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Our Own Band of Brothers

Landing on Utah Beach D-Day

Early in the morning on the 16th of December Hitler launched a vast counter-attacked against the Allies with more than 200,000 troops and nearly thousand tanks. The plan was to split the Allied troops positioned along a 75 mile front in the Ardennes Forest. The Germans were successful in breaking through the lines, surrounding the Allied forces and taking strong positions. This was the beginning of “The Battle of the Bulge.”

From the historical pages of one of the many units that were engaged in this Battle, the 465th Medical Collecting Company, we extract the journal entries that relates to our subject.

15 December 1944 - we were in the town of Nieder Emmels, four kilometers north of St. Vith on the Malmedy road, German artillery fire all day and at night the sky was all lit up by search lights. On 16 December 1944 S/Sergeant Harold Smuckler from Albany, NY, was attached to VIII Corps field artillery told of German counter attack which had taken three towns. German shell landed in back of the hospital.

17 December 1944 – the breakthrough came and we are right in the middle of it. The 106th Infantry Division in the front of us was overrun. Guns louder than ever, reports of more shells landing near St. Vith. 7th Armored Division moving into Nieder Emmels. We were alerted to move out around noon. We packed in a hurry, and the convoy left at 1330 hours with the first section, but the second section had to leave by jumping on passing cavalry trucks, leaving much equipment behind. The roads were choked stopped at Goronne outside of Vielsalm.

18 December 1944 – we pulled out again at 1100 hours, went through La Roche and on to Marche-en-Famenne, then to Vecmont. Plane activity near La Roche. Lost two ambulances and didn’t hear from them for a week. Had very bad weather and not enough food. We set up our station here, but had to retreat further. VIII Corps field artillery units moved into our area during the night.

19 December 1944, we left Vecmont, Belgium, arrived at Bertrix, Belgium. Field artillery all over the place. Ammunition stacked for miles along the St Hubert road. Arrived at Libramont where Battalion was located. Moved to a field near Braux (???) temporarily. We saw trees prepared with dynamite for road blocks. We moved again and parked on the road for three hours, then into Bertrix after dark. We then set up our station here and worked all night handling casualties from the 101st Airborne Division. We treated more casualties here than at any other time.