A series following the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. He was in Europe with the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.This updates the series Following the 10th Armored that I did five years ago.

#44- The Siege- and the Year- End

    •    December 25, 1944
Got up at 8. Put the turkey on. Had dinner. We just talked. [Ruth and Fred were there and then left on 6.10 bus.] It is raining. It is awful lonesome.
Diary Entry, Beula Keller Lehman
75 Years ago

26 Dec- The siege of Bastogne, for purposes of historic record, may be considered ended at 1645 on 26 December when the 326th Airborne engineers reported contact with "three light tanks believed friendly." True, the breach in the German-held ring opened by the 4th Armored Division was narrow and precarious, but it would not be closed despite the most strenuous enemy efforts in coming days. The staunch defense of Bastogne had impeded the Fifth Panzer Army drive to the west,…

The human cost of the Bastogne battle, therefore, probably was not out of proportion to the military gains achieved.

The 101st Airborne Division suffered battle casualties numbering 105 officers and 1,536 men. CC B of the 10th Armored Division had approximately 25 officers and 478 men as battle casualties. There is no means of numbering the killed, wounded, and missing in the miscellany of unrecorded tankers, gunners, infantry, and others who shared in the defense of Bastogne. 

--From The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge by Hugh M. Cole

As Nichols reports in Impact:

26 Dec- The Tigers’ Christmas present, though a day later, was delivered. The iron ring of German panzers was pierced and the rescue was begun… [H]ard  fighting was still required of all units.  This was necessary in order to widen the corridor during the ensuing days. At 1630 the 4th Armored Divisions CC R entered Bastogne.

27 Dec- Wounded were evacuated and supply trains wheeled in. Along with the supplies came swarms of war correspondents and official observers. The sickening sight of gutted buildings, smashed tanks and vehicles, was mute testimony of the hell that Bastogne had been for eight long days.

    ✓    Company C Morning Report
    ✓    27 December 1944
0815 Departed Lintgen Luxembourg [sic]. Traveled 48 miles by motor convoy to Metz, France. Arrived 1415. Billeted troops. (MR)
Meanwhile, the rest of the 10th Armored, minus CC B, was kept busy on the southern end of the bulge. On 26 Dec at 2000 hours the 6th Armored Division was sent to replace the 10th Armored which then swung south and continued to press the enemy along that front. They had been “jabbing and sparring” just north of the Saar-Moselle Triangle to keep the Germans off balance. At the center of this was Combat Command A (CC A). Their part of General Patton’s great offensive against the Bulge was a success.

28 Dec- 10th Armored’s defensive positions secured. The 10th (minus CC B) was ordered to “hold present sector to include the Saarlautern bridgehead. On Army’s order, advance north to clear enemy from between Moselle and Saar Rivers.” Their part of the Battle of the bulge was finished. 

    •    December 29, 1944
Had a letter from Buddy and he sent me a dime for good luck.
Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman

31 Dec- All of the remaining 10th Armored (minus CC B) moved south to Metz for rehabilitation and training, ending the most hotly contested battle in the Division’s brief but rugged operational history since its November baptism of fire at the swollen Moselle.

At Metz they were, for all intents and purposes, back where they had been two weeks earlier. They were now to get ready for the punch into the Saar-Moselle triangle that was Patton’s offensive plan  when the German offensive began and they headed into battle.

    •    December 31, 1944 
Well, this is the last day in 1944. Gee, I hope 1945 will be better.
Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman

#43- No Truce in the Ardennes

Thirty years before the Battle of the Bulge the “miracle” of the impromptu Christmas Eve truce made history in the trenches of World War I. No such “miracle” occurred for the men in Bastogne and the Ardennes in 1944. It had been a week of continuing hell! Between December 19 and 24 Combat Command B (CCB) of the 10th Armored had fought its way around and into Bastogne. Words like “chaos, panic, and utter disorganization" were used to describe the hard-hit units. 

22 Dec
The tide of battle was about to shift though. Fuel shortages and pockets of American resistance had repeatedly stalled the German thrusts. Better still the days of sleet and low cloud, which had protected the Germans from Allied airpower, were about to end, according to the forecasters.

 Meanwhile, Patton’s Third Army has been on the move. As has been said before, Eisenhower did not believe Patton when he promised that he would be at Bastogne by today; he had to disengage his men from battle on the Saar front, execute a 90-degree change of course and move over 130,000 vehicles 75 miles to the north.  But of course, he has done just that.  (adapted from A World War Two Chronology.)

And then there was the prayer. The following is from Scott Manning’s post about it:
Contrary to popular belief, the prayer was not ordered to be written during the Battle of the Bulge. It was on the 14th of December that General Patton had the famous exchange with Chaplain O'Neill to write a prayer for good weather and to give a copy to each member of the Third Army. The Chaplain mentioned that it's not a customary practice to pray for clear weather in order to kill fellow men.

Patton's response was direct, "Chaplain, are you teaching me theology or are you the Chaplain of the Third Army? I want a prayer."

After working out the logistics, each member of the Third Army (approximately 250,000 at the time) was issued a small card on the 22nd of December, 1944. By this time, the Battle of the Bulge was underway.

On one side of the card was the famous prayer:
Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.
When Patton originally ordered the cards made, some of the General's men convinced him to include a Christmas greeting for the troops. It was at this time Patton took a seat at his desk beneath the contemporary ceiling fans and penned something special. On the reverse side, the card had a personal message from the General:
To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. May God's blessing rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day.

G. S. Patton, Jr.
Lieutenant General
Commanding, Third United States Army
The next day, the weather cleared and remained perfect for about six days while the Third Army pushed North to relieve the 101st Airborne at Bastogne.

Upon reviewing the weather, Patton said of the Chaplain, "God damn! Look at the weather. That O'Neill sure did some potent praying. Get him up here. I want to pin a medal on him."

The next day, the Chaplain made it to Patton's office. He shook the Chaplain's hand and said, "Chaplain, you're the most popular man in this Headquarters. You sure stand in good with the Lord and the soldiers." Chaplain O'Neill then received a Bronze Star Medal.

On Christmas Day, Patton wrote in his journal that the day "dawned clear and cold; lovely weather for killing Germans, although the thought seemed somewhat at variance with the spirit of the day." Patton went on to write how they managed to provide every soldier with turkey. Those in the front had turkey sandwiches while everyone else had hot turkey.
23 Dec
Improving weather conditions permitted extensive air support, particularly in the Bastogne area, where 260 USAAF IX Troop Carrier Command C-47 Skytrains drop 334 tons of supplies on several drop zones inside the besieged American positions at Bastogne. 

The German forces that had bypassed Bastogne did not have the strength or supplies because of the growing effectiveness of Allied air support. The US 101st and CC B of the 10th in Bastogne hold out.

The circumference of the ring around Bastogne would be approximately 25 kilometers.

 (adapted from A World War Two Chronology.)

And then there's this historic tidbit...

22-24 Dec 1944
On December 22, the commander of the German army had sent word to General McAuliffe, acting commander of the 101st Airborne troops in Bastogne. The enemy commander had painted a bleak picture of the Allied position and insisted there was only one option to save the Allied troops from total annihilation. 


The German surrender demand was typewritten on two sheets. One was in English, the other in German. This is the English version of the message:
December 22nd 1944

To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.

The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Ourthe near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands.

There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note. If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours' term.

All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the wellknown American humanity.

The German Commander."
The Division Operations Officer, Lt. Col. Harry Kinnard recalled that McAulliffe initially asked, "They want to surrender?" Moore told him, "No sir, they want us to surrender." McAulliffe arose and erupted in anger, which shocked those looking on. He took the paper, looked at it, said "Us surrender, aw nuts!"

Later, when told that the Germans wanted a written response, McAulliffe went down in history books. McAulliffe wondered aloud, "Well, I don't know what to tell them." At that point, Kinnard said, "What you said initially would be hard to beat." McAulliffe asked "What do you mean?" Kinnard, said, "Sir, you said nuts." All members of the staff enthusiastically agreed, so McAulliffe wrote it down on a message pad and said, "Have it typed up."

The reply was typed up, centered on a full sheet of paper. It read:

"December 22, 1944

To the German Commander,

N U T S !

The American Commander"

The tide is turning, but a lot of battle will continue.


What about Buddy, my Dad?

No, he was not at Bastogne. He and most of the 10th Armored were down to the southeast of the besieged city. His Company C was at Lintgen where war was still being fought on the southern flank of the bulge, where his surgical unit and clearing company ministered to the wounded and dying.

Looking at pictures, movie clips and reading, it is very clear in my mind that it didn't matter where he was along the battlefront, it was, at best- hell.

A white, fog-bound hell. Snow, cold, the ever-present sound of battle- tanks, artillery, small arms. You name it- it was there.

One didn’t have to be in Bastogne to be in the Battle of the Bulge. 

I will never be able to understand how he felt and how it impacted the rest of his life. I am grateful that I can get this sense of his life all these years after his death.

He was one of those citizen soldiers, part of his own band of brothers, facing the destruction of everything they knew. They fought back- or in my Dad's case- helped bring relief to those who did.

War is hell.

Perhaps for those like Buddy, dare I believe that may be the hope and the promise of grace in a heaven of peace.

#42- A Critical Time

My goal in this blog is not to tell all the war stories of the 10th Armored Division and its Combat Commands in the Battle of the Bulge. To reconstruct the movements of the 15,000 troops of the Tiger Division would take far more time and words than I can even begin to write. There are many, many books already doing that. I will not even try. Instead, I am looking at a very small part of the Battle, and then not in-depth.

It is a historic fact that the US Army was amazing in its response in this first week of the Bulge. The battle was critical from the start, of course. Many were aware that this could make or break the war for either side. The actions during the period from 18 - 22 December were truly extraordinary!

For example, from Ardennes 1944 by Antony Beevor:
The idea that the bulk of an army could be turned around through ninety degrees to attack in a different direction within three days produced stunned disbelief around the table.

But there can be little doubt that Third Army’s energy and staff work produced one of the most rapid redeployments known in the history of warfare.

Bradley [later] boasted with justification on Christmas Eve that ‘no other army in the world could possibly have shifted forces as expertly and quickly as we have’. On the second day of the offensive, First Army moved 60,000 troops into the Ardennes in just twenty-four hours. The despised Com Z of General Lee had achieved miracles. It also managed to transport 85 per cent of ordnance stocks out of German reach. Between 17 and 26 December, 50,000 trucks and 248,000 men from quartermaster units shifted 2.8 million gallons of gasoline so that panzer spearheads could not refuel from captured dumps.

The 10th Armored was as important as any other of the divisions. Combat Command B had its almost hopeless task of the defense of Bastogne until the weather cleared and the rest of the 101st Airborne arrived to break the siege. They all knew that Bastogne was critical in the German army’s movements to get to Antwerp as soon as possible. Their task, in spite of the odds, was amazingly successful. This is occurring in snow and temperatures around 12 degrees F., one of the coldest winters in decades. Nichols in Impact! reports:
…As the ridges became white and the drifts deeper, the most pressing problem became that of getting the defenders indoors in order to escape the icy blasts of the Ardennes winter.
Nichols then relates the initial actions of CC B in the first few days of the Bulge:
With tanks in the lead and dismounted doughs around them, the shot-up force pushed north… The enemy did not emerge lightly from the Team’s determined stand as it lost 15 tanks, 1 armored car, 2 halftracks, 3 anti-tank guns, 184 Germans killed and an undetermined number wounded.   Our Teams lost 11 Mediums, 7 light tanks, 17 halftracks, 1 tank dozer and 2 recovery vehicles. In addition 1 Tiger officer was killed, 1 officer and twenty enlisted men wounded and 2 officers and 44 men were missing.  Cherry’s Tigers were a tower of strength and fortitude as they held off numerically superior enemy forces to help prevent Bastogne from being captured on December 19.

It was not fully known until studies were made after the war, just how enormous was the German strength…It is difficult to imagine the utter hopelessness of Team Cherry’s situation in view of the tremendous forces arrayed against  it, plus the fact that the team was confined to just one road, and to  maneuver was out of the question… [While it may have been a minor victory for the Germans in the first days,] Cherry’s [Tigers] softened the enemy and…  gained precious time for General McAuliffe’s airborne battalions to deploy east of Bastogne
While the teams of CC B were separated from the Division, Combat Commands A and R were occupied on the southern edge of the bulge. Their task was to be part of the protection of Luxembourg City. They were in the Berdorf-Echtenach area northeast of Luxembourg City.

Again from Ardennes 1944:
Combat Command A under Brigadier General Edwin W. Piburn, [after their 75-mile non-stop journey] ‘rolled headlong into a very surprised German force’ near the Schwarz Erntz gorge. The battle continued for three days, but the German advance was halted. The southern shoulder was secure.
 Buddy’s Company C of the 80th Armored Medical Battalion had arrived in Bertrange late in the day on 18 December and remained there for three days.  The “official” orders for the 10th (without CC B) were to protect the eastern flank. With that Company C moved 15 miles to Lintgen.

    ✓    Company C Morning Report
    ✓    21 December

1630 left Bertrange, Lux. Traveled 15 miles by motor convoy. Arrived at Lintgen 1725. Billeted troops and set up clearing station (MR)

75 Years Ago
23 December 
D-Day + 200 days
For these few uncertain days, some no doubt felt that the outcome of the war hung in a precarious balance.

#41- A Serious Affair Indeed

75 Years Ago
16 Dec - 18 Dec 1944 

The Battle of the Bulge Begins

16 Dec-
All units of the 10th Armored Division were alerted for movement north with the mission of counterattacking a major German drive. Little more than this was known at Division Headquarters in the little town of Apach on the Moselle River just south of Perl.

17 Dec-
At 0330 orders were received attaching the Division to VIII Corps of First Army and directing the Division to march toward Luxembourg City immediately. By 0630 the column recrossed the Moselle at Thionville. Along the route to Luxembourg City the situation became somewhat clarified and the Division was split into two major units to perform entirely separate missions. 

While CCB moved to the vicinity of Bastogne to reinforce the troops in that area, CCA and the rest of the Division continued almost due north from Luxembourg City to protect the town from the threat of being overrun by the enemy. Everyone began to realize that the Major German Drive "was a serious affair indeed." (Note: the 10th Armored Division was the first US unit to be diverted from another mission to reinforce troops in the Bulge.)

My Dad's Company C of the 80th Armored Medical Battalion was on the move as well.

    ✓    Co C Morning Report
    ✓    17 Dec 1944

Departed Sierck 1600 en route to Clemency Luxemburg.[sic] Traveled 36 miles by motor convoy (MR)
    ✓    18 Dec 1944
0300 Arrived clemency and billeted troops
Left Clemency 1530 Traveled 17.6 miles to Bertrange, Luxemburg.[sic]  Closed billet area 1640 and set up clearing station. (MB)

18 Dec-
CC A completed a seventy-five mile march to an area some twenty miles northeast of Luxembourg City in the early morning of the 18th and went into action at once. Their mission - to protect the city. Their plan to carry out this defense --attack. This attack stopped German advances in Luxembourg.

With CC B, Colonel Roberts led his column into the town of Bastogne late in the afternoon of the 18th. When he dispatched Teams Desobry, Cherry and O'Hare to defensive positions north and east of the town immediately, all hands realized that the situation was even more serious than most of them had suspected.

It is the beginning of the last-ditch attempt by Hitler to defeat the Allies. His goal was to push the Allies aside and rush to the northern coast at Antwerp. He expected it to be a blitzkrieg as the army had pulled off in the early days of World War II. Initially, for the Americans, it was a time of confusion and uncertainty. It will become the biggest battle the American troops will face in the entire war. It is difficult to follow all the movements since there are so many troops involved in a relatively small area. The numbers are staggering!

History Net reports:
The initial German attack force consisted of more than 200,000 men, around 1,000 tanks and assault guns (including the new 70-ton Tiger II tanks) and 1,900 artillery pieces, supported by 2,000 aircraft, the latter including some Messerschmitt Me 262 jets. In the opening phases of the battle, they would be facing only some 80,000 men, less than 250 pieces of armor and about 400 artillery guns. Many of the American troops were inexperienced; the German force included battle-hardened veterans of the tough fighting on the Eastern Front, but they, too, had green units filled with boys and with men who normally would have been considered too old for military service.

During the course of the month-long battle, some 500,000 German, 600,000 American and 55,000 British troops became involved. The Germans lost some 100,000 men killed, wounded and missing, 700 tanks and 1,600 aircraft, losses they could not replace. Allied losses—the majority of them incurred during the first week—included 90,000 men, 300 tanks and 300 aircraft, but they could make up these losses. In addition, an estimated 3,000 civilians died, some during the fighting and others executed by German combat and security forces.

The Ardennes Offensive was a massive gamble on the part of German dictator Adolf Hitler, one that he lost badly.


At first, Patton was not all that excited by having to delay his upcoming push. He thought that it was a small diversion by the German army to keep the Allies fooled. He quickly saw the danger and turned his troops on a dime- in and of itself an incredible accomplishment. By the end it would be one of the greatest battles in American military history- and make the final difference in the eventual outcome of the war in more ways than one.

#40- Regrouping

30 Nov - 16 Dec- Regrouping in the Saar-Moselle Triangle 

30 Nov – 1 Dec- Combat Command B (CCB) had almost reached its mission objective- the bridge over the Saar at Merzig. Just as they arrived, the Germans had blown it up. The next day,
December 1, 1944 CCB cleared Hilbringen, just west of Merzig, and continued to straighten its lines.  Company C of the 80th Armored Medical battalion had already been reassigned to the reserve Combat Command and was at Sierck-les-Bains, less than two miles from Division HQ at Apach

2 Dec - The Division Commanding General ordered CCA to relieve CCB.

3 Dec – 16 Dec- CCB assembled in an area north of Remeling and the weary tankers began the move to an assembly area in the vicinity of Montenach, ten miles northeast of Thionville. In two and a half weeks of incessant combat they had reached their objective only to find their mission – the capture of a bridge across the SAAR in the vicinity of Merzig - incapable of accomplishment. Units, however, had received their baptism of fire and had ironed out many kinks in operating technique. These and other lessons learned proved invaluable in time to come.

[NOTE: CCA continued to occupy positions overlooking the Saar until just before the Division
 move on the 17th of December. It engaged in no serious combat and was used primarily to "beef up" the depleted forces of the 90th Division who were primarily responsible for the zone. CCB remained in the Montenach area during the entire period.]
Information from a research report from the Officer's Advanced Course at the Armored School, 1948-49. 

A summary of the Battle for Metz (edited)
from, U. S. Army in World War II
European Theater of Operations
The Lorraine Campaign
Chapter XIV- Conclusion
by Hugh Cole

From beginning to end of the Lorraine Campaign the Third Army had liberated or conquered approximately 5,000 square miles of enemy-held territory. Tactically, the Lorraine operations of the Third Army had resulted in the loss to the enemy of three highly important defensive positions, those of the Moselle, the Nied, and the Sarre Rivers [and] had drastically reduced the German space for maneuver west of that river.

Strategically, the Third Army campaign … had forced the German high command to divert substantial forces from the defense of the Ruhr. … General Patton's persistent offensive during November and early December also had delayed the movement of key German divisions from the Third Army front to the strategic reserve that was being assembled, trained, and re-equipped for employment in the December counteroffensive. …  But the German forces had been so badly shattered in Lorraine that the Third Army was able to disengage on this front with relative ease as it turned to intervene in the battle of the Ardennes.

Losses inflicted on the German forces in Lorraine were high. Although the number of Germans killed and wounded cannot be determined with any degree of exactness, it is known that at least 75,000 prisoners passed through the Third Army cages during the Lorraine operation. It is impossible to give any reasonably accurate statement of German losses in tanks, guns, and vehicles. …

In November and December, however, American tank losses incurred in the course of the slow advance through the Lorraine mud probably were considerably higher than those of the enemy. The damage and destruction inflicted on German transport and artillery by the Third Army and the XIX Tactical Air Command were very much greater than that visited by enemy action on the Third Army. Matériel losses sustained by General Patton's command in the period 1 September to 18 December:
    ◦    Light tanks          105
    ◦    Medium tanks     298
    ◦    Vehicles           1,080
    ◦    Artillery (75-mm. and larger)     34

It must be added that the German ability to replace matériel losses in any category of equipment was markedly inferior to that of the Allies. If the campaign be considered as a battle of attrition, which indeed it was during the last weeks, the Third Army had done much on this secondary front to weaken the Wehrmacht.

The Third Army had suffered 55,182 killed, wounded, and missing in Lorraine (a total casualty list substantially less than the number of Germans captured, not to speak of the enemy roster of dead and wounded).
    ◦    Killed in action              6,657
    ◦    Wounded in action     36,406
    ◦    Missing in action        12,119

[A German view of the Americans]
At the end of 1944 the German training staffs published a series of "Battle Experiences," containing the official enemy estimate of the American soldier, his tactics, and his weapons. … Since the "Battle Experiences" were prepared for and issued to the troops, they contain much that stems from the politico-military dogmas of the Nazi party or that obviously is intended to raise the morale of the individual German soldier.

Despite recognition that the individual American was a more skilled and tenacious fighter in the fall of 1944 than in the early weeks after the Normandy landings, the doctrine of the superiority of the German infantryman did not alter. Stripped of the numerous propaganda reasons put forth to support this allegation, the core of the argument is as follows:
•    the American soldier depends upon tremendous matériel support to bring the battle to a successful conclusion;
•    when he is denied heavy support by the combined arms the "drive" in the attack dwindles;
•    he avoids close combat, dislikes night fighting, and surrenders readily—
•    all symptoms of his poor quality as a soldier.

Besides including such derogatory comments, the German "Battle Experiences" described in detail those aspects of American tactics and techniques believed to be worthy of emulation. High on all lists was:
•    the effective cooperation between infantry and tanks, tanks and planes.
•    American artillery was an object of praise. It was distinguished, said German observers, by a
    o    speedy system of communication,
    o    accurate fire,
    o    a plentiful supply of ammunition,
    o    greater range than that of comparable German types,
    o    skilled employment of artillery planes as aerial OP's, and
    o    extensive use of white phosphorus.

For many in the 10th, no doubt including Buddy's company, these two weeks in December were generally quiet.

    ✓   30 Nov - 8 Dec 1944
    ✓    Company C Morning Report

Organizational duties at Sierck (MR)

13 Dec- At this point in the month, the main direction of the Allies in the area continues to be the Saar-Moselle Triangle.  

        •     The U.S. Third Army III Corps accepts the surrender of last of the Metz forts--Jeanne d'Arc
      •     The U.S. Third Army draws up plans for an air-ground assault on the West Wall.

What happens next will be a surprise to all involved. It would appear that Allied intelligence had no idea that there was a major build-up of enemy troops, spreading out along a 75-mile battlefront. The goal would be to push the Allies west and open up a route for the Nazi troops to the port at Antwerp.  But today all was quiet. Mopping up was finishing on this phase and plans were ready for the next.

#39- End of the First Month

After Action Report
80th Armored Medical Battalion
10th Armored Division
1 Nov – 30 Nov 1944

There were 33 officers and 364 enlisted men. During the month one of the battalion was killed and five wounded. Five replacements were assigned. [Note: The member of the battalion who was killed was not in Company C. No death is noted in the company's morning reports.]

At all three clearing stations of the battalion in November 1944 there were:
    •    1962 admissions
    •    319 were returned to duty
    •    7 died in the stations
    •    1581 were transferred and
    •    55 remained in station on 30 Nov

The battalion commander had the following recommendations:
a. In some operations dissemination of information in regard to the tactical employment of the combat units did not reach this headquarters. Direct distribution of field orders and G-3 reports to the medical battalion would aid in the future employment of the supporting medical companies.

b. That all medical companies be employed in each action. ­ There is no useful purpose served by holding one entire company in reserve.

Fredrick D. Loomis
Captain, MAC.,
Battalion S-3

Looking at the daily admissions shows when the battalion's companies engaged in the heaviest battles. Again, from the 21st to the 29th, Company C was near the front.

Buddy and Company C were now back attached to the Reserve Combat Command (CC R). Located at Sierck-les-Bains, they were less than two miles from Division HQ at Apach and still only 12 or so miles west of the front!

Filling in some of the background on the medical battalions and companies:

The Army Medical Department's history describes Collecting Companies as:
...the forward echelon of the Division Medical Service. They were the connecting links in the chain of evacuation between Aid Stations and Division Clearing Stations. Their mission was to:

1) Remove evacuees from Infantry Regiment Aid Stations to Collecting Stations,
2) Prepare evacuees at the Collecting Stations for further evacuation, and
3) Transport evacuees by Ambulance from Collecting Stations to Division Clearing Stations.

Again, from the Army history:

The main task of the Clearing Company was to make decisions about what the next stage of treatment might be. This included such aspects as triage, sorting of casualties according to the nature and severity of their injuries, treatment- administering appropriate treatment to save lives, reduce suffering, and prevent permanent disability and determining which of the slightly wounded casualties could return to duty with their units.

(1) The medical detachment of the tank battalion moves in close support behind the tank companies, and directs its principal efforts at emergency treatment, either in vehicles or on the battlefield….

(3) [The] clearing stations reflect the characteristic high mobility of armor; they are organized and equipped with extremely mobile surgical trucks, and are capable of treating casualties in a short time after movement has ceased.
(pp. 1,2)
According to the manual for Armored Medical Battalions, they were in three parts:
(1) Division surgeon’s office. [Connected to the 10th Armored Division HQ]
(2) Medical detachments- provide first echelon medical service. [That is, they were at the front, near the battle.]
(3) Armored medical battalion- provides second echelon medical service. [They were behind the front lines, but, as can be see above, still well within battle distance. The greatest range of German artillery was about 18 miles, but they were often hampered by logistics and lack of ammunition.]
The manual continues with more specifics for the battalions:
Standing Operating Procedure
The armored division operates tactically in two or more combat commands… formed for a particular operation. Normally an armored medical company is included in each of the two combat commands and a part or all of the Third Company in the reserve command.

Medical units follow procedures best suited for the medical support of their individual unit. During combat, because of rapidly changing tactical situations, it may be found impractical to follow a predetermined plan. The employment of the medical detachments and the medical battalion is kept flexible and within control so that unforeseen tactical developments may be dealt with promptly.
(pp. 4-6)
A footnote to this history: What we are seeing in the development of this medical organization are the precursors of MASH units. (Wikipedia)

Other unforeseen- or unplanned for issues always arose.
The most glaring example in these early months of the 80th Medical Battalion- and most of the medical groups in the area had nothing to do with battle.

It was trench foot.

Poor planning and a sense that the war might not last all that long now that the Allies were fully engaged led to one of the most surprising, unexpected medical concerns- trench foot. By all accounts, the fall-winter of 1944-45 was the coldest and wettest in years. Trench foot did as much damage to the Allies as the enemy due to its duration of disability and its tendency to recur. Inadequate winter supplies only added to the crisis. During November and December 1944 the total number of cases of cold injury on the Western Front was more than 23,000. This was the size of one and a half infantry divisions. 

Gen. Omar Bradley Commanding General of the 12 Army Group wrote that this had seriously crippled the United States fighting strength in Europe. Medical officers estimated to Bradley that the majority who were evacuated from the front lines would never return to combat. At times this would reach as such as 38% of all hospital admissions to the 6 hospitals in the Paris area!  This obviously added to the burden at collecting companies like Company C and the 80 Medical Battalion! (Medical Department of the United States Army in World War II)