Travis Brown 1997 Travis Brown 1944

This is a story by Travis Brown and the Hogan 400

TRAVIS M. BROWN, SR. - MAJOR - ARMOR- USAR (RET)
NOTES FROM MY MEMORY OF A CHAPTER OF HISTORY.
TASK FORCE HOGAN AND THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE.

1. THE MOVE.

The Third Armored Division was flexing its muscles on the 19th of December 1944. This Spearhead Division of the First United States Army had enjoyed unbelievable success as a fighting unit, and while the price paid was high, the Division was all set for the final assault on what We had been lead to believe was a beaten Nazi fighting machine. The G-2 reports told of how the German morale was low; how they were about out of all the necessities that make up a good war machine, and that they would be duck soup any day. We took all of this with a grain of salt, especially since the past few nights they had been flying missions in our rest area, and had dropped quite a few anti-personnel bombs. Then the news came. The Germans had broken through on a front in Belgium, and had enjoyed great Initial success. We were to make, a forced march to the area, and help to blunt this offensive initiated by the Germans. Task Force Hogan was composed of the Third Battalion of the Thirty Third-Armored Regiment, and was assigned to Combat Command Reserve commanded by Colonel Robert Howze, one of the very fine combat Commanders of the Third Armored. Col.Howze's Third Battalion of the Thirty Sixth Armored Infantry Regiment was a team member of Task Force Hogan. The night of December 20,1944 was the beginning of a period that we would long remember. The units of the Third Armored were not accustom, to moving in a backward position, but that night backtracked over some very familiar territory. Occasionally a Buzz Bomb would move overhead on it's way to the Leige Area. The V-1 which was the forerunner of the larger V-2 rocket was not an accurate weapon and now and then the motor would cut out, and one would land in the proximity of our march. Confusion would be the best term to describe the situation that existed on that night of December 20. We knew that the Germans had enjoyed some success with what We believed to be a limited counter attack against some very green American forces, who had shortly before arrived from the States, and were untried in combat; but why was it necessary to make this move. over a great distance for what would probably be n limited action? We were to soon learn what the term the "FOG OF WAR" really meant. Early the morning of December 21 we arrived at a point near the, small village of Hotten in Belgium. The tanks and. other vehicles were gassed up and Col.Howze was waiting with orders to move out. Task Force Hogan was one of three Task Forces of CCR, and our mission was to move out as a Reconnaissance force on secondary roads to locate the enemy, and if successful in our mission to proceed to the village of Houffalize, located just North of Bastogne. Our movements proceeded on a line on the extreme right of the Division area, and we encountered very little resistance as we moved along, although we could hear the sounds of heavy fighting on our left. We later learned that our, "H" company, which had been attached to another Task Force, had become engaged and suffered heavy losses in that area.

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