A series following the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. He was in Europe with the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.This updates the series Following the 10th Armored that I did five years ago.

#46- More Prep, More Waiting

    •    January 17, 1945, Wednesday
Got up at 10. Went to the store. Did some cleaning. It is a beautiful day.
Diary, Beula Keller Lehman
Not a great deal happened in January for the 10th as a whole. CC-A and CC-R spent the first 16 days at Metz. During that time, Nichols tells us in Impact!, that
The Division’s battalions, which had been shot up during the Bulge, were considerably strengthened with tough and experienced replacements. Almost all of these fighters came from an airborne division which has participated in a disastrous jump in Holland months before. After recovering from their wounds in hospitals, they were sent to the Tenth and proved to be superb in combat. [While plans for return to action were made,] the rest of the Division was engaged in training the new replacements.
By mid-month, after its historic and heroic defense at Bastogne, CC B had rejoined the Division. The whole 10th Armored then moved to be in a position for the renewed offensive in the Saar-Moselle Triangle. Division HQ moved first from Metz to Dieuze, FR (17 Jan 45) then to Falquemont, FR (22 Jan 45) where they would remain until mid-February. This will be the last time the HQ and troops stay in one spot for more than a week until the end of the war.

Nichols reports:
This time, the elements, not the enemy, made the movement south one of the most difficult ever attempted by the Division. Rain and snow teamed up to send one Tiger vehicle after another off icy roads and into the ditches.
He tells the story of one sergeant who discovered that some simple hand pressure on the side of the tank was helpful It was a “treacherous" 180-degree turn near Falquemont. That pressure was enough to provide the needed traction.

According to the Morning Reports, Buddy’s Company C of the 80th Medical Battalion had been doing “usual organizational duties” both before and after they moved from Metz on 17 January. They ended at Eschwiller on 20 January where they would remain until mid-February.

    ✓    Company C Morning Report
    ✓    17 January 1945

Left Metz 1350. Traveled 38.5 miles via motor convoy to Bezange-la-Grande. Arrived 2230. Roads icy. Weather cloudy, occasional snow flurries. Set up Clearing Station. (MR)

    •    January 20, 1945, Saturday

Got up at 10. Went downtown. Cleaned some and rested for I am tired. Mrs. M____ was in this evening.
Diary, Beula Keller Lehman
    ✓    Company C Morning Report
    ✓    20 January 1945
Left Bezange-la-Grande 1515 and traveled 36 miles via motor convoy to Eschwiller, France. Arrived 2400. Set up clearing station and billeted troops. Roads icy. Weather snow. (MR)

Both of these movements started in the afternoon and lasted well into the night. The pace of around 4 mph was necessitated by weather and road conditions. But I also would guess that part of it was a nighttime movement in order to avoid detection by enemy intelligence. Through this whole time, Co C was assigned to CC-A.

    •    January 23, 1945, Tuesday
Got up at 10. Went to the store. Packed Buddy a box and sent it. Wrote to Buddy, Ruth, and Dora. Father and I went to banquet down at the I.O.O.F. Hall. Had a nice time. Of course I got a pain. Had to take a pill.
Beula, who was 69 at this time, has had some type of health problems for years. In 1940, after Buddy had left home, she spent a month in the hospital in apparently critical condition. Throughout these years in her diaries, she often mentions not feeling well, suffering from some type of pain, feeling tired. She would live another 3 years, dying in January 1948 of a cerebral hemorrhage caused by high blood pressure. I never met her as she died eight months before I was born.

    •    January 31, 1945, Wednesday
Got up at 9:30. Washed and ironed the kitchen curtains. Wrote to Buddy. Had a letter from Buddy. Gee but it is cold today.
Diary, Beula Keller Lehman

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Birkenau múzeum - panoramio (cropped).jpg

By pzk net, CC BY 3.0, Link
The Auschwitz concentration camp was a complex of over 40 concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II and the Holocaust... The camps became a major site of the Nazis' Final Solution to the Jewish Question.

As the Soviet Red Army approached Auschwitz in January 1945, toward the end of the war, the SS sent most of the camp's population west on a death march to camps inside Germany and Austria. Soviet troops entered the camp on 27 January 1945, a day commemorated since 2005 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

#45- The End of the Bulge

    •    January 1, 1945
New Year. It is a terrible day. It rained and snowed all day. Mabel and Carl came for dinner. Carl went back to Hornell on the train.
    •    January 2, 1945
Got up at 11. Did not feel so good. Father is home. Wrote to Buddy and sent him a box of cigars.
Diary Entries, Beula Keller Lehman
So far for Co. C and for most of the 10th Armored Division, the war has been moments of battle- and then waiting. Since the rush north in mid- December and then the return south to Metz, most of the 10th Armored has not been in battle.

    •    January 5, 1945
Got up at 10.30. Father went to work. Cleaned downstairs. It is not so cold today.
Diary, Beula Keller Lehman
From the 55th Armored Engineer Battalion (of the 10th Armored) After Action Report (AAR):
The most outstanding characteristic of the operations in which the division was engaged was the impossibility of employing the armored elements off the roads. The soil and weather were such that armor booted down except on the top of hills, and often even there. Although this may seem to be a special case, experience both in the United States and in  France indicates that operations on the roads are the rule rather than the exception. [Difficulty reading the next section, but  it indicates that] until changes in tank design are made to reduce the ground pressure [to less than the] present 13 pounds per square inch, [this will be the case.]
Another from the 55th AAR talked about an
engineer Lt standing on the front of a buttoned up medium tank, beating on the turret with a hammer, and trying to get the tanker to open up so that he could be told to move over for all engineer equipment to come forward past the column.
The AAR, as was customary, ends with reflections on the action from a future planning view. It concludes that while this may have been a unique experience with Combat Commands as much as 50- 100 miles from HQ, they felt it was worth pointing out that many changes were
needed in equipment and operational methods, [it] has brought out very clearly the soundness of the basic training and of the basic doctrine. The principles are sound even though the means for accomplishing them need some revision.
The 54th Armored Infantry Battalion of the 10 Armored AAR reviewed enemy action in mid-month at Bastogne:
When this battalion was committed the Germans winter counter offensive was at its peak. His aggressive high morale was evident on all sides. Employing tanks and infantry with occasional air support, he was able to push forward almost at will. His recklessness accounted for his losing heavily in armor and infantry. The recommendations here reflect the quickness in which decisions had to be made and ways to move more quickly such as wire men be included, more telephones be issued for gun platoons and not lowering the ratio of tanks to infantry. 
 Two other recommendations indicate the distance issue again. With Combat Command B so far away from HQ and the Division support these two became obvious:
When operations where kitchens cannot support [the troops], one cook [should] be assigned to each platoon and that company [and] battalion maintenance stay within supporting distance.
A number of AARs do report, very simply, that the particular battalion or platoon of the 10th Armored had no engagement with the enemy in January.

Even with the 80th Medical Battalion, I found no end of January AAR with hospital admissions and discharges since in the month there probably were few if any. The Company C morning reports indicated that they were involved in “organizational duties.” In February, that will change.

At the end of Bulge, these words of FDR from D-Day strike me. They are a fitting conclusion as well to the biggest battle the American troops faced in Europe.
The road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph. They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest -- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war. For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home. Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom. ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
    •    January 13, 1945
Got up at 10. Went to the store and it was awful icy. Did not do a darn thing all day. Today is Carl’s birthday.
Diary, Beula Keller Lehman
[Sidenote: I realized recently that I have not been posting excerpts from my grandmother Beula’s diaries except when they specifically relate to my Dad and Mom or the war. That does not give as full a view of life on the homefront as I would like. I will start doing that regularly.