many people think they can write their own story in a book and make it
as it really happened. After again hearing about mistakes people write,
and herewith I quote what is found on the Internet: 'The Story of
Lanzerath', by Dan Hayes: ..."Colonel Pieper (he means Peiper), then a
young fanatic SS Trooper, who was responsible for the 'Malmédy
Massacre' (at that moment Peiper was not even there yet!), had ordered
a Battalion of German Infantry to proceed down this road (well, Peiper
was not there until late evening, 17 December, and was still at that
moment waiting in Losheim on 16 December, until the 12th Volksgrenadier
Division had opened the Losheimergraben Crossroad, he was supposed to
pass through), pass through Lanzerath..." and now read this and
about it:...."and go lickery split to Bastogne......" Now, I don't know
how which books this man has read, but I must say this gives an totally
new view on the attack of Kampfgruppe Peiper!
The Battle for
Lanzerath: Here, at a tiny village in
the Losheim Gap, a fierce fight took place on 16 December 1944.
The snow covered the field to the front
of the I&R
Platoon, 394th Infantry, and extended 200 yards down to the first house
The field was bisected by a
farm fence about four feet high, creating a main line of resistance.
The two- and three-man foxhole bunkers were
covered with six to eight-inch pine logs.
snow had fallen several times and
camouflaged the positions beyond
detection. A bitter cold had temperatures ranging from the teens at
the twenties and low thirties during the day. Snow was two to four
in the fields and drifting.
wind gusted from the north and forced a freezing fog to roll over and
the platoon area.
The action of the
Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon
of the 394th Regiment, 99th Infantry Division, an 18-man outfit led by
20-year old lieutenant named Lyle Bouck Jr, was one example of the kind
dedicated stand which sidetracked the German offensive on 16 December
1944. The I&R Platoon had occupied
their positions since 10 December 1944. This handful of soldiers was
outside Lanzerath, on a hilltop in the northernmost part of the Losheim
16 December 1944, after a heavy artillery bombardment and the retreat
nearby friendly tank destroyer section, Bouck's men obeyed their orders
at all costs.
Bouck Jr., commander of the I&R Platoon:
“Suddenly, without warning, a barrage of artillery registered at about
hours and continued until about 0700 hours.
artillery was relentless and frightening,
but not devastating.
Much landed short,
wide and long of our
position, and mostly tree bursts.
rate, our well-protected cover prevented casualties.
The telephone lines were knocked out, but our
one radio allowed us to report to regiment.
called regiment and told them, ‘the TDs are
pulling out, what we
should do?’ The answer was loud and clear: ‘Hold at all costs!’
“The next hour or so,
nothing happened. Then suddenly we spotted
a column of troops
marching toward Lanzerath. This was
reported to regiment, and I asked permission to withdraw and engage in
delaying action. Regiment said; ‘remain
in position and reinforcements from the 3rd Battalion will come to
(they never arrived). When the German
paratroopers marched along the road, suddenly a young girl came out
corner of a house, on the right, and talked to the German soldiers,
UPDATE: In October 2006 I had the change to
talk with the 'girl', now an eldery woman, called Tina. She told me she
was standing outside her house after the bombardment of the artillery,
and was looking, as childeren are always curious what is happening
outside, and saw a column of soldiers marching along the road. One of
the soldiers asked her 'where did the Ami's go', and she pointed, and
this is crucial, not in the direction of the Hilltop, because, as she
tells me, she didn't know that Americans were still there, but she had
seen the TD's leaving town, and so she pointed in the direction of
Buchholz Station. Than she went back in the house, and as one of the
German Paratroopers (Sepp Rainer) told me, fire came from the Hilltop.
In one of the tel. conversations years ago when I started the book
Losheim Gap, I know that Lyle Bouck said, that he waited with firing
till the little girl was out of sight.
The German soldiers deployed and
attacked up the hill, but
the heavy fire of Lyle Bouck’s men made it impossible for the Germans
to get up
the hill, and they retreated.
Jr.: “Sometime in mid-afternoon, a second attack was made and
left its mark on the I & R Platoon. The
communications were out, ammunition was
running low, the wounded
increasing, and apprehension running high. Our evaluation was not
impressive. A third attack was directed on
later in the afternoon; this was also repelled. Our
ammo was not out, but it was low.
“All of a sudden and no one knows from
what direction, our
entire platoon was infiltrated with Germans.
firing, screaming, and running.
ducked back into the hole, automatic
small arms fire ripped into
Just then, the end of a
burp gun barrel pointed into our hole.
this time, everything seemed quiet, with
just small amounts of
sporadic rifle fire.
A voice asked
calmly, ‘Who is the commandant?’
informed him it was ‘me.’ He wanted to know what my men were going to
I told him I would call them from
positions if he would have his men to stop firing.
This was accomplished and we were
The Battle for
Lanzerath was over. The men of the I&R
Platoon left about 60 dead and wounded German paratroopers on the
surrounding the tiny hilltop
For 18 hours the Americans held off an
parachute battalion (1st Battalion of the 9th Infantry Regiment of the
Parachute Division); not until their ammunition was exhausted, their
been destroyed, and Bouck himself and most of his men had been wounded
Thus, a small group of men, including four men of the
371st Artillery Forward Observation Team that had earlier been in the
helped Lyle Bouck an his men, was responsible for holding off a 500-man
battalion a whole day. This I & R Platoon was later decorated for
For the complete story, pictures of the Hilltop, stories of the other
side, go to the book section, and see the book 'The Battle of the Bulge
- The Losheim Gap', with a foreword of Lt. Lyle Bouck Jr himself.