ATS PARKER'S CROSROADS - 2016 EDITION
WITH 2 BONUS MAPS!
Ten miles west of Vielsalm lies a small
crossroads settlement known among its Belgian inhabitants as Baraque
de Fraiture. It also happens to be the second-highest point in
the Ardennes, though the slope is so gradual that is appears to
be flat ground. Running through the settlement is the north-south
N15 Highway, leading from Bastogne in the south to Liege in the
north. Intersecting the N15 is the N28 secondary road, running
from St. Vith to La Roche. Coincidentally, the N15 also corresponded
to the boundary between the 3rd Armored Division and the 82nd
The first US units to occupy the crossroads
were elements of the 106th Infantry Division which had been battered
and forced back in disorganization by the opening onslaught of
the German attack. Arriving on December 19th following their retreat
from the St. Vith area were remnants of the 589th Field Artillery
Battalion. Unable to properly pronounce the name, the troops quickly
dubbed it Parkers Crossroads, after their commander,
Major Arthur C. Parker III. By this point, however, Parkers
`battalion consisted only of three 105mm howitzers and about
110 men including surviving service troops. These men had managed
to escape encirclement on the Schnee Eifel, losing contact with
their division commander in the process. Parker eventually received
orders from the 174th Field Artillery Group instructing him to
establish a roadblock at Baraque de Fraiture.
Later that day a platoon from the 203rd AAA Battalion, attached
to the 7th Armored Division, arrived at the crossroads and joined
the defense at Parkers request. The multi-barreled antiaircraft
guns of the M16s and the single M15A1 were a welcome boost
to the tiny garrisons firepower. All hands nervously anticipated
a German assault.
What you get!