On a lighter note, I also recall heading out to the back of a house we had just liberated to relieve myself. It was in a field in clear view of a hill about a mile away. I dug a little hole with my entrenching tool and dropped my pants. Moments later a mortar shell landed about twenty yards to my right. Seconds later another one fell to my left. Needless say, I didn't wait to see where the third one landed.
Q: What was it was like being part of the Battle of the Bulge?
A: After fighting in France from October to December, we were sent back to Metz to receive and train replacements for the heavy losses we had suffered. “Six to eight weeks” they told us, “and by then the war may be over—although there's a rumor of a counter-attack up north.”
The next morning we were on our way to Luxemburg and into the Bulge.
Fighting was sporadic, but it was cold and snowy. Some of our new recruits barely knew how to load their rifles, and we had to be wary of German soldiers disguised in our uniforms. Remarkably, Bastone troops, who'd become surrounded at the crux of the surprise attack, famously refused to surrender and slowed the advance. U.S. air support had been halted by sustained bad weather, but when the skies cleared—answering Patton's prayer—all hell broke loose. German columns of tanks and men were decimated; that was the turning point of the war.