Today marks the 70th Anniversary of the end of the World War II battle that was fought in Belgium and Luxembourg from December 1944 through January 1945. On December 16, with the onset of winter, the German army launched a counteroffensive that was intended to cut through the Allied forces in a manner that would turn the tide of the war in Hitler’s favor. The battle that ensued is known historically as The Battle of the Bulge (army.mil). In December of 1944, Rocco Moretto and his company (Company C, 26th Infantry) were sent to Butgenbach to reinforce the 2nd Battalion. After his position was overrun on Dec. 18, he reported to the 2nd Battalion command post in the farmhouse cellar. He remembers the chaos and confusion as he and the other men plainly heard the rumble of German tanks immediately above them.
He remembers Col. Daniels, Commander of the 2nd Battalion, on the radio personally directing artillery from many battalions, saying, “Get me all the damned artillery you can get.” Moretto went up the stairs as a lookout but drew fire from the tanks. Other soldiers volunteered to climb to the roof of the farmhouse. From that perch, they took one tank out with a bazooka — the other tank withdrew.
Rocco’s full story, along with many other veterans, can be read in The Battle of the Bulge: True Stories from the Men and Women Who Survived. The book is a compilation of firsthand accounts narrated by the men and women who fought and survived the battle, compiled and edited by Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, Inc. Special thanks to Stephen Wagner and the folks at Aperture Press for publishing the book and sending a copy to Rocco. You can find more information about the book here, including an Index of Veterans who contributed their story.