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US Army

An Unforgettable Night

An Unforgettable Night.
I was one of the original members of the 87th Infantry Division, which had been reformed in December 1942, and started basic training at Camp McCain Mississippi in February 1943. We were mostly 18 – 19 year-olds from all over the country.  By the time we sailed for Europe in October 1944, many of the original members had left us to go over as replacements, and we had received an infusion of Air Force and ASTP members for infantry basic training.  Below is an account of a memorable experience: “An Unforgettable Night.”
I was a squad leader in a rifle platoon of "C" Company, 345th Infantry Regiment, 87th Infantry Division in December 1944.  We were engaged in the Alsace region, poised to attack the west wall about 18th or 20th when the break-through occurred up north on December 16th.  We were one of 3 Army divisions that Patton swung 90 degrees north to attack the underbelly of the Bulge.  We were pulled off the line and after a long freezing ride of about 200 miles, settled into a bivouac outside the city of Reims. 
On the 29 of December, we were trucked to an assembly area near Libramont, Belgium, arriving late afternoon in a pitch black forest.  Seems that we had barely finished digging in, when we were called to “hit the road until you run into Germans.”  Our officers were upset because we were not given time for a reconnaissance. 
We were in a column of companies in the approach march, when contact was made with elements of the German Panzer Lehr and 26th Volksgrenadier divisions.  As we approached the village of Moircy we came under machine gun and artillery fire.  
US Troop at Moircy 
In the ensuing action, a flanking movement to the left, my platoon was ordered to clear a hill on our right flank.  We no sooner got there when we came under mortar fire which wounded myself and several others.  When the firing lifted, the wounded were helped back to a farmhouse in the village.  Battalion medics were able to evacuate some of the wounded as fighting continued in the village and we were counter attacked by tanks.  Unknown to us our Battalion commander had ordered a withdrawal of all elements in Moircy, and he called for heavy artillery including corps (the big stuff), in an attempt to break up the counter attack.  We had lost contact with Battalion, so we were trapped in the farmhouse, and what seemed like forever, underwent a heavy and lengthy barrage, which did break up the counterattack.  Medics returned early the next morning and evacuated those of us who had remained overnight. 
My unit endured heavy fighting in the following days, and on January 6, some of my platoon were captured and spent the remaining months in a German Prison Camp, while I luckily spent 3 months in a hospital in England. 
Source: Bulge Bugle August 2013

By S/Sgt Raymond La CASSE

"C" Company

345th Infantry Regiment

87th Infantry Division


Battle of the Bulge,