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Elsenborn Ridge

 

Elsenborn Ridge

 
I was enroute from Camp Chesterfield to be a replacement in “M” Company, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.  While we were being transported we heard rumors of a German breakthrough.  By the time we got to Elsenborn Ridge, the story began to unfold.  Colonel Hershfelder had managed to retreat from the German Breakthrough; however, there had been a lot of casualties.  The first I heard about was “Whitey” had been run over by a German Panzer.  Everyone thought he was dead.  To our surprise when the war was over in Europe and we got to Ft Sam there was “Whitey.”  He had been taken prisoner.
 
I arrived at “M” Company as machine gunner 30 caliber water cooled.  The first evening I was in the camp I had dug a fox hole.  We were being shelled constantly.  Tree bursts scattered shrapnel everywhere.  Then to my surprise Captain Man, Company Commander, came to talk with me.  He had received a battle fields commission.  He spent a little while giving me encouragement.  He was part of a historical unit—the Honshu Regiment.  I do not really remember what he said but when he left I went to sleep.
 
I don’t know if any of the men I served with are still alive.  I have lost touch.  I remember a Sergeant Flores.  He got a Silver Star for bravery.  Satoff was our Medic.  I remember a Sergeant Figero.  One guy who came to the front with me was named Perry.  We were shelled night and day and strafed by Messerschmitts.
 
The cooks said they would come up to our forward position if we would dig a kitchen for them.  A funny thing happened while we were working on it—there was a tree stump we could not pry loose.  Someone in higher Headquarters had decided to issue ¼ sticks of dynamite for us to dig fox holes in the frozen ground.  “Ha Ha—not a good idea.”  Anyway, someone suggested that we use a few sticks to dislodge the tree stump.  We used 4 or 5.  When it exploded the stump went into the air like a rocket.  We finished the kitchen.  We even fixed a shelf not so deep for the cooks to sleep on.  A few days later a very angry artillery officer came up.  He wanted to talk with our Commanding Officer.  It seems the stump hit one of his trucks.  He was furious.  But when he met Captain Man they knew each other and had gone to the same high school, I think in Pennsylvania.
 
To complete this story about the ¼ sticks of dynamite, when we began to advance someone drilled a hole and ignited the stick—“Bam”.  This was followed by a series of explosions.  The German observers had triangulated on the explosion and dug a few more fox holes for us.  Needless to say, immediately they took away all the rest of the dynamite from us.
 
We should have known better because even when we had dropped a mess kit the German artillery would guess we were eating and shell us.  I am grateful that John Eisenhower mentioned the stand at Elsenborn Ridge in his book “The Bitter Woods.”
 
Source: Bulge Bugle February 2003

By Charles R. POSEY

"M" Company,

9th Infantry Regiment

2nd Infantry Division

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium