These are the stories of the desperate land battle
that made the American GI an enduring World War II icon.
That night, what seemed like an entire German battalion hit our positions. Our entire line opened up in continuous fire until we were down to a few clips. . . . I was reloading the bazooka when I thought someone had hit me in the face. When my ear started bleeding, I realized that I had been hit by shrapnel.
The next day we were ordered to move out. . . . The field in front of us was filled with the frozen bodies of dead and dying Germans. On the way out they mortared our positions. I hit the snow and heard a thump. I closed my eyes and figured, Stein, you’ve had it. . . . I looked to my left and saw a dud mortar round about three feet away from my head.
—Allan H. Stein, F Company,
508th Parachute Infantry Regiment,
82nd Airborne Division
In the middle of this terrifying battle I heard a voice inside my head say, “squeeze the trigger.” I took careful aim at one of the charging Germans through my gun sight, and squeezed the trigger. He flung his arms up over his head and fell down dead, shot through the head. I felt a sensation surge through my whole body. . . . I was alive, and for the first time I felt that I had a chance to come out of this battle.
—Harry F. Martin Jr., L Company,
424th Infantry Regiment,
106th Infantry Division