16 January, 2012

16 January 1945

V-MAIL


438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
16 January, 1945       1600

Hello darling!

Didn’t think I could write today because of the most plausible reason – but just got temporarily settled and I’m sneaking a few minutes off.

Got some mail last night, sweetheart, at the last minute – but none from you! Heard from Verna and my brother by V-mail – both dated 1 January and the latest mail so far to date. Verna wrote about New Year’s Eve – although she didn’t go into detail about the Party or who ran it. Also told me about the Levines – the reception to come (and now past) etc. Enjoyed hearing from her.

Lawrence wrote about Carlisle – of course - and he didn’t seem to mind it very much.


Sure wish I’d hear from you, darling. It would help immeasurably on some of these particularly confusing days to read that you still love me as I do you. But you know it and I do and that’s one great consolation – believe me, dear. Don’t know if I can write tomorrow or not. All for now. So long for awhile.

All my love for always
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about the End of the Bulge

Dashed red line shows how far the Germans penetrated by 26 December 1944
Solid red line shows how far the Germans were pushed back by 16 January 1945

Here is a continuation of Sgt Theodore DRAPER's story of the 84th:
By 1745, 16 January 1945, elements of the 2nd Armored held the northern part of Houffalize, while elements of the 11th Armored Division held the southern portion. When was the Bulge wiped out? That may never be decided to everyone's satisfaction because a number of patrols were frantically trying to make contact with a number of other patrols at the same time. I can merely report how and when the 84th Infantry Division closed the Bulge for itself.


A 33-man patrol, led by Lieutenant Byron Blankenship, representing the 334thInfantry Regiment of the 84th Infantry Division, left Filly at 1100, 15 January 1945. At 1145 they crossed the Ourthe in two 400-pound rubber boats, which they carried. The rest of the afternoon they spent in an old mill on the other side of the Ourthe.


At the camp-site, the water-mill is still present.
Here, the 33 soldiers of Lt. Blankenship (84th Infantry Division)
stayed overnight before the meeting.


Just before dark, Lieutenant Blankenship led a small patrol into the village of Engreux, about one thousand yards from the Ourthe, where he expected to meet a patrol from the Third Army. He found the village free of the enemy but he found no sign of the Third Army's patrol. Late that night, Lieutenant Blankenship received word that the rendezvous had been changed. Starting off again at midnight, the patrol moved out across some more woods and over a 1,200-yard ridge.


Houffalize - January 1945


At 0220, 16 January 1945, in the dead of night, they stopped at a small Belgian farmhouse. The whole family, papa, mama, a son and a daughter of 22 turned itself into a reception committee. There were bread, butter, and hot coffee. The patrol decided the rendezvous had been changed for a good reason.


That morning at 0930, Private First Class Rodney Himes, second in command of the patrol,spied a soldier walking outside the farmhouse. since the patrol had been ordered to stay inside the house, Private First Class Himes began to "Bawl him out" and asked him "What outfit he was from". The answer was a platoon of Cavalry from the 11th Armored Division, U.S. Third Army.


A half-track makes its way over the Ourthe River


The junction was officially achieved at 0945, 16 January 1945, by Lieutenant Blankenship of the 334th Infantry and Lieutenant Lucas of the 11th Armored Cavalry. The Bulge was wiped out after thirteen days of hard, continuous fighting.

Memorial commemorating the meeting of
the 1st Army and the 3rd Army on 16 January 1945.
(Photo by:
Geert-Jan van Glabbeek)

The memorial consists of three plaques on a natural rock, at the entrance of the camp-site "Du Moulin de Rensiwez", near a bridge across the Ourthe. The top-plaque contains a picture of the meeting. The other plaques contains the following text in English and French:

HERE ON 16 JAN 1945
THE BULGE WAS WIPED OUT
BY THE JUNCTION OF
THE 84TH. INF. DIV. AND THE 11TH. A.D

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