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US Army

A Lighter Bit of Activity in the Bulge

A Lighter Bit of Activity in the Bulge
 (or "4 Nights in a Bar Room”)
 
 [The following article appeared in a 2003 issue of the Central Indiana Chapter newsletter]
 
After General Patton told General Eisenhower his troops would be "on the way," one battalion, the 2nd of the 318th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division, was sent as the advance party for the division.  The 305th Engineer Battalion was customarily attached to the division for engineering duties—one squad per battalion. 
 
My squad, the 2nd of the 1st Platoon, was with the early arrivals, having ridden about 100 miles at night, to get near Bastogne, to a little hamlet as our destination.  Of course, a squad is one of the last to know who was who and where was where. (I found out 40 years later, it was the Village of Assenois, about one mile south of Bastogne.) 
 
We threw our excess gear into an occupied building, which happened to be the "local tavern," then drove out to some crossroads and were told to guard that intersection, as the Germans were most everywhere and the situation was very fluid--to say the least!  We were on guard all day and gun tire could be heard in the distance, but nothing near our location. 
 
When it got dark, we were relieved by another group of G l’s who stayed all night.  We went back to our "tavern" for a meal of "K" rations and the rest.  The tavern owner, his wife, and an old, old grandmother lived there.  I remember his mother had to sleep sitting up in a big rocking chair as she had some kind of ailment and could not lay down.  Pop, the tavern owner, gave each of us one big glass of beer after we ate.  Then we bedded down in our sleeping bags, on the floor. 
 
This was our routine for the next four days.  Guarding the crossroads by day; sleeping in the tavern at night and having one glass of beer.  Of course we had our regular two-man, two-hour shift of guard each night.  We were never called on for any engineering duties: mine clearance, booby traps, roadwork or whatever. The situation was chaotic and there was movement of troops everywhere. 
 
I have a vivid memory of one light-hearted incident.  There was a huge wooden barrel, about eight feet tall in the middle of the square; the infantry, tanks, and truckers were everywhere.  Someone shot a hole in the barrel to see what was inside.  A spurt of one-half fermented cider or wine, shot out of the hole and soon there was a line o f G l’s waiting to get a canteen full.  I tasted the stuff and didn't like it-too sour.  A field kitchen was set up nearby and soon a chow line was formed and the cooks began serving chow to anyone in the area.
 
The "drinking line" was moved to the "chow line" around supper time.  Later, the "drinking line" was resumed, but the hole had drained the barrel down to the hole--no one had plugged it up when chow was being served.
 
Someone just another hole, lower down, in the barrel.  So we had a new drinking line--the G l's had to kneel down now to get their drink.  I have often wondered if any of the 4th Armored or the 10th Armored were there or remembered ?
 
Source: The Bulge Bugle November 2004

By Cpl Albert J. DAUNORAS

 

305th Engineer Combat

Battalion

80th Infantry Division

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium