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October 2020
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US Army

In a Small Church

In a Small Church

 
We were in a picturesque snow-covered valley in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944.  It was Sunday morning.  A small Catholic church stood on a slight overlooking the snow-covered fir trees. 
 
At the other end of the valley was a coal-fueled electric power plant.  Every once in a while a German buzz bomb came over attempting to knock out the power plant. 
 

V-1 at Eperlecques (France)

 
A group of tankers and infantrymen decided to attend church that Sunday morning.  We stood in the back of the church with our guns slung over our shoulders as the priest gave the mass in Latin.  The congregation was kneeling in prayer. 
 
We heard the “put-put” of a buzz bomb overhead, and then the sound cut off.   When the sound ceased, we knew the rocket would fall, exploding when it hit the ground.  The congregation looked upwards as if to accept their fate.  The priest’s intonations stopped.  We stood in the rear as if accepting our fate.  The bomb hit pretty close to the church.  The ground shook; a few of the stained glass windows cracked.  No one moved or said a word.  The priest resumed his mass in Latin.  I thank God for sparing us that Sunday morning in a small Belgium church during the Ardennes battle. 
 

Source:Bulge Bugle, February 2001

Sgt Michael V. ALTAMURA

Service Company

750th Tank Battalion

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium