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Don Bennett's War

Chapter 31 - Climbach


About 2:00 (12/14/1944) our battalion took cover by some trees by the road and "Task Force Blackshear", the regiment's third battalion, moved up on our left. They moved up the road and got a view of someone else doing the fighting as they moved in on the town of Climbach, just over the brow of the cleared hill a half mile ahead. We stood still while the fighting took place, but we were not without casualties. The enemy knew we were in the woods and dropped some shells in among us. Our platoon wasn't touched, but a shell hit the fourth platoon ahead of us, killing one man and wounding another. The wounded man was joking with us as he was carried by us to the rear - he was Platoon Sergeant of the heavy weapons platoon.

At dusk we moved in Climbach and saw the results of the battle, some beat-up buildings and a couple of our knocked out armored cars still smoking at the edge of town. The way we moved into town, it seemed like our officers were expecting a counter attack, but none came. The long line of infantry was stretched through the town, and we halted, waiting to see where to go next. While waiting for the big shots to make up their minds, most of us took cover in the buildings along the main street. About six of us were in our house and we ate some K rations and got warmed up and some of us (including me) fell asleep (or passed out from exhaustion), and I didn't wake up till morning. We found our company just outside of town and I felt a little guilty when Meairs said our platoon had outpost duty for the night, and had had a little trouble with German patrols.

We headed out of town toward the north east and German country. The roads were only small dirt roads and trails now. At noon we ran onto a couple of snipers but they were knocked off unceremoniously and lay partly in a creek as we passed by them. About 2:00 we heard some rumblings ahead and we took cover in some woods next to the road. As we silently watched, 4 German tanks went by us, up the dirt road toward our rear. They came to a halt when the last one was just opposite us. Our Platoon Commander sent word back for rifle grenades and bazookas, but before they could be brought up, some trigger happy guy shot at the tank with his rifle, and the tanks, realizing they were in a tough spot, headed back toward their own lines. As they went by me, I let each tank have two bursts of my armor piercing shells, just hoping I might hit a vulnerable spot, but they got back undamaged.

As we moved on through the woods on the German border, we heard a German yelling, "Comrade, I am vounded," to our left, but fearing a trap, we ignored it and moved on up toward his right.

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