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US Army

I Mostly Remember the Walking

I Mostly Remember the Walking

 
Every time I think of the Bulge, my mind goes white and my body goes cold; frozen hands, frozen feet.  My hands would go stiff around the handle of that 35 pound battery that I carried for the radio.  Some of our men became casualties with frozen hands or feet.  To sum it all up we froze our butts off.  You know every movie I ever saw of the Battle of the Bulge shows long interminable tank battles, but I mostly remember the walking.
 
I’m not sure which officer was with me, but I think it was Lieutenant Powell, who was the one who led us at the time when we had to take prisoners.  We were going through the snow-covered woods; I think it was at or near Rochefort, when we were taking one of our long freezing treks through the woods.  We came to one of the numerous firebreaks in the woods, and believe me, we were very cautious when we crossed these.  The Lieutenant was always the lead man, with the radio man behind him and a wire man, if we had one with us.
 
I, being the sergeant, protected (?) the rear.  The lieutenant always cautious, peeked up and down the firebreak to make sure there were no Germans set up there, to mow down unsuspecting GI’s.  “Quiet,” whispered the lieutenant. “Sandini,” he said, “peek around here and tell me what you see.”  I looked and saw a bunch of sheet-covered men sitting around a fire trying to keep warm.  I asked, “Are those Germans?”  “Of course, they are.  What do you think we ought to do?”  What I really wanted to do was run like hell.  But the actor in me now took over and I said, “Let’s walk back away here and think it over.”  “You know,“ I said, “There are about nine or ten of them out there and only five of us.”
 
While we were debating, an infantry sergeant, I remember his appearance well, with a big red moustache, a great big man.  He asked, “What’s going on here?”  We told him about the sheet-covered Germans out on the fire break.  So we all went over to the edge and he peeked around the corner.  He said, “They just want to surrender.”  Then to our/my horror he yelled, “Combing zie here mit the hands on hoffen,”  (phonetic not actual spelling).
 
To my great relief (the real me) and my great satisfaction, (the actor within me) thet all dropped their guns and raised their hands.  Then they fearfully came toward us saying “Kamarad.”  The sergeant took us in tow, prisoners and all and brought us to the compound.
 
On the way, I got a real scare when one of the prisoners stepped out of line and came towards me with his hand out.  I jabbed forward with my carbine, he recoiled, but I relaxed when I recognized a word which sounded like cigaretten.  I got a cigarette from somebody and handed it to him….
 
Source: Bulge Bugle, May 1996
Sgt Louis R. SANDINI

322nd Field ArtilleryBattalion

83rd Infantry Division

Campaign

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium