Segment 7

Annotation

[Annotators Note: Robert Walter was a platoon sergeant in Company L, 3rd Battalion, 393rd Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division.]They got back over the hill to Elsenborn Ridge at about 8:00 the night of 18 December [Annotators Note: 1944]. There were already foxholes dug for them that they took over. During their retreat to Elsenborn Ridge Walter picked up another soldier from his companys 1st Platoon named Art Molder. It turned out that Molder was from the same place Ohio as Walter. Molder was a sergeant and had his own squad but got separated from it so he fell in with Walters group.Walter went all the way through the Battle of the Bulge without a lieutenant. His lieutenant broke his ankle when they were getting off the trucks in Krinkelt and Walter never saw him again. He did not get another lieutenant until around 20 January when they were preparing an assault after the Bulge had been stabilized.Molder became Walters messenger that evening. Walter sent back to headquarters and when he was returning to the foxhole an artillery shell detonated right in front of the foxhole critically injuring Molder. When the medics took him away Walter thought that there was no way he would survive.When Walter returned to the United States after the war he went to tell Molders family what had happened and how he had died and learned that Molder had survived and was in a hospital in Michigan.After the war Walter went to work for the police department. One Saturday afternoon Art Wolder showed up at his house. Wolder was the commander of the VFW in Indianapolis, Indiana. When he died Walter attended his funeral.When they got back up to Elsenborn Ridge Walter found a foxhole that he wanted to move his platoon to. He asked the captain who told him that he would be exposed there. Walter replied that they would have good fields of fire so his captain finally let him. Walter made a mistake. The Germans launched three frontal attacks with tanks and artillery right at them. The first one came on 21 December. During one of the attacks the German tanks got so close that Walter had to call in artillery on top of his own position. Some of the shells landed among Walters men but the attack was stopped. Walter does not know how but the Germans recovered their knocked out tanks during the night. Even the men Walter had out on outpost duty 300 or 400 yards in front of the lines did not report anything.

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