On 30 January 1944, after Christmas break the Rangers were put together for a joint operation, to occupy the town of Cisterna, before the main infantry division moved in. That night the 1st and 3rd battalions moved into the town, passing many German soldiers that did not appear to notice the Rangers slip by. The 4th Ranger Battalion met opposition almost immediately taking an opposite route by the road. During the night the 1st and 3rd Ranger battalions separated out about 2 miles (3. 2 km), and when daylight caught the 1st Ranger Battalion out in an open field, the Germans began their ambush. Completely surrounded and unable to escape, the two Ranger battalions fought on until ammunition and resources were exhausted. The 4th Ranger Battalion tried to make a push to save their comrades but were unsuccessful and had to withdraw. After five hours of fighting, German tanks and motorized infantry defeated the Rangers. Out of the 760 men in the two battalions, only six escaped and the rest were killed or captured. US Army records indicate over 700 Ranger prisoners.