Second World War: Battle of the Bulge

Soldier describes a patrol during the Battle of the Bulge in the Second World War.


| Good Old Days



As I write the date December 17, 1993, I think back to this date in 1944, during the Second World War. I was a member of the Recon Company of the 818 Tank Destroyer Battalion, which was attached to the 5th Infantry Division in Patton's Third Army. We had moved across the Saar River into Saarlaughten, Germany. We were in a large building that had been for German officers. 

While observing artillery fire we heard the Germans fire four rounds, but we could tell there was only one gun firing four times. We reported to headquarters that something was not right; the German's artillery battery of four guns was firing one gun four times. Later we learned that three of the guns were taken to start the Battle of the Bulge.

On December 19th we were told that we had to re-cross the Saar River and go to a point to get further instructions. The trick was to get across the river bridge safely in the daytime. When we left from behind the building, we would be in the open, but we never lost a vehicle or a man in the move. When we got to the parking area, we were given a map, a full tank of gas and an extra Jerry can of gas. On the map was a marked area in Luxembourg City.

Everyone was on their own to get there as fast as they could. No convoy, just go.

On the 23rd of December, we were driving where there were few houses. I could see a couple of little girls playing in a backyard, so I got out of the jeep and went to the house. When the man came out to see what I wanted, I told him I would like to give some Christmas candy to the little girls. He told me in broken English that there were 13 more kids in the house. I went to the jeep and got all four pounds of hard-rock Christmas candy that I had ended up with and gave it to him for the kids. He told me to wait, and he brought out a large bottle of whiskey and gave it to me. He said he made whiskey to get money for the upkeep of the home and the 15 orphans he and his wife were taking care of.

The morning of December 24th, I woke up when I heard some-one climbing up the ladder to the hay mow where I was sleeping. I had my gun ready. The head that was looking around from the ladder belonged to a boy about 12 years old. He could speak very little English. He held out a homemade ring for me, which I still have. The boy's folks were inviting our platoon to have supper with them in the big house. Our platoon commander accepted the supper invitation. When we went to the house for the Christmas Eve dinner, I took the bottle of whiskey. It was divided equally among everyone. I think that was the best whiskey I had ever tasted. Along with the roasted goose, dressing, potatoes, and all the trimmings, what a meal!





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