The Remembrances of:
Guy Mudd ~ Louis F. Rosetti ~ Warren T. Wooten ~ Eugene "Art" Broadhurst ~ Arnon J. Lensink
Paul E. Cunningham
Observation Unit Liaison and Forward Lineman
897th FA BN 75th Infantry Division
24 25 26 Dec 44
MY FIRST THREE DAYS
I have often told my Family and other people that I could describe my first three days of combat, in World War II, in just two words - SCARED and COLD. The cold was bone chilling, and it seemed that it was always snowing. I do not know which is worse, trying to walk in 14 inches of snow, or trying to sleep in it. Both of them was a real chore. I am sure I will never forget my first three days of war, which was in the Battle of the Bulge, Belgium. I was a member of the 897th FA BN, assigned to their Liaison and F.Q. Unit. We had been well trained in the 18 months leading up to our initiation into the war. Even though you have been excellently trained, you really do not know what it is all about, until it happens to you. Neither do you know how you will respond or re-act, until it happens.
After landing at Le Havre, France, we had to make a long, hard, cold 250 mile motor trip into Belgium. It was so cold that we drew straws and the short straw had to drive first. By now we were very well aware that this is it, and we headed towards the battle field. We were about to catch up with the war. We sure did not like it, but this was what we had prepared for, and we had no choice. Even so, I know that everyone of us were seared and apprehensive, as we had no idea of what lay ahead for us.
As we got closer and closer to the battle grounds, we began to hear the rumble of the artillery, and see the flash of the guns. We began to run into the smoke of burning tanks, jeeps, and trucks. We also began to see the incredible rubble and destruction of small villages. By this time we were a very quiet, sober and somber bunch of G.l.'s with our own thoughts and fears. Officially, the 897th saw its first action on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1944. It was somewhere near St. Vith, and I know our orders were to drive the Germans out of St. Vith, and it was not easy.
What I remember most about our first three days were all of rumors, the confusion, and the fear of what was going on. We were told that the Germans, dressed in our uniforms, had parachuted behind our lines. We were warned to use our daily pass word very carefully, and if we had any doubts to shoot first. These were exciting but fearful days. We had previously installed a number of phone lines to our BN command post. Maintaining our phone lines was one of my first assignments. However, enemy fire continually knocked out our phones. Most of the time two of us would go to trace down the break in the wire, and patch it or replace it. On the third day I had to go by myself to repair one. Being alone, and knowing it, was a very scary and uncomfortable feeling, and you sure do not mess around. It is bad enough during the day, but even worse at night. Also, you try not to make any noise.
I also remember seeing the first dead German and later, the first dead G.I. That will sober you up, right quick. Also in repairing a phone line, I got to see our medics in action as they risked their lives to help the wounded. Again, I stress how cold it was. You sure cannot repair much with your gloves or mittens on, so you had to take them off to get anything done. So it was no wonder that I, along
with most everyone else, got frost bite on our hands and feet. No matter how long I live, I will never forget how cold it was, first at Belgium, France, then Holland and Germany. Looking back some 50 years, it is hard to realize how we over came both the enemy and the weather.
The 897th FA supported the 289th Infantry, and we kept in contact with them at all times. In my opinion, and after seeing them in action, the infantry are the back bone of any army, and I tip my hat to them for a job well done.
I know that we all aged through those first three days. I know I did. We soon found out the hard way that war is hell. The Battle of the Bulge was just a prelude of many more battles to come, not only in Belgium, but in France, Holland, and Germany. But we will never forget those first three days. I know now that I was one of the fortunate ones. Not only did I survive the war, I never even got as much as a scratch, and for that I am very grateful.
Looking back, I am very proud that I got to serve our country. And I am especially pleased that I was a member of the 75th 'Diaper" Division that did so well in battle. We certainly did our part in making and changing history, and I sure do enjoy re-living it at all of our reunions. I am aware that World War 11 is almost a distant memory to most people. But to those of us who fought in it, we have unforgettable memories that we will take to our graves.
Just one more somber note. Our division had 937 men killed in action during the war, and a good number of them were killed in those first three days.
East Alton, IL
Mudd, Guy D., Age 19, Height 5'11', Weight 147 pounds. Born at Winchester, Illinois on July 29, 1924. Moved to Alton, Illinois in 1942. Was drafted into the army on March 23, 1943 at Scott Field Air Base near Belleville, Illinois. Was sent the same day by train to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, arriving at midnight. After basic training, I was assigned to the 897th FA BN, as Battery Clerk of Headquarters Battery, Captain Henry Majeske, Commanding Officer. I had the rank of Tec S. Spent 11 months at Fort Wood before entraining to the Texas-Louisiana Borders Maneuvers area. After eight weeks of some special training, we left by train to Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. Three weeks later I was assigned to a Liaison and F.O. Unit, Captain Jack Danforth, Commanding Officer, and given the rank of Corporal. On October 28th we went by train to Camp Shanks, New York to wait for our turn to depart to Europe. On November 5th, the 897th FA BN and the 289th Infantry Regiment had orders to board the S.S. Aquantania, a large English ship that would take us to Liverpool, England. Then we were taken to the Cardiff, Wales area. After seven weeks we boarded the small L.S.T. and L.C.I. ships that would take us to Le Havre, France.
Instead of going to Holland for further training, our plans were changed. We had to make a motor column of 250 cold miles into Belgium. Our First Division C.P. was at Tongres, Belgium. For us, this was the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge. Our first taste of battle was on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1944. It ended on January 30, 1945. After a short rest we had to make another long, cold ride back to France and to the Colmar area along the Rhine River. This battle was fought from January 30th to February 22nd, 1945. At this time, we were under the First French Army.
Our next assignment was to go to Panningen, Holland. By this time, Spring has arrived and it-was a real morale booster. At this time we were under the 9th Army XVI Corps. We hardly had any action at Panningen, and in five weeks it was all over. The rest of our battles were fought in Germany and we were under the 9th Army XVI Corps. After the capture of Dortmund, it was all but over. The battles in Germany started on March 31, 1945 to May 8, 1945, and that was the end of the war.
When the war ended, the 897th FA BN was at Brilon, Germany. We stayed there as Troops of Occupation. However, it had been agreed that it was a British zone, so we had to wait three months before they relieved us. Then our division left to go to a staging area near Rheims, France to await our turn to come home. We were at Camp Norfok a part of a large tent city. On December 24, we boarded a Liberty Ship to return to New York Harbor. We arrived on New Years Day.
The 897th FA BN was then sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey for the beginning of the process of being discharged. On January 5th, all of us from Illinois, were sent by train to Camp Grant near Chicago. It was here, on January 6, 1945, that I received an Honorary Discharge from the Army.
The 75th Division was engaged in three major battles. They were: The Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe.
I received the following medals and citations: 2 Over-Seas Service Bars, The American Campaign, The European, African, Middle-Eastern Campaign with 3 battle stars, The Bronze Medal, Good Conduct Medal and The World War II Victory Medal.
Louis F. Rossetti
897th FA Bn 289th Infantry Regiment
75th Infantry Division
24 25 26 27 29 Dec 44
The bitterness of the cold was biting my feet and cheeks. I held my gloved hands under my clothing and as close to my body as possible.
I wore a set of cotton underclothes, a wool undershirt, a set of wool shirt and trousers, and a wool knit sweater, a set of fatigue shirt and trousers, a field jacket, an overcoat, wool cap under my helmet, gloves, at least two pairs of heavy wool socks, boots, and galoshes. It was almost an impossibility to wear another article of clothing, and it didn't give me much freedom of movement, but I wouldn't have parted with a single thread.
The four hours ticked away finally and I couldn't get to my sack quick enough. I undressed as much as possible, which included taking off my helmet, overcoat, and galoshes, slid into my roll and shivered for a few minutes until my body warmed enough to allow me to sleep.
The sky was a cold dark blue, spotted with bright stars. It looked as though tomorrow would be clear for a change.
A weak sun had come up and clouds were scattered through a bright blue sky. The ground was covered by a white blanket of frost. Sure enough, it was a clear day. Overhead, scattered throughout the sky in groups, thousands of B17's flew to Germany all day long. We had wondered up to now where our air force was. Now we knew; and it was a glad sight to see.
I watched one formation at a time and after a while could pick out the spots where enemy antiaircraft was menacing the bombers. It was sad to see a ship burst in flames and wobble to earth. Sometimes there were white puffs of parachutes and sometimes there were none.
The mail truck came in the afternoon and it was more welcome than a meal. I received a Christmas card, the first mail in many days. A few of us ate supper around an open fire just before dark and it felt good to get some heat in our bodies.
After dark we moved again, this time stopping in a small village. There was a farmhouse, a barn, and another building that looked like a one-room schoolhouse.
It was dark in the barn, except for a couple of dim flash-lights that lay in the hay. The loft was already crowded but I managed to find a spot where I unrolled my sack and prepared it so I could jump right in when my first round of guard duty was over.
Bull Bronson and I were on the same post. We had been doubling up for safety reasons. It was a clear, cold night and a bright moon lit up the land around us.
Bull and I sat in a truck and talked about home, mostly, but conversation was usually limited.
'I'll be hog-tied if it feels like Christmas Eve,' Bull said.
"It is Christmas Eve, isn't it? Doesn't seem like it.' I looked out across the flat landscape. 'It's kind of quiet tonight."
'Yeah, that means we're in for something. You know, it would be just like it for us to get called out on an ammo run just soon's we get all settled in our sack."
We laughed. 'Yeah, that would be something,' I said. Just as sure as night follows day that's what happened. I had just pushed my feet into the old welcome sack and was settling my body in the contours of the straw when someone came up the ladder to the loft with a dim flashlight and called out just above a whisper: "Everybody up! Ammunition run! Let's go!'
Bull said, "What'd I tell you, Rosy?" Within a few minutes our small convoy of trucks loaded with ammunition was headed for the howitzer positions. We traveled rough roads and through fields. Small guns and big guns were noisily spitting their projectiles at the enemy.
It was our baptism of fire; our infantry had contacted the enemy near Grandmenil.
I rode on top of the ammo and the noise was like a terrific lightning and thunder storm with the two coming off at one time, a blinding light, enough to light up the surroundings, accompanied by a terrific explosion. I couldn't see where we were going, but I could have sworn our truck was bouncing right down the middle of all these guns. The deafening explosions were coming from all directions. After a few more bumps and turns our truck pulled up alongside a hedge in what looked like a pasture.
The howitzer men were anxiously waiting for the ammunition. I was still shivering from the cold, but after heaving several ammo boxes, and with the howitzers in full tempo, the cold seemed to be less ferocious.
Somehow I can't seem to remember the ride back to our battery position; but I'm sure I never got back into my sack. But I do remember that when daylight came it was Christmas and I made it a point to shave.
All day long truckloads of infantrymen passed our position on their way to the front lines. It was a sunny and mild day, but we burned a fire. It was always relaxing to sit by a fire and watch the flames dance.
A couple of days later we entered Barvaux, which lay in a valley, and it was there, I believe, we were located when the new year made its entrance.
We had two 50-caliber machine guns on antiaircraft mounts, one just off the road alongside the
farmhouse and the other behind the house. We had dug a V-shaped trench around each gun and erected a shelter half on poles to keep the failing snow off our guns. We took hay from the barn and spread it on the floor of the trenches. The guards at night could sit down in the trench and keep out of the snow and wind as much as possible. There were two guards in one trench and one guard on the gun behind the house. I didn't like being alone on the one post, simply because it was more difficult to stay awake at night with no one to talk to.
When you have company on guard, you don't mind the cold and your mind doesn't wander and the hours go a little faster.
I shared the two-man post with Knight. Each of us sat at opposite ends with our backs against the dirt, facing each other so that we could cover any direction. The trench was just wide enough so we fit snugly. It was as comfortable as we could make it and we kept warm until a gush of wind blew snow down the back of our necks.
After two hours of guard are up, each minute that passes while waiting for your relief is like an hour. Daytime guard sometimes was a break. It was two hours on and four hours off, which was very often better than going on an ammunition run. Some men volunteered for steady guard in order to be exempt from ammo runs.
There was plenty of ammunition to be handled and it kept us busy day and night. We slept whenever we could between runs and there was no schedule for ammunition. We kept a steady flow moving from the dumps to the howitzers. It meant being on the move many hours of the day and night. Our howitzers had been throwing out the projectiles almost as fast as we could get them to the crews.
There was a girl living next door who came to the fence which separated the two yards and called to me while I stood guard beside my machine gun. I didn't hesitate to walk to her and she handed me three apples, which I accepted gratefully, and I managed to say "Merc4 " which I had learned thus far.
From my guard post I was listening to the howitzers firing. Our division had three battalions of 105mm howitzers, totaling 36 pieces in all, and one battalion of twelve 155mm howitzers.
The 155's echoed down the valley. Then I heard explosions preceded by whistles, which meant incoming shells, and could see them bursting on the hill across the road.
I had been sleeping in a crowded hayloft. It got dangerous lying camouflaged in the hay with men crawling in and out, so I decided to move to the next loft before someone accidentally stepped on my face. It was while I was asleep one night that one of the guards on duty heard something in the wooded area on the side of the hill and alerted the battery. With rifles held ready for action, several men crept toward the vital spot. Suddenly there was a stir in the brush and Ciardello wasted no time in firing a shot into the area, barely missing Wrye who was walking just ahead of him. There was more scrambling in the bushes, and someone said they were only wild pigs that caused the alert.
I had acquired the habit of sleeping with my head inside the, sleeping bag, a trait I had never previously possessed. But I found it was much warmer that way. I also found that keeping a raincoat
wrapped around the foot of the sack, supposedly to help keep out the cold, collected moisture. You could always tell where a man's face was under the blankets, because the steam from his breath would freeze and form a patch of frost on the blanket over his mouth.
Whenever it was necessary to wash our clothes, we did so by boiling them in a bucket over an open fire. I spread a few articles over a hedge, but drying was a long process. The clothes froze during the night and thawed out in the daytime, remaining damp and unable to be worn until I help each piece next to an open flame.
Occasionally, besides our hauls of ammunition, our trucks were sent on other missions - for gasoline, water, clothing, rations, and other supplies. These could be desirable trips, a chance to get away from the combat zone and maybe get a couple of slugs of cognac under the belt, something to do a fellow more good than harm at a time when nerves were nearly always tense and feet numb and cold. Volunteers for these trips were always more numerous than for other details.
Two days after Christmas, the 75th was assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps, and its commander, Major General Matthew B. Ridgway, issued a message:
"I want every many imbued with the idea that here in this sector is where the decision of this war will be reached. Every man will contribute his utmost to putting the 75th up alongside the best division in the American Army."
We were located at this time at the northern flank of the bulge.
Louis A. Rossetti
* The above excerpts are from Louis A. Rossetti's book, Army,@ost Office 451, Carleton Press, 1969. The book covers the days of the war as he saw them.
Born in the Philadelphia suburb or Narberth, Pennsylvania, Louis E. Rossetti attended grammar school in Narberth and the lower Merion High School. He entered the army in January 1943 and was in field artillery for eleven months, when he applied for and was accepted by the air force.
He was attending Ohio's Wittenberg College as an aviation student while preparations for D-Day were being made. At that time, he and thousands of others with previous ground-force training were returned to artillery and infantry and shipped overseas.
The author, who is a bachelor, has made his living as a carpenter since his discharge in January 1946. He is a member of the 75th Division Veterans' Association.
* The above excerpt is from Louis Rossetti's book, Army Post Office 451, Carleton Press, 1969.
Add 12/94 Page 1
Warren T. Wooten, Sgt,
Gun Crew Chief 105 MM
Howitzer A Battery
897th Field Artillery Bn
289th Infantry Regiment
75th Infantry Division
24 25 26 27 28 Dec 44
I am afraid that I am no help in remembering details of Dec 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 1944. Did not keep a journal nor write my remembrances soon after getting home.
I recall moving through villages toward the front. One lady with two small children sharing fresh baked bread with my gun crew. Another older couple sharing fresh eggs with us for breakfast. We left as much C and K rations that we could with the people above.
I do recall while moving close to the front with infantryman coming from the front stopping in the snow for cold rations and hot coffee. A grizzled Sgt. stopped by a dead German body, brushed the snow from the chest, placed his coffee on it and ate his rations. This woke me up.
I recall coming upon a German artillery piece and seeing an arm (from shoulder to hand) frozen to the breech block - no other part of the body was there. A service company leaving frozen bodies upright against trees in a "Heil Hitler" salute.
Our 1st Sgt. Godsey (regular Army) visiting with old friends in an armored outfit in a field next to us, killed with one round from an 88 hit the vehicle he was sitting on. It is ironical that he had expressed doubts of his coming back alive before we left the States.
Having to poke the tarp over the foxhole so the watch could help clear the snow so you could get out.
Very early in our combat, the fear and tense feeling when my gun was chosen to go into a village to help put a German tank out of commission. The relief when the tank moved out and our mission was canceled.
The helplessness of having diarrhea, pants and underwear at half mast, lying face down in the snow as shells fall nearby.
The spirit of most GI's - when incoming rounds fall and all dive in same cover head over heels and the guy on bottom makes a sexual joke that breaks everyone up.
I cannot help re: organization and names - I do recall a Capt. Lane as "A!' Battery commander. I thank you for what you are doing. I am a life member of the Association and though not active, I do enjoy the Bulgebusters and wish everyone a good 1995.
T. Warren Wooten
Add 1/95 1
Wooten, T. Warren, Age 19, Height 5'71/2', Weight 130 lbs. Born - Lakeland, Florida. Occupation - College student. Inducted into service - March 12, 1943. Entered active service March 19, 1943 at Camp Blanding, Fla. Serial Number 34 548 285.
Entrained to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri to join the new 75th Division which was activated in April, 1943. Completed basic training as gun crewman on 105 mm Howitzer with "N Battery, 897th Field Artillery Battalion.
Rose in rank to Sgt. and chief of gun crew. After 1944 Louisiana maneuvers, finished training at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. Entrained to Camp Shanks, New York and departed to EAMETO November 15, 1944 on the British ship Aquatannia. "A" Battery was assigned to British gun crews to help man the ships 5" guns for the crossing.
Arrived November 23, 1944 and entrained to Cardiff, Wales before crossing the English Channel to Rouen, France. Rushed to the front in eastern Belgium (Ardennes) in support of the 289th Infantry Regiment. Saw action in the Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe campaigns. On VE Day "A" Battery was in Bredlar, Germany. After VE Day was transferred out of 75th Division into the 989 F A Bn and to Camp Norfolk in France, a staging area for returning to U.S. Left Le Havre, France February 5, 1946 and arrived New York city on February 16 (my birthday), 1946.
Separated from service on February 24, 1946 at Camp Blanding, Florida. Length of Service - U.S. 1yr. 8 mos. 11 days; Foreign 1 yr. 3 mos. 2 days.
MILITARY HISTORY OF EUGENE "ART" BROADHURST
March 26, 1943 to November 20, 1945
United States, Scotland, Wales, England, France
Belgium, Holland and Germany
[S/Sgt. 2d Squad 3d Platoon C Co 275th Engr. Bn
attached to the 75th Infantry Division]
My name is Eugene "Art" Broadhurst. I was born in Pittsburg, Kansas on December 18, 1911. I moved to St. Louis, Missouri. At that time I was 31 years old, weighed 149 pounds and was 5 foot 9 inches tall.
When I went to Jefferson Barracks for initial processing an amusing thing happened. On the third day a message came over the loud speaker, 'Private Broadhurst, Serial Number 37608471, report to building number 10150 to Lieutenant Brown, on the double!' It took me a good half hour to find the building and the officer mentioned. He gave me a large brown envelope and told me to be at the train station at 6:00 a.m. the next morning and report to sergeant so-and-so. This all happened at about 8:00 p.m. The next morning I found the sergeant and he gave me a railroad ticket and a paper bag with a sandwich and an apple and told me to get aboard the train standing on the siding in coach #6 and report to Lieutenant so-and-so. There were seventeen coaches that made up the train and I was the only one on board with a large envelope (my orders), a paper bag of lunch and a railroad ticket, destination Bundy Junction. I tried to find someone who knew where Bundy Junction might be, but no one had ever heard of it. I figured it must be the Aleutian Islands or some other God-forsaken place. It turned out to be the switch where the train left the main line for Fort Leonard Wood.
Arriving at Fort Leonard Wood about April 1st, I was interviewed by several officers. They kept questioning me about my mining experience (I had worked in the coal mines earlier) and my experience with explosives. It turned out I was assigned to the 275th Eng. Bn Co C 3rd Platoon. After a couple weeks they tied a red band around my arm and said I was 'acting Corporal. I was never given the rank, but a few weeks later there was some shuffling of personnel and I was made a buck sergeant of the 1st Squad of 3rd Platoon. I held these stripes until we reached Europe.
We trained at Fort Leonard Wood until January 24, 1944 when we convoyed to Louisiana for maneuvers. We were here until April 13, 1944. We loaded our trucks and equipment on flat cars and then boarded a train for Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky. While there I was sent to Camp Forest, Tennessee for further training in explosives, booby traps, inti-tank mines, etc. I was there for about four weeks and then I went back to my oulf7it in Breckenridge where we did more training. We left there October 15, 1944 for Camp Shanks, New York.
On November 15, 1944 we boarded the Aquatania, a sister ship of the Lusatania that was sunk off the coast of Ireland in World War I killing more than 1500 people. We landed at Greenock, Scotland and boarded a troop train for Velindre, Wales arriving November 24, 1944. We were at Velindre until December 9,1944. We were issued all new equipment, trucks, personal gear, etc. We left there December 9, 1944 with a destination of Portsmouth, England, arriving there the next day, December 10, 1944.
We loaded our trucks and all other equipment onto LST boats, destination Rouen, France, 70 miles
up the Seine River from Le Havre. We unloaded at Rouen December 14, 1944 and then arrived at Charleroi, Belgium on December 17, 1944. We moved out the next day. We reached Rijkhouen, Belgium and went into the combat zone.
One of my first assignments was to blow the stone banisters off a narrow stone bridge to make it wide enough for trucks and tanks to cross. The stone wall was about three foot thick with an eight foot roadway. This widened the deck to about fourteen feet. This work was done after dark and subject to rifle and mortar fire.
The night of December 24, 1944 we built a Bailey Bridge across the Ourthe River at the village of Betuvax, Belgium. During this operation we were under spasmodic rifle and mortar fire. The bridge was open to traffic at dawn the 25th of December. On December 26, 1944 we laid a mine field of anti-tank mines down a valley near the Hotton-Soy Road. The work was done under cover of darkness and the job lasted most of the night. At one point the flow of men carrying mines down the hill to us stopped. After some delays the platoon sergeant and I went up the hill to check on the trouble. As we reached the ridge we were caught in a mortar barrage. Both of us were knocked down. I was not wounded but the sergeant suffered minor wounds. He was taken to the rear for treatment and did not return. As a result I got his rocker promotion to staff sergeant. He won a battlefield commission.
In the early hours of December 27, 1944 we had our first casualties. Three men were killed and one wounded during the mine laying operation. That night we received orders to send out patrols and capture some Germans for interrogations. I led the 2nd Squad down a mountain trail and ran into a German cannon group that had just been hit by an artillery round. The gun was of small mm and pulled by a team of horses. All personnel and the team were dead. It was a gory sight. We made contact with a German soldier. He called to us "Comrade" and I answered but he must have thought we were yanks as he disappeared. We searched for him without results.
On December 28, 1944 1 received orders to take my platoon to a burned out Sherman tank that had been hit and was on a narrow road that was cut into the side of a steep hill. It was impossible to get equipment to it and get it off the road. I climbed down into the turret section and discovered four or Five bodies there almost destroyed by fire and also two bodies in the driver section. We had no equipment with which to remove them so we loaded the turret with 500 pounds of TNT, lit the fuse and took off. I am sure whatever remains of the tank is still down the side of the mountain in the deep ravine along side. I never got back to the site to find out. It was not until August, 1991 the "Bulge Buster" came out with a story. This tank had been captured by the Germans and turned around and used against us. Up to this time I had great remorse thinking the bodies were American. Now that I know they were Germans I do not feel so bad. [Cpl Richard Wiegand K Co 289th RCT stopped the lead panzer/sherman of a German tank column, 2d SS Panzer Division on a narrow road which edged a high cliff. He was killed after firing 25 December 1944.1
The winter of 1944-45 in that part of the world was said to be one of the worst on record. The snow was twelve to fifteen feet deep in drifts. The high temperature was zero and below. Our clothing was inadequate for it and our combat boots took up water like a sponge. We had 4-buckle rubber overshoes. They let the snow in at the top causing lots of casualties from frost bite and trench foot. I found a sheepskin hanging in a barn and made a pair of moccasins from it, threw my combat boots
away and wore the moccasins in my overshoes. The following are excerpts from Eugene "Art" Broadhurst's Military History:
January 29, 1945 we were in combat in the Colmar Pocket. ... near Holtzuihr, France. ... February 14, 1945 we packed up and headed north for Holland.
... arrived in Pamingen, Holland on February 18, 1945 ...
March 7, 1945 ... in Germany on the banks of the Rhine River, across ... from Duisburg.
Dorsten-Mael-Dotteln-Castrap-Rouxel (Kilroy was here). ... a flood of memories.
... Dorsten, on March 31st ... with a company of the 291st ... guarding our flank along the shore of a canal.
... I was awarded the Bronze Star. I also have the Central Europe Campaign Ribbon with three Battle Stars, Good Conduct Medal, De Le France Liberee Bronze Star.
... near the end of action for us. ... headed for cigarette camps.
On November 1st, 1945 we shipped out of Marseille, France ... for the USA- ... victory ship, the Tuscumbia.
On November 15, 1945 we landed at Newport News. ... boarded a train for Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri ... I was honorably discharged on November 20, 1945.
I am now 82 years old and in good health. Time had dimmed my memory but these events seem as if they happened yesterday. Of course I have notes and records I referred to as to dates and places.
Eugene "Art" Broadhurst
Arnon J. Lensink
575 Signal Company
75th Infantry Division
In comparison to the peril to which combat infantrymen were exposed, my role was far less hazardous. To begin with, I was nowhere near the action on 24, 25 and 26 December 1945 when the Division was first called on to repulse the enemy's last gasp attack during those cold and miserable days in the Ardennes. Where was I on those dates? I was one of about 8000 replacements aboard the British ship Aquatania, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, playing cards, reading paperback books, and complaining about breakfast at 3:00 A-M. Our unescorted crossing came as a complete surprise to me. Having read in the newspapers about whole armadas of ships being convoyed across the Atlantic, and as Boston Harbor faded into the distant west, I wondered when we would join a convoy. Afternoon faded into an early dusk and then evening. By morning we had entered the Gulf Stream but there was no convoy. There were no other merchant ships and no protective destroyers. Yes, we were alone and that is the way it remained. The crossing, without incident, terminated near Glasgow, Scotland. After an eighteen hour train ride, we arrived in Southampton, England, there to wait only a few hours for a Channel crossing to Le Havre, France, landing in the early evening of New Year's day, 1945. 1 was surprised-that our route of march from the beach area to our billet area was lined with cheering people who had no doubt witnessed such a procession of light hearted American soldiers many times during the preceding few months. Three years of previous study of the French language had not prepared me for a new expression I learned that night shouted by eager soldiers, not at anyone specific, but to all of the spectators: Voulez vous coucher avec moi cette soir...?
Like the 75th had done only a few weeks before, we entrained in 40 and 8's for the three day trip across France to a point just short of the combat area. During this trip I had a first hand look at a soldier's skill at improvising. It will be recalled that 40 and 8's had no sanitation facilities. This lack often created a sense of urgency, so that when the train stopped, there was a mad scramble for the door. There were also no trackside facilities, so modesty was abandoned and what had to be done was done. Sometimes, when the train suddenly lurched into motion there was another rush to re-board the moving train, sometimes with unfinished business.
As a replacement who had only six weeks of basic training, I felt wholly inadequate for the job at hand. In spite of that, I do not now recall being duly apprehensive about what the future would bring. Not one of the hundreds making that slow trip across France knew what our destination was or when we would arrive (did we ever know that?) and, once there, what would come next.
In due course, on January 5, 1945, hundreds of replacements, all of them expecting to be in combat in a day or two, were assembled in in open field in Belgium, where assignments were made to the 289th, 290th and 291st regiments, and to various other support units of the 75th. My own assignment was to the AG section of Division Headquarters. After only a few weeks I was transferred to the 575 Signal Company as a teletype operator for on-the-job training (no prior experience). In the ensuing three months I was never able to overcome my fear of that balky and temperamental machine. I continued in that assignment until the end of hostilities. Coded communications were sent to and received from higher commands. At times our operations were centered in buildings, at
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other times we operated in special mobile units, but always near the cryptography truck where our messages were decoded or encoded.
Perhaps the event which stands out more clearly than any other, is the night of the artillery preparation for the Rhine crossing. From positions behind us, firing began at midnight and continued without letup throughout the night, creating what seemed like two concussions - one at the point of firing and the other from passing overhead.
I think I was like most soldiers fifty years ago, who saw all sorts of hardships, privation and insults to complain about. Time seems to have put it all in perspective, so that now the good memories far outweigh the bad memories.
Arnon J. Lensink
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Paul E. Cunningham
1st Lt. Ordnance
775th Ordnance Co. (LM)
75th Infantry Division
... 12/22/44..Somewhere in Belgium on way to front after the German breakthrough in the Bulge. As the convoy moves through streets in towns and villages people wave and give the V sign. In case the convoy halts, natives cluster around and query "Partee?" which means leave. When you shake your head no, they say "Boche' and at the same time making a cutting motion across their throat. Now you shake your head yes so they smile and talk excitedly among themselves. ... Highways are plugged up with military traffic. Often trucks will move a mile or so and then wait an hour or more to move another mile. Some of the men have received free shots of cognac while others get coffee or even waffles.
... 12/31/94..Snow has made life a lot tougher for the mechanics. The work in the snow and mud either night or day. Most of the jobs come in after 6 p.m., too.
Paul E. Cunningham
The above remembrances were taken from longer remembrances ending with Paul E. Cunningham returning to civilian life January 1948. This paper is listed in Exhibit F.
(Exhibit F (#33 "Remembrances 12-22-44 to Jan., 1948. Company Travelogue News, [Comic] Articles." ~ Paul Cunningham, 775th Ordnance Officer), has not been included in the online documentation.)
EXCERPTS FROM 775TH ORDNANCE (LM) COMPANY "TRAVELOGUE."
20 December ....Departed Yvetot, France (0815) via motor vehicles. Arrived Charleroi, Belgium (2400). Traveled approximately 199 miles.
21 December ....Departed Charleroi, Belgium (0900) via mot or vehicles. Arrived Gr Spauwren, Belgium (1630). Traveled approximately 80 miles.
22 December .... Departed Gr Spauwren, Belgium (0730) via motor vehicles. Arrived Jenneret, Belgium (1830). Traveled approximately 50 miles.
23 December ....Departed Jenneret, Belgium (0900). Arrived at I mile SE of Izier, Belgium (1015). Traveled approximately 12 miles.
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Cunningham, Paul E. Height- 511011, Weight 150 lbs. Born Sterling, Colorado, Occupation ~ student. Took ROTC University of Missouri. Horse drawn field artillery at Ft. Riley, KS summer 1940.Reported for active service July 1, 1941, Camp Roberts, CA, replacement training center. Attended Battery Officers' Course and Officers' Motor Course at Ft. Sill, OK before being assigned to 75th Inf. Division at Camp Leonard Wood, MO early 1943 to Div. Artillery Hq Co. June 1944 transferred to 775 Ord. (LM) Co,, an integral part of Div. T/O. Embarked for Great Britain Oct. 1944 aboard British troop ship Aquatania. Landed Scotland first week Nov. Departed England Dec., 1st on LST. Division went into the line Christmas Eve, 1944, coming out about Jan. 15, in Battle of Bulge. The Ordnance Company provided 3rd echelon repair work for the 1200 vehicles in the unit. Third echelon work consists of unit replacement of motors, etc. in the vekieles. Was with the 75th through all its action in Europe and to the Area Assembly Command and its staging area for troops going to the Pacific. Was ordered to Marseilles, France which was embarkation point for Pacific bound troops where I was assigned to a black Quartermaster Supply Co., then a Quartermaster Depot Co. Volunteered to stay in France and was assigned to the Graves Registration. The job was to process bodies of men who were killed during the conflict and send them to the States if relatives had requested. The Command was also responsible for finding as many of the 10,000 missing in action as it could. Came to the states in Jan. 1948 and was put on inactive duty.
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Copyright 2001, J. R. Puckett
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