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Grady C. Murray - HQ 1st

The 508th stay in Sissonne, France was interrupted on December 17th, 1944 when we loaded onto huge open tractor-trailer trucks and rode for countless, miserable cold hours to Werbomont, Belgium.

The Germans had launched a massive attack to split the allied forces and capture the English Channel ports. Our task was to help blunt and destroy the German attack and penetration.

During the following days, we frequently changed our position as the regiment maneuvred to confront the German forces from the most advantageous positions.

On December 21st, 1944, winter arrived in Belgium when heavy snow began to fall.

On December 23rd, 1944 at Vielsalm, Belgium, (a small town overlooking the Salm River) we made contact with attacking German infantry and armor.

The 508th was providing an escape corridor through which the survivors of the badly mauled 106th and 7th armoured Divisions could evade the overwhelming German forces. The corridor was an 8 mile salient stretching from the Salm River through the town of Vielsalm and into the corps area. In the next 24 hours hundreds of vehicles of all descriptions and desperate troops raced through the 508th corridor to safety.

The 508th however was in a perilous position. stretched out like a finger for eight miles, and at the risk of being cut off and destroyed at any moment.

Therefore on a bitter-cold Christmas Eve night, the 508th was ordered to break contact with the Germans and withdraw to a defensive position along the Corps line.

In executing the order, the 508th spent Christmas Eve continuously being harassed by  German combat patrols, as they traversed snow-covered roads and trails, through densely forested areas.

On Christmas morning, anticipating a massive German Attack, the regiment established a defensive position along a steep ridge.

We dug foxholes, cleared fire lanes and set up outposts.

Our efforts paid off.

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