December 1944, Belgium, Context & Situation
Soldier’s which were involved in the massive German counterattack are the best witnesses to report about the situation in the period before December 16 and after December 16.
Cpl Albert J. Kirkendall
243rd Engineer Combat Battalion
[…] (around Malmedy, Belgium) runners … you know we had radios and we found out almost immediately you know. Okay there’s a bunch of Germans up there that are panicky that are shooting everything in sight and so watch your left flank and anyway our medics had to go up there, which would be a lousy job. Our medic’s name was Bitscoe. And the German’s thought all our medics could do were just straight out doctors. This one woman came in one night and she had problems. We couldn’t get her to say what the problems were and she said something, well something was wrong with one of her breasts. Okay now, Bitscoe – he’s a pollock and a rough, tough pollock and so from that time on we called him tits Bitscoe [….] most were buildings are either made of rock or brick or a framework that you filled with mud, you see. The framework on houses in Europe … okay and of course as long as we didn’t have to we didn’t, but I was using German teller mines for demolition. We never had any well of course we didn’t have any dynamite over there, but we didn’t have any composition C2. Black powder detonates at about 1800 feet per second and dynamite detonates about 2400 feet per second and what we had, TNT that detonated about 2800 feet per second. This composition C2, well you could take a hand full of it put it up against a steel rail – you didn’t even have to have as big as a walnut – and it would just cut the rail in two. You could put it clear around a tree and it would cut the tree off – it did a pretty sloppy job of it but it would cut it. I was using German teller mines that we had taken out of the ground to blow these walls down because they were the handiest thing to use. We didn’t have any TNT and we didn’t have any composition C2. You just had to use what you had on hand. And that happened to be what we had on hand [….]