Saturday, November 28, 2009

Between the Lines: Bill in Combat Dec.14-21, 1944

On the morning of December 14 Company A. is ordered to move out toward Bitche. The march is made in the morning by way of Lemberg and the heights outside of Bitche are taken without opposition. The company digs in. About noon a patrol from the Second Platoon is sent into the city. After successfully penetrating the outskirts of Bitche the patrol is detected by the enemy, fired upon, and forced to withdraw, leaving one man behind and listed as Missing in Action. The patrol captures two prisoners and returns to report that the enemy defensive positions are strong with many troops. The Company remains on the surrounding hills and helps set up an observation post in the 1st. Battalion sector which gives a remarkably clear view of Bitche and the primary objective on a prominent hill at the center of town called the Citadel.

The Company is well dug in. The weather is cold. The men expect to attack the next morning. The attack does not come and everyone expects the order will come at dusk. Again the attack doesn’t come and the infantrymen must stay in position, in foxholes as much as 50 yards apart.

Once again, on the morning of Dec. 16 the men expect to launch an attack at daybreak and once again there is no attack. The men are surprised that an assault is not forthcoming. Instead they remain entrenched along the ridges above Bitche with a terrific yardage of front to cover defensively.

Unbeknownst to the men of Bill’s Company the reason for the 100th Division’s drive stopping outside Bitche is the now famous “Battle of the Bulge” up north. Because of the strength shifted to the north, the Seventh Army must take over a part of the Third Army’s sector and go strictly on the defensive.


  1. Some time after the end of the war it was dicovered that the missing Company A soldier was David Cox, who died either during the patrol into Bitche or afterwards in the custody of his German captors. He is buried at St. Avold Cemetery, near the French city of Barrarat along with a number of other Co. A soldiers who died during the combat in this sector.

  2. Hi,

    I've been reading some of the letters you have posted from your father about the war and I find it really interesting reading about people's personal experiences of WW2.

    My family recently came across my grandad's memoirs of his experiences during the war and it uncovers almost 10 years of his life that nobody in the family really knew about.

    Although he was a German serving in Russia. I posted one extract on my blog that really surprised me about him when I first read it about when he was ordered to shoot a sniper (

    You see loads of films and study it in history but you forget that people actually lived through it.

    Were you ever surprised by what you read from your dad's letters?

  3. Hi Adam,

    In reading and researching my father's letters I learned a great deal about my father's war experiences. For example, I did not know he went to radio school at Camp Crowder. He just never talked much about his war experiences while my brother and I were growing up. I had a rough idea about his combat experiences in France and Germany but as I remember he actually spoke more about the German Occupation. I was always amazed that he thought so highly of the German civilians, although he despised the Nazis. What surprised me the most is how mature and aware of the world my father was as an 18-19 year old.

    I will be checking out your blog. I just love to read of the first hand experiences of the young men who went off to fight the war. It is history unfiltered,


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