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US Army

My Diary

My Diary
 
To recall the most memorable even that took place for me during the Battle of the Bulge is difficult.  They were all memorable to me as I'm sure they were to every combat troop of the ETO.
 
When we left Haverfordwest, Wales on December 10, 1944, members of the 75th Infantry Division had never dreamed of "The Bulge."  That we did remember was after three days on the Channel and unloading by LST's at Le Havre, France, seeing the German fortification and burned out, battle scarred and demolished remnants of a once beautiful seaport, we wondered just what lay in store for us in the days to come.  We bivouacked in a large open field near St Paer, France, for five days.  We remember the ankle deep mud, the wet boots, (and canvas leggings), the pup tents with straw beds.
 

We left our happy bivouac home on December 19, 1944 by truck and 40/8 boxcars to Tongres, Belgium, arriving there on December 21.  We unloaded ourselves of our duffle bags and prepared our packs for combat.  Someone had created the Bulge, and we are there.

 

We moved out to Verlaine, Belgium where we joined forces with the 2nd Armored Division, and on December 25, 1944, rode their tanks in an attack towards Rochefort, Belgium, the first baptism of combat in the ETO.  We were all green troops but ready and eager, the result was a success.  From Rochefort we were sent to Grandmenil where we relieved the 106th Infantry Division (The 424th Infantry Regiment) which had borne the brunt of von Rundstedt's breakthrough.  From Grandmenil we were sent to Creppe – Spa.

 

Snow was falling when we left in the evening of January 8, 1945.  Men started out walking on slippery, icy roads up and down steep hills, and being infiltrated by vehicles that were moving up.  Trudging on and on, late into the night, men began to tire, then fell off to the sides of the road exhausted, too lifeless to move.  The remainder of the column moved on.  Along the entire march, men fell out in the snow and lay there, some of them becoming completely covered by the fury of the storm.  After walking all night and 28 miles later the battalion reached Basse-Bodeux, Belgium at 0500 hours on January 9, 1945.

 

"Most memorable incidents" of the Bulge?

 

This eleven hour hike as some refer to it, lasted the entire right and I'm sure it will never be forgotten by the men who made it.  Men of the 291st Infantry Regiment were scattered and holed up, resting.  During January 9 and 10, troops were reorganized and began relieving elements of the 82nd Airborne Division.

 

January 15, 1945 found 2nd Battalion, and 291st Regiment in the attack on the enemy's flank near Grand-Halleux.  The ground was covered with snow, men wore OD clothing, the objective, a dense wooded area nearly 800 yards across open, flat terrain.  The men were black targets on white background.  They were about 400 yards across the field, everything going smooth, when all hell broke loose.  The "Jerry" camouflaged in snow, suits, opened fire from the flanks and from the front.  Snipers potted at the men as they lay in the snow, perfect, unprotected targets.  Many were killed and wounded; casualties mounted throughout the day.  Man lay pinned to the ground, freezing.  Weapons, hot from recent firing, touched and melted the snow, then froze beyond firing condition.  Night fell and the men that were able pulled back to a covered position.  Wounded were evacuated.

 

During the night "I" and "K" Companies of 1st Battalion moved through 2nd Battalion area and 0700 on January 16, continued the attack toward Petit-Their, Ville du Bois, Aldringen, Maldingen only two miles east of St Vith.  Despite heavy enemy shelling, the town was taken on January 24, 1945. After the Bitterly contested battles of Aldringen and Maldingen the 291st Infantry's mission in the Ardennes was completed.

 

Moving back to Grand-Halleux, 2nd Battalion troops climbed on uncovered trucks and rode toward Salmchateau.  Grand-Halleux and Grandmenil were in the Ardennes Mountains and it was in this territory that the greatness of the American foot soldier stopped, held, and finally broke, the best the German Army had to offer.  To the infantryman, every mud-slogging wearer of the crossed rifles in Europe of that winter is a hero.

 
Not even those men of Washington at Valley Forge ever went through more misery; a misery forged of sleet and snow and rain and cold, not to mention the 88s and mortars of the Nazi war machine.  Washington's men endured the cold plus the might of a powerful foe.  The men of the Bulge can indeed, be proud of their part – whatever it was – in that part of the war – the winter of 1944 and 1945 on the Western front – a part that will live in the memories of those who were there.
 

January 26, 1945 found the 291st Regiment moving south by 40 and 8 boxcars ending up at the Colmar Pocket attached to the French First Army.

 
Source: Battle of the Bulge 1995

Pvt Charlie R. DISEL

"HQ" Company

291st Infantry Regiment

75th Infantry Division

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium