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
The Germans were being pushed back slowly and on Xmas Eve we had them going back at a good pace. By January 7th we practically erased the Bulge.
We finally loaded up again and moved forward, somehow we entered a town which wasn’t quite yet cleared.
Germans lay frozen all around us. It was bitter cold. Our feet were freezing… we didn’t wash in a long time…we all felt miserable.
We entered a cellar of a house that was just burnt down, probably by our own shell fire. The cellar was very warm. It was nice down there. But the smell of death was awful.
The Bulge was finally cleared, and we were moved back to Hue, Belgium for a rest.
It felt good to wash our bodies and rest a while, after the second day we started on hikes and training.
We all wished we were back on the Front.
On or about the 15th of January we went back into action again, this time with the 1st US Division.
We were situated near the town of Hurtgen in the Hurtgen Forest & started shelling the Germans along the Roer River. We than crossed the Roer and raced practically non-stop to the Rhine River.
I made a pair of shoes out of blankets which kept my feet nice & warm. I’ve worn these shoes for one month, now I don’t need them as the weather has changed.
We lost a few more men, which I didn’t mention previously (this happened at the Bulge). We lost 1 officer.
At the Rhine, we shelled the Germans across the River. I took a walk with some of the infantry-men. Along the bank, we saw some Germans on the other side.
They were pounded by our artillery constantly.
We are now crossing the Rhine River. I hope we continue going straight to Berlin. I’m sure it’s impossible because the enemy is still strong.
I am now in the town of Ittenbach, the German artillery is falling all around us. Exactly 15 rounds fell not more than 50 yards from me.
One shell landed behind, about 10 yards behind one of our boys.
He thought it was one of our guns going off as he looked around & saw only a hole still smoking, he turned white & ran.
I still don’t know why he wasn’t killed or hurt because a shell that close usually kills a person.
Last night the Germans threw many shells in our area. No one was hurt.
Today we lost another man through German shell bursts.
23 to 28 March we are chasing the Germans across the Rhine Plaines. We are now in the town of Morsbach. Along our drive, we saw the cities and towns that were leveled by the artillery & some by the air corps.
We lost another man with a bullet hole in his shoulder.
No shells came our way in the past few days. Everything is peaceful. Seems as if the war is about over. I sure we will have a tough fight, as we are now about 70 miles east of the Rhine.
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.