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Edward H. Brooks’ VI Corps took up the balance of Patch’s front from the Low Vosges southeast to Lauterbourg on the Rhine and then southward toward Strasbourg. Brooks’ corps had the veteran 45th and 79th Infantry Divisions and the 14th Armored Division in reserve. Patch inserted Task Force Hudelson, a two-squadron cavalry force, reinforced with infantry from the uncommitted 14th Armored Division at the boundary joining the two American corps. The deployment of three additional units—Task Force Linden (42d Infantry Division), Task Force Harris (63d Infantry Division), and Task Force Herren (70th Infantry Division)—demonstrated how far Devers and Patch would go to avoid yielding ground.

Manteuffel had ordered the Panzer Lehr and the 2d Panzer Divisions to bypass Bastogne and speed toward the Meuse, thus isolating the defenders. As the 26th Volksgrenadier Division and the XLVII Panzer Corps’ artillery closed in for the kill on 22 December, the corps commander’s emissary arrived at the 101st Division’s command post, demanding surrender or threatening annihilation. The acting division commander, Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe, replied “Nuts,” initially confounding the Germans but not Bastogne’s defenders.

Gen. Frank W. Milburn’s XXI Corps joined the line. Assuming control of the 3d, 28th, and 75th Divisions, the 12th Armored Division, which was shifted from reserves, and the French 5th Armored Division, the corps launched the final thrust to the Vauban Canal and Rhone-Rhine Canal bridges at Neuf-Brisach. Although the campaign was officially over on 25 January, the American and French troops did not completely clear the Colmar Pocket until 9 February. However, its successful reduction marked the end of both the German presence on French territory and the Nineteenth Army.

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