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-5-

We spent most of Christmas Day digging foxholes. The ground was frozen so hard it was like concrete. What normally would take one or two hours, took six hours.
Things were pretty quiet that day except you could always hear shelling and some small arms fire.

I don't remember what time it was, but sometime in the middle of the day, Christmas Day. I saw a fighter plane fall from the sky. I saw one parachute. I thought he was lucky he fell on our side of the front line. I think it was no more than three or four miles from us.

After the war was over, I read about Major George Freddy being shot down over the Battle of the Bulge on Christmas Day. I think it was the plane I saw I did not see a German plane. I think he could have turned west after he was hit by our anti-aircraft fire Other than that, the rest of the day was uneventful.

The next day we had mail call. I had not had mail for three weeks. I got twenty-six letters and one package. I opened the package first. It was a pair of leather gloves with wool lining - a Christmas present from my dad. That was one of the best presents I ever got since I left my glove in my foxhole in Vielsam on Christmas Eve.
I'm going to skip a few days until January 7, the day we will take Vielsalm back.

We had moved into position to take Vielsalm back. We were in the vicinity of Goronne and Orimont.

We kicked off at daylight. It was snowing and very cold. We walked for three or four miles on winding roads. The Third Battalion was the Point. The 319 F A [Field Artillery] Battalion laid down a heavy barrage of fire and the Third Battalion moved across a clearing about one thousand yards. The First Battalion followed. The artillery over our heads was fierce.

My squad had the 60 MM mortar. I carried the base plate. We moved across the thousand yards running and stopping, running and stopping. There were many on the ground, wounded, calling for medics. We could not stop to help. I saw some dead Germans, but none alive.

When we finally made it to the woods, it was much better. When we got about fifty yards into the woods, there were three hundred to four hundred Germans, sitting in a big circle, fingers laced behind their heads. Their rifles and steel helmets were in big piles thirty feet away. The Third Battalion had done their job well.

The First Battalion took the Point. The fighting was almost over. German soldiers were coining out with hands up. All of a sudden, a German soldier raised up from a foxhole and shot and killed Sgt. Savage from A Company. Our C. O. was Captain Milsaps. He dropped to the ground and crawled very quickly to the foxhole and pulled the soldier out. He was very young, maybe fifteen. Captain Millsaps slapped him a couple of times and brought him back to where we were.

Some of Sgt. Savage's close friends wanted to kill him. The little boy was crying and begging for his life. The captain said, "You kill that boy and you will be charged with murder." He said, '"You don't disarm a man and then kill him. Take him back to the Point where the other POW's are."

The day was about over and we were very tired. I sat down and ate a K-Ration. It said, "Breakfast."

We found ready-made foxholes and settled down for the night. A patrol went into Vielsalm and it was deserted. Lieutenant Rockwell and the other lieutenant that was killed on Christmas Eve were exactly where we had left them.

It's January eighth. We are just resting and doing guard duty. We get word on January tenth that we are being relieved by the 75th Division.

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