Segment 14

Annotation

It would get cold on the hike. They would start the hike at camp and would end the hike at the hospital. It was a 20 mile hike. They were told that if anyone fell out then they would just be left there and nobody would be following them. They actually ended the hike near the hospital which put things in perspective for them. After their hike, they returned to camp around daybreak and were given the day off. Everyone was exhausted. One GI turned on his bunk facing the wall. Baldwin and other GIs decided to go to the mess hall and asked if he wanted to join. He told them he wanted to rest a while. Later on around noon, someone went to check on that GI and he was dead. His heart just stopped beating. Colonel Barsanti was a Battalion Commander. Baldwin thought he was great and said he went out to the field with his men. Baldwin remembered him first from Hill 192, when the Colonel realized the Germans were making their first big counterattack. Barsanti called Cannon Company to fire just ahead of his position to push the Germans back. The cannons were in the middle of changing positions, with the exception of Baldwin's gun. They opened fire and the rest of the guns soon got into firing position. Baldwin felt the Germans didn't know how much artillery was going to hit that hill and they should have let the Americans get over the hill and into the valley. The guns fired so much that the paint started coming off of the guns and the barrels lost their rifling and rounds were flipping end over end instead of spinning. New barrels and paint were needed after that battle. Some of the rifle companies would see a white flag from the Germans during a firefight. Several Germans would get up with their hands up and would walk toward the Americans. The Americans in excitement would get up and try to meet them. The Germans would drop to the ground and machine gun fire behind them would hit the Americans that came out to meet the surrendering Germans. He remembered the Germans did that a good bit during the fighting around Elsenborn Ridge. Baldwin didn't know where they were at the time and didn't remember anything specific about the "Twin Villages" of Rocherath and Krinkelt, but remembered a great deal of the fighting happened there and at Elsenborn Ridge. In the villages, there were basements, houses, barns, etc that the Germans would fire from. Americans had to fire artillery onto the buildings and destroy them to kill the Germans inside and keep them from using them for cover. Baldwin would rather fight in the woods than in the towns as there are too many places to hide in a town.

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