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US Army

Bridge at Heiderscheidergrund, Luxembourg

Bridge at Heiderscheidergrund, Luxembourg
 
Late in the afternoon, the 2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon, Company “A” 166th Combat Engineer was ordered to a town called Heiderscheidergrund, a little village in a valley between Luxembourg and Belgium with a great road to Bastogne.  They wanted to bring troops to stop the Germans who were putting pressure on Bastogne. 
 
 
We began to erect a Bailey bridge, but every time we drove a pin, we were shelled by the Germans because the sound echoed throughout the valley.  The officers decided to take the Bailey bridge apart and erect a bridge made of treads we used on rubber pontoon; because someone had blown up two of the arches we had to put up two bridges of treads.  We got the first set in, but could not lift the second one high enough to get over the first set.
 
The lieutenant said he was going to wire down for the lumber to come from the depot to lift the wheels of the truck.  I told him I could build it without the lumber.  He told me to “Shut up.”  He was sick and tired of me. (We had known each other for over a year and a half – he was my original platoon leader.)  He went into the Guard House, on the border between Luxembourg and Belgium, to have a cigarette.
 
I went to the truck driver (not a member of my outfit so not subject to Court Marshall) and asked; “Will you help me build the bridge?”  He said: “Gladly soldier.”  We lifted the tread to the truck, undid the crane, and then lifted the back up.  Now we were four feet in the air.  We did not need any lumber so we backed over the first bridge and were ready to erect the second.  I said to the driver: “We better awaken the Canadian Infantry who were sleeping on the side of the road waiting for us to construct the bridge.”  They crossed on foot over the bridge and protected us so the Germans couldn’t get to us.
 
After the Canadians were across the river, we put the second tread in place.  So, now the two bridges were complete.  The waiting tanks could cross.  This took all of twenty minutes, instead of waiting three hours for the blocking.
 
When we put the last section down, the truck driver did not hear me and he put it down on my foot so we had tug at a crow bar to lift the bridge.  Then, the lieutenant came out and said: “I’m going to Court Marshal you for disobeying orders.”  The Captain said; “The Hell you will!”
 
The Canadian infantry played the bagpipes while crossing the river.
 
Source: Bulge Bugle August 2011

By Pvt George D. WHITTEN

 

Company "A"

166th Combat Engineer Bn

 

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium