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An Ambulance Driver's
Experiences in World War II

From Omaha Beach to the Malmédy Massacre


Howard E. Nixon

6 April 1923 - 29 December 2001

I was somewhere around the outside of Malmédy the next day. I was filling my ambulance with gas and Joe Robinson told me what happened and who got killed. I got a little sick. I don't remember where it was, but shells were dropping because stones and shrapnel hit my ambulance.

They had imposters like the M.P. all over to cause confusion and they did. No one knew what was going on. Small groups here and there fighting and not knowing where to go or turn.

The Germans captured the hospital on the hill just after I left. Chasteen and Schupp were there and were captured. The Germans weren't watching them too close. So Chasteen and Schupp sauntered over to their ambulance, which was parked on a hill. They got in and let it roll downhill. Then they gave it the gas and escaped.

They met a colonel in a half track. They told him about the Germans and he said, "I'll fix those S.O.B's" They went up and captured the Germans and freed the American prisoners. Chasteen got the Silver Star for that.

As I evacuated the road away from the German M.P. the road was clear. Years later when I studied maps of the Battle of the Bulge it was apparent that I slipped through the German spearheads to safety. Looking back, I still don't know how they missed us in that house on December 16th.

The 9th Armored held out against the German drive at St. Vith about 9 days, but did not get as much recognition as the men at Bastogne did. The 9th Armored were ordinary Joes. At Bastogne they were surrounded. When the Germans came under a flag of truce to request the surrender of General A. C. McAullife and his men, General McAullife said, "Nuts." That was his one word response to the Germans.

Now I felt better on the other side of the line. The powers that be finally got a division together and formed a line and began to drive the Germans back. The retreating Americans had set fire to some ammo dumps and gasoline supplies, but not all. The Germans did capture some American supplies.

I noticed that the Germans were getting both younger and older. Kids 15-17 were in the S.S. Hitler's young men. Brain washed. Older men of 40 or more. His army was getting smaller. Some of the older men didn't want to fight any more.

By this time there was snow and it was cold. Little by little we drove the Germans back over the ground we had come over before and retreated from.

The dead lay where they had fallen everywhere. German and American - their helmets sticking out of the snow. What a sight. They threw frozen bodies in the 2 1/2 ton truck like cord wood. Some were dumped in shallow graves and dug up later.

It got colder and colder. We were near the Elsenborn Ridge and there was a hard battle there. I broke a spring on the ambulance. They brought it to Elsenborn and said, "Here's your spring." No help. I changed springs myself laying on the cold, bitter snow.

There was no place to get shelter. We ate outside and the syrup froze on the pancakes. The coffee was cold, but the rim of the mess cup was too hot to touch. The foot wear wasn't the best. Just shoes and you were lucky to get a pair of overshoes. So many men got frozen feet. They just had to cut off a foot and sometimes both. So many men froze feet that they had to have a steady stream of replacement men. At least I got warm in the ambulance. I felt so sorry for those guys.

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© Copyright, Howard E. Nixon, 2001.

Address comments to:
Howard's son Pat Nixon or his daughter Cindy Guernsey at the following email addresss:
nixon748@cox.net nixon748@cox.net or cindyguernsey@chartermi.net cindyguernsey@chartermi.net.