As events later developed, CCB shouldered an extremely heavy share of the 4th Armored’s fight at Bastogne. Middleton wanted to avoid more of the same. By the time we settled in, it was 11 p.m. I protested vehemently, reminding him that the situation up ahead was unclear, terribly confused, and that this was no time for a piecemeal commitment of my forces. The outstanding celerity of your movement and the unremitting, vicious and skillful manner in which you pushed the attack, terminating at the end of four days and nights of incessant battle in the relief of Bastogne, constitutes one of the finest chapters in the glorious history of the United States Army. The task force hauled back as much of the abandoned artillery equipment as they could handle and encountered no resistance on the way back to the bivouac area. Middleton had ordered him to take all of CCB into Bastogne, and he had hotly resisted, insisting that Middleton wait until General Hugh Gaffey arrived with the rest of the 4th Armored Division. Those of us who participated in this confusing operation, as well as historians who have analyzed the Battle of the Bulge in the years following World War II, could not help but note the ironies and incongruities surrounding the battle. All of the above was done with the intent of CCB being attached to the 101st Airborne Division in support of an attack toward Noville (north of Bastogne) to be conducted the following day. Christmas Day came and went leaving the 4th Armored Division toiling slowly toward Bastogne. Many of the men were exhausted, but as soon as we reached our position we sent forward some strong patrols of light tanks and armored infantry to detect any enemy movement from the north. General Gaffey must have wanted his combat command returned. His planning and execution were sound and professional. Basil Henry Liddell Hart, once referred to General Wood as "the Rommel of the American armored forces." The 4th AD was reassigned to the XII Corps on 30 April 1945. He had done what he had promised his commanders he would do. With a major attack coming up in just two days, he needed his division at full strength, and it would have been severely handicapped without CCB. He jumped off from ground that was firmly in his hands. On 19-20 December 1944, 4th Armored Division began moving north towards Belgium. Patton told the group that he could be ready to attack with three divisions of the III Corps on December 22. General Middleton still must have been anxious to send CCB into Bastogne behind Task Force Ezell and surely requested permission to do so. 4th Armored Division Spearhead at Bastogne – Sidebar: November ’99 World War II Feature. The 37th moved out in a feathery snowfall at 0600 hours on 22 December 1944, attacking northward against German airborne troops. But then our spirits were dashed. The division was organized as a full Armored Division in May and June 1942 under the command of Major General John Shirley Wood. [6] The 4th AD, spearheading Patton's Third Army, attacked the Germans at Bastogne and, on 26 December, was the first unit (Company C, 37th Tank Battalion led the 4th Armored Division column that relieved Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge)[8] to break through at Bastogne and relieve the besieged 101st Airborne Division. On 26 December, the 4th Armored reached the besieged US 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne and took up positions … The 4th AD's second commander, Major General John Shirley Wood, (known as "P" Wood to his contemporaries, the "P" standing for "Professor", and "Tiger Jack" to his men) who took over the division officially on 18 June 1942, trained the 4th Armored Division for two years before he personally led it into combat in France, on 28 July 1944, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. His visits were brief, and he kept moving. But to be completely without maps was a new experience. The combat command acted as the powerful left flank, not only of the division, but also of the III Corps all the way to the encircled city. This combat command was located just to the east of the Bastogne … Major General Archibald R. Kennedy commanded the division after the war. In mid-November, it was transferred to the Camp Ibis Desert Training Center (DTC) in the California-Arizona maneuver area and was the first Armored Division to occupy Camp Ibis near Needles, California in the Mojave Desert, which was close to the Arizona and Nevada borders. troops. However, their unofficial nickname "Name Enough" came into use postwar; the division commander having said, "Fourth Armored Division was name enough"; "They shall be known by their deeds alone." During our rapid movements across France that summer and autumn, we occasionally had to rely on Michelin road maps for direction. Given the evidence they had seen so far, it appeared that a strong German force had moved rapidly west and cut across the Neufchâteau-Bastogne road while Ezell was moving toward Bastogne. He knew that the situation in the Bulge at that moment was confused. He was a master at this kind of rapprochement. US 4th Armored Division, Bastogne, Belgium, January 1945 . Patton’s decision was revealed when Task Force Ezell was ordered out of Bastogne shortly after noon and CCB was directed to move to the rear, which it began to do by midafternoon. Pursuit of the enemy continued, and by 6 May the division had crossed into Czechoslovakia and established a bridgehead across the Otava River at Strakonice, with forwarding elements at Pisek. Richard Henry Lee, American Revolutionary patriot and signatory of the Declaration of Independence. We would be moving to the III Corps zone (wherever that was) to assist in stopping a strong German counterattack in that sector. The 37th lost five men, with another 22 wounded and five missing. Middleton finally agreed not to commit the entire combat command, but only after Dager conceded that he would send a task force instead. When he arrived, he found Maj. Gen. Hugh J. Gaffey of the 4th Armored Division, Maj. Gen. Willard S. Paul of the 26th Infantry Division, and Maj. Gen. John Milliken of the III Corps already there. Given the situation, it is absolutely inconceivable that CCB should have been sent on its merry way all the way to the outskirts of Bastogne and told to report to the VIII Corps. Thus, the 8th led the odyssey north into the cold, black night, reinforced with the halftracks of the 10th Armored Infantry Battalion. As ordered, I formed the task force. *Once CCB had moved into its bivouac at Vaux-les-Rosières, should the rest of the 4th Armored Division have capitalized on the situation, moving up to attack from the bivouac location only a short distance from Bastogne rather than consolidating for the attack farther south and then fighting its way north along the difficult forest axis from Arlon to the encircled city? 3rd Armored Division; 4th Armored Division; Shop by Regiment + 75th Ranger; 327th Infantry; 506th Infantry; 502nd Infantry; 26th Infantry; 187th Infantry ; Shop By Unit + Special Operations Command; 1st Brigade "Bastogne" 2nd Brigade "Strike" 3rd Brigade "Rakkasans" Air Corps; Army Special Forces; 160th SOAR; Shop by Rank; Shop by Specialty + Army Specialty Badges; Army M.O.S. His force would henceforth be known as ‘Task Force Ezell.’ Ezell’s mission was to report to Brig. To understand this enigma, we must go back to December 8, 1944, the day the 4th Armored Division was pulled back from heavy fighting after reaching the Maginot Line, at a point a little more than nine miles from the German border. Activated 15 Apr 41 Arrived ETO 8 Jan 44 Arrived Continent (D/37) 13 Jul 44 Entered Combat: First Element 17 Jul 44 Entire Division 28 Jul 44 Days in Combat 230 A difficult situation became considerably more difficult, since we now had to travel under blackout conditions, and our progress would be greatly slowed. The 4th Armored Division was activated during World War II on 15 April 1941 with 3,800 men (10,000 by the end of May 1941) from various other units, at Pine Camp (Camp Drum, 1951; Fort Drum, 1974), New York under its first Commanding General, Brigadier General Henry W. Baird. It consisted of A Company, 8th Tank Battalion; C Company, 10th Armored Infantry Battalion; and C Battery, 22nd Armored Field Artillery Battalion. Order of battle. It clarifies how the counterattack was planned and provides some fascinating sidelights on the men who made the decisions and brought about the dramatic linkup at Bastogne. Remarkably, we had traveled 161 miles over roads that were sometimes bad–without maps and without confusion. World War II: Battle of the Bulge – 4th Armored Division Help End the Siege of Bastogne Just before dark on the day after Christmas 1944, elementsof Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr.’s 4th Armored Division, attacking from the south, succeeded in making contact with the beleaguered Americans at Bastogne. In fact, during that earlier movement into the town, those forces had come within one kilometer of the same spot to which they would return six days later, after heavy fighting. Combat Command A of the Fourth Armored Division began the morning facing east in defense of the newly-opened N4 highway that connects Bastogne to Arlon. It did not have any significant impact on any campaign. Most of its elements, however, remained as occupation forces in Germany after redesignation as the First Constabulary Brigade. Combat Command "A" (CCA) would be the next to move out, nine hours behind CCB and along the same road. Members of C Company, 9th Engineers , conduct a memorial service for those killed during the siege, 22 January 1945. Trapped in the city was the 101st Airborne Division, to which were attached elements of the 9th and 10th Armored divisions. [13], The division was composed of the following units:[14], After a tour of occupation duty in Germany, the 4th AD returned to the United States for inactivation. The task force then came upon another strange sight–about two battalions of U.S. artillery stopped along the road. This article was originally published in the November 1999 issue of World War II. George Burns, comedian and actor in vaudeville, radio, television and film. [19] It comprised 1st MTB, 37th Armor (McKee Barracks) and 1st ARB, 54th Infantry.[20]. The 4th AD, spearheading Patton's Third Army, attacked the Germans at Bastogne and, on 26 December, was the first unit (Company C, 37th Tank Battalion led the 4th Armored Division column that relieved Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge) [8] to break through at Bastogne and relieve the besieged 101st Airborne Division. Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk is the author of He Rode Up Front for Patton. Although the troops had no inkling of the momentous events that lay just ahead, Patton was apparently aware that an attack might be in the offing. It was not clear whether the artillery units had been attacked and their positions overrun, or if they had been spooked by the sight of German tanks crossing the road just to the north of them and had abandoned their guns and vehicles. It was 1650, December 26, the 4th Armored Division, had broken thru enemy lines, and reached its objective - the siege of Bastogne was over … although the fighting wasn’t yet … (Charles P. BOGGESS, 1st Lt, C Co, 37th Tk Bn, 4th Armd Div, USA, ……….., recollections) pictures taken in 1984 - 40th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge As December 20 passed, events continued to move swiftly. Two days after the Germans launched their Ardennes offensive, the 4th Armored entered the fight (18 December 1944), racing northwest into Belgium, covering 150 miles in 19 hours. The division was then led by Major General Hugh Gaffey through the Battle of the Bulge and until the end of the war. With the encirclement broken, the men of the 101st expected to be relieved, but were given orders to resume the offensive. As the task force moved away from Bastogne, they had encountered an American 2 1/2-ton truck in a ditch on the right side of the road. Captain, Commanding E Troop, 25th Cavalry Recon Squadron, 4th Armored Division, George Patton’s fabled Third Army. The U.S. M-1 tank is named after him. The two forces had met west of the city and completely encircled Bastogne. The previous day I had been told that a move was imminent and to have my troops ready to move on short notice. Without hesitation, Patton told Bradley that he would concentrate the 4th Armored Division in the vicinity of Longwy, pull the 80th Infantry Division out of the line and get the 26th Infantry Division moving within 24 hours. Because of his rapidly organized and well-executed counterattack, he was able to snatch the momentum from the Germans and seize the initiative. The Sad Story of Private Eddie Slovik . Some of the vehicles were still idling. When I told him to return, Ezell was dumbfounded. There is considerable speculation and some difference of opinion about what actually took place during their meeting. The 51st Armored Infantry Battalion established dug-in gun positions about 800 yards from the pavement and along the woods. At the time, I was serving with Combat Command B (CCB) of the 4th Armored Division, commanded by Brig. 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