US Army

Christmas Dinner 1944

Christmas Dinner 1944
T/Sergeant Trygve Strand brought back memories of how I spent that Christmas at Noiseux, Belgium.
Late on the afternoon of the 24th December, Lieutenant Colonel Isenberg asked if I knew where a certain ammo dump was, and I told him I didn’t.  “It’s near here,” he said and circled the name of the town on the map.  “Do you think you could find it?”  I told him I could

Then he told me the dump had received a supply of posit fuse (proximity fuses that could be set so the projectile exploded a given distance above the ground, which made it a very effective anti-personnel weapon).  The Colonel wanted me to see if I could get some for our guns.

Early Christmas morning, T/5 Leo Gummert (my driver), T/5 Virgil Thornton (my radio operator), and I headed north.  I read the map and acted as navigator.  The roads were covered with ice and snow, and the going was slow.  Shortly after noon, we found the dump, stacked as many boxes of fuses as we could in the back site of the command car, and with all three of us in the front seat, we headed back to the Battalion.

“If the Germans see us with this load, they’ll think we are a tank, and we’ll be dead in the water,” Gummert said.


It was a bitter cold day, and as the windshield was folded down on the hood, the wind almost froze our faces.  An hour or so later, just when we were so cold we felt like we couldn’t stand it, we saw a little bistro.  We stopped, and inside huddled by a stove was a man and woman wearing coats.  We spoke little French, and they spoke less English, but we managed to make them understand that we would like to get something to eat.  The woman brought out a loaf of black bread, took the lid off a kettle of potato soup on the back of the stove, and indicated this was all they had.  Then she sliced the bread and put bowls on the table.  Thornton went outside and came back with a can of Spam, which he opened and set on the table.


Both the man and woman smiled.  She sliced the Spam and put it on the bread.  The man disappeared and then came back with a dusty bottle of wine.  Maybe this wasn’t as fancy as what T/Sergeant Strand brought back for the rest of the Battalion that day, but I will never forget that Christmas dinner of potato soup, black bread, and Spam, washed down with a little wine.


Source: Fire Mission 951st Field Artillery Battalion, December 1997


Battery "Service"

951st Field Artillery



Battle of the Bulge,