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Left a picture of Don Cox together with Rolf Odendahl. I met up with Don and a part of his family in 2005 in Wirtzfeld, and where he also met up with a German veteran, Rolf Odendahl from the 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division. Two former enemies, who shook hands after so many years after the Battle of the Bulge. Also there was a Dutch Newspaper reporter with me, because they wanted to have an article about the Ardennes in it. The header of this Newspaper article opened (in Dutch ofcourse) that Don said: "without his gun this German soldier is not so bad at all". And very often when Rolf Odendahl is coming to the Ardennes, he is bringing that part with him.





Don, I promised you that your story would be added to either my book or homepage, but adding it to my homepage, I think that many people will read it and learn from it, and I honor you this way, and still miss you, my friend.
Hans


Battle of the Bulge   <>
Pfc Don C. Cox, 3rd Platoon, I Company, 3rd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.  <>

We were in the woods, dug in near the Wahlerscheid Crossroads (in book 2 'Holding the Line, you will find in detail the actions at this battle fought between 13 and 16 December 1944). At approximately 0400 hours they woke us up saying we had to go back to the twin cities, Rocherath and Krinkelt, that a couple of German tanks and some infantry had broken through the line and they needed help. <>

After daylight we started the march back. It was cold, foggy, and dreary, with some broken clouds. Airplanes were dog fighting, empty .50 caliber cartridges were falling. We arrived in Rocherath/Krinkelt about 1500-1600 hours. We stopped in Krinkelt where we were told that part of the 9th  Infantry was pinned down, cut-off and needed help. <> 

3rd  Platoon leader, Lt. Devlin, formed a patrol which I was a part of, and we started down a road going out of Krinkelt. I was 1st Scout, and as I went down the road and around a curve I came face to face with a German tank and German infantry. The tank fired over our heads. I hit the ditch first, then I got up and ran about three blocks back into town and got behind a building. <> 

It was getting close to dusk by then. I stepped out from behind the building and thought I saw a GI; I yelled at him to take cover because the Germans were out there. He fired at me and missed; one of our men shot him. <> 

We made our way across the street to the church. There was a Sherman tank at the corner of the church building. I told the driver if he would pull his tank up to the corner and fire down the road he could get a German tank. He says, "Are they that close?" then started up his tank, pulling out to the side of the church; the German tank knocked out the Sherman tank. <> 

I then made my way up along the side of the church going inside through a side door. There were several GIs inside. I stayed in the church till morning, and during the night the artillery was hitting the building. I took cover in one of the pews near a large column in the center of the church. During the night someone asked, “What are we going to do?” I told him, “Looks like a good place to pray.” Some of us went to the alter and prayed very seriously. <> 

The next morning a lieutenant told us it looked like we were behind the German lines and we would need to go out under the white flag, and to take nothing with us especially souvenirs. So I put my letters, pictures, field pack rifle, ammunition and everything I had except my dog tags in a pile next to the column. <> 

I walked to the front double door and peeked out. I saw an American first lieutenant (I noticed his silver bar on his helmet) stick his head out around a corner of a building. I yelled back to everyone that I saw a GI outside. I gathered all my things and ran out the door. I didn’t really know where I was, but about three blocks from there I found our company CP. It is impossible to explain the destruction of the buildings; they had knocked out tanks, trucks, jeeps and all were tangled together--tanks on top of trucks and jeeps and dead soldiers. <> 

After two or three hours Lt. Devlin said we had to go on patrol to see what was happening to the south of us. Our mission was to find out where the Germans were. We went out in an open field that over-looked a valley and a village. It appeared the Germans had captured a lot of the 99th Division soldiers and equipment. <> 

It wasn’t long until a German soldier came up the hill and told us to put our hands on our head. We kept walking toward him; I dropped my rifle and ran to him. I grabbed his rifle and pistol before he could use them on us. He apparently thought we wanted to surrender. His name was printed in red ink inside his pistol holster. His name was SS 1st  Lt. Walter S. Calmut; we took him back to the company. <> 

We were sent out again to make contact with the enemy. We were almost in the same spot when an individual come running up the hill and was dressed only from the waist down, yelling ‘don’t shoot I am a GI’. He said the Germans had sent him to tell us if we didn’t release the lieutenant they would kill all the American prisoners. He had no dog tags so I asked him where his home was in the states. He said Muskogee, Oklahoma. Since I was from Arkansas I knew the location of Muskogee. I asked what large town in Arkansas was closest to Muskogee, Oklahoma his answer was Ft. Smith, which was correct. We turned him over to the company commander; we did not release the lieutenant. <> 

Approximately 1500 hours, eight of us went back to the area between the water tower and the church to stay in a house at the edge of town. We had a good view of the road to the north which was the one we came into town from the north and with an open field to our east. <> 

Late afternoon on 18 December just before dark we could see German tanks moving in the field and up the road. They would get in front of a house and fire a round or two through the house. It was dark when they got to the house we were in, it was on a corner. The lead tank stopped right in front and moved the gun barrel around pointing it in the window where I was lying on the floor. I didn’t pray this time because I had asked God to see me through the war the night before, so I could get home to my baby daughter whom I had never seen. <> 

A few minutes later he moved the tank around to the side of the house and stopped again. By this time the yard was full of German infantry and more tanks were coming down the road. They took a smoke break for about one half hour; we never moved. We could have got several of the infantry, but it would have been our sudden death with all the tanks. They moved on, and we stayed in the house that night. They came back during the night, and we let them pass again as there were only eight of us. <> 

The next morning, 19 December, we found a house with a basement. About 1600 hours in the afternoon, T/Sgt. L.C. Furrh came to the house and told us we were pulling out around 1930 hours and to be ready. We waited and waited, but he never showed up. The outside was lit up with tanks and houses burning. One of our tanks was knocked out in the front yard and was on fire; the occupants did not make it out. One of our men was killed trying to help them. There was no front line. The Americans and Germans were mixed together making the front line whichever direction you were facing. <> 

About 1930 hours we decided that Sgt. Furrh could not get to us to lead us out, so we decided to try and find our way out. We went out the front door, one at a time, and then across the back yard to a road. We were trying to go in the direction of our company command post, but before we got there we found the withdraw column going down the road to Wirtzfeld. The road was not wide enough for foot troops and equipment to move at the same time. It seemed like a constant barrage of enemy artillery hitting all around us. <> 

We were going around a curve in the road to Wirtzfeld when I heard an artillery round coming in real close. It hit the muddy road just to the front and right of me, splashing mud on me, but did not explode. A second or two later another round came in and hit beside me, to my rear, and exploded. I remember falling face down but do not remember hitting the ground. The next thing I remember is crawling in the front door of a house with a lot of people in the hallway; I didn’t know if they were Americans or Germans. <> 

I was asked if I could operate a 300 set radio, I answered ‘no’, then went back out the door. I could see the equipment was moving; I was sick to my stomach, and the right side of my back was burning and stinging. My clothes were torn where the shrapnel had hit me. I was standing by the road waiting for our turn to move, when a jeep with a trailer came along moving real slow. I thought if I could get on that trailer I would be okay. Two other GIs were already on it and helped me on. I stayed with it until we stopped in a small village. We found a building and went inside, we used a cigarette lighter for the GIs to check my back, and it was red but no blood. <> 

We stayed there that night, and next morning I found a jeep driver and asked if he knew where my outfit was. He told me yes and that he was going there then. I rode to Elsenborn Ridge with him. I had no blanket, no overcoat, no over shoes, no weapon except the P35 pistol I had taken from the SS lieutenant. I think there was only about thirteen in my platoon when I got there, but more came in later. <> 

Someone from headquarters came around everyday to ask if we knew anything about the missing. It was about two weeks before I remembered one of my buddies named Sills was right in front of me when the artillery round went off. I remembered him falling over backwards in front of me when I was going down, but do not remember him hitting the ground. David B. Sills and Clayton B. Starritt from my squad were both killed in action on 19 December 1944. <> 

We dug two-man foxholes so one man in each foxhole was on guard all the time, two hours on and two hours off. We covered the foxholes with whatever we could find. The snow on the ridge was deep, and it was extremely cold. <> 

One night we started out on patrol when the sergeant told me that if I made it back that night, I would be assistant squad leader the next day. We made it back okay. I was later promoted to squad leader and then to platoon sergeant of the 3rd Platoon of I Company.