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US Army

A Bulge Ghost Town, December 1944

A Bulge Ghost Town, December 1944.

I had an interesting experience while our tank battalion was fighting in the St Vith area.  I was in Service Company and we were sent back to St Hubert for gasoline and ammunition.  We had about 10 trucks and knew how much of each kind of ammunition to get and how much gasoline in five gallon cans.
It was quite a long trip.When we got to St Hubert, it was too late to get the gas and ammo and then return to the battalion without driving at night.  There was a circle at the center of the town and GIs were all over the place.  There was a church on the circle so we took our bedrolls into the church and slept there.
We woke next morning and found everything was dead.  Not a soul anywhere!  We were the only guys left in town!  We had no idea why everyone else left the town and I still don’t know today.  We found some MPs who gave us directions to where we found ammunition stacked along a trail.  We loaded the ammo then went further to get the gasoline which was stored in railroad cars.
There was a 2nd lieutenant in charge of the gasoline dump.  He said, “There is no way anybody is getting any gas out of here because it is all promised for somebody.”  He said he had been told that nobody else could have that gasoline.
“Now wait awhile,” I said.  I then ordered my driver, Ruby Kocurek, to man the .50 caliber machine gun mounted on the top of our vehicle.  “Now,” I said  “we’ll see whether we get any gasoline.  We’re not leaving until our trucks are loaded.”  With that, the lieutenant stepped aside and watched as we loaded the trucks.
On the return trip from St Hubert too our battalion, we were warned by the MPs that German snipers were in the area but we returned without any problem.
Source: Bulge Bugle August 1998
S/Sgt Robert E. MERTENS

14th Tank Battalion

9th Armored Division


Battle of the Bulge,