Itís 11:00 p.m. Christmas Eve.
All of a sudden, a loud whistle blows like the beginning of an
athletic event. Next, the German soldiers start to yell. It reminded
me of Indians attacking in old movies.
Shells began to explode. The fire fight was fierce. I was throwing
grenades down the hill as fast as I could. I was firing in my M1. It
was very dark down in the woods. You couldn't see anything but
I felt very alone - just me in that foxhole. A thought ran through
my mind. How did I get myself into this situation? I also thought
about the Twenty-Third Psalm: "Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me!"
About that time I saw someone crossing the road on his belly. I
could see from his helmet it was a lieutenant. He said. "Do you have
enough room in that foxhole for me?" I said, "I sure do!" I slid
over and he got in. He was our replacement for Lieutenant Rockwell.
I was very glad to have company. We both began to fire toward the
I told the lieutenant about the grenades under the straw. We started
taking turns throwing them. I was feeling much better.
Bam! The lieutenant's helmet went flying into the road behind us!
The lieutenant fell into the foxhole and said, "Iím hit.'' I felt
All of a sudden, he got up and said. "Hell. I'm not hurt. If I was
hurt I would be knocked out." I felt a great relief. I could reach
his helmet. I handed it to him. It had a hole in one side. He put it
We continue to fire and throw grenades until we see someone sliding
on his stomach to my foxhole. It's Sgt. Don King (my squad leader).
He said, "We have to get out of here! The Germans are in the foxhole
next to mine. (That is about forty feet.)
The lieutenant said, "We can't leave. We don't have orders to
leave." Sgt. King said, "Do you want to go with me, Smith?" I said,
"I'm with you, Sarge!" The lieutenant changed his mind. The three of
us moved on to the foxholes of Wilson, Bohanon, Lira and Sgt. Bogey.
After some disagreement between the new lieutenant and Sgt. Bogey,
we decided the new lieutenant was right. We wade across the river
and go upstream. That has to be north. The river goes to Trois Pont.
That is where we are to catch up with First Battalion - about six
As we went to the river, the Germans were shooting flares up to try
to find us. We made it to the river and waded across it. It was
about waist deep. It was Christmas Eve - about twelve midnight. It's
hard to understand, but the water did not feel cold. The adrenalin
is a strange thing.
I realized I had left my right hand glove in my foxhole. You can't
operate an M1 rifle with a glove on. In fact, we all left our packs.
We were in a hurry.
We walked up the river in knee-deep snow for several hours. We got
to Trois Point before daylight. We just laid down by the road and
went to sleep.
At daylight, Sgt. James Smith, first sergeant for B Company, woke us
up. We had to move about three miles and set up a new defense line.