Recovered from the Wayback Machine.
On this anniversary of the World War II Battle of the Bulge, Jules Crittenden provides a comprehensive summary of the battle, as well as a book and other references, and photos.
The photos are especially compelling, as they lack of romanticism of so many WWII photos in books and in other publications. The following photo is of members of the the 82nd Airborne, my Dad’s division, following the 340th Tank Battalion. The photo is from the Life Magazine collection hosted by Google.
My Dad’s war history has been on my mind quite a bit recently, since reading Norman Costa’s story of his father and his experiences during D-Day. My father was also in the same battle, and in the same regiment. Unfortunately, my father, unlike his, was not comfortable telling his daughter about some of the more difficult moments during the war. As I told Costa in an email, Dad was less reticent with my ex-husband.
Dad…grew up in a time when one shielded “unpleasant” stories from the womenfolk, which means he did not tell me stories of especially difficult times. He did, however, share them with my ex-husband, who passed them on to me.
Dad was, at one time, trapped by sniper fire, and thought he was a goner, until other soldiers managed to kill the sniper. His worst time, though, was leading a small group of men towards a farm with a house designated as a “spotter” house, which should mean the house was safe. However, Dad didn’t know if the house was safe or not, so ordered his men to stay behind, under cover, while he checked the place out. The house was safe, but unfortunately the men took cover in a shell blast “crater”, which got hit by another shell. Dad returned, only to find all of the men dead.
Most of Dad’s war memorabilia was lost during a move years ago, but he gave me the handgun, an M1911, he carried during the war. Dad paid a German POW a package of cigarettes to engrave his name on the barrel, and attached his paratrooper wings and the 82nd Airborne badge to the handle on one side, a photo of my uncle, who was in the Navy during WWII, on the other.