be effectively blocked.


Now that General Kilburn had his whole division in hand, he took an optimistic view of the power play to be made on the 31st. Indeed his staff informed the 101st Airborne Division, with what was pardonable presumption when a green division was seeking to impress the veteran and haughty paratroopers, that Mande-St. Etienne would be taken by noon. In midmorning CCA passed CCB's Task Force Poker, which had laagered at Brul and Houmont the evening before and was waiting for Task Force Pat to get through Chenogne. Near Rechrival the march was interrupted by an enemy screening force that had been deployed by the 3d Panzer Grenadier to protect its western flank. This detachment, equipped with antitank and assault guns, was promptly reinforced by the 115th Regiment of the 15th Panzer Grenadier (reduced by the bloody attack west of Bastogne to battalion strength). Loosing a series of jabs at the head of the American column, the 115th used the Panzerfaust to put a number of tanks hors de combat. The ever-ready fighter-bombers intervened to help CCA with a strike on Rechrival, but in any case the American armor carried the weight necessary to push back the grenadiers, and after considerable reorganization the march resumed. Rechrival was found empty-apparently the Jabos had done their work well-and the command outposted for the night. Task Force Pat turned again to as-