Pages 20 and 21

out American patrols, then vanished into thickets while Nazi artillery poured down deadly tree bursts on unprotected Yanks.

Capture of Bruyeres marked the end of the first phase of the Vosges campaign. A systematic, ruthless house-wrecking battle all but destroyed this vital road center, which fell after a harrowing fight through factories and barracks. Doughs next clashed into Belmont, advanced wearily up the slopes of the Foret Domaniale.

“Do you know what I kept thinking?” said Pvt. William Murphy, Chicago. “I kept thinking how wonderful it would be back on my old job as street-car conductor, And I kept think that now I finally had something to tell my three kids when they grow up. Y’see, I’ve never been in combat before. I’m a replacement. This was my first time. But I’ll tell you something funny. I wasn’t scared, honest I wasn’t.”

“Send us food, ammunition, medical supplies, and radio batteries,” came the weak voice. Caught in an advance, 1st Bn., 141st, was surrounded. For five days doughs nursed scanty stocks they had carried until P-47s dropped provisions and supplies. There was little water; both Germans and Yanks fought for the nearest water hole. Some supplies were shot by base ejection shells. For six days and nights the “Lost Battalion” threw back successive attacks, conserving ammunition, killing Germans, five or more for every one of its own casualties. The men fought on, not knowing when relief would come. Then, one day . . .

A bearded, grimy 141st sergeant stared down the hill waiting for another German attack. He saw something stir in the bushes, then come closer. He brought up his rifle, watched and waited as the helmeted figure crept closer. Then he dropped his rifle, yelled like a crazy man, jumped from his foxhole and raced down the slope, dancing and crying. There, he met Pfc. Matt Sakomuko, 442nd Japanese American RCT. “Say,” Sakomuko asked, “do you need any cigarettes?”

After an advance of a half-mile in a week-long battle, Sakomuko’s 442nd had lifted the siege.


redline.gif (912 bytes)

Copyright © 2000
All Rights Reserved
This World War II history
 is sponsored and maintained