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On to Bastogne

On to Bastogne

 
In on other story, Robert Murrell described the action of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 318th Regiment, 80th Infantry Division, with their attack towards Bastogne with the 4th Armored Division.  To continue this on further: on Christmas Eve those of us in Company "B" 318th Regiment, moved by open truck, and it was very cold with no coats or blankets, to an area near Bigonville, Luxembourg.
 
Early Christmas morning we attacked.  We were on the right flank of the highway deep in the dense woods.  We were being fired on from the right, rear and the front.  We did capture Tintange, Belgium, after a severe fight, losing many men.  We continued the advance until December 28th when we were relieved by units of the 35th Infantry Division.  We did not have enough man power to continue.  We never did get to Bastogne, but reached an area near the village.
 
We had moved from an area in France after slogging through the mud for many months to finally get relieved after 129 days of combat.  This was December 8, 1944.  We went into Corps reserve for six days training in river crossings and the taking of pill boxes.  We moved into the Saar area ready to hit the West Wall.
 
This was the 16th of December.  Then, we were alerted to move north and fast, which we did--traveling by open truck for two days and nights.  We were over-strengh and had about 220 in the company.General Patton knew we would have heavy losses in the attack.  We had new replacements and casualties returning (wounded men returning to action).  When we were relieved, 20 men remained in the company.  We had moved from France in 15 trucks and returned in one truck.  We were led by a Pfc. (Private First Class).  We returned to Ettelbruck and three days later we were back in action.  I do not know how the men survived the cold, no blankets or overcoats, but they kept on advancing.  We had lost many men in three days' fighting in Ettelbruck before joining the 4th Armored Division in their attack on Christmas Day.  We were told to hike out or stay and freeze to death when wounded.
 
As for myself, I was wounded in the thigh and out of action.  The medics told us to walk out since the medics were not getting through the deep snows and the enemy closing in the rear.  Three of us hiked to the aid station about five miles.  We took our rifles and had a few firefights on the way.  I spent over two months in the 50th General Hospital in Commerce, France, and then right back into action.  It was so cold that none of us were bleeding.
 

The losses were heavy for all the units fighting up from the south.  The 26th Infantry Division and the 80th fought in very rugged country with many streams and steep hills, fighting uphill into heavy defended areas.  When spring came and the snows melted thousands of German and American bodies littered the area.  The German Cemetery, near Hamm Cemetery, has a common grave where over 7,000 men are resting.

 

Source:Bulge Bugle, May 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Edgar E BREDBENNER Jr

Company "B"

318th Infantry Regiment

80th Infantry Division

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium