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My Ride from Germany to Belgium

My Ride from Germany to Belgium

I was a 22 year old mechanic on a T-2 (Tank Recovery Vehicle) in our company’s maintenance.We were traveling all night from north Germany’s Siegfried Line (mud, mines, and anti-tank ditches) to Belgium.  We pulled tanks and other vehicles from ditches along the way because of freezing rain and slippery roads.
T-2 Tank Recovery Vehicle.

We had a roll of Tamarack poles fastened together by cables (used for corduroy mat to help tanks and other vehicles out of the mud), hanging on our boom.
About midnight, as we were passing Aachen, our vehicle began “bumping” along.  When we stopped to investigate, we were rear-ended by a lone Sherman tank which was following our block-out lights, breaking the cables on our bundle of poles.  We pulled the pi, from the boom cable and left them by the side of the road.  We then discovered that the “bumping” was caused by our right track rolling over the ties, between the rails of a narrow gauge railroad on the shoulder of the highway.  Two hours later we replaced a “blown” boggie wheel.
In the forenoon on Christmas Day, we pulled into a farm yard and were invited inside by a couple and their teenaged daughter.
The Belgians were down to mostly potatoes to eat and we had “C” and “K” rations.For Christmas dinner we had a special treat.  We shared our rations with the Belgians and in return got potatoes.  We cut them up and made French fries.  The next day we joined our tanks, as they met resistance.

On our way back to Germany, after the Bulge, we stayed overnight in the yard of a family, who invited us to eat with them.  To our surprise, it was the same place we had stayed on our way to Germany in the summer.  The first time the women of the house scoured our smoke-covered tea kettle, which we used to make coffee – with a blow torch for heat.  By now, it was black again and they sent us off with a clean kettle for a second time.


Source:Bulge Bugle, May 1998

S/Sgt Arnold J. SHIRLEY

"C" Company

66th Armored Regiment

2nd Armored Division


Battle of the Bulge,