Note : this archive is published under 551-PIB Trois-Ponts 01/45 and 517-PIR Trois-Ponts 01/45
December 23 1944, somewhere in the snow, Belgium, while an entire Armored Division, the 7th Armored and part of another one, the 9th Armored, was retreating trough the 82nd Airborne Division’s MLR, a sergent in a Tank Destroyer spotted an American GI digging a foxhole. This soldier, Pfc Martin (325-GIR/82ABD)(see picture left), locked up and asked : “Are you, looking for a safe place ?” “Yeah !!!” answered the tanker. “Well, buddy”, drawled Martin … “Just pull your tank behind me, … I am the 82nd Airborne and this place is as far as the bastards are going !”
551st Parachute Infantry Battalion and 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, in the Vicinity of Trois Ponts, Belgium, January 2 to January 7 1945
On Dec 16 1944 the Germans attacked through the lightly held Eiffel & Ardenne sectors with Army Group B, under the command of Field Marshal Walter Model. Army Group B was composed of the Fifth and Sixth Panzer Armies and the newly reorganized Seventh Army. This blow was aimed at the Liège – Namur – Anvers area and it was delivered with such terrific force and surprise that the four American Divisions in that sector were quickly overrun or driven back. The German Armies then proceeded north and west almost unchecked. Units from the 2nd British Army, Ninth US Army (9A), First US Army (1A), Third US Army (3A), and the (1AAA) First Allied Airborne Army were quickly rushed to the threatened area and by December 27 the German offensive had been stopped and the Allied position was stabilized. The blow had split the Twelfth Army Group (12AG) into two parts making control by Gen Omar H. Bradley all but impossible. Recognizing this situation, Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower fixed a boundary running east and west through the breach from Givet (FR) to Prüm (GER). All forces north of this boundary were placed under the command of Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery while Gen Bradley retained command of that part of the 12AG south of this boundary. Field Marshal Montgomery’s forces included the First Canadian Army, the Second British Army, the Ninth US Army, and the First US Army reinforced with portions of the First Allied Airborne Army (XVIII Corps – Airborne).