Segment 4

Annotation

Robert Walter thinks the population of Krinkelt was about 5000 before the war. There was a church on Krinkelt. Water went to church the Sunday before the Battle of the Bulge. They were sitting on the front line immediately next to the Siegfried Line. There was nobody there except them and the Germans. They sat in their positions from 11 November through 16 December [Annotators Note: of 1944]. During this time Walter ran several patrols out and caught several German prisoners.Company K was in the area known as Purple Heart Corner. Walters company was right next to K with Company I in between them. Company I and Company K straddled the road where the Germans made their attack. This was the same road the Germans had used during World War 1.On the morning of 16 December at about 5:30 a bombardment started like nothing Walter had ever experienced. The rounds were going off behind Walters positions so he thinks they were hitting the American artillery positions.When the Germans started moving their men up it was not near Walters position. They came up the road between Company I and Company K.Walter got a call from his company commander who told him to go clear out a few Germans that were back in their kitchen area. Walter started back but did not even get halfway when he ran into Germans. He called his company commander and told him that the Germans were by him. Walters men started chasing the Germans. The Germans led them back to the road where their own tanks and artillery were coming down. Those were the first tanks Walter saw during the war. They chased the Germans across the road right in front of the enemy tanks.When Walter realized that a massive attack was beginning he had his men dig in in what had been Company Ks area although he did not know that at the time. German tanks rolled past him continually. Later that day he made contact with the rest of his company. His company commander had heard that Company K had lost all but 17 men.Walter and his men were armed only with rifles and were low on ammunition. One of his men took a shot at the driver of a tank. The tank rolling up behind it stopped and fired a shot at the but missed.Walters men had dug in onside the road on 16 December and they were there until mid afternoon of 18 December. They had no communication so they did not know what was going on. The weather was freezing and snowing.On 18 December Walters company commander told him that he thought they could follow a compass reading and it would get them back to friendly units. Walters platoon was to fight a delaying action then move when he thought it was safe.

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