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Meanwhile the 82nd fanned out from Werbomont to take up a defensive line along the Salm River, finding itself in a similar position to that they had held in HollandGerman forces to their north, south and east. Such was the Airborne spirit, however, that the 82nd generally held German forces in its area as being in far greater trouble than it was. The optimism was not shared by all, for that afternoon some 7-8,000 American troops surrendered on the Schnee Eifel. Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for actions in Belgium and Germany HQ and HQ Company, 82nd Airborne Division Cited in Department of the Army General Orders 43 of19 December 1950: After having excelled in defensive warfare at the banks of the Salm and the Ambleve, and having repelled successfully the repeated attacks of the best German shock troops, the 82nd Airborne Division with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment attached, in spite of the extreme cold and excessively deep snow, went on the offensive themselves and advanced to the German border, capturing 2,500 German prisoners, including five battalion commanders.

Many were already thinking about their post-war careers and acting accordingly. Supreme Commander Eisenhower found himself embroiled in conflicting proposals from rival commanders. On the one hand there was the autocratic Montgomery who, despite his success in the Western Desert, had a reputation for slow and ponderous manoeuvre. On the other were the redoubtable Omar Bradley (original commander of the re-activated 82nd Infantry Division) and his subordinate George Patton for whom the word 'aggressive' might have been invented.

The fighting between 8 and 12 February was savage. At one stage H Company was able to recapture a senior British officer from the Germans, and with the assistance of I Company fight its way back to the Allied lines. Such actions earned the 3rd Battalion one of the first Presidential Unit Citations awarded in the European theatre. The battle for Anzio quickly became a static defensive, matter of attrition-not what airborne troops are trained for, and a waste of their skills. It was with considerable relief therefore that the men of the 504th finally received orders for England on 25 March.

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