This time in 1945
January 6, 2008 by Bruce Bird

 

This time in 1945 we were in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge, a 44 day battle starting with the German Attack December 16, 1944. There were about half a million Americans and about the same number of attacking Germans. This was the coldest winter in Europe an decades, and everyone suffered, but the Germans were far better dressed.

The Americans were still in their summer uniforms, and suffered 80,000 casualties of which 19,000 died. 26,000 were captured, and the rest 35,000 were wounded, or injured, frequently by the weather.

To get an idea of what the men suffered, go out in your back yard and try to dig a hole in the frozen ground about six feet long, two feet wide and five feet deep. Sit in the hole all night for weeks on end. Wear long underwear but a summer uniform and uninsulated boots, don’t forget your steel helmet, it concentrates the cold wonderfully. Your gloves are thin and the temperature is 20 below and there is a wind. It is cold beyond your imagination, and by the way the Germans are trying to kill you.

If you get wounded, your chances of getting aid before you die of shock are not as good as in the summer. At random intervals shells, bombs, and bullets come screaming in at you.

Now during the day go out in several feet of snow and try to fight the Germans. There was a Black tanker who had twenty blankets and slept with ten under him and ten over him, he was never warm. In spite of this and being caught by surprise The U.S. Army prevailed. That was the kind of guts the Greatest Generation had.

So if you think your life is tough, think of what it cost to keep your freedom. We can’t thank them enough.