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Stories

We Had a Good Laugh

We Had a Good Laugh

On December 30, 1944, my company made contact with the enemy near Jodenville, Belgium, and forced them to withdraw to the high ground southwest of Chenogne. 
 
During our battle outside Jodenville, a German 88 shell and I tried to share the same space (the Germans thought that I was a tank).  The shell landed next to me and while most of the shrapnel fell over me, I was knocked silly and sprayed with shrapnel.  It was like 15 people had kicked me in sensitive parts of my body with heavy GI shoes.  I thought that I was going to die and I did not know for sure what country I was in — Belgium or Luxembourg (it was Belgium). 
 
I was suddenly surprised to see a GI that I did not know standing near me.  He had been hit in the face with shrapnel — probably from the same 88 shell that hit me.  He seemed to be in shock and for some strange reason;  I thought that his gloves were bloodier than mine.  So as not to cause him any more anxiety, I suggested that we exchange gloves — which we did without a word.  I then remembered that we were supposed to take eight tablets with water if we were hit.  I counted out the tablets one-by-one and gave them to the other GI, but I forgot to take any tablets myself.  I did, however, give myself a shot of morphine. 
 
Someone in the tank that the Germans had missed then threw me a blanket and moved on.  I was now a foot soldier laying in the snow with what felt like frozen legs.  Then a jeep came out with bullets still firing, and I was taken to a tent field hospital where I was operated on.  Before the operation, I kept passing out and each time I regained consciousness, I saw a German soldier standing nearby.  I thought that I had been captured!  It turned out that the German had been brought into the hospital to be treated.  They eventually moved him out of my line of vision. 
 
After my operation, I saw the soldier who had been hit in the face with shrapnel.  He was not badly wounded but the blood on his face had made his injury look worse.  We laughed when we saw each other. (We had been two scared GIs.) 
 
I was then sent back to England for further operations.  When I was better, I was sent back to the front a second time via box cars that were used in World War I.  The sign on the box car read: “Hommes 40, Chevaux 8” (40 men or 8 horses). 
 
Source: Bulge Bugle February 2001 
T/Sgt Wilfred McCARTY

21st Armored

Infantry Battalion

11th Armored Division

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium