Howard L. Bryant
424th Infantry Regiment, Company F

I remember 1944 when we moved up on the line.  All nice and quiet with no problems.  Then noises in the night like engines roaring, tracks clattering, etc.  When reported the word came back, "They play that stuff over loud speakers to keep you guys awake."  One evening at dusk a Spitfire screamed across the German lines just above the tree tops.  Boy did those "loud speakers" ever shoot back !  He made it OK, but that was the last plane we saw until Christmas Day.  That night Jerry crunched through the snow on patrol.  The only flare we had was a dud.  Then one morning all hell broke loose.  Screaming Meemies and all that.  Nothing left above ground, ammo dump blown up, but most of us in good shape.  The Platoon Sergeant handed me and Pfc Clifford Freilinger a bazooka and one round of ammo to go down the hill and stop any tank trying to cross the creek.   Also, be sure to get the infantry  following the tank.  "Yes Sir," no doubt even crossed our mind, but no tank came, "Praise the Lord."

We got out by hoofing cross country.  Snow, filled canteen cups out of a Jeep track.   several days no food.  One evening neat St. Vith, our company cook had a small pot of hot water with a few potatoes in it.  "Fellows, I wish I had more for you."  He had tears streaming down his face.  I wish I could remember his name.  Next day we hitched a ride out of there with some 7th Armored half-tracks.   Found food, crab apples buried in horse manure and later a half-eaten can of Spam, laying beside the road.  Next day clear skies.  Lots of bombers going East.

Late Xmas day we made an assault on a small village.  Somebody said "Manhay" or something like that.  My buddy Freilinger took a machine gun bullet that broke his hip.  I got some shrapnel in the thigh.  Heard the next day, that we lost 130 men in "F" Company on Xmas evening.

Shipped back to USA January 1945, and discharged in June of '45.  I give the Lord all credit for my survival. 

Page last revised 09/11/2016
James D. West