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US Army

December 26, 1944 with the 331st Infantry Regiment

December 26, 1944
 with the 331st Infantry Regiment

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I joined "H" Company, 331st Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division on about December 26, 1944 as a replacement.  We were in Ottre, Belgium at the time and I was appointed as a platoon messenger by my platoon leader.

The town of Bihain which was about 2 miles from Ottre was just taken by our elements of the 330th Infantry and parts of the 331st Regiment, too.  The shelling all around was extremely heavy, since the Germans were attempting a counter-attack to retake the town.  My Lieutenant told me to [go] into Bihain and contact machine gunners of the 2nd Platoon and find out exactly where they were in Bihain and report back to him.  I started down the road about 5 or 6 A.M. searching each house along the narrow streets and looking for someone in the 2nd Platoon.


All along the street there were G.I.'s hiding in doorways ducking the shells that were coming down and when asking some of them if they had seen or no where the heavy machine gunners were in town, they directed me to the end of the street and told me to check there.  But getting down that street was extremely dangerous due to the shelling that morning.  I did finally get to what looked like a doorway to a house, the G.I. standing there asked me who I was and to identify myself, which I did.  He then opened the door slowly and told me to ask one of the officers inside perhaps they might know where the "H" Company machine gunners were.  I then discovered that this was the 2nd Battalion Hqs. staff, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Leniel MacDonald.


There was a small table in the center of the room, and a map of that area was spread out on it.  The Battalion Commander was discussing the on going battle with his staff.  They had a little candle stuck in a cut out potato for light and the scene around the table with the staff officers around is something I'll never forget.  It was my 2nd or 3rd day in combat so to me it was quite an experience knowing that I was actually on the front lines.  I did finally find my machine gunners of the 2nd Platoon in the last house on the street.  They had the gun up on the top floor in an open window and that's where they had stopped the counter attack coming into Bihain during the night.  Our units then took the towns of Langlir and Petite Langlir and then into the St. Pierre-Hez forest to flush out the Germans in the woods in the midst of a raging snow storm and bitter cold weather fighting there in the woods for over a week in January, 1945.  Our Division then secured an area which allowed an armored division to go through and cut the vital St. Vith-Houffalize highway, which was the last German supply route reaching to the western end of the Bulge.

Source: Battle of the Bulge 1995

Pfc Emanuel E. LAMB

"H" Company

331st Infantry Regiment

83rd Infantry Division


Battle of the Bulge,