Sunday, December 18, 2005

Weekend Assignment - Tell about a Memorable Christmas

Christmas 1944, Germany

On Christmas eve, 1944, our squad walked single file, under the cover of darkness, being careful not to step off the path through the snow, forward to a captured pill box on the Siegfried Line in Germany.  Actually the pill box faced France, toward the rear, so we went around the rear, knocked on the steel door and we let in by the squad on duty. 

We posted look outs, and settled into the concrete interior, lit by candles. When the doors were opened we had to cover the candles so no light shone. The concrete interior was warmed by our bodies and a small stove burning charcoal bricks.  The squad we relieved then left, and followed the trail back to the French farm house from which we had come.

For the rest of the night and the next day Christmas, we took turns standing lookout in the snow, facing East, watching and listening, and reporting by telephone anything that indicated enemy activity. I do not remember any, but I remember reporting several "buzz bombs", V1 flying bombs. We gave the directions from which they had come, so that supposedly intelligence could follow the trail back and determine their source.

Nothing happened on that watch, but later a sniper caught one our lookouts unaware and a bullet creased his scalp.  He sat down kerplunk, and when the medics were treating him, he said in amazement, "The bastards are using live ammunition." Training at Camp Kilmer with blanks was over. Reality had set in.

On Christmas night, another squad moved forward and knocked on our door, and we gladly let them in, and prepared to move out. We took the same narrow path back to the farm house where the company was housed.

And there, we had Christmas dinner.  With trimmings. I remember enjoying a turkey leg, drumstick. How the Army managed to fix a Christmas dinner with roast turkey, and mashed potatoes and gravy, so far from home I cannot imagine, but they did. Christmas dinner in a mess kit, and coffee from a canteen cup, is unusual, but welcome. If the mashed potatoes were dehydrated potatoes, at least the turkey was real, and reminded us of home.

12 comments:

bamawmn46 said...

Chuck,
Thanks for sharing a memory that no one should ever have.  Yet, there are so many guys hundreds of miles away that will have very similar memories.  I hope they have mashed potatoes, gravy and turkey next weekend....  I wish they could all be home with their families and make a different kind of memory.  I hope this Christmas you make a good memory!
Jackie

sylviam4000 said...

Thanks for sharing those memories Chuck. My mum was Dutch and shared memories of wartime Christmas's that I knew she would rather forget. Take care, have a lovely Christmas.
Sylvia xx

mavarin said...

Beats the heck out of creamed chipped beef!  Merry Christmas! - Karen

plieck30 said...

I "thank you" for serving out great country that year and every other young man who did and the ones who are serving now. Paula

jckfrstross said...

What a story Chuck awesome have a Merry Christmas

Deb

valphish said...

Wow, Chuck, amazing.  What a story.  Not every Christmas is spent in a cosy home with family and friends.  Thank you so much for what you have done for our country, my friend and thanks for sharing this..xox
http://journals.aol.com/valphish/ValsThoughts

monponsett said...

The "Kilroy Was Here" guy was from Monponsett.

jacsher said...

Hey Chuck back for my monthly visit,  Thanks for the Story from 1944.  We are proud of you guys that were there!  Always enjoy reading your journal.
Thanks,
jack  jacsher@aol

garnett109 said...

Thanks for that Christmas story  My friend! Makes me wonder if I could have dealt with that, my pops was in and his boss was patton , and he use to tell me all about his stint in wwII!

desannie said...

An exceptional story from a very special man.  It makes us all stop and remember our "boy's" stationed all around the world at this time of year just so we can have our special Christmas gatherings.
Annie
Ann's Meanderings

judypearllove said...

Isn't it wonderful how foods or smells or sights can take you back to another place. I love it when that happens.

magogos said...

Thank you for your story and your service. And let s pray for those fighting all over the world. Margo