Segment 13

Annotation

[Annotators Note: Robert Walter was a platoon sergeant in Company L, 3rd Battalion, 393rd Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division.]Robert Walter encountered SS troops during the Battle of the Bulge. One SS man was captured in Walters area. Walter believes that the Germans knew by Christmas that they were going to lose the fight.If the Germans were cornered they would put up a fight but if they got out of the Germans way they would move right on through.When they were trying to keep up with the German retreat they came across a German headquarters. The yard was full of German motorcycles and there was food still cooking on the stove. The soldiers took all of the motorcycles.Some of the Germans wanted to be captured because they had heard the stories of how prisoners were treated by the Americans.When the Battle of the Bulge began the Germans were on a timetable. They had to get units to Antwerp within a week. They did not even get close to that objective.Walter got his hand wounded by tree shrapnel so he walked back to the town of Elsenborn to get it treated by the battalion medics. When he got back there the air raid siren went off. Everybody scattered. He was just walking through the streets by himself. It was scary. He felt better on the front lines than he did back there. He finally found the medics who patched him up and he returned to the front. Walter visited the Catholic church in Krinkelt the Sunday before [Annotators Note: the Sunday before the Battle of the Bulge began]. Walter was amazed by the chaplains in his outfit. They were always at the front lines and had no fear. After the war Walter did not suffer from nightmares or anything. His brother who had been shot up in Korea never spoke about the war nor did his brother who had been in the Marines.Walter just forgot about it after he got out. His experiences do not bother him. When he went to work for the police department he faced a lot more guns than he did during the war but it never bothered him.After Walter came home after the war he was at a restaurant having coffee one day when he was approached by a guy who told him that it was his last day as a policeman and suggested that Walter take over his job. Walter met with the mayor on a Saturday and started work on Monday. He made captain in less than five years. He left the police department to go to work for an aircraft manufacturer that paid a lot more that he was making. There was job security with the police department but the factories paid twice the wages.

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