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US Army

Our Situation was Critical

Our Situation was Critical

 

(In Bastogne) Our situation was critical.  In addition to being surrounded and outnumbered, there were 18,000 mouths to be fed.  Carbine and M-1 ammo was in short supply, as were bazooka and artillery shells.  The harsh weather was yet another enemy, against whom we had little defense, and frostbitten feet were not altogether uncommon.

 
On the morning of December 23rd, all lookouts were ordered to watch for the first aircraft.  The weather, which had been hazy, was finally clearing.  At 0935 hours an MP rushed into 101st Airborne Headquarters to tell Colonel Kohls that several allied aircraft were circling the sector.  By 1115 hours, 16 more aircraft appeared, and parachutes were dropping desperately needed supplies northwest of Bastogne at San-souci lane and the Marche Road.  We felt a renewed sense of hope that enabled us to continue our fight.
 
Bastogne 23rd of December: Supplies by air (photo N.A.R.A.)
 
By afternoon of the 23rd December, the sky filled with 241 Dakotas and P-47's.  The air support offered by these was a significant factor in turning the battle in our favor during the next few days.  They were dropping 75ib. bombs in an effort to reduce our enemy's numbers.However, battle lines were still very ill defined, and German and American troops were in close proximity on the ground below.  Consequently, our own troops had to hit the ground when we heard the roar of the plane and the distinctive whistling sound of the bombs, even though it was "friendly fire."
 
The fighting continued the December 24th and 25th, and throughout the remaining days of December.  There was no opportunity for communication with the outside world.  No letters were coming in or out -- we were lucky to have received supplies of food and ammunition.  That didn't stop us, though, from being aware that back home it was Christmas.  I wondered about my family and whether they were concerned about me.  This was my third Christmas away from home, and I hoped I will be alive to be there for the next one.
 
Source: Bulge Bugle November 1993

By James W HERRINGTON

1st Battalion

327th Glider Regiment

101st Airborne Division

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium