Experiences in World War II
From Omaha Beach to the Malmédy Massacre
Howard E. Nixon
6 April 1923 - 29 December 2001
Some I had trouble with. One wounded soldier said, "I got to go
back." Although he was wounded he wanted to go back to help a buddy of
his. I told him I'd be back to help him. He kept repeating, "I've got to
go back." I said, "No. I can't let you go back. You are
wounded." That didn't matter to him, "I've got to go back."
"No," I said, "You are not going back," and he didn't.
Slowly we gained ground, but Hitler still wouldn't admit defeat.
Lt. Col. Joachim Peiper of the S.S. Panzer unit was sentenced at the
Nuremberg Trial. He spent some time in prison, but was let go later. He came
back to Belgium and was living there. Someone found out about it and blew his
house up with him in it. The end of the S.S. colonel.
Samuel Dobbins who came out of the Malmédy Massacre alive
testified at the Nuremberg Trials. After the massacre there weren't many
prisoners taken. News travels fast and there were mad soldiers. Five or six
Germans in a bunch would be found dead. I know what happened. Sorry, but that's
the way it was. They paid a full price.
There was no let up of snow and cold. One night in a place where snow
banks were higher than the ambulance - it was blowing terrible. The snow blew
in on the spark plugs and the ambulance stalled on me. I cut up a blanket and
covered all of the holes. It finally dried out and started. The motor got a
little hot, but it was better than stalling.
Before it got awfully cold there was mud, snow and ice. It was a lot
better on the west side of the line after I escaped. It took a couple days
before Ike and Bradley could get things organized. They sent other divisions
for reinforcements - mostly all new men. The replacements were young men that
hadn't had any experience and some didn't last long. There were very few
infantry men that made it all the way from Omaha Beach to meet the Russians.
They were either wounded or killed. During the breakthrough there were a lot of
little outfits that held ground and fought. People like artillery men and
engineers fought and slowed the Germans down. I'm not sure how far the Germans
pushed. Maybe 35 miles or so. They sent us back up to the front after a line
was organized and slowly they started pushing the Germans back.
The Germans were amazed at all of our supplies; gasoline, vehicles,
ammunition, artillery. They captured some food and were glad for something good
to eat - even if it were only K rations.
We kept pushing the Germans back over the same ground that we had come.
The dead lay all over and some were run over with trucks and tanks. It got
colder and more frozen feet. They were lucky if they had a pair of overshoes.
By December 29th they had driven the Germans back about 10 miles. By Jan. 16,
1945 they had gained most of the ground back and we again were at Elsenborn,
which was a high plateau. There was a full battle going on again.
We then crossed the Roer River about February. Then it was 30 miles to
the Rhine. The Germans fell back for another stand at the Rhine. There was a
battle at the Rhine at Remagen Bridge. The Germans tried to hold there. Then
they tried every way to blow up the bridge, but the Americans finally were able
to cross before it caved in. Hitler had 5 officers shot for letting that
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