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US Army

From the Diary of Arnold H. KANTOLA

From the Diary of Arnold H. Kantola
 
 Belgium Campaign, 1944 - 1945
 
December 18, 1944

Third combat mission left camp Mourmelon at 2 PM by truck with full combat load (ill-prepared) don't know where we're going probably to the place where the German paratroopers jumped last night. 

 
December 19, 1944
Reached our destination at 1 AM.  Slept till 5 AM.  Started to March immediately.  Started the attack this afternoon.  Things are plenty hot. Not much cover. 
 
December 20, 1944
Still fighting and still don't know what country where in.  I think it's Luxembourg.  Germans plenty tough over here.  Must be making their last stand.
 
December 21, 1944
Hope never to have another night like last night.  The enemy threw everything they could find.  They tried to break through.  I was scared stiff.  Didn't expect to live until the next day.  Found out were fighting in Belgium.  Communications were cut. 
 
December 22, 1944
Things sure are hot over here.  Still being shelled very hard.  Had to move our C.P.  Had a stiff fire fight last night.  Had a little snow last night.  I am still cold and hungry.  Feet wet all the time.
 
December 23, 1944
Close to zero weather last night.  Was a good sight when they dropped resupplies today.  Food, ammo, etc.  Been cut off from the rest of the world since we've come here.  Half starving have freezing.
 
December 24, 1944
Germans tried to break through last night.  Hot firefight plus plenty of artillery.  Jerry planes strafed and bombed us last night.  They hit Bastogne quite hard.  We are still surrounded.
 
December 25, 1944
Christmas Day.  Jerrys shelled as quite hard again this morning.  They gave us two hours to surrender that we are still holding onto our lives.  German paratroopers are supposed to jump tonight.
 
December 26, 1944
Three paratroopers jumped last night and were captured.  They shelled as very hard again today.  Some more resupplies were dropped today.  We are still surrounded.
 
December 27, 1944
An armored outfit finally broke through to help us.  Had a tough time coming through.  We're still holding Bastogne.  Still surrounded. 
 
December 28, 1944
Jerry bombed and strafed us last night.  Attacked our armored column and bombed Bastogne.  Expecting a great battle any day.  Both sides bringing up reinforcements.
 
December 29, 1944
Had another rugged day.  Been shelled all day.  Getting colder right along.  Mail came in for the first time in weeks.  Still expecting an attack.
 
December 30, 1944
Jerry bombed and strafed all night last night.  Scared the life out of me.  Didn't know which way to turn for I didn't have a hole to crawl into.  Two bombs just missed our shack.
 
December 31, 1944
Big battle started today at 12:30 PM. Our tanks are pushing forward right along. Trying to cut the Jerry's
 
January 1, 1945
Renewed the tank attack, expect to be through in any day.  Can see the tanks up on the hill, they are having quite a hard time.
 
January 2, 1945
Got ready and packed our rolls this a.m.  Moved out about 6 AM from Mont (see map). Reached the Ardennes Forest just before daylight. Where drive bombed and strafed when we got there.
 
 
January 3, 1945
Attacked today at 12:30 PM. Had a big battle. Artillery is falling right now. If I live through the next 10 minutes I'll tell you about it. 
 
January 4, 1945
Things are getting hotter every-day. Jerry's attacked this morning.  We're still holding our ground.  Still cold and hungry.  Artillery falling all around us.  Moved into reserve tonight.  Don't expect to live too long. 
 
January 5, 1945
Dug in deeper this morning. Even though were in reserve, can't tell what might happen.  Still as cold as ever.  Close to zero.  Plenty of snow on the ground. 
 
January 6, 1945
Didn't do much today.  Just waiting and wondering when will be thrown in again.  Still outside of Bastogne.  Can't stand this much longer. 
 
January 7, 1945
Went on sick call for my scabies this morning. Doc didn't do much about them. Had a terrific shelling at the aid station today.  Feel worn out and beat. 
 
January 8, 1945
Coldest ever all day today.  No artillery for sometime. Allotted to move but didn't.  Had to unroll our roles.  Probably move tomorrow morning. 
 
January 9, 1945
Moved out this morning to protect the left flank of 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment.  Attack started at 11 AM.  I hear (the major said) said it was very successful.  They moved toward Noville ( see map) 
 
January 10, 1945
Heinies patrol came through our lines and raised cane around our CP.  Moved out again this morning to support another attack. 
 
January 11, 1945
Moved back to division reserve last night.  Seemed good to be moving back.  Took a shower for the first time in 25 days.  Never felt better. 
 
January 12, 1945
Moved out again to attack.  Don't know who is coming back.  We are shelled as hard as we ever were.  I feel as though my nerves are about to crack. 
 
January 13, 1945
We attacked again this morning and had quite a firefight.  Snow and cold weather holding us down.  We very hard today. 
 
January 14, 1945
Spent a very hard night last night.  Enemy threw big stuff at us and it fell so close it threw snow and dirt on our hole.  Were attacked this morning by tanks and infantry.  Moved further back tonight.
 
January 15, 1945
Expected a great artillery barrage last night but it didn't come.  Still as cold as can be.  Am very mixed up for they move us so often.  Don't know what we're doing.
 
January 16, 1945
Moved out again to attack with the 506th Parachute Infantry. These boys are fighting fools, moved into the town of Wicourt, Belgium when it was still burning.  People are sore because we wrecked their town.
 
January 17, 1945
Had a good night sleep for the first time in about five or six days.  Few shells still falling.  Under observation by the enemy from the Northwest.  Build out for the town of Seebreg (maybe Sibret), Belgium in Corp Reserve.
 
January 18, 1945
Seemed good to be away from all the shells and rifle fire.  Rumors about going back to the base camp.  Coldest day we've had yet.
 
January 19, 1945
Rumors changed.  Might go down to Strasbourg and fight.  I hope not.   You think we were the only division in the ETO.  Didn't move today.
 
January 20, 1945
Left Belgium at 8:45 this morning and had a terrible ride.  So tight we couldn't move.  It was almost like being tortured.
 
January 21, 1945
Reached our destination at 2:15 PM. Somewhere near Strasbourg, still in France. Expecting a German breakthrough across the Rhine.
 
Source: Document received by email dated February 17, 2017 from Troy Kantola, son of Arnold H. Kantola
By Pfc Arnold H. KANTOLA

"E" Company

502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment

101st Airborne Division

Radio-Operator

101st Airborne Signal Co

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium