Today I was reminded of the recent birthday of a veteran from one of my books. Harold Bradley was a farmer from Elmore City, Oklahoma, when he was drafted into the Army. He fought with the 740th Tank Battalion in the Ardennes Forest during the Battle of the Bulge.
Bradley survived the war and years later, he recorded his memories about serving in the Bulge. He generously shared these posts with me for that valued personal point of view in my book Battle of the Bulge: Stories From Those Who Fought and Survived.
Here are some of his thoughts of being a soldier at one of WWII’s biggest battles:
“A person cannot possibly know how hellish war really is until he or she has been there. The men of the 740th Tank Battalion, most of us boys at the time, were there. We are qualified to speak.”
In honor of Mr. Bradley’s birthday I’m sharing some of his thoughts about the Bulge as printed in the book. Think of it as a ‘Christmas in July’ gift.
Battle of the Bulge: Stories From Those Who Fought and Survived is available on Amazon.
Thanks to Mr. Bradley and all of our veterans for their service to our country.
On December 16, at 5:30 am, all hell broke loose. A six-inch blanket of snow covered the forest floor on that dark Saturday morning. It was bitterly cold in the Ardennes. Along the 60-mile ‘Ghost Front,’ from the quaint community of Monschau on the German side of the Belgian border in the north to Echternach, a town in Luxembourg to the south, the Ardennes came alive.
At first whistles in the distance and pinpoints of fire alerted the American outpost that something unusual was happening. Explosions of big German guns lit up the sky like the fourth of July.
In secrecy the German Fuhrer had amassed his powerful forces, including two Panzer Armies of 24 divisions poised and ready to strike out of the mist and fog of the Schnee Eifel, a heavily forested and protected area adjoining the Ardennes. Additional armies flanked each side to take up the slack.
My 740th Tank Battalion was ordered to deliver nine tanks to the 745th Tank Battalion. This left us with only 2,105 assault guns and three M5A1 light tanks. With that kind of equipment we couldn’t fight our way out of the mud.
To learn more about his fight for survival at the Bulge, read my book Battle of the Bulge: Stories From Those Who Fought and Survived.
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What amazes you about World War II? Did you have a family member who was one of the 16 million Americans who served?
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