Havelange, Belgium, 31 Dec 1944; Terwagne, Belgium, 1 Jan 45
2d Lt George E. Moise, 3d Info & Hist Sv (VII Corps)
Task Force Orr was one of the three task forces of CCR (Howze) of the 3rd Armored Division dispatched from Hotton (369878) 20 December 1944 to intercept the German drive northward toward Liege or Huy from the vicinity of Houffalize.
Commanded by Lt Col William R. Orr, CO of the 1st Battalion, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, the task force consisted of:
Co A & Co C, 36th AIR
Co H, 33rd AR
Co B, 83rd Armd Rcn Bn
Btry B, 54th AFA Bn
Attached troops included one platoon of the 486th AAA Bn and a detachment (13 EM) of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regt. Co B and Co G, 32d Armored Regiment, and Co B, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, originally part of the task force, were detached 20 December to form part of the CCR reserve in Hotton.
Co B, 83rd Armd Rcn Bn, and Co H, 33rd AR, were not incorporated in TF Orr originally, having been dispatched from Hotton 201215 Dec under the command of 1st Lt Nick Latkovic, CO Co B, 83rd Rcn Bn, along the route later taken by TF Orr.
TF Orr moved from Hotton at about the same time, but closed in an assembly area in the vicinity of Erezee (450903) at 201500 Dec, while the Rcn Co and the Tk Co moved south through Amonines (449875) toward Dochamps (495873) and Samree (502812).
Proceeding south on the Erezee-Samree road, the two companies, with the Rcn Co in the lead, 1st platoon on the road, 2d platoon on the left flank and 3rd platoon on the right flank, advanced as far as Dochamps, which was reached at 1600. The town was held by strong enemy forces, both infantry and tank, and no effort was made to enter it.
The first platoon of B Co, 83rd Armd Rcn Bn, with a platoon from Co H, 33rd AR, bypassed Dochamps on the west and proceeded south to Samree. The second platoon of Co B, 83rd Armd Rcn Bn, moved east to Odeigne (586862) and made no further contact with the company. (The platoon eventually found its way to Fraiture (586862) and joined Task Force Kane, another CCR task force.) The third platoon, with the remaining tanks and company headquarters engaged the enemy just north of Dochamps and was forced to withdraw when all but three of the tanks were knocked out by enemy tank and AT fire.
The remaining three tanks, the third platoon and Co Hq of the Rcn Co moved back toward Amonines, fighting a delaying action over the entire route as enemy infantry, supported by tanks, moved north from Dochamps.
The 1st platoon, Co B 83rd Armd Rcn Bn, encountered strong enemy forces in Samree, and it was necessary to abandon the tanks of Co H 33rd AR, mount the tank personnel on the rcn vehicles and withdraw to the west. This group moved through Marcouray (439816) and RJ (419829) to Hotton and eventually rejoined TF Orr at Amonines.
Meanwhile TF Orr, in assembly near Erezee, was alerted at 202130 Dec and at 202230 was ordered to proceed to Amonines to meet the enemy threat from the south. Just north of Amonines, elements of the force withdrawing from Dochamps were met and added to the column.
(According to Lt Latkovic, these forces moved north only as far as Amonines. Evidently those men met by TF Orr north of this point were stragglers.)
Arriving at Amonines shortly before midnight, Lt Col Orr met Lt Latkovic and ordered him to set up a roadblock at (482849), 450 yards north of a hairpin turn in the road (481845) and about a mile northwest of Dochamps. The enemy apparently had withdrawn to Dochamps, as no opposition was met by Lt Latkovic's detachment as it moved south and set up the roadblock at the designated point.
The task force CP was set up at Amonines and a perimeter defense organized. At 210530 Dec TF Orr was ordered to attack and capture Dochamps and move further south to seize Samree. With the infantry companies, dismounted, as a striking force, the attack moved off at 0700, moving southeast on the axis of the Dochamps road, A Co on the left and C Co on the right.