The frigid night air cut through the Lieutenant’s army issue coat as he stopped in the knee deep snow to survey the perimeter. A heavy snow continued to fall on this Christmas Eve 1944, but it was not a silent night. The flashes of artillery lit the sky and generated a rumble like distant thunder as the young officer finished his tour of the unit’s outposts. He was an officer in Company B, 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion, the men who fired the big 4.2 mortars which were so critical to the effort of the infantry to advance. They were someplace in Belgium, he really had no clue where, and for the first time in a while the battalion was together again. All four companies had been brought in to help stop the German breakthrough. They didn’t know it, but the 87th was about to be thrown right into the heart of the Battle of the Bulge.
As the Lieutenant finished his rounds he wearily dragged himself into the monastery where the command had taken refuge for the night. The warmth that enveloped him as he entered the large community room was certainly welcomed. He glanced around and saw his comrades sprawled in every available space.
They were bedraggled and exhausted after 201 days of almost continuous combat, and by the looks on their faces you could tell that it was only going to get worse. Despite the thickness of the monastery walls, a new sound intruded, the quick crack of tank gunfire.
Everyone knew what that meant, American tankers were making a last ditch stand against the German armored column in the area. They were outnumbered and outgunned and their Sherman tanks stood no chance against the awesome German Tiger tanks...
If you happen to find errors or omissions in my work, I can assure you, they are NOT intentional. My nature is that of a worker- not a pedant. Every day I strive for three things- to SERVE, to DO and to IMPROVE. Please contact me with any comments, corrections or suggestions. Thank you. - J.N. Kish