Segment 11


[Annotators Note: Robert Walter was a platoon sergeant in Company L, 3rd Battalion, 393rd Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division.]Walter was ill equipped for the cold weather. When he left the front lines all he had on was a regular pair of pants, a shirt, a jacket, and overcoat, and a pair of shoes. If they had been carrying their packs they would have had a blanket but they did not even have that. All of their stuff was on the front lines so when he left the front he was not able to go back and get it.About a week before Walter got hurt they received a shipment of new rubber boots [Annotators Note: overshoes]. Due to his job Walter was one of the first to get a pair. When he got hurt and was lying in the aid station an officer walked in and told the doctor to take them off so they could be given to a man on the front. The doctor did not know what kind of condition Walters feet or legs were in so he refused. This was around 1 February. Walter had gone through the whole Bulge and the whole winter with just shoes.When they were back on Elsenborn Ridge they had no ammunition, food, or clothing. It was at least a week before they got food. They got clothes and ammunition by scrounging off other guys. Jeeps could not get to them. They were finally brought food by half tracks.On one of their trips to scout a hill they found a tree that was stuffed with German money. All of the guys with him stuffed their pockets with it. When the captain told them that he had heard what the Germans would if they caught soldiers with German items they all got rid of their souvenirs. Walter got rid of the German money and the pin he found [Annotators Note: he found the pin in Krinkelt]. He would have liked to bring the items home but the only people he knows of who did were those who picked them up later.[Annotators Note: Walter sits silently for about 15 seconds.]Walter sent a patrol out while they were still on Elsenborn Ridge. The patrol had to pass back though his position when it returned. When the patrol returned they had three German prisoners. One of them spoke English and he and Walter began a conversation. The German asked Walter where he was from and when he replied that he was from Ohio the German told him that he had attended Bowling Green College which is not far from Walters home. The German was then sent back to be interrogated.Within a day of his encounter with the English speaking German prisoner Walter noticed someone walking along the fence who appeared to be struggling to get up the hill. The snow was piled up. Walter realized that it was an adult with several children in tow. Walter let her know where he was and let her pass. She was grateful.Walter was initially shocked that he had encountered a German who spoke English but later learned that many Germans did.


All oral histories featured on this site are available to license. The videos will be delivered via mail as Hi Definition video on DVD/DVDs or via file transfer. You will be purchasing the oral history in its entirety but will be free to use only specific clips. Please contact the Museum at if you are interested in licensing this content. Please allow up to two weeks for file delivery or delivery of the DVD to your postal address. See more information at