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US Army

The night of December 24, 1944


The night of December 24, 1944 
… I saw a dead beef cow at the top of our stairwell, with three more ead out toward the road we had come in on.  All looked like fancy Belgium beef.  I realized then why the "Battle field dirt" half frozen had the peculiar smell when I smeared it on my shining face the night before.  I was reared on a farm but never handled any frozen cow manure.
I was always told that the Germans on the front line always got the best rations while the Americans up there always got the worst rations.  They apparently had moved their best beef to the front to feed the Germans coming through on December 16, and they did not make it.  We had spoiled their plans.
On the night of December 24, 1944, we all knew that the infantry had stored all their boxes received from home in a closet with anything else they could get hold of to add to their Christmas Dinner.  Artillery could think of nothing to add.  When the "ration detail" was sent back after dark to get the one canteen of water and two boxes of K-Rations per man for next days' meals, I sent my two men back to find my sleeping roll and bring the fifth of Seagrams 7 that I had been issued for frozen feet and never took to the front line.  They had to go all the way to Service Battery.  I planned to offer a "shot of whiskey to anyone that wanted it.

The detail returned early.  I got my allotment and prepared to man the Dome for a while, when two men that appeared to be under age 18, who helped clean the "toilet area" the first night, and established the "thunder bucket" and later said that it made them mad, but now thought it was the best thing that happened in the pill box, approached me with, "Give us your water."  I asked why.  They said, "You have been called to the rear."  I donated all my rations. …

The trip back to the farm house near Simmerath was no problem.  Some one had been to the rear and brought up a lot of Red Cross doughnuts, and had hot coffee on the stove.  I helped myself but it did not stop my thirst and I could find no water…. For a long time I could not eat doughnuts or drink coffee.
Source: Memorable Bulge Incidents = 1994

By John P. LENTZ

308th Field Artillery Bn

78th Infantry Division


Battle of the Bulge,