Philip Maple - 106th Infantry Division
424th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company E.
The 106th had just taken over the defensive positions from the 2nd Infantry Divisions when the battle of the bulge started. The division had arrived in the Ardennes after a grueling ride across France in open trucks. It was grueling cold at that time. The division consisted of inexperienced troops that had just arrived from the United States.
The night of December 1944, four of us were called to the Co. CP. for a briefing on a Recon. patrol which was to take place the morning of December 16. There was Lt. there from J&R telling us that there was a lot of movement in front of our lines and our objective was to give them an estimate of the strength of the enemy facing us, and to tell them if there were any signs of tanks or artillery in the area. They showed us a map of the area where their guards on outpost would be stationed and the ones to be disposed of. On our way back to our lines, bringing back a prisoner for interrogation, the only weapon to be carried was a carbine and a pistol which was to be carried by the Lt. We would be issued flares and Garrote wires to kill the enemy that we would encounter. I asked what the flares where for and I was told to fire them if we got trapped by the enemy lines and we were unable to get out. They would fire artillery at the sites of the flares. I said, "This looks like a suicide mission to me," but I never got a response back. I have often wondered if the Bulge had not started the morning of December 16, how that mission would have come out.
The patch of the 106th Infantry Division (Golden Lions).
December 16, 1944, the second platoon of Co. E 106 Division was sent to help support the 112 infantry of the 28 Division which was being hit hard by the enemy. During the night some time they were forced to pull back. At that time we did not know it but we had lost contact with them. It seemed as though the whole German army was coming our way. Infantry, tanks and artillery was all coming our way. Our squad was in the woods above the road, the enemy infantry was coming through the woods yards away from us. We covered ourselves the best we could with leaves and brush that was on the frozen ground. As they passed through you could hear them talking and their boots hitting the ground. At this time, they captured our platoon sergeant and squad leader, Sgt. Frank (Hump) Shiro and the runnner. The last words that I heared Shiro speak was, "Let me get my rifle."
Philip and his wife Mary in 1996
The next morning December 17, six or seven of us were left in the woods, the only thing we could hear was an airplane above us. We ran out of the woods to check it out. It was an American artillery spotter airplane, so at that time we began waving at it. Well, it disappeared and then minutes later we were hit by screeming meenies. That was when I was hit with a piece of Sharpnel, I was lucky that it was only a flask wound. We figured out really fast that they had captured one of our American spotter plane, and we did not expose ourselves anymore as we were working our way back to our lines. We were also fired at by the enemy in American jeeps, wearing American clothes. As we were working our way back we crossed a rive, which later we were told that it was the Our River. That was then when we regained Co. E 2nd Bat. 424 INF. It was a very happy reunion for all of us. Sergeant Hump spend the rest of the war in a POW camp and survided the war. He passed away in 1997.
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