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Battle of the Bulge: Wilmington’s role in the Army’s longest, bloodiest battle

Troops thought the snow was colder than usual. The turkey dinner served at noon tasted good, but otherwise there was still watch to be stood, weapons to be cleaned and gloves to be thawed out. – Official Report, 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Division, Malmedy, Belgium – New Year’s Eve, 1944

By then, the main Battle of the Bulge had thwarted the German attacks which began Dec. 16, 1944. From defensive foxholes, the 120th, which included Wilmington-area National Guard soldiers fighting since Normandy, noted a quiet front without harassing fire. Vigilance, hunker down, and send patrols to capture prisoners.

“Three hours into the new year two platoons set out across the snow to investigate a strong point in a house 200 yards southwest of the road junction at Baugnez” in no-man’s-land, the report continued. Germans fired on the raiding party. Flanking the enemy through a field southwest of Baugnez, “Some of the men stumbled over uneven humps in the ground.”