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US Army

St Vith and the 106th Division In the Bulge

 

St Vith and the 106th Division In the Bulge
 
Let’s start when I left Boston Harbor in October 1944, on the USS Wakefield (formerly the cruise ship, Manhattan), destination Liverpool, England.  I am trying to recall dates from my memory, but I do recall not staying in Liverpool for long.  We picked up our equipment and we left England, were put on that a landing craft infantry and headed for Europe.  The English Channel was a little rough and land mines were a float, so we were delayed while mine sweepers were called in to clear the way. 
 
We landed in France and went by trucks to an area outside of St. Vith, Belgium, and we set up our two man tents for the night.  It started to snow about 11:00 PM and sometime in the night we were greeted by a German patrol, as they left a note on our tent (written in the snow) “Welcome 106th to the front”. The next few days we were sent to St. Vith to our headquarters, which was set up in a Catholic Church.
 
To continue with the story, my wire crew was sent to Schoenberg, Belgium, where we set up in a home near four corners of the town on a river.  This was around the 10th of December, 1944.  We conducted our operations from here.  Laid wire for the division on the evening of the 15th, from 11:00pm to about 1:00am.  We were bombarded by a V-2 rocket, which landed about 300 yards from where we were working.  The explosion was so great that it blew us and the truck we were working with off the road and into the ditch.  No one in our company or any trucks was hurt or damaged.  When we returned, I was told to get some sleep, as I was to operate the switchboard early in the morning around 4 am. 
 
When I started my watch, the Germans were shelling the City of Schoenberg.  The commander in St. Vith called and told us that we were under attack, but we were to hold our position until 5:00 am.  We stayed until 6:00 am at which time our Sergeant told us to start packing the gear and shut down operations.  Now as we were leaving for St. Vith a German tiger tank was coming down the hill, with his gun pointed directly at us.  A 81st Engineer Sergeant climbed onto that tank and put a grenade down its turret and stopped them from firing.  We then proceeded to St. Vith and arrived at our headquarters.  That same night we were surrounded by the Germans!  Army headquarters sent the Airborne Troops to get us out. 
 
Note: My life and many others will always be thankful for their help. 
 
I was later sent to the North into the Netherlands with six new 2nd Lieutenants (field commissioned). Our Forward/Sergeant from headquarters was one of them.  Later I went to Velamen, then to Stuttgart, Manlier, Wenham, Frankfurt, and onto Paris, France.  I was assigned to the 17th base Post Office (parcel post and rewrap). 
 
When Germany surrendered and the shooting ceased, I was able to see a lot of Germany and France, while traveling for and with the Army. 
 
Source: The Bulge Bugle November 2013

By Pvt Clarence L BUCKMAN

 

"HQ",

106th Infantry Division

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium