Seventy years ago on this day the Germans launched their attack in the Ardennes Forest that later became known as the Battle of the Bulge.
In the hours before dawn on December 16, 1944 a nineteen year old soldier was on sentry duty standing beside a tree, very cold and wondering when his relief would arrive. I was that soldier.
What did arrive was the German canon bombardment that announced the beginning of the largest battle in U.S. Army history.
The silent forest suddenly erupted with noise and my four comrades, who shared this outpost with me, came out of the log covered dugout where they had been sleeping, in a rush.
Actually our outpost was so close to the German lines that none of the shells landed anywhere near, falling far behind us, one killing our battalion commander.
We had been manning this outpost for six days when the cannonade began after relieving members of the 28th division who had been its occupants earlier.
A short account of what occurred that day and the four following days will appear on this blog. The odds that nineteen year old sentry could be writing this seventy years later seem too large to contemplate.
Actually at our outpost nothing else happened that day. We spent the whole day in our log roofed fox holes waiting for an enemy that never came.
This story will continue tomorrow.