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Chicken for Christmas Dinner

Chicken for Christmas Dinner
 
My account of the “Chickens in the House” will have to start the afternoon before on 23 December when my company was moving and the 3rd Platoon was sent on another mission from the rest of the company.  We were given orders to move to this village as fast as possible and get there before the Germans.  We had to set up a road block and stop them.  If they arrived before us, we were to stop them where we met them.
 

We arrived at this village (Manhay) after dark.We never saw any soldiers but we thought that the German infantry was already there, at least some of them.  We set up a road block and stayed in position all night.  We were where we could observe the enemy attack other tanks and help each other in case we were crept up on.

 

At daybreak the next morning, I alerted everyone in the tanks to be ready to assist me.  I left my tank and went in the house to investigate the noise.  The front room was full of chickens.  It seemed the resident put all the chickens in the front room before they left.  They left containers of water and feed for them.  I guess when they left they probably thought it might be possible to salvage some from the ordeal if they got back in time.

 
Mess Sergeant Arrives 

Anyway, the mess sergeant arrived about 0900 hours.  He had some cold hotcakes and lukewarm coffee.  When we complained he said we were lucky to have what he had.  He gave each one a hotcake with a spoonful of jelly in the middle and a cup of lukewarm coffee.  I asked him if he could cook the chickens if he had them.  He jumped at the chance.

 

We found a basket that was similar to our cotton picking baskets in Alabama.  We went in the house and rung the chickens’ necks and put them in a basket.  We thought we had them all so we opened the door to leave but one chicken was still alive and tried flying out the door.  One of my men shot at it and missed.  Someone else took it up and tried but missed.  Before I knew it, we had several men shooting with no luck.  So you can realize how tired, nervous and bleary-eyed we were.  I stopped the shooting and we forgot that lone chicken.

 

I was wounded the afternoon of 24 December.  I sure had been looking forward to that fried chicken for supper but I never received it.  It was in the back of my mind for the remainder of the war  .I never found out what became of the chicken.  But I can still think how good the fried chicken would have been.  That stayed with me for the rest of the war.

 
Source: Battle of the Bulge February 2003
 

S/Sgt Meron J. THOMPSON

Company "C"

14th Tank Battalion

9th Armored Division

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium