Page 392

did General Ridgway. Order followed order, but there remained a paucity of means to implement the orders. The deficit in reserves was somewhat remedied by the troops of the 106th Division and the 7th Armored who, all day long, had been pouring through the lines of the 82d Airborne after the hard-fought battle of St. Vith. [5] General Hoge, CCB, 9th Armored commander, had been told at noon to send his 14th Tank Battalion to bolster the right flank of the 82d. One tank company went to the Manhay cross-roads; the rest moved into Malempre, two miles to the southeast and off the Liege highway. Coincident with the German attack at Baraque de Fraiture General Hoge received a torrent of reports and orders. By this time Hoge was not sure as to either his attachment or mission. He finally gathered that the Baraque de Fraiture crossroads had been lost and CCB was to join the defense already forming on the road to Manhay.

As darkness settled and the enemy reformed to continue the attack beyond the crossroads, Maj. Olin F. Brewster formed a strongpoint at the north edge of a fringe of woods about 3,000 yards north of Baraque de Fraiture. There he placed Company C of the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, which earlier had failed to break through from the north with Richardson's tanks, a platoon of armored infantry, and a tank platoon. With straggling tanks and infantry drifting in from the south and a platoon of tank destroyers sent in by General Hoge, Brewster's force grew. All through the night German infantry tried to filter past and on toward Manhay, but when morning came Brewster's command still stood between the 2d SS Panzer Division and Manhay. A new and critical phase of operations was about to open-the battle for the Manhay crossroads.

[5] The final withdrawal from St. Vith into the lines of the XVIII Airborne Corps is described at length in the following chapter.