Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Out of the Mist


It was quiet, it was cold. Though there had been some snowfall over the past few days, it was now raining. A light mist which made the fog seem all that more damp and miserable. Privates Albert Moscatelli and Joseph Siebert were huddled in their foxhole overlooking a railroad line which ran from their position near Losheimergraben into Germany.

"Jesus Al, if I was back home I'd be sitting in my kitchen, having a cup of joe and telling my wife that it was a good day to stay indoors." Pvt. Siebert didn't mention that he'd also be thinking about Christmas, nine days from now and what presents his two young sons were expecting under the tree.

"I tell ya what Joe, I'd still be in bed on a day like this. If I woke up and looked outside, Hell I'd probably stay in bed all day." Pvt. Moscatelli was from Boston's North End, he knew weather like this and didn't care for it at all.

Though the fog and the drizzle, along with snow on the ground, tended to muffle sound, both men heard the noise above nearly at the same time.


The German artillery had blasted their positions for thirty minutes, then as abruptly as it had begun, it stopped. Moscatelli and Siebert stayed low in their foxhole, they both were familiar with the old Kraut trick of pausing the bombardment and then when they climbed out of their holes, thinking it was over, the German guns would lay it on again, even harder.

When ten minutes had passed, they could hear their platoon sergeant, S/Sgt. Terry McCauley, telling everyone to stay down. "Stay in your holes boys, Krauts might be up to something."

When another ten minutes had passed, the all clear was given. Shortly thereafter, the men were relieved and sent back to get breakfast. Siebert heard one guy bitching that one of the new kids had taken a shit in his foxhole. Sgt. McCauley yelled at the man and told him to just shovel it out.

"But toss it towards the Krauts, I don't want to step in anybody's shit, understood?!"

Moments later, Moscatelli was eating his SOS¹ and happened to glance towards the rail line, "Hey Joe, do we have patrols out I don't know about?"

Siebert turned and looked where Moscatelli was looking. He saw a column of twos marching down the rail line, men dressed in greatcoats, rifles slung as if out for a cross-country march, then he heard them singing.

"Al, those are f**king Krauts!"

Thirty-eight miles from Losheimergraben, 1st Lt. Nate Paddock, his platoon sergeant S/Sgt Stephen Hernandez, and his radioman Pfc. John Myerson, were checking the "party barn." A number of the men had stayed up rather late decorating the place and making sure everything was as perfect as they could make it.

The men stepped inside and immediately Paddock remembered his family Christmases before he'd gone overseas. He had a momentary pang of both sorrow and guilt as he remembered his last Christmas home on leave from West Point. It was the last time he'd seen Annette, the thought of her dying on some steaming tropical island in the Pacific made him sick with grief. But the thought of Cpt. Edith Parsons and their burgeoning relationship made him feel guilty. Annette had been a Navy nurse and now here he was, developing feelings for an Army nurse. Was it too soon?

Hernandez noticed the look on Paddock's face and said, "So, L.T., pretty nice huh? The kids are gonna love this, ya done good Sir."

"Stephen, you and the boys did most of the work, all I did was sign requisitions and stay out of the way."

Myerson spoke up before Hernandez could, "Like the damned fine officer you are, Sir."

Paddock looked at his radioman and said, "Everyone's a comedian." He grinned as he said it. As did Hernandez, who winked at Myerson. The platoon's little command group got on very well together.

The door to the barn swung over and the local Catholic priest stepped in, brushing snow from his cassock as he did so. "Il y a des jours où je déteste ce temps, Dieu me pardonne."

Paddock looked at the priest and asked, "Is there a problem Father?"

Father Jacques Delcroix smiled and said, "No, my son, just an old man complaining about the weather and begging God's forgiveness for doing so. I wanted..." The priest happened to glance around the room at that point and noticed the decorations.

"It is, magnifique, very beautiful. The children will love this, but I am here to ask a favor."

"Certainly Father, ask away." Paddock answered with a smile.

"A friend of mine, a fellow priest, is visiting from Brussels, might he come to the party as well?"

"Absolutely Father, we have plenty of food. The more the merrier as we say in the States."

The priest thought for a moment, then smiled, "Ah yes, the more people, the more happy we should be, yes?"

Hernandez turned as he heard a jeep pull up outside, whoever was driving had come down the road very fast. The jeep braked and slid to a stop in the semi-frozen gravel. "I'll see what that is Sir..." But he didn't have to, a moment later Cpl. Jacob Winters, the battalion Communication Sergeant rushed through the door.

"Sorry to interrupt Sir, but the Cap'n wants all platoon commanders and platoon sergeants at the CP, ASAP. Like right now, Sir."

"What's going on Jake?" Paddock and Hernandez asked in unison.

"Krauts have attacked all along the line from Monschau to Echternach in Luxembourg. Tons of artillery and hordes of tanks according to the rumors I'm hearing on the radio net. Division G-2 is calling it a major attack. 26th Infantry is officially on six hour alert as of right now. All leaves and passes are cancelled. Sorry about the Christmas party, L.T., but that's cancelled too. I gotta get back to the CP, see you there Sir."

"Right, right." But Paddock was talking to the man's back, he heard the jeep heading out within seconds.

"Father Jacques, now maybe you could do me a favor?" Paddock had seen the look on the priest's face, to have been liberated from the Germans only to have them coming back. Paddock thought that maybe the cancellation of the Christmas party was the furthest thing from his mind.

"Certainly my son, anything which is within my powers."

"Could you go ahead and have the Christmas party without us? We might have to move out at any minute, I don't want to disappoint the kids."

"Certainly mon lieutenant, Father Emiel, my friend from Brussels, can assist. Are you sure your men won't mind? They have donated so much of what they received..."

Myerson spoke up, "Hey Padre, have your party, the guys will be happy knowing that the kids had something to celebrate. Meanwhile, we'll stop the Germans from coming back.

Father Jacques eyes glistened as he thanked the three men, then he blessed them and sent them on their way.


"Herr Leutnant, where are we?" Oberfeldwebel Werner Günther radioed from his vehicle which trailed Leutnant Ludwig Köhler's by about 20 meters.

"Egon, stop here." Leutnant Köhler ordered his driver, then he pulled out his map.

"Werner, do you see the small group of buildings marked on your map just past where we left the river behind?" 

"Sir, I see them, is that track marked on the map the one we've been following?"

"Precisely correct Oberfeldwebel Günther. Do you see ahead on the main road, that long column of vehicles which doesn't seem to be moving at all?" Köhler was watching that column now through his field glasses.

"Yes Sir, is that the Leibstandarte?"

"Yes, part of it anyway, I believe if we cut northwest across this field, there is another farm track which will help us bypass the main road. If we need to. Send Obergefreiter Becker and his Kettenkrad to inform the major that I've found us a path which isn't being clogged up by the SS."

"Yes Sir, on it!"

Sd.Kfz.2 Kettenkrad

"Herr Major" Grenadier Günther Löwe, Major von Lüttwitz's messenger leaned into the room, "a messenger from Oberleutnant Köhler Sir!"

"Very well, send him in."

Becker entered the small bar area and saluted, "Message from Oberleutnant Köhler Sir, beg to report, the Oberleutnant has found a farm track which bypasses the main road. He's marked it on this map Sir." Becker handed the aforementioned map to von Lüttwitz who studied it for few moments.

"Excellent, you've driven that track both ways, correct?"

"Yes Sir, it's fairly wide for a farm track, the ground is firm, passable by trucks and tanks, Sir. No problem. It would be considered a main road in Russia, Sir."

"Very well, report back to Oberleutnant Köhler and have him hold his position with the bulk of his force. If practicable, send out patrols further on to discover the Amis main position. I don't intend to follow the Leibstandarte into battle. I intend to try and get in through the back door, so to speak."

"Jawohl Herr Major, I'll depart at once!"

"Thank you Obergefreiter, is it still raining?"

"No sir, it's turned back to snow, but it's still very foggy."

"Very well, carry on!"

The senior corporal left, as he did so the Spieß came into the room with a document in hand.

"Sir, here is the full roster for the Kampfgruppe." Hauptfeldwebel Klaus-Peter Keller said as he handed the document over.

Von Lüttwitz glanced at it, then looked up at Keller, "So we're officially a motorized unit now?"

"Yes Sir, you know the rear area types won't part with petrol if you're an infantry unit. So we're officially Panzergrenadiers now. We have 524 men, eight Kettenkrads, eleven Kübelwagens, 1 Opel Blitz 2 ton LKW, 21 Opel Blitz 3 ton LKWs, 7 Panzerspähwagen IIs, 14 PzKw III Ausf Ms, 3 SdKfz 10/5s, 2 SdKfz 250s, 18 SdKfz 251s, 1 SdKfz.8 with a SdAh.115 trailer and 10 StuG III Ausf. Gs. So Sir, we're going to need a lot of petrol."

"Well, don't change your straps² just yet. As long as we have the right documentation to draw fuel from I. SS Panzerkorps, I don't care what they call us. Right, give the company commanders the go. We're moving out as soon as possible. I know the orders say the 17th, but I want to be hitting the Amis at first light. Let's go Spieß, let's go!"

"Zu befehl Herr Major!³"

Dienstplan - Kampfgruppe (mot) von Lüttwitz

Major Jürgen von Lüttwitz, Kommandeur
Hauptfeldwebel Klaus-Peter Keller, Spieß
Grenadier Günther Löwe, Melder

1. Kompanie
Hauptfeldwebel Hermann Krüger, Kompanieführer
Unteroffizier Beppo Fischer, Gerätunteroffizier
Grenadier Leopold Beck, Schneider
Grenadier Gottfried Kraus, Schuhmacher

Unteroffizier Uwe Schumacher, Führer der Gefechtsfahrzeuge
Unteroffizier Peter Krause, Sanitäter
Obergefreiter Klaus Vogel, Feldkoch

1. Zug
Feldwebel Manfred Sauer, Zugführer
Grenadier Stefan Holzbauer, Melder

1. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Karl-Heinz Köhler, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Thomas Benfeldt, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Hermann Groß, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Hans-Peter Fuchs, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Paulus Ackner, Schütze
Grenadier Günter Schmidt, Schütze
Grenadier Michael Kampf, Schütze
Grenadier August Hofmeister, Schütze
Grenadier Christoph Lindner, Schütze

2. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Wolf Schneider, Gruppenführer
Grefreiter Johannes Merkel, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Oswald Busch, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Friedrich Engel, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Peter Meyer, Schütze
Grenadier Ernst Schottenstein, Schütze
Grenadier Carsten von Thoma, Schütze
Grenadier Horst Schenk, Schütze
Grenadier Klaus Mayer, Schütze

3. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Hans Sauer, Gruppenführer
Obergefreiter Gunnar Von Weber, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Oscar Schimpf, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Piet Seidenstücker, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Kurt Schoenauer, Schütze
Grenadier Jakob Riedel, Schütze
Grenadier Carsten Pfeiffer, Schütze
Grenadier Peter Möller, Schütze
Grenadier Harald Koch, Schütze

2. Zug
Feldwebel Dieter Pohl, Zugführer
Grenadier Horst Schubert, Melder

1. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Vinzent Von Meyer, Gruppenführer
Obergefreiter Stefan Bier, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Eugen Pfeiffer, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Andrej Rödl, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Jannick Gressmann, Schütze
Grenadier Vinzenz Metzger, Schütze
Grenadier Janik Frucht, Schütze
Grenadier Lars Grossman, Schütze
Grenadier Benno Friedel, Schütze

2. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Sven Kass, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Christoph Sonnenfeld, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Johannes Martin, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Phillipp Idelson, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Liam Bloch, Schütze
Grenadier Arthur Loos, Schütze
Grenadier Oli Kohlhase, Schütze
Grenadier Karl-Heinz Hassel, Schütze
Grenadier Fietje Preiss, Schütze

3. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Jonas Holweck, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Jochen Steiner, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Mats Wiedemann, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Jürgen Bott, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Per Wegner, Schütze
Grenadier Egon Schrempf, Schütze
Grenadier Peter Stoiber, Schütze
Grenadier Marcus Kleiner, Schütze
Grenadier Jörn Staudenmaier, Schütze

3. Zug
Feldwebel Klaus Haasen, Zugführer
Gefreiter Horst Klugmann, Melder

1. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Jürgen Klügmann, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Friedrich Blumentritt, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Steffen Distler, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Norbert Bolender, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Hanno Hermann, Schütze
Grenadier Rolf Samter, Schütze
Grenadier Mathias Edelstein, Schütze
Grenadier Gustav Ullmer, Schütze
Grenadier Gregor Fittkau, Schütze

2. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Jochen Klassen, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Beppo Sommerfeld, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Eduard Marx, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Ludwig Hössler, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Karl Friedel, Schütze
Grenadier Christof Schmidt, Schütze
Grenadier Mark Klopfer, Schütze
Grenadier Josef Spiegel, Schütze
Grenadier Kurt Finkel, Schütze

3. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Torsten Meissner, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Johannes Hautzig, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Sven Steinhauer, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Sören Ganser, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Klaus Schutte, Schütze
Grenadier Michael Lingenfelter, Schütze
Grenadier Hans Egner, Schütze
Grenadier Georg Hauser, Schütze
Grenadier Torben Hartknoch, Schütze

2. Kompanie
Oberleutnant Norbert Weller, Kompanieführer
Unteroffizier Franz Brecher, Gerätunteroffizier
Grenadier Johannes Schwarzenbach, Schneider
Grenadier Gerd Nägelein, Schuhmacher

Unteroffizier Herbert Kroemer, Führer der Gefechtsfahrzeuge
Unteroffizier Hans Dahlke, Sanitäter
Obergefreiter Florian Hafer, Feldkoch

1. Zug
Feldwebel Wilhelm Vogel, Zugführer
Grenadier Leonhard Berger, Melder

1. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Manfred Klügmann, Gruppenführer
Obergefreiter Friedrich Hartmann, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Steffen Distler, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Norbert Bolender, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Fabius Hermann, Schütze
Grenadier Rolf Samter, Schütze
Grenadier Mathias Edelstein, Schütze
Grenadier Gustav Ullmer, Schütze
Grenadier Gregor Fittkau, Schütze

2. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Jochen Clasen, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Beppo Sommerfeld, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Georg Schreiber, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Ludwig Hössler, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Karl Friedel, Schütze
Grenadier Christof Schmidt, Schütze
Grenadier Markus Klopfer, Schütze
Grenadier Josef Spiegel, Schütze
Grenadier Kurt Finkel, Schütze

3. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Torsten Meissner, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Johannes Hautzig, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Sven Steinhauer, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Sören Ganser, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Klaus Schutte, Schütze
Grenadier Michael Lingenfelter, Schütze
Grenadier Hans Egner, Schütze
Grenadier Georg Hauser, Schütze
Grenadier Torben Hartknoch, Schütze

2. Zug
Feldwebel Hermann Fellner, Zugführer
Grenadier Albert Ehmann, Melder

1. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Gustav Drossel, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Horst Winkler, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Bastian Eisenstein, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Oli Scheurer, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Thomas Spiegler, Schütze
Grenadier Mats Hattendorf, Schütze
Grenadier Matthias Buchner, Schütze
Grenadier Philip Macher, Schütze
Grenadier Franz Seger, Schütze

2. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Jonathan Brugmann, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Karl-Peter Strausser, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Georg Wasser, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Erwin Hattendorf, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Max Kuechler, Schütze
Grenadier Peter Olberding, Schütze
Grenadier Norbert Wickler, Schütze
Grenadier Albin Koch, Schütze
Grenadier Eric Wilpert, Schütze

3. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Wilhelm Steinheil, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Konstantin Stosch, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Adolf Hertzog, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Erwin Schnabel, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Benno Stoiber, Schütze
Grenadier Alfred Schulhoff, Schütze
Grenadier Michael Bergmann, Schütze
Grenadier Klaus Kestenbaum, Schütze
Grenadier Cäsar Fehr, Schütze

3. Zug
Feldwebel Albert Bethmann, Zugführer
Grenadier Sepp Rehn, Melder

1. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Tristan Ehrhardt, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Stefan Nowitzki, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Otto Eichel, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Thomas Eicke, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Marius Weller, Schütze
Grenadier Christian Sehlman, Schütze
Grenadier Marcellus Hammerl, Schütze
Grenadier Josef Kreutzwald, Schütze
Grenadier Leonhard Hanselmann, Schütze

2. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Marius Sauerbruch, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Ferdinand Henze, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Hauke Münch, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Robert Schenk, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Christoph Auspitz, Schütze
Grenadier Norbert Pöge, Schütze
Grenadier Torben Kohl, Schütze
Grenadier Theodor Trautmann, Schütze
Grenadier Stefan Schmidt, Schütze

3. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Heinrich Herzig, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Klaus Hartstein, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Victor Dörflinger, M.G.Schütze 1
Grenadier Benno Von Bothmer, M.G.Schütze 2
Grenadier Theo Faehrmann, Schütze
Grenadier Heiner Steuermann, Schütze
Grenadier Wilhelm Deutschmann, Schütze
Grenadier Peter Friesinger, Schütze
Grenadier Hans Romberg, Schütze

Grenadierkompanie Koch
Hauptmann Hans Koch, Kompanieführer

Unterfeldwebel Paul Wolf, Kompanietruppführer
Oberfeldwebel Otto Böhm, Hauptfeldwebel
Unteroffizier Wolf Weber, Rechnungsführer
Unteroffizier Egon Meyer, Gerätunteroffizier
Unteroffizier Emil Braun, Sanitätsunteroffizier
Gefreiter Lars Maier, Melder
Grenadier Arndt Lang, Melder
Grenadier Heinz Roth, Melder
Obergefreiter Götz Müller, Funker
Gefreiter Eike Becker, Funker
Grenadier Horst Bauer, Funker
Grenadier Klaus Klein, Funker
Obergefreiter Uwe Neumann, Scharfschütze
Gefreiter Josef Meier, Scharfschütze
Gefreiter Ernst Vogel, Scharfschütze
Gefreiter Olaf Ludwig ,Scharfschütze
Grenadier Thomas Haas, Scharfschütze
Grenadier Wenzel Graf, Scharfschütze
Obergefreiter Arnold Kühn, Pferdeführer

1. Sturmzug
Leutnant Norbert Pohl, Zugführer

Gefreiter Hugo Schmidt, Melder
Grenadier Otto Fischer, Melder
Obergefreiter Ehren Wagner, Schütze für Gewehrgranatgerät
Grenadier Fritz Schulz, Schütze für Gewehrgranatgerät
Grenadier Karl Richter, Schütze für Gewehrgranatgerät
Grenadier Ewald Krüger, Krankenträger
Gefreiter Harold Lange, Fahrer vom Bock
Obergefreiter Josef Lehmann, Pferdeführer

1. Sturmgruppe
Unteroffizier Knut Schulze, Gruppenführer
Obergefreiter Lotar Köhler, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Oswald König, Schütze
Grenadier Walter Fuchs, Schütze
Grenadier Bernd Scholz, Schütze
Grenadier Carolus Weiß, Schütze
Grenadier Delbert Hahn, Schütze
Grenadier Kurt Baumann, Schütze

2. Sturmgruppe
Obergefreiter Robert Kraus, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Hermann Otto, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Michael Groß, Schütze
Grenadier Aribert Kuhn, Schütze
Grenadier Baldur Engel, Schütze
Grenadier Herbert Horn, Schütze
Grenadier Herwig Busch, Schütze
Grenadier Marcus Voigt, Schütze

Unteroffizier Marius Sauer, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Moritz Wolff, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Obergefreiter Gert Hoffmann, M.G.-Schütze 1
Grenadier Rolf Schröder, M.G.-Schütze 2
Gefreiter Hanno Schäfer, M.G.-Schütze 1
Grenadier Holger Krause, M.G.-Schütze 2
Grenadier Jürgen Schmid, Munitions-Schütze
Grenadier Othmar Walter, Munitions-Schütze

2. Sturmzug
Oberfeldwebel Otto Meyer, Zugführer

Gefreiter Rudolph Huber, Melder
Grenadier Werner Peters, Melder
Obergefreiter Christof Jung, Schütze für Gewehrgranatgerät
Grenadier Gunther Frank, Schütze für Gewehrgranatgerät
Grenadier Hellmuth Beck, Schütze für Gewehrgranatgerät
Grenadier Wulfhelm Vogt, Krankenträger
Gefreiter Andreas Jäger, Fahrer vom Bock
Obergefreiter Martin Arnold, Pferdeführer

1. Sturmgruppe
Unteroffizier Sven Schneider, Gruppenführer
Obergefreiter August Schwarz, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Gustav Hofmann, Schütze
Grenadier Helmut Schmitt, Schütze
Grenadier Helmuth Werner, Schütze
Grenadier Theodor Kaiser, Schütze
Grenadier Fridolf Keller, Schütze
Grenadier Günther Berger, Schütze

2. Sturmgruppe
Obergefreiter Leopold Franke, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Nicolaus Simon, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Grenadier Wernher Krämer, Schütze
Grenadier Norbert Seidel, Schütze
Grenadier Alfred Ziegler, Schütze
Grenadier Lorentz Thomas, Schütze
Grenadier Harald Hartmann, Schütze
Grenadier Henning Schmitz, Schütze

Unteroffizier Magnus Herrmann, Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Bernhard Möller, Stellvertreter Gruppenführer
Obergefreiter Egbert Schubert, M.G.-Schütze 1
Grenadier Ludger Albrecht, M.G.-Schütze 2
Gefreiter Johannes Lorenz, M.G.-Schütze 1
Grenadier Ludolf Schuster, M.G.-Schütze 2
Grenadier Reinhold Winter, Munitions-Schütze
Grenadier Matthias Sommer, Munitions-Schütze

Feldwebel Reinhart Brandt, Zugführer

Grenadier Urban Schreiber, Melder
Grenadier Robert Pfeiffer, Melder
Obergefreiter Eitel Zimmermann, Schütze für Gewehrgranatgerät
Grenadier Heinrich Winkler, Schütze für Gewehrgranatgerät
Grenadier Siegfried Martin, Schütze für Gewehrgranatgerät
Grenadier Wolfgang Schulte, Krankenträger
Gefreiter Wolfram Dietrich, Fahrer vom Bock
Obergefreiter Fredrik Friedrich, Pferdeführer

1. Gruppe
Unterfeldwebel Friedrich Günther, Gruppenführer
Obergefreiter Walter Schumacher, Stellverteter Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Reinhard Heinrich, M.G.-Schütze 1
Grenadier Karlheinz Bergmann, M.G.-Schütze 2
Grenadier Vollrath Lang, Schütze
Grenadier Walther Scholz, Schütze
Grenadier Wilhelm Möller, Schütze
Grenadier Bastian Weiß, Schütze

2. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Ferdinand Jung, Gruppenführer
Obergefreiter Gottlieb Hahn, Stellverteter Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Karl-Heinz Schubert, M.G.-Schütze 1
Grenadier Klaus-Peter Vogel, M.G.-Schütze 2
Grenadier Maximilian Friedrich, Schütze
Grenadier Reinhardt Keller, Schütze
Grenadier Ruprecht Günther, Schütze
Grenadier Sigmund Frank, Schütze

3. Gruppe
Unteroffizier Theobald Berger, Gruppenführer
Obergefreiter Waldemar Winkler, Stellverteter Gruppenführer
Gefreiter Albrecht Roth, M.G.-Schütze 1
Grenadier Dietrich Beck, M.G.-Schütze 2
Grenadier Gottschalk Lorenz, Schütze
Grenadier Hansjörg Baumann, Schütze
Grenadier Sigismund Franke, Schütze
Grenadier Hans-Ulrich Albrecht, Schütze


Panzer 101
Hauptmann Norbert Sauer, Kompanieführer
Unterfeldwebel Rainer Herrmann, Richtschützen
Feldwebel Ulrich Fuchs, Kraftwagenfahrer
Unteroffizier Volker Wolf, Funker
Gefreiter Frank Baumann, Ladeschützen

Panzer 102
Feldwebel Holger Jäger, Kommandant
Unteroffizier Jens Otto, Richtschützen
Unterfeldwebel Michael Busch, Kraftwagenfahrer
Gefreiter Thomas Schulze, Funker
Oberpanzerschütze Detlef König, Ladeschützen

Stabsfeldwebel Rüdiger Mayer, Hauptfeldwebel
Gefreiter Matthias Weiß, Kraftwagenfahrer für Pkw
Unterfeldwebel Jörg Schubert, Waffenunteroffizier
Gefreiter Ralf Brandt, Kradmelder
Oberpanzerschütze Rudolf Walter, Kradmelder
Panzerschütze Gerd Vogel, Melder
Obergefreiter Andreas Lange, Kraftwagenfahrer für Pkw

1. Panzerzug
Panzer 111
Leutnant Stefan Berger, Zugführer
Unteroffizier Christian Winkler, Richtschützen
Feldwebel Alexander Pfeiffer, Kraftwagenfahrer
Unterfeldwebel Axel Fischer, Funker
Panzerschütze Olaf Braun, Ladeschützen

Panzer 112
Oberfeldwebel Rudolf Sommer, Stellvertreter Zugführer
Unterfeldwebel Walter Schreiber, Richtschützen
Unteroffizier Hans Wolff, Kraftwagenfahrer
Oberpanzerschütze Karl Huber, Funker
Panzerschütze Martin Müller, Ladeschützen

Panzer 113
Feldwebel Heinrich Becker, Kommandant
Unterfeldwebel Erwin Schäfer, Richtschützen
Unterfeldwebel Gerhard Bauer, Kraftwagenfahrer
Oberpanzerschütze Helmut Köhler, Funker
Panzerschütze Werner Vogel, Ladeschützen

Panzer 114
Feldwebel Günther Krämer, Kommandant
Obergefreiter Heinz Stein, Richtschützen
Unteroffizier Horst Schwarz, Kraftwagenfahrer
Gefreiter Rolf Hoffmann, Funker
Panzerschütze Hugo Maier, Ladeschützen

2. Panzerzug
Panzer 121
Leutnant Peter Huber, Zugführer
Unteroffizier Hans Krämer, Richtschützen
Feldwebel Eduard Engel, Kraftwagenfahrer
Unteroffizier Uwe Kühn, Funker
Panzerschütze August Günther, Ladeschützen

Panzer 122
Oberfeldwebel Heinz Albrecht, Stellvertreter Zugführer
Unterfeldwebel Thomas Böhm, Richtschützen
Unteroffizier Matthias Pfeiffer, Kraftwagenfahrer
Gefreiter Arthur Haas, Funker
Panzerschütze Otto Busch, Ladeschützen

Panzer 123
Feldwebel Johann Lehmann, Kommandant
Unterfeldwebel Ulrich Heinrich, Richtschützen
Unteroffizier Jens Simon, Kraftwagenfahrer
Gefreiter Olaf Hartmann, Funker
Panzerschütze Robert Fuchs, Ladeschützen

Panzer 124
Feldwebel Heinz Winter, Kommandant
Gefreiter Horst Wolff, Richtschützen
Unterfeldwebel Holger Hahn, Kraftwagenfahrer
Panzerschütze Georg Schumacher, Funker
Panzerschütze Jürgen Braun, Ladeschützen

3. Panzerzug
Panzer 131
Leutnant Rudolf Klein, Zugführer
Unteroffizier Heinrich Schwarz, Richtschützen
Feldwebel Erwin Krüger, Kraftwagenfahrer
Unteroffizier Max Meier, Funker
Panzerschütze Bernhard Schulze, Ladeschützen

Panzer 132
Oberfeldwebel Franz Kraus, Stellvertreter Zugführer
Unteroffizier Hermann Bergmann, Richtschützen
Unterfeldwebel Karl Vogt, Kraftwagenfahrer
Panzerschütze Wilhelm Fischer, Funker
Panzerschütze Gerhard Müller, Ladeschützen

Panzer 133
Feldwebel Egon Schmid, Kommandant
Unteroffizier Wolfgang Möller, Richtschützen
Unterfeldwebel Frank Ludwig, Kraftwagenfahrer
Oberpanzerschütze Axel Meyer, Funker
Panzerschütze Alfred Richter, Ladeschützen

Panzer 134
Feldwebel Siegfried Mayer, Kommandant
Obergefreiter Joachim Peters, Richtschützen
Unteroffizier Rolf Friedrich, Kraftwagenfahrer
Oberpanzerschütze Ernst Schulz, Funker
Panzerschütze Walter Stein, Ladeschützen

Feldwebel Rainer Schreiber, Kommandant
Gefreiter Erich Werner, Richtschützen
Unterfeldwebel Reinhard Voigt, Kraftwagenfahrer
Obergefreiter Harry Jäger, Funker
Panzerschütze Volker Koch, Ladeschützen
Unteroffizier Horst Thomas, Kommandant
Unteroffizier Johannes Arnold, Kraftwagenfahrer
Oberpanzerschütze Günther Neumann, Richtschützen
Oberpanzerschütze Günther Sauer, Funker
Panzerschütze Herbert Schmitt, Ladeschützen

StuG Kompanie
StuG 201
Leutnant Günther Hornbach, Kompanieführer
Gefreiter Friedrich Gottlieb, Kraftwagenfahrer
Panzerkanonier Hannes Hartig, Richtschützen
Panzerkanonier Jan Hanneman, Ladeschützen

StuG 202
Unteroffizier Michael Kampf, Kommandant
Gefreiter Peter Seidenstücker, Kraftwagenfahrer
Panzerkanonier Ludwig Hönig, Richtschützen
Panzerkanonier Kurt Schoenauer, Ladeschützen

Stabsfeldwebel Johannes Lorenz, Hauptfeldwebel
Gefreiter Harry Kuhn, Kraftwagenfahrer für Pkw
Unterfeldwebel Walter Haas, Waffenunteroffizier
Gefreiter Alexander Scholz, Kradmelder
Oberpanzerkanonier Helmut Huber, Kradmelder
Obergefreiter Manfred Brandt, Kraftwagenfahrer für Pkw
Panzerkanonier Eduard Schmitz, Melder

1. Zug
StuG 211
Oberfeldwebel  Lothar Rader, Zugführer
Gefreiter Oscar Schimpf, Kraftwagenfahrer
Panzerkanonier Georg Baumer, Richtschützen
Panzerkanonier Erwin Herzig, Ladeschützen

StuG 212
Unteroffizier Klaus Schutz, Kommandant
Gefreiter Kurt Hönigswald, Kraftwagenfahrer
Panzerkanonier Bastian Landau, Richtschützen
Panzerkanonier Jörn Seyfried, Ladeschützen

StuG 213
Feldwebel Ralph Ganser Zugführer
Panzerkanonier Felix Fleischhacker, Kraftwagenfahrer Pre-War Pro Mechanic
Panzerkanonier Hannes Buchtel, Richtschützen
Panzerkanonier Bruno Heisterkamp, Ladeschützen

StuG 214
Gefreiter Ernst Schottenstein, Kommandant
Panzerkanonier Thomas Kuchler, Kraftwagenfahrer
Panzerkanonier Jakob Riedel, Richtschützen
Panzerkanonier Jörn Specht, Ladeschützen

2. Zug
StuG 221
Unteroffizier Sven Christmann Zugführer
Panzerkanonier Thorsten Wank, Kraftwagenfahrer
Panzerkanonier Markus Hoffmann, Richtschützen
Panzerkanonier Richard Lulling, Ladeschützen

StuG 222
Gefreiter Horst Behrmann, Kommandant
Panzerkanonier Philip Haring, Kraftwagenfahrer
Panzerkanonier Alexander Ober, Richtschützen
Panzerkanonier Günter Schmidt, Ladeschützen

StuG 223
Unteroffizier Walter Berger, Kommandant
Gefreiter Thomas Albrecht, Kraftwagenfahrer
Panzerkanonier Rolf Kühn, Richtschützen
Panzerkanonier Josef Klein

StuG 224
Obergefreiter Erich Herrmann, Kommandant
Gefreiter Max Kraus, Kraftwagenfahrer
Panzerkanonier Otto Meier, Richtschützen
Panzerkanonier Horst Vogel, Ladeschützen

Fliegerabwehr Zug
Oberfeldwebel Bruno Kraus, Zugführer
Unteroffizier Bernd Hofmann, Schütze
Kanonier Hans Plank, Schütze
Kanonier Maximilian Mayer, Schütze
Kanonier Georg Böhm, Schütze
Kanonier Karl Albrecht, Kraftwagenfahrer

Feldwebel Max König, Geschützführer
Gefreiter Gerhard Hartmann, Schütze
Kanonier Otto Vogel, Schütze
Kanonier Friedrich Schuster, Schütze
Kanonier Erich Richter, Schütze
Kanonier Karl-Heinz Kühn, Kraftwagenfahrer

Obergefreiter Horst Bergmann, Geschützführer
Gefreiter Bernhard Schwarz, Schütze
Kanonier Friedrich Böhm, Schütze
Kanonier Hans Ziegler, Schütze
Kanonier Martin Krüger, Schütze
Kanonier Gert Pfeiffer, Kraftwagenfahrer

Obergefreiter Gerhard Böhm
Obergefreiter Thomas Pfeiffer Pre-War Pro Mechanic

Panzerspähkompanie Köhler
Gruppe Führer
Panzer 101
Oberleutnant Ludwig Köhler, Kompanieführer 
Reiter Egon Stein, Kraftwagenfahrer
Oberreiter Detlef Sommer, Funker
Reiter Frank Hoffmann, Panzerschütze

Gefreiter Martin Schumacher, Kraftwagenfahrer
Unteroffizier Emil Winkler, Führer (zugl. Sprechfunker)
Gefreiter Martin Schumacher, Kraftwagenfahrer
Gefreiter Erwin Richter, Melder
Unteroffizier Albert Schneider, Sanitätsunteroffizier
Obergefreiter  Dieter Becker, Kradmelder
Reiter Harald Wolff, Kradmelder
Reiter Hans Seidel, Kradmelder
Reiter Olaf Schmid, Kradmelder

1. Zug
Panzer 111
Leutnant Joachim Friedrich, Zugführer
Feldwebel Willi Schubert, Kraftwagenfahrer
Unteroffizier Arthur Schulte, Panzerschützen
Gefreiter Herbert Vogt, Funker

Panzer 112
Oberfeldwebel Werner Günther, Spähtruppführer
Oberreiter Rolf Horn, Kraftwagenfahrer
Obergefreiter Paul Lehmann, Panzerschützen
Reiter Rudolf Otto, Funker

Panzer 113
Feldwebel Klaus Baumann, Panzerführer
Gefreiter Heinrich Wagner, Kraftwagenfahrer
Gefreiter Holger Böhm, Panzerschützen
Oberreiter Gerhard Schreiber, Funker

Panzer 114
Unteroffizier Günther Schmidt, Panzerführer
Oberreiter Richard Simon, Kraftwagenfahrer
Gefreiter Bruno Graf, Panzerschützen
Reiter Matthias Weiß, Funker

Panzer 115
Unteroffizier Oskar Schwarz, Panzerführer
Reiter Heinz Groß, Kraftwagenfahrer
Gefreiter Theodor Sauer, Panzerschützen
Reiter Karl Weber, Funker

Panzer 116
Unteroffizier Franz Zimmermann, Panzerführer
Reiter Reinhard Schuster, Kraftwagenfahrer
Oberreiter Gerd Mayer, Panzerschützen
Reiter Rainer Arnold, Funker

Oberfeldwebel Hermann Hahn, Schirrmeister
Unteroffizier Bernhard Maier, Panzerwarte
Gefreiter Georg Lange, Panzerfunkwart
Oberreiter Wolfgang Thomas, Kraftwagenfahrer
Unterfeldwebel Helmut Bauer, Panzerwarte
Reiter Hans Hartmann, Kraftwagenfahrer
Oberreiter Jens Schulz, Panzerfunkwart
Reiter Rudolf Walter, Panzerwarte
Reiter Hugo Kaiser, Panzerwarte
Reiter Hartmut Schulze, Kraftwagenfahrer
Oberreiter Volker Werner, Panzerwarte
Reiter Karl Ludwig, Panzerwarte
Reiter Bernd Bergmann, Panzerwarte

Oberreiter Uwe Heinrich, Kraftwagenfahrer
Hauptfeldwebel Adolf König, Hauptfeldwebel
Feldwebel Alfred Neumann, Waffenunteroffizier
Reiter Michael Frank, Kraftwagenfahrer
Unterfeldwebel Jürgen Schmitt, Gerätunteroffizier
Unteroffizier Ernst Fuchs, Feldkochunteroffizier
Reiter Friedrich Roth, Kraftwagenfahrer
Obergefreiter Christian Martin, Schreiber
Reiter Gustav Dietrich, Kraftwagenfahrer
Oberreiter Stefan Busch, Waffenmeistergehilfen
Reiter Jörg Voigt, Waffenmeistergehilfen
Reiter Norbert Jung, Kraftwagenfahrer
Gefreiter August Beck, Feldkoch

¹ Shit On a Shingle - aka creamed chipped beef on toast. An Army "favorite." Honestly though, I love it. We ate it quite a bit when I was a kid.
² German army shoulder straps were color-coded to indicate branch of service, infantry had white trim, panzergrenadiers had grass-green trim. The Major is letting the Spieß know that he didn't think the designation of a motorized unit was permanent.
³ At your command, Major!

Link to all of The Chant's fiction.


  1. As I sit here reading this in the pre-dawn moments, having just finished reading the current weather forecast, I am reminded that no weather is as nasty as a mix of rain, sleet, snow, and freezing fog. The thought of having to deal with it in a combat situation makes me thankful that I am in the age group (born in 1941) wherein I am too old for those games. Old ( and feeling older) Guns

    1. Having spent time outdoors in those conditions, and like you say, with a Nor'easter bearing down on us, I too feel fortunate to have not had to do that in my life.

  2. Replies
    1. I do too. As much as I whined about the new Blogger, it did bring some cool new features, being able to load other fonts is one. However, I just noticed how long this post is, my thought was "I spent all that time working on the order of battle, I feel compelled to share it." Sometimes I get carried away with my research...

    2. I had to take a break while scrolling through the OOB since my finger got tired! Are you sure that wasn't the OOB for the entire Axis? hahaha

    3. Well, it is a little long. But I spent a lot of time on it and figured, why not share it.

      I just hope I don't get dragged into any carpal tunnel syndrome law suits! 😉

  3. So much for the Christmas party.....Man plans, God laughs.......

  4. I cannot imagine what the sight of that would have been like. Ghosts in the mist, suddenly waves of infantry, tanks, and and and.... I'd probably fill my britches too.

    1. Indeed.

      The Germans coming down the railroad line near Losheimergraben actually happened. The Americans cut that bunch to pieces. The Germans were marching forward in column of twos with no thought of combat. There were lots of inexperienced infantry in those three armies that day.

  5. Sarge, strategically what point did the shelling - and then complete stop without an immediate attack - serve? I remember from reading Guderian's book tank warfare this was one of the great complaints of the artillery barrages of WW I: the Allies (and the Germans, for that matter) always knew where the attack would be focused.

    Excellent writing as usual (man, I wanted to see the Christmas party).

    Struggling to make peace with the new Blogger as well.

    1. Artillery in WWI was supposed to tear up the enemy wire so the troops could get through it, both sides had tables indicating the number (and size) of the pieces needed to destroy so many square meters of wire. Also, it kept the defenders' heads down which was only useful if the attacking troops followed the barrage in (a rolling or creeping barrage). That last bit required pretty tight coordination between artillery and infantry. If the infantry is too fast (or the artillery too sloppy) then the infantry dies. If the infantry is too slow (or the artillery sloppy in the other direction) then the enemy has time to regain their posts and again, the infantry dies. Many WWII German generals were artillerymen in WWI, they survived whereas many of the infantrymen did not.

      Artillery is also very good at demoralizing a defender. Keep him in his hole while the world explodes around him. Concussion alone can kill, during an artillery strike the earth will actually "jump," bouncing you up in the air. A man feels helpless and alone under an artillery bombardment.

    2. ...they did the math with high-explosive shells and then they substituted in shrapnel shells instead (because it’s all they had), which didn’t tear up the wire, and they got the Somme.

    3. Yup, shrapnel won't do much to barbed wire. You want the Somme, that's how you get the Somme.

  6. I also love SOS! On another note, the level of detail you are putting into this story reeks of an actual after action report. Coming up with all those German names and units....impressive.

    1. The Internet helped a lot with the names, there are also a lot of good resources online for orders of battle and the like. Did you know that an Army rifle squad in WWII had a single B.A.R.? A Marine rifle squad had three.

    2. A Marine squad, by the end of the war, was from 12 to 16 troops strong. So that's a factor in the gunfire of a Marine squad.

    3. Did you know that SOS was different foods, in the Army and Navy. The USN version was more sloppy joe, than anything else.

    4. Man, the Navy even messes up SOS...

  7. Thanks for not taking the easy way by having shellfire take out the party barn during the party, resulting in lots of tiny casualties. I can breathe for a while.
    As far as the weather, we are getting that mix here in Arkansas. Here it is referred to as "good deer hunting weather." Lol!

    1. I couldn't do that, though there were lots of civilian casualties in the Ardennes in 1944, most were caused by those murderous SS bastards. Also Hombourg was out of artillery range and as for air strikes, what Luftwaffe? (Though they put up a big effort on New Year's Day which didn't really do anything other than kill German pilots, which they were running out of!)

      Well, the weather might feel miserable, but yeah, it is good deer hunting weather.

  8. In your listing of equipment, you have the III Ms listed twice. I mean, our fearless Major would love to have 28 PzKw III Ms but I think he'll have to deal with just having 14.

    As to the Kettenkrad, neat vehicles. There used to be one used in the Ocala National Forest (with a trailer, though not the official Kettenkrad trailer) during hunting season. Driving on 40 through the Forest, you'd see... 4-wheeler... 4-wheeler... 4-wheeler... WT..KETTENKRAD!!!!! I think the guy also used it for WWII reenactments, from what my WWII reenactment friend said.

    Sucker apparently handled sugar sand real well, and the guy spent a bit of time rescuing 4-wheelers.

    Now they have track units that swap out for the wheels on 4 wheelers... You can do just the rears or rears and fronts.

    And, of course, modified snowmobiles for working on sandy soil.

    Weird world innit?

    And the ancient forest mere humans call the Ardennes flexes its snow-covered shoulders and prepares for a great feeding...

    1. I had der Spieß "talk to" the clerk. Modifications have been made, I do believe the clerk might have humping ammo for an MG 42 team in his immediate future.

      I've always liked the Kettenkrad.

    2. I remember they had one in saving Private Ryan

      Strange looking machine

    3. They are strange-looking, but useful.

  9. The rest of chanters can nitpick all they want.
    It will help clean things up before you publish.
    As for me, I'll just read and appreciate your work.

    I find myself frustrated with the new Booger interface almost daily.
    But, at least I am familiar enough with this platform that I can live with it.

    1. It's not really nitpicking when it's a typo or an outright error (like listing the tanks twice). I mean, the readers are my (unpaid) editors...

      There are still things about the new interface which I find counterintuitive or just plain dumb, but there are some gems among the new stuff. It takes time to get used to anything new, I am still irked that they couldn't include a comment editor like WordPress has (I don't know if they still have that, I haven't used WordPress in a while). I've also learned how to overcome some of the more annoying things by simply studying the interface closer. (Like that annoying "paragraph" mode - just switch it back to "normal," which should be the default, otherwise why call it normal?)

      But it's not as bad as I initially thought.

  10. Hey AFSarge;

    I am still getting used to the Blogger Interface, I still prefer the "Legacy" interface, less quirky. I used to eat SOS when I was a kid, my mom got the recipe from the mess sergeant in Germany because my Dad loved the stuff and so we ate it a lot and it really stuck to the ribs as they say. I am surprised that the Germans didn't attack right after the arty barrage, it does show the tactical deficiency that the Germans had at the end of the war. Their surviving experienced staff officers were overwhelmed and the newbies didn't have the chops that the older ones had. Excellent Post.

    1. You see the problem, inexperienced troops, not enough roads. It all adds up.

    2. You did as much work filling out the roster as der Spiess!

      I am thinking with technology then and now with satellites and drones we would not have been surprised

      Then it was a total shock.

      I’m wondering had we suspected something Werther bridges to blow up to impede the Germans progress? Was anybody called on the carpet afterwards for not anticipating this?

      I suspect it was a total surprise and we didn’t think they had the ability to mount a major offensive at this time

      I always regret not visiting Belgium when I was stationed there as it was right next-door.

    3. (Don McCollor)...there are two parts to recon collecting the information - whether it is believed. I remember the photo Spitfire getting pictures of German tanks in "A Bridge Too Far", and the information dismissed because it did not fit what what the higher ups were expecting...

    4. I was thinking that too. Some private radios in that he sees a whole column of German armor and it would most likely be dismissed until the casualty accounts come in from other sectors

    5. William #1 - One of the things which wrecked the German timetable were small detachments of American engineers, blowing bridges damned near right in the face of advancing German armor. It's still possible to hide things from satellites and drones, harder, yes, but possible. Some of the folks in Allied intel did have evidence of a German build up and possible attack. But no one believed them!

    6. Don - You have the right of it!

    7. William #2 - The fighting was so confused on that first day that no one knew what to believe. Also the Germans were noted for launching short, sharp local counterattacks to improve a position. Many higher ups thought that's what was going on. It took a while to get all the data in and perform a clear assessment.

  11. Hell of a way to spoil a party!
    Sarge, I love SOS too, both the creamed chipped beef & creamed ground beef versions.
    I'm sure you've seen it by now, but where Cpl. Winters is talking to 1LT Paddock, "and hoards of tanks" should be "hordes" (although I suppose you could argue that the Germans had indeed been hoarding them for a bit).
    --Tennessee Budd

    1. Hahaha, I must have been thinking about Hitler hoarding tanks. But yes, it should be "hordes," I shall mend that!

  12. Ate a lot of SOS when I was growing up, too! I remember my Mom making it from scratch, using the chipped beef from a glass jar, almost like the glass the cocktail shrimp and red sauce was in.

    1. A glass jar, no kidding? I can't remember what the chipped beef my Mom used came in.

      Still like it though!

    2. Leslie A. ApplegateDecember 16, 2020 at 8:00 PM

      I remember it in the little glass jars. It was to expensive for us to have very often.

    3. Wow, I'll have to ask my Mom if she remembers.

  13. I remember the glass jars the chipped beef came in as well - and an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives a while back had a segment from a diner in Sand Diego (IIRC) where they served it to the sailors and marines that came in.
    And like a couple of the others above, I am damned impressed by the amount of work you put into that roster - the mind boggles, internet help or not!
    You mentioned the combat engineers who contributed far beyond their numbers - the German commander, Obersturmbahnfuhrer Joachim Pieper, who was convicted as responsible for the Malmedy massacre but had his death sentence commuted and served only 12 years in prison, is said to have cursed them as "Diese verdammten Pioniere!"

    1. I wrote about that, once upon a time.

      Peiper eventually paid for his sins.

    2. Quite a story in itself

    3. How piper could get only 12 years for ordering the murder of almost 90 American prisoners is beyond me.

      I remember reading about that. Wonder if it was old members of the French resistance

    4. William #2 - He didn't actually order it. Some trigger happy (and no doubt combat stressed) men in one column opened fire on the POWs, the rest followed suit. He was guilty of war crimes but he didn't order what happened at Baugnez. His sentence was far too light as were many of the other sentences handed down to Waffen SS men.

  14. That part with the Priest stopping by before the Christmas party- them rushing out and telling him to go on with it for the kids- I can clearly envision it on the big screen! Another thing I love about this story is how it's being told with both sides looking ok, so you're somewhat rooting for both, or at least not hating the enemy. The German infantry (at least those here) aren't the Waffen SS, and the story here is just them fighting, not committing war crimes or genocide. Did you ever read Fredrick Forsyth's "Day of the Jackal?" You were rooting for the French detective to catch him, at the same time you wanted the Jackal to succeed. The writing here reminds me of that.

    1. Forsyth is one of my favorite authors, loved "Day of the Jackal." You're right though, I rooted for both the detective and the Jackal.

      High praise Tuna, thanks.

  15. As always, the richness of your details adds immeasurably to the delight I experience when reading your stuff. Great job!

  16. I have been reading the book on a higher calling and apparently the unit of the B-17 crew who is going to give a Christmas party for the English children.

    I’ll bet that happened a lot.

    Seeing so much suffering and death would be cathartic to the soul to see joy in an innocent child

    1. There's a goodness in the soul of the American GI which manifests itself even today.

      But yes, I'd also bet that it happened a lot.

  17. and another...

    notes 2 & 3 are out of order (3 comes before 2 in the text).

    1. I'm surprised I haven't done that before! Fixed it, thanks!


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