In the evening of December 17, we were alerted about the German
breakthrough in Belgium. At 9:00 a.m. the next morning. December 18,
we loaded up on big eighteen-wheel flat bed trucks with only side
rails, no tops.
There were about fifty men per truck, standing room only. It was
drizzling rain which changed to sleet and snow as we moved through
many small towns and much country. The people all along the way were
waving American flags and cheering us on.
We were freezing. The trip took seventeen hours.
I am enclosing several pages from my history book of the 508
[by William G. Lord]. This
is to clarify and verify our participation in the Battle of the
I will relate my personal experiences of the battle as I saw it.
When we arrived in the vicinity of Werbomont on December 19 before
daylight, we got off the trucks and walked into pine thickets and
fell to the ground and slept in complete exhaustion until daylight.
As it got light enough to see we got organized and set up a line of
The first information we got was about the murder of over one
hundred American soldiers at Malmedy. We were also told that the
Germans had taken uniforms from those who were killed and captured
and about two hundred English speaking Germans were infiltrating our
lines in jeeps taken in the first days of battle. They were changing
road signs and causing much confusion.
We moved first to Chevron, about eight miles on foot. There were no
problems. The next day, the 20th, we were to move to Haute Bodeaux.
about ten or twelve miles. There were some trucks, but not enough
for everyone. I was lucky, I thought. I got to ride a truck. It was
a very dark night. We were very quiet. Germans were in the area.
The trucks were very quiet, too, moving slowly. You could not see
the truck in front of you - just a strip of phosphor, like macaroni
on each side. All of a sudden, the truck I was on ran off the road,
turned over several times and rolled down an embankment. There were
about eighteen of us on the truck. We were all in one big pile with
full field packs and rifles.
We couldn't move for a few minutes. We were too tangled. Everyone
was saying. "Shh, shh, be very quiet."
When we got untangled, we climbed back up on the road. It was very
dark. Someone walked up to me. It was an officer. I could see the
marking on his helmet. He said, "Soldier, are you hurt?" I said,
"No. sir." I was a P.F.C.
The officer said, "I'm going to put a piece of phosphor on your
backpack. I want you to walk down the middle of the road until you
catch up with the convoy so the truck behind you can see where the
road is." I said, "Yes, sir!"