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US Army

Relief of Bastogne Was Completed

Relief of Bastogne Was Completed

 
In retrospect, the resistance we encountered at Wiltz, Luxembourg, and Farbersviller, France, proved to be only a prelude to what was to occur at Bastogne.
 
On the afternoon of December 19th, 1944, we boarded trucks and moved 150 miles north to Gonderange, Luxembourg, where in the next three days swift preparations were made for carrying out 317th’s role in the Battle of the Bulge.
 
With little food or water remaining after maneuvering over the frozen, inhospitable countryside, we encountered enemy resistance in the vicinity of Nierderfallen, Luxembourg, on Christmas Day – a day I shall never forget.  It turned into one of the bloodiest battles “L” Company and its supporting companies would fight during the entire war.
 
In frigid weather, over frozen snow covered ground, the attack began up an open hillside that stretched for miles to its top.  A hill that would be remembered forever by 317 doughs as “Bloody Knob.”  Withering artillery, mortar, machine gun and rifle greeted us from every direction.
 
We forged ahead through murderous opposition, driving the enemy from one position after another.  It was pure hell, fought in the worse weather conditions ever experienced in those parts.  Casualties mounted like wildfire, overwhelming our medics and leaving wounded men to depend on battlefield buddies to get them back to a road, where they could be picked up and rushed to the hospital.  On two occasions I helped wounded men off the hill.  Buddies who were so badly disabled they were helpless against enemy counter-attacks.  Their letter I received after the war, expressed eternal gratitude.
 
When darkness descended that sad day, confusion was so widespread no one could locate their company CPs.  It took days before we were able to regroup.  In on fierce day of battle, I and about a dozen other survivors of “L” Company became the “oldtimers” of the outfit.  And at the end of that day of infamy, I also ended up the 305th Medical Battalion hospital in Nierderfallen, with frozen feet.
 

Relief of Bastogne was completed.  The German hope for a major break-through had collapsed.  German troops soon lost faith in the ultimate victory and enemy resistance disintegrated into isolated points of resistance.

 
How true rang the words, “Soldiers are citizens of death’s grey land.”T  he most experienced soldiers finds it difficult to recreate a true picture of the horrors of war.A  nd even the electronic media with all of its technical knohow, produces mostly phony scenarios.
 

Source:Bulge Bugle,May 1995

Cpl Joseph DRASLER

"L" Company

317th Infantry Regiment

80th Infantry Division

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium