Pvt. Art Remembers

 "'Twas The Night Before The Bulge"
December 1944
Pvt. Art
About 11 p.m., December 15, we moved out of our area. Three or four days before this, we noticed outfits behind us were becoming less and less. Our artillery fire was diminishing and the engineers were planting land mines in the road and rigging trees with explosives, that when detonated would fall across the road, causing a road block. These were rare maneuvers for the U.S. Army.

Best described, it can be said that it was not "first & ten" because the enemy now had the ball. You could tell something was happening because during the night we would receive harassing mortar fire, and German planes would drop flares - also an unusual amount of V1s were going over.

When we finally moved out, I noticed to the right there were darker square objects, even darker than the surrounding woods, and facing obliquely towards the road. These were German tanks in the woods. Facing in this direction would enable all equipment to move on to the road at the same time. While we were driving by, nothing moved and neither side fired a shot. No one was trigger happy. I saw about eight soldiers coming down the road toward us, but we didn't know they were Germans, until they dove in a ditch. Our Jeeps went right by and no one on either side fired a shot or made any kind of noise. It was like a strange game of hide and seek. It was also strange to realize that the enemy was not only along side you but behind you as well. We put all our faith and trust in, not Generals, Commanders-in-Chief, or guns and ammo manufacturers but in a 4 wheel drive box called a Jeep.

After we ran the gauntlet safely, if anyone would have gotten out of the Jeep and hugged and petted it, all I would have said is "You thought of it first" but that's what I wanted to do.

I think it was about 6:30 a.m., the next morning when the Germans turned everything loose. We were safe, but the word "safe" at that time had various meanings subject to change at any time. The word "safe" in any situation at that time meant a "lucky break".

Art Pranger