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
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
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
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
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.
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