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the Stoumont-La Gleize area, but with an outpost holding the light bridge over the Ambleve at Cheneux and its tail involved in a fight to reopen the rearward line of communications through Stavelot. Kampfgruppe Peiper, it should be noticed, was considerably weakened by this piecemeal deployment; furthermore, it lacked the gasoline to undertake much maneuver even in this constricted area. (Map 2)

CCB (Brig. Gen. Truman E. Boudinot) moved south past Spa on the morning of the 20th in three task forces, using three roads leading to the Stoumont-La Gleize-Trois Ponts triangle. The largest of these detachments, Task Force Lovelady (Lt. Col. William B. Lovelady), had been given a complete tank battalion, reinforced by a company of armored infantry, and the important job of cutting the Stavelot-Stoumont road. Colonel Lovelady, then, led the force which formed the left jaw of the vise forming to clamp down on Kampfgruppe Peiper. His task force, proceeding on the easternmost of the three routes, reached the junction of the Trois Ponts-Stoumont roads without sign of the enemy. Just as the column was making the turn south toward Trois Ponts, a small enemy column of artillery, infantry, and supply trucks appeared, apparently on its way to reinforce Peiper's main body.

Since Trois Ponts and Stavelot were both in American hands, the appearance of this train was surprising. What had happened was this: German engineers had reinforced a small footbridge east of Trois Ponts, at least to the point that it would sustain a self-propelled gun carriage, and since the night of 18 December supply trucks and reinforcements had used the bridge to slip between the two American-held towns. German records indicate that some much-needed gasoline reached Peiper through this hole in the American net, but the amount was insufficient to set the kampfgruppe rolling again even if the road west had been free. As to this particular German column, the Americans disposed of it in short order. Task Force Lovelady continued on its mission and established three roadblocks along the main road between Trois Ponts and La Gleize. The Germans in the Stoumont sector were definitely sealed in, albeit still active, for four Shermans were destroyed by hidden antitank guns.

The two remaining task forces of CCB and companion units from the 30th Division were less successful. Task Force McGeorge (Maj. K. T. McGeorge), the center column, made its advance along a road built on the side of a ridge which ran obliquely from the northeast toward La Gleize. Most of the ridge road was traversed with no sight of the Germans. At Cour, about two miles from La Gleize, Task Force McGeorge picked up Company K of the 117th Infantry and moved on to assault the latter town. Midway the Americans encountered a roadblock held by a tank and a couple of assault guns. Because the pitch of the ridge slope precluded any tank maneuver, the rifle company circled the German outpost and advanced as far as the outskirts of La Gleize. A sharp counterattack drove the infantry back into the tanks, still road-bound, and when the tanks themselves were threatened by close-in work McGeorge withdrew the task force for the night to the hamlet of Borgoumont perched above La Gleize. It was apparent that the Germans intended