On December 19, 1944, Lt. Col. Andrew Barr, the G-2 for Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose’s 3d Armored Division, and his staff joined the divisional headquarters in a night road march. From Stolberg, Germany, the column headed southeast to Hotton, Belgium, with orders to help stem the German attack into the Ardennes. As he drove into the night, Barr had to shift his focus seventy-two miles to the southwest.

Colonel Barr, a 43-year-old accountant, had been the G-2 for the division for almost two and a half years. Before he was called to active duty in February 1941, he had served with the newly formed Securities and Exchange Commission since 1938. He also was a reserve cavalry officer since 1923, rising to major in 1938. Joining the 3d Armored Division in April 1941, he trained with the division as it prepared for overseas deployment. Both well-liked and well-respected, one of his staff noted Barr was “both a warm human being and a flesh-and-blood computer.” He would need the latter skill as he looked to support General Rose in the Battle of the Bulge.

On December 15, the day before the German attack, Barr had expressed concern of the possibility of an attack by the German Sixth SS Panzer Army. He, however, considered its employment against his division’s advance over the Roer River, well to the north of the Ardennes. Two days later, he accurately noted the German attack had penetrated close to St. Vith, Belgium. He saw the “enemy activity [had] developed into a major attack with elements of the Sixth SS Panzer Army participating.” He also called attention to several German columns moving in the Ardennes region, picked up by aerial reconnaissance. Again, he viewed the information in a way to support his commander and noted that, with the panzer army’s use in this major attack, the likelihood Germans would use it against the 3d Armored Division was greatly reduced. On December 18, Barr assessed the scope, general size, and main effort of the German attack. He noted the enemy had not gotten beyond Eselborn, Belgium, about thirty miles east of where he and the division staff was heading on the night of December 19.

While his staff moved to Hotton, General Rose received orders to hold a part of the northern shoulder of the German penetration. This would be difficult because Rose had lost most of his combat power to reinforce other parts of the line. With only the undersized Combat Command “R” remaining, Rose took the bold measure of sending three small task forces southwest along parallel routes. Delaying the Germans, it also proved a boon to Barr and his G-2 staff.