And to finish, Craig Schoeller tells the story from
On Dec. 29th 1944 we attacked from Boulside,
Lux., 12 miles S.E. of Bastogne. After a few miles we were hit by
heavy 88 fire. Advancing into woods, we were met by small arms fire
and mortars. We took a lot of casualties and I helped a medic attend
my best friend who was hit in the chest and both legs. I was hit
in the right thigh with two pieces of shrapnel. We were pinned down
by MG fire, crawled away and went out on patrol. When we returned
to our line of defense it was too dark and dangerous to attempt
to reach the aid station so I dug my foxhole in the snow covered,
frozen, and rocky ground. I dug all night and by dawn I was down
about 3 feet - enough to save me from a heavy mortar barrage. When
it let up, I started to crawl, dragging my wounded leg. After 150
yards, our captain came along in a jeep and took me back to the
aid station, which came under artillery fire.
The pieces of shrapnel wich lodged next to the bone were removed
at a field hospital in Longhy, France. From there I went by hospital
train to a hospital in Gramercy. When the hospital was cleaned out
of walking wounded in late Jan. 1945, I left with a bandage and
I rejoined Company F. 320th along the Roer river. My leg was so
weak that I had difficulty keeping up with the column and gradually
drifted to the rear. Then I would get a jeep or truck ride to the
head of the column and the process would be repeated. It took a
while to recover the strength in my leg.
Of the 180 or so men who left Metz in late Dec. 1944, I could only
recognize agbout 40. The rest of the ranks were filled by new replacements
and men who returned from wounds received in France.
I was captured a few miles NW of Rheinberg on March 6, 1945. We
were riding on tanks, ran into an ambush and were cut off.
After being under fire by our own 105s and 155s, being bombed by
British Mosquito bombers on the banks of the Rhine, bombed by P-47s
and finally by B-17s in the city of Osnabruck, we arrived in Stalag
11B between Bremen and Hannover.
It was a tough two months and we were happy to be liberated by
the British 7th Armored Division, veterans of El Alemein, the "Desert
Rats." They broke through the German lines and set up a defense
perimiter around the camp until the main army units arrived. We
were flown by RCAF C-47s to Brussels, then taken by train to Namur
and G.I. hands. It was then to camp Lucky Strike and ship transport
home. I was in Fort Bragg training for the invasion of Japan when
the war ended.
March 21, 2001