Battle of the Bulge litter bearer at Elsenborn Ridge


When the fighting was over in some of those new divisions, there was basically no one left. Maybe a few hundreds out of 22,000 men. Jack remembered 1 night during the fighting at Elsenborn Ridge being assigned with Art [Annotator's Note: Art Kierstead], a young man from South Portland, Maine that finished high school and went through training and came into the unit, they were told to go on litter bearer duty for a night. They were given a helmet with a Red Cross and a Red Cross armband and then they started out. Baldwin suggested they get into the edge of the woods since they didn't have a rifle. They did so and eventually got out of the woods and crossed a road. Eventually, they heard someone yelling, "Help me! Help me! Help me!" Baldwin told Art that something wasn't right. At the time the 106th Infantry Division, the 99th Infantry Division and the 2nd Infantry Division were all basically mixed together. Across from their position were Germans. Knowing this, Baldwin's gut told him that the person yelling was a German that was trying to draw them out and locate their position. Later on, they had heard a tank coming down the road. Just before that, they had been in an old house where they hid in the barn with some old cows. They could hear Germans upstairs walking around and as they passed a door, you could see their hobnail boots. Baldwin and Art hid in the barn and found a sack of carrots. They filled their pockets because they ate carrots and turnips since the locals grew a lot of them. In fact, that's what they fed their cattle. A few of the Germans came into the barn and were talking. They were some 15 to 20 feet away from Baldwin and Art, but since neither of the men had a rifle then, they let them go. Had they had rifles, they could have killed the Germans. Come to find out later, some of the Germans were lost too and didn't even know where they were. But he and Art left the barn when they had the opportunity and got out of the area and reached a road. That's when the tank started coming down the road and it came to a ridge. Art and Baldwin saw a gate and stopped at it about the time the tank reached the ridge. They watched the barrel of the tank come over the ridge and they dove into a ditch. You didn't even want to breathe loud. The tank was trying to draw fire. The tank then turned around and drove back.