16 Dec - 18 Dec
The Battle of the Bulge Begins
Map depicting the Battle of the Bulge German counteroffensive.
- The 10th Armored was down in the lower right, south of Luxembourg when the attack began. (See map below)
- Combat Command A (CCA) and most of the 10th stayed in that south eastern sector as part of the defense near what became the extent of the offensive.
- Combat Command B (CCB) continued on to Bastogne where it was instrumental in holding the city until enough reinforcements arrived with the 101st Airborne. Bastogne survived in spite of the siege that made it a surrounded enclave.
My wife asked if the legend of Patton speeding north into the Bulge was true. It appears that his 10th Armored definitely accomplished that feat.
Where was my Dad? That is probably an unanswerable question after all these years. Company B collecting company of the 80th Armored Medical Battalion is listed in orders of battle as supporting CCB around Bastogne. CCB is also mentioned as having taken some medics along. So far I have been unable to determine or discover anything more than that.
But taking a look at pictures, movie clips and reading, it is very clear in my mind that no matter where he was along the battle front, it was, at best- hell. A white, fog-bound hell. Snow, cold, the ever present sound of battle- tanks, artillery, small arms. You name it- it was there. If he was in Bastogne proper, the tension and the level of combat would have been unbearable. Nichols, in Impact, the battle story of the 10th, describes that at one point Team Desorby had to retreat 100 yards.
100 yards is the length of a football field. The difference between danger and a place of defense was that small. At Team Cherry's HQ, enemy troops managed to get as close as 5 yards to the building before being "cut down." My mind was filled with the images in the recent WW II movie, Fury. I am getting the feeling that even that image was cleaned-up from what the pure hell must have been like.
I will never be able to understand what Dad went through, how he felt, and how it impacted the rest of his life. I am grateful that I can get this sense of his life all these years after his death. He was one of those citizen soldiers, his own band of brothers, facing the destruction of everything they knew. They fought back- or in my Dad's case- helped bring relief to those who did.
War is hell. Perhaps for those like Red, that may be the hope of grace in a heaven of peace.