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US Army

We Were in Bra, on or about Christmas

We Were in Bra, on or about Christmas

 
On Christmas Eve 1944 many units along the North Shoulder received orders to pull back and set up a new defensive line (to straighten out the line).  Battery “C”, 1st Platoon 80th Antiaircraft Battalion was in support of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the vicinity of Grand-Halleux.
 
Our platoon pulled out about 2200 hours and headed toward Bra (about two miles Northeast of Manhay).  We set up our 57mm AT gun on the Southwest edge of Bra, covering the road from Manhay.  Sometime after midnight after our gun was set up, our squad offered shelter from the cold in the house just in back of our gun position.  This was the home of Joseph Fourgon family.
 
Christmas day, sometime in the afternoon, I was standing outside the house in back of our gun position when I noticed about six or eight GIs coming up the road.  I don’t remember the first words or the conversation but when they began telling me that they moved up online the evening before.  A fire fight began later. (Four platoons of Company “C” 290th Regimental Combat Team attacked south on N-15 directly into the advancing elements of the 2nd SS Panzer division).  They realized they were cut off with many casualties and outnumbered.
 

It was decided that they would break out in small groups.  Three groups, about eight men per group would move out in different directions.  There was a least one tank and one vehicle.  They did say the tank crew damaged the tank.  I’m not sure what was done to the vehicle.  I then asked what outfit they were from.  They said the 75th Infantry Division, Company “C”, 290th Regiment.  This is when I became excited and told them I was with the 290th AT Company at Fort Leonard Wood.  After more chit chat, they left and headed into Bra.

 

Some year ago, I attended my first 75th Division Reunion.  That is where I met member of Company “C” and I asked if any of them remembered this incident on or about Christmas Day, 1944.  Their faces lit up and they said they were in one of the three groups that walked out on Christmas Day but they did not remember what direction they headed or if they did go thru Bra or meeting a former member of the 290th Infantry Regiment.

 

I mention on or about Christmas Day.  We were in Bra 3 or 4 days.  When meeting these men at the Reunion I was not sure if this incident occurred on Christmas Day or on the 26th.  Their comment was they walked out on Christmas morning.

 

Source:Remembrances by Raymond FARY, December 1997

By Pfc Raymond FARY

Battery "C"

80th AA Battalion

82nd Airborne Division

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium