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
Late afternoon today we raced about 50 miles from Ober Morsbach to the town of Irmgartiechen. In this town there were many Russians—these Russians were forced laborers for the Germans.
Every house had a white flag of surrender on it.
At first, the German people thought we were going to hurt them but soon they came out and walked around.
Today is Easter Sunday. I went to Church at 0915. The church was about 200 yards from where I slept.
The Germans were also in church.
While listening to church service at 1000, our guns were going off rapidly shooting at the Germans.
The German children, old men, and women would look up at the windows still afraid of our guns.
Many Russians were also in church, these people (the Russians) had their first self-assurance, and were happy for the first time in a long time.
Late today we moved again and as we [went], we captured four towns.
The mayor of the town “Volkholz” handed the surrender note to our Br. Commander.
We took at least two truckloads of German prisoners, also liberated many Russian and French soldiers. As we went through the town white flags were placed out of the windows. This is the fifth town that we had officially captured.
The first town was on the other side of the Rhine, having a population of about 12,000.
I have a very nice place to sleep tonight; it’s a small room in a house, just big enough for 2 army cots.
I just came back from a searching party. It’s 2200 hrs. now. We walked through the woods. There were six of us, we searched for Germans.
We also searched the buildings, there were no Germans. One of my men found a bottle, which we thought was some wine or champagne. It turned out to be cider, had a bad taste.
Today is the 2nd of April, we’re still in this town we captured yesterday. 6 more German soldiers were found in the area, and a few more French soldiers appeared.
The German artillery must know that we are here because they have been shelling this place.
Fortunately, we are situated in a deep valley with two hills on either side. The shells are hitting the sides of the hills doing no damage or harming anyone.
I hope we move tomorrow. We now have the Germans in a pocket and soon I hope they give up. We can move closer to Berlin.
Today, April 3rd we had some excitement late in the afternoon. An airplane, identified to be our P-47 came down & without looking to see where we were started to strafe us.
We did some last-second moving and jumping into and behind whatever shelter we could find.
One man was hurt in the attack.
Afterward, someone called me over and showed me my bedroll. The roll was hit & had a clean bullet hole through it. If I had been in it, I probably wouldn’t be writing this today.
My luck is still holding out.
I wonder for how long.
To Be Continued…
Read the next installment of this incredible insight into a soldier’s mind both in and out of combat during World War II HERE.