The Battered Bastards of Bastogne
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December 22 8. December 23 9. Christmas Eve Christmas Day The Siege Is Broken December 27 Calm Before a Storm December 31 January 2, January 3, January 4, A Respite On the Offensive Koskimaki's is the first such publication recording this segment of World War II history. It gives us information not covered in the other books by interweaving the stories of soldiers interviewed who were on the ground or in the air over Bastogne. They lived, made this history and much of it is told in their own words I appreciated the way the book is both descriptive and detailed. It gives you a feel that you are there with the men.
The author did an outstanding job in this area. As a highly decorated veteran of the st Airborne Division, Robert J.
His widow has graciously consented to the use of selected material in the Bastogne account which helped tie together the stories of several men. Some men kept diaries or daily logs of actions including the author which helped pinpoint specific dates. Unit after-action reports were also used. As an eight-year-old fleeing Bastogne with his parents, Andre was wounded by shrapnel from a bomb dropped by an American plane. His story blends in with the accounts of the American soldiers.
The Battered Bastards of Bastogne
There has been much pressure on me to finish this account in a shorter period of time than the first two narratives with the admonition from the old veterans— Get it done so we can read it before we die! Fifty of the contributors have already passed on since submitting their accounts and did not read the finished product. For this I am sorry. I am sure family members will be proud of what dad, brother, uncle or cousin did during this major battle of World War II. Many replacements were on the way to the st Airborne Division as the fighting was winding down in Holland.
The Division had suffered some 3, casualties killed, wounded or injured and captured during the day campaign. The experiences of PFC.
Battered Bastards of Bastogne
Donald B. Straith are good examples of what life was like for the average replacement coming to the Screaming Eagle Division for the Bastogne operation. Straith had been on the high seas on board the Queen Mary headed for a European replacement pool. His shipment went ashore at Gourock, Scotland. From there they traveled by train to Newbury.
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Straith begins his story:. From there we went by truck to various small camps, at each of which a few of our group left us. When I was finally ordered out of the truck, I found that I was now part of the rear echelon of the th Parachute Infantry Regiment, st Airborne Division. I had first seen the Screaming Eagle patch of the st back in Anniston and had hoped that I would eventually become a member of that division.
Now, at last I had. Our camp was located a mile east of the town of Hungerford on an estate called Denford Park. These huts were wartime buildings that looked like half a corrugated cylinder laid on the ground with a door at each end. Assigned to one of the huts, I picked an empty bunk, the bottom of a crude double-decker made of 2 x 4 material and was dead to the world immediately after supper. Training was rather laid back for the rear echelon people, some of whom had recently returned from extended recuperation periods in Army hospitals.
Don Straith describes a bit of the routine as experienced by a new replacement:. Time passed slowly while the rear echelon waited to join the rest of the division which was still fighting in Holland. Because of almost constant rain, our officers—Lieutenant Tinsley company commander , and Lts. We occasionally did calisthenics, hikes and long-distance runs, but when Lt. Stanley was in charge, he would run us past the first hedgerow outside camp, have us sit down on the far side out of sight and spend the next hour telling jokes. He wrote:. I was rated as a demolitions or explosive specialist having completed special training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri before going to the st Airborne Division jump school in southern England.
Joseph B. Scheiker had been assigned to the st Division at Mourmelon in November as the Holland operation came to a close. He was then sent back to England for a quick course in parachute training.
Bastogne Battered Bastards
I had to return to England to attend jump school. The school was closing as I arrived in Hungerford, England.
We had five days of training and did all five jumps in one day to get our wings. Having returned from a hospital stay in England, PFC. Ben Panzarella was sent back to the rear base near Reading to finish recuperating.
The Battered Bastards of Bastogne - Koskimaki, George E. - | HPB
He and a buddy went to town on pass and got into a fist fight with some replacements for the st. The guy with me was named Ryan and he was recuperating from an appendectomy. John C. Trowbridge had spent the better part of two months in a hospital for wounds to the right thigh received in the attack on the town of Schijndel in Holland. He had spent some time at the former training site at Hamstead Marshall. He had boarded a C with several others for the flight to Mourmelon. I was devastated!
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I had lost a lot of friends in Normandy and Holland, but how could we go on without the Colonel! James W. Flanagan had been wounded on the morning of September 18 near St. After being treated in a local Dutch hospital run jointly by Dutch and American personnel, he was flown to England where he spent three months in treatment and recuperation. His story of the continuing saga follows:. I was in the final stage of recuperation from shell fragments that I had received in Holland.
I was getting around real good with lots of exercise and running. I was returned to duty and reported to the st Airborne Division rear echelon in the U. They were moving to France. I helped them load a C with their files, etc. I climbed into a parachute and went to France with them. William McRae had been wounded on September 22 when he was shot down while observing enemy positions and movements near Veghel in Holland. He was captured by the enemy and liberated the following day by men of D Company of the th Parachute Regiment. McRae had been taken to England for medical treatment and hospitalization.
Upon release from the hospital, he rejoined his comrades in France. He was flying a new observation plane across the English Channel. Having arrived at the base camp of the st as a replacement for one of the anticipated casualties for the Normandy invasion, 2Lt. Everett Red Andrews remembers that his assignment continued in England when the st Division went on its mission to Holland. He helped close out the rear base camp at a time when he got disturbing news from home. I stayed in base camp and cleaned unit areas for the return of the base to British engineers.
Also closed out our PX account and a project as personal effects officer for some casualties the th PFA suffered in Normandy. The last mail call before departure for Mourmelon brought an unpleasant surprise for me. It had my Dear John letter in it. In preparation for a move to a base camp in France, several of the men were sent ahead to ready the facilities for the troops. One of those men was Cpl. James L. Evans of Division Artillery. He recalled:. In mid-November I was sent on an advance party to the new base camp in Mourmelon-le-Grand in France, probably because of my carpentry work before the war.
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I thought maybe my first sergeant liked me after that. Reggie Davies was another of the soldiers who left the rain and mud ahead of the troops. He wrote: I left Holland three weeks before my unit with 1Lt.