General Holmes Dager
Just as in every battle, the Battle of the Bulge had a beginning and an end. For the German Army, the battle
began on December 16, 1944. At the onset, the German Army gained much ground, penetrating deep into the
American lines. The Americans began their offensive battle just after midnight on December 19th when Combat
Command "B" (CCB) of the Fourth Armored Division rolled out of Domnom, France.
Commanded by Holmes Dager, CCB began their push to Bastogne. Preparations had to be made in haste. General
Dager, possessing the only available map, brilliantly directed the column to its objective. Using any means necessary to direct his force, General Dager would use the radio at times or he would shout directions to the lead tank. At tricky
intersections, he would personally point the way. Despite the fog and cold, General Dager directed his column 161
miles in twenty-two hours, stopping just below the town of Bastogne.
Receiving orders that Dager's command should enter the town of Bastogne, Dager aggressively argued that they
should not enter without the support of the entire 4th Armored Division, which was not in the area yet. A
compromise with his superiors allowed Dager to keep most of his command together while sending a smaller contingent, a task force, to make contact with those in Bastogne. The task force was formed and successfully made contact with those in Bastogne. However, the situation in Bastogne was changing fast, finally Dager's protest reached General Patton, the overall commander, who agreed with Dager and ordered Dager to recall the task force immediately. The order was issued, and the task force recalled, just missing being completely encircled by a much larger German force. They would survive to fight another day.
This event may seem to have little importance to the unfolding battle, but General Dager's resistance to commit
his command may have saved it from being trapped and possibly ripped apart in Bastogne.
Dager's Combat Command B of the 4th Armored would play an essential role in Patton's December 22nd attack on Bastogne, one successful attack that might never have happened without Dager's sound judgment and tactical expertise.
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