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US Army

What Was the Battle of the Bulge?

What Was the Battle of the Bulge?
 
…We spent a long period of time on a wooded bluff overlooking Murringen before we received orders to approach the town.
 
As we moved out, my squad was in platoon reserve about 50 yards behind the leading platoons.  I remember leaping the creek and starting out across the open field in front of the town.  We, of course, were not aware that the Germans were hidden in the hedgerow to the right; they opened fire when we were exposed in the open field.  I cannot remember how long we were pinned down.  However, no orders were coming back from the front of the column.
 
There was a draw on our left flank; we moved into it and followed it all the way up to the first building on the left side of the road.  It was there that I spotted our Commanding Officer, Captain John Haymaker.  I shouted over to him that we had moved up and asked for deployment.  He ordered us to move as far forward as we could and establish contact with “E” Company across the road.  We were able to move as far as the side of the first building and began to receive heavy fire coming from the direction in front of us.
 
We moved into the building through the area that housed cows.  The cows were standing but full of bullet holes from which blood was spouting, we were slipping in it as we tried to move into the next room, which I believe was the kitchen.  It was in the room (stable?) with the cows that I spotted our platoon sergeant, James Rush.  Jim had taken a round in the forehead and was lying between the cows.
 
We entered the next room and looked across the road through an open window.  “E” Company was not across the road; Germans were across the road.  There were two wounded in the room.  I believe both had come to us from ASTP.  I recall the names, Martin and Latinette.  Martin was being attended by a medic.
 
We became engaged in a fire fight with the German troops across the road who I believe were brought up from the hedgerow to support the action in the village.  Clearly, our situation was becoming desperate.  We were very low on ammunition and dusk was beginning to set in.  At this time, I received a face wound.
 
A decision was made to pull out and rejoin the company.  As we left the building, we were surprised to find that the remnants of the battalion had withdrawn from the field.  We had not been alerted of the withdrawal.  We attempted to cross the corner of the building toward the field but the Germans would send a burst across the area whenever anyone exposed themselves.
 
There was a wounded American lying at this corner with his intestines lying on the outside of his body.  I can’t identify him.We returned to the building carrying him with us.  Soon after, we were overrun by the enemy.  Approximately 30 of us were taken prisoner.  We spent the night in a garage in Murringen which was now being shelled by our artillery.  We set out the next morning toward Germany.  We assembled a stretcher made of two GI raincoats and small trees to carry the mortally wounded soldier.
 
We carried him for about three days administering our sulpha packets and I believe the medic had morphine.  He died after the third day.  By foot and by boxcar, we finally reached Hammelburg, Stalag XIII-C.
 
We were liberated on April 19, 1945, at Wolsburg (?).  Ironically, the number one song in the U.S. at that time was “Don’t Fence Me In.”  I spent about a week in a Paris hospital enroute home where I met two men from 99th who joined the division as replacements.  They told me that they were assigned after the “Battle of the Bulge.”  My Question to them was, “What was the Battle of the Bulge?”  We didn’t know it had been given that name.
 
Source: Bulge Bugle February 1996
2nd Lt James W. HILL

"G" Company

394th Infantry Regiment

99th Infantry Division

Campaign

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium