This series is comprised of excerpts from the journal that my grandfather, Michael Sturey, kept during his time in Europe during World War II. In it, he chronicles his thoughts about what he saw and felt, as well as his experience with one of the greatest military confrontations of all time: The Battle of the Bulge. Read the previous installment HERE. Enjoy these words as much as you enjoy the freedom he defended with honor. – Wilbert R. McGuire
We have pushed the Germans back in our sector and expecting to move into another sector tomorrow.
April 4th, 1945
Last night, a few of the Germans tried to get out of the trap.
At 0300 hours, some were seen by our A Battery and were fired on. The Germans escaped into the woods. It was too dark to follow and catch them.
We have the roads blocked & trees charged with dynamite. We’re expecting the Germans to try their breakthrough sometime soon, perhaps tonight.
Just a few minutes ago (it’s now 1900 hrs), our men captured another German.
It’s too risky to move out of this area, perhaps tomorrow we will move.
We have already fired, since we entered the front line, a total of 50,500 rounds of artillery ammo.
April 5th, 1945
Today we moved directly west just a few thousand yards, we set up our position and prepared to fire.
We are with the infantry and right on the front line.
It wasn’t long before we lost one man and two were wounded.
We may be artillery but our mission is to spearhead; at times we are ahead of the infantry.
April 6th, 1945
Today we really got it.
The enemy kept throwing everything at us. The shells landed around my office. In a brief lull, I had to move the office to a safer location, which was about 100 yards closer to the enemy.
Two of our men were wounded.
Today is May 2nd, 1945
I haven’t written anything since the 6th of April, too much to do with too little time to do it in.
We had cleaned out the pocket and captured many more Germans.
This division has captured approximately 250,000 in the Pocket. There are about 320,000 prisoners taken by all units.
We are now with the 3rd Army sector in a town named Triptis. Berlin has been taken by the Russians.
In the town of Triptis, we are Military Government and Security Troops.
My knowledge of Russian, Polish, and Ukranian came in handy as thousands of DP’s came to us and presented their problems.
Germans also came to us for protection from the Russians and Poles.
Our A Battery stationed in Gera has a big problem.
They have about 80,000 Russians and Poles as well as other DP’s.
May Day brought riots and looting by the Russians.
Our Battalion with approximately 500 men had an area of 50 miles square to keep order. Work was hard, hours long.
At the conclusion of the war, Michael returned home and married his sweetheart Theresa.
After the war, he went on to become a successful businessman, and, along with his fellow veterans, helped to build America into the country it is today.
Read A Biography of Michael Sturey HERE.
Thank you for reading these excerpts. I hope you enjoyed getting to know my grandfather as much as I did…
But more than that, I hope you got to see what just ONE of our soldiers endured during the fight against the tyranny of evil men. The lesson learned here is that nothing worth fighting for comes easy. There is always a price that must be paid – and I for one am eternally grateful that men like my grandfather were willing to pay that price for us.