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)  to break through at Bastogne and relieve the besieged 101st Airborne Division. As was to be expected, he had a difficult time convincing Roberts that he had to leave with his force just after arriving in Bastogne. Except for brief halts, and one longer one to refuel, we had been on the move unceasingly for more than 22 hours–half of one night, all day and half of another night under blackout conditions. 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. Thus, the 8th led the odyssey north into the cold, black night, reinforced with the halftracks of the 10th Armored Infantry Battalion. To my great surprise, Dager agreed with me. On 23 December, the 37th Tank Battalion knocked out a German operated Sherman tank and two 75mm SPs near Begonville. On 30 June 1958, Combat Command "A" was at Wiley Barracks, New Ulm, It comprised 2d Medium Tank Battalion (MTB), 66th Armor (Leipheim); 2d Armored Rifle Battalion (ARB), 41st Infantry (Neu Ulm); and 2d Armored Rifle Battalion, 51st Infantry. We moved out of Léglise at 4:30 the next morning–the 22nd–so as to arrive at the IP at 6. You and the officers and men of your command are hereby commended for a superior performance. But in 30 minutes or so, he had worked his magic–he had ‘touched’ virtually every man in that battalion. Stories published by …  Combat Command "C" was at McKee Barracks, Crailsheim. This booklet is one of the series of G.I. This combat command was located just to the east of the Bastogne … 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 On top of that we had absolutely no idea of what lay ahead, and we were expecting to be fired on by the enemy at any moment. The men were beside themselves, chatting and shouting excitedly. The previous day I had been told that a move was imminent and to have my troops ready to move on short notice. 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. The 4th AD fought several German panzergrenadier brigades in the Lorraine area including the SS Panzergrenadier Brigade 49 and SS Panzergrenadier Brigade 51 at this time, defeating a larger German force through superior tactics and training.. Two other Third Army divisions, the 4th and 5th Infantry Divisions, were disclosed to be fighting the Germans in the … The two forces had met west of the city and completely encircled Bastogne. The relief corridor into Bastogne had been secured by CCR and solidified to the east by CCB. 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. The U.S. M-1 tank is named after him. On 19-20 December 1944, 4th Armored Division began moving north towards Belgium. I was also informed that during the previous night and early that morning very strong German forces had driven west and flanked the city of Bastogne on the north and south. He stopped at every vehicle, talked with every cluster of soldiers and had something to say to each–a question, a word of encouragement or appreciation, a compliment, a wisecrack, a good-natured dig. 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 4th Armored Division, unlike most other U.S. armored divisions during World War II, did not officially adopt a nickname for the division during the war. Even if the Germans had cut the Neufchâteau/Bastogne highway, the Fourth Armored Division might have capitalized on the location of CCB and attacked from Vaux-les-Rosières instead of from Arlon. On 3 December 1944, General Wood was relieved as division commander. With no order for the next day, the men settled in for the night after the evening meal. 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. Patton used the veteran 4th Armored Division and units of the 80th and 26th Infantry Divisions to smash the encirclement of Bastogne. Advancing all night, the 4th AD crossed the Main River the next day, south of Hanau, and continued to push on. 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. 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. Neufchâteau, another milestone, came and went as we continued to roll, still without enemy contact. This legendary event has often been described in histories of World War II, but there is a fascinating subplot to the story that is little-known. His force would henceforth be known as ‘Task Force Ezell.’ Ezell’s mission was to report to Brig. The 4th was named the "Breakthrough" division in 1954, but that name was eventually discontinued.. The move to the rest area was not only welcome and richly deserved but necessary. For more great articles subscribe to World War II magazine today! We arrived in the vicinity of Léglise after dark on the 20th. General Middleton still must have been anxious to send CCB into Bastogne behind Task Force Ezell and surely requested permission to do so. Shortly after Ezell radioed me that he was in Bastogne and had made contact with our troops, I was astonished to receive an order from divisional headquarters to recall the task force to Nives at once. Combat Command B, with its 8th Tank Battalion out front, led the advance of the division. Since the Combat Command had not been engaged, I withdrew it to Arlon [not Arlon but Léglise].’, Historian Martin Blumenson, in the second volume of The Patton Papers, quotes from General Patton’s diary entry of the same day, December 20: ‘In the morning I drove to Luxembourg, arriving at 0900. Order of battle. Major General Archibald R. Kennedy commanded the division after the war. Amazingly, the combat command had but one map, and that was with General Dager. In the eyes of historians, the experience of Task Force Ezell is an extremely minor episode in the war in Europe. Tanks … It consisted of A Company, 8th Tank Battalion; C Company, 10th Armored Infantry Battalion; and C Battery, 22nd Armored Field Artillery Battalion. A difficult situation became considerably more difficult, since we now had to travel under blackout conditions, and our progress would be greatly slowed. We would be moving to the III Corps zone (wherever that was) to assist in stopping a strong German counterattack in that sector. However, subsequent events lead easily to certain assumptions. The equipment seemed to be in good shape, but there was no sign of any troops. The following day, at Chaumont, the 8th Tank Battalion was on the receiving end of one of the most powerful tank-led counterattacks of the war, temporarily slowing its advance to Bastogne and inflicting heavy casualties. As ordered, the 8th Tank Battalion crossed the IP at 12:50 a.m. on December 19. Lauterbach fell 29 March, Creuzburg across the Werra on 1 April, Gotha on 4 April – where the 4th AD liberated Ohrdruf concentration camp, the first Nazi camp liberated by U.S. We had no information about the situation up ahead or about the enemy. We began our journey in darkness and were to end it in darkness, as night came upon us again. He was jolly, animated and interested in how we were doing. General Gaffey must have wanted his combat command returned. Patton used the veteran 4th Armored Division and units of the 80th and 26th Infantry Divisions to smash the encirclement of Bastogne. 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. On 26 December, the 4th Armored reached the besieged US 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne and took up positions … Bessy Colman, first African American aviator. Among the most famous members of the 4th AD during World War II was Creighton Abrams, who commanded the 37th Tank Battalion. But to be completely without maps was a new experience. 44th Armored Infantry soldiers and 6th Armored Division tanks near Bastogne, 31 December 1944 General Patton 's jeep in Bastogne, 1 January 1945. The 4th AD was reactivated on 15 June 1954 at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas with the name 4th Armored "Breakthrough" Division ("Breakthrough" was discontinued some years afterwards) and was deployed to West Germany in 1957 with headquarters at Cooke Barracks in Göppingen. Other Third Army units which were trapped with the 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne were from the 9th and 10th Armored Divisions. Most of its elements, however, remained as occupation forces in Germany after redesignation as the First Constabulary Brigade. But then our spirits were dashed. And should General Middleton have been allowed to hold onto CCB and use it to try to keep the NeufchâteauBastogne highway open, possibly preventing the encirclement of Bastogne? As we reached Longwy, we were waved on, and we rolled through the city without slackening our pace. The group was astonished at his rapid response to the situation and was more than satisfied with his proposal. Early that morning I was told to attend a meeting at division headquarters, but before I left for the meeting it was called off. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, learn about the situation in Bastogne, receive instructions and render support if so ordered. Middleton finally agreed not to commit the entire combat command, but only after Dager conceded that he would send a task force instead. The Division attacked the Germans at Bastogne, helping to relieve the besieged 101st Airborne. I continued with my preparations for the move the next day to the east, as well as the subsequent attack into Germany, by sending billeting parties forward to obtain billets for the battalion to occupy at the end of the march to the border. On December 18, Lt. Gen. Omar N. Bradley, commander of all U.S. ground forces, called off Patton’s planned offensive into the Saar. Early the next morning, December 20, I was, figuratively speaking, hit by a thunderbolt. *After the elements of Task Force Ezell had returned to their parent units, why was all of CCB relieved from assignment to VIII Corps and withdrawn–back to the rear–less than a day after arriving in the forward position? Joy Adamson, British author and naturalist (Born Free). Although I was a participant in much that happened, I still find it a strange and fascinating tale. *After moving into Bastogne, why was Task Force Ezell immediately and summarily recalled, especially considering that General Middleton had argued strongly for its presence there? He jumped off from ground that was firmly in his hands. The 4th Armored Division, previously attached to the XII Corps, was now assigned to the III Corps. The distinction as to the front line was often vague. Like Rommel, Wood commanded from the front, and preferred staying on the offensive, using speed and envelopment tactics to confuse the enemy. Abrams later rose to command all U.S. forces in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War and served as U.S. Army Chief of Staff in the 1970s. Forced to abandon that plan, he ordered the major part of his Third Army to make a gigantic 90-degree wheeling movement and then drive north at full speed. 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