Bill in Combat December 14-21, 1944

On the morning of December 14 Company A. is ordered to move out toward Bitche. The march is made in the morning by way of Lemberg and the heights outside of Bitche are taken without opposition. The company digs in. About noon a patrol from the Second Platoon is sent into the city. After successfully penetrating the outskirts of Bitche the patrol is detected by the enemy, fired upon, and forced to withdraw, leaving one man behind and listed as Missing in Action. The patrol captures two prisoners and returns to report that the enemy defensive positions are strong with many troops. The Company remains on the surrounding hills and helps set up an observation post in the 1st. Battalion sector which gives a remarkably clear view of Bitche and the primary objective on a prominent hill at the center of town called the Citadel.

The Company is well dug in. The weather is cold. The men expect to attack the next morning. The attack does not come and everyone expects the order will come at dusk. Again the attack doesn’t come and the infantrymen must stay in position, in foxholes as much as 50 yards apart.

Once again, on the morning of Dec. 16 the men expect to launch an attack at daybreak and once again there is no attack. The men are surprised that an assault is not forthcoming. Instead they remain entrenched along the ridges above Bitche with a terrific yardage of front to cover defensively.

Unbeknownst to the men of Bill’s Company the reason for the 100th Division’s drive stopping outside Bitche is the now famous “Battle of the Bulge” up north. Because of the strength shifted to the north, the Seventh Army must take over a part of the Third Army’s sector and go strictly on the defensive.

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