given orders to blow their demolition charges and fall back to Marche, leaving the road to Bastogne in German hands.
The main task confronting the 84th Division as day dawned on the 22d was to determine the location of the enemy. All through the day armored cars, light tanks, and infantry in jeeps and trucks probed cautiously along highways and byways east, south, and west. Some of these vehicles were shot up and the men came back on foot; others engaged in brief duels with unseen foes hidden in villages and wood lots. No German prisoners were taken, but it was clear that the enemy also was feeling his way. At noon an order from the XVIII Airborne Corps instructed Bolling to block all roads east, southeast, and south of Rochefort (seven and one-half miles from Marche) until the 3d Armored could extend its flank to this area. A rifle company was loaded into trucks and reached Rochefort in the late afternoon without trouble.
Shortly after issuing this order Ridgway extended the mission of the 84th. Earlier General Collins had visited the First Army to express his concern that the enemy might crowd in south and west of Marche, thus interdicting the planned VII Corps concentration. Ridgway's order therefore called for the 84th to extend a counter-reconnaissance screen along the line Harsin-Grupont-Wellin, some ten miles south of Marche, at the same time sending security forces southwest to hold the vital crossroad villages at Rochefort, Wanlin, and Beauraing, the latter nearly twenty miles from the division command post at Marche. It will be recalled, as well, that Ridgway had ordered the newly arrived CCA of the 3d Armored Division to throw out a screen on the west bank of the Ourthe between La Roche and St. Hubert as further protection for the VII Corps assembly. At noon a task force from CCA was on its way but by dark had progressed only a short distance south of Marche. There it halted on word that the 335th Infantry might need help against tanks seen moving north toward Marche. Part of the task force became involved with enemy armored vehicles near Hargimont and in a short, sharp fight accounted for five of them.
Bolling could free two rifle battalions and the necessary motors for what he regarded as the first-priority tasks. Early in the evening the two battalion task forces, augmented with tanks and tank destroyers, started out. The 1st Battalion of the 333d (Lt. Col. Norman D. Carnes) had orders to secure Wanlin and bar the Neufchateau road to Dinant on the Meuse; the 3d Battalion of the 335th (Maj. Gordon A. Bahe) was to hold Rochefort and cover the road thence to Marche with detachments at Harsin, Hargimont, and Jemelle, the important repeater station. The task force from the 333d tried the Rochefort road to Wanlin but ran into the enemy near Marloie and had to detour back through Marche and roundabout through Haversin, reaching Wanlin at daybreak. The battalion of the 335th bumped into Germans at the same spot, left an infantry company to engage the enemy, then swung back through Marche and Humain, arriving at Rochefort in the early morning to find its own I Company in the town and no sign of the Germans.
Although the enemy obviously was in front of the 84th Infantry Division in some strength and had shown signs of increasing his forces during the 22d, the assembly of the VII Corps was moving rapidly. Having turned over his old sector at Duren and its divisions to the XIX Corps, General Collins and some of the corps troops moved during the day into the new VII Corps area southwest of Liege. Of the divisions promised Collins the 84th was in the line, the "Hell on Wheels" 2d Armored Division closed to the rear in the area before midnight, as did the new 75th Infantry Division. The 3d Armored, of course, was still bitterly engaged as the right wing of the neighboring XVIII Airborne Corps. General Collins and his staff could feel at home in this new sector, for the VII Corps had driven the German forces out of the area during the first two weeks of September. Furthermore Collins had visited Bolling's command post and was convinced that the 84th had matters well in hand.
The First Army commander's deep concern for his open western flank-a concern shared by Collins-was very considerably relieved on the 22d when Field Marshal Montgomery arrived at his headquarters with the welcome news that the British 29th Armored Brigade, equipped with fifty tanks, had taken over the defense of the Namur, Dinant,