Head Quarters

HThe morning begins with coffee, the latest news from the radio hut is coming in, and studied thoroughly. Orders for today are received from the Division Head Quarters in Wiltz.

Another quiet day is due at the front, about 10 kilometers west of the fortifications in Heinerscheid on the river Our. What a relief after all the hardships in the “Hürtgenwald”!

Today two times a patrol will go out. Civilians  reported German activities in the forest east of the village.

The patrol sergeant will receive orders to search the forest. The secretaries will type the orders which will be given to the patrol after breakfast and roll call. Morning reports have to be made.

But first the daily orders for the rest of the battalion have to be made. Today  some fresh recruits will come in from Clervaux. They will have to get a place to sleep and weapons. At 11:00 the general staff will come over for a meeting, but also to honor two of the men with a decoration, which they earned for bravery in the Hürtgenwald. HQ decides to line the men up again after lunch. General Cota will hand out the decorations in front of the troops. Before breakfast one of them drops down at the bakery to order some cake for the coffee.

After breakfast they will draw up a schedule for the General Staff which will include inspection of the camp and a visit to the field hospital.

In the daily orders the work will be allocated. The program of the day includes, apart from chopping wood, maintenance of the  armored vehicles, cannons and a visit of the General Staff, the show of the Swing the Mood and of course: Thanksgiving Diner! Yet a busy day! When the daily orders are ready there’s a short meeting after which the men from HQ are taken to breakfast in Jeeps. One of them drops down at the bakery to order some cake ,to be delivered at 11.10 Next is roll call, a trumpeter from HQ blows the signal. At roll call the daily  orders are read to the men. Then back to HQ.

The first to come in and get his orders is the sergeant who will lead the patrol in the forest. Just after his leaving some new information comes up. A jeep is ordered to forward these to him in time: if possible  they are to bring some POW’s.

Next is the commander of the cannon company.  Todays targets are pointed out on the map.

HQ now discusses the items which they want to speak about with the General Staff. First of all the lack of men after the immense losses in the Hürtgenwald. Secondly: logistics and supplies. In fact they are short of everything: ammunition, equipment and fuel. The lists are updated once more. 

 At 11.15 they send orders to the armored unit to move against a German recon unit near Hosingen.

The General Staff is expected about 11:00. HQ needs to be cleaned, maps have to be rolled out and hung on the walls.  In the mean time the radio doesn’t stop spitting out messages that need to be  looked into and transferred into orders. 10:55 everyone is lined up for the arrival of the General Staff.

They arrive at 11.00 with two Harleys and three jeeps. General Cota is in the second jeep, In the first a Gi with a .30  and some extra men, the last jeep also carries extra men. After inspection the General Staff enters HQ. Coffee is served and the meeting begins after the agenda is established. The atmosphere is relaxed but serious.

About 11.25 a message from the patrol comes in, which mentions the find of a bag with important information. They’ve also succeeded in taking two POW’s, one of them is seriously wounded

The information is discussed and the German positions indicated on the maps on the wall.

About 11.30 a radiomessage comes in, there’s no need for the armored unit to search for the German recon unit. A messenger is send.

At 11.30 Cota and his Staff leave for the sawmill, afterwards inspection of  the hospital, then the camp.

At 12.30 everybody is ready for lunch. After lunch there’s roll call with the medal ceremony, at 13.10.

At 13.25 another message comes in: The American artillery is going to shell the German fortifications on the river Our. An armored patrol has to set out to support the shelling.

After lunch, when their work is done, the secretaries leave HQ to pay a visit to the hairdressers’. This afternoon at 14.45 the Sisters of Swing will give a show, and of course there will be dancing too! Tonight  a delicious Thanksgiving Dinner with afterwards a party in the Mess.

As the  seriousness of shortage of supplies became clear, Cota decides to pay a visit to the quartermasters and armorer to check out the situation in person, at 13.30

 At 14.00 General Staff is ready to leave, but then General Cota decides that they will stay for the show and Thanksgiving Dinner. They won’t return to Wiltz till the party is over, besides Cota wants to know what other information the German POW’s , that were brought in by the patrol unit this morning  can tell, now that their wounds have been dressed. Coffee is served and the interrogation of the youngest one begins. The other is still in hospital and cannot be interrogated.

 It appears that they know nothing of the contents of the bag,, the German tells a story that it was dropped there by a fleeing officer, who was afraid of getting caught with it. Cota cannot decide whether it’s true. The German is still in bad shape. He orders HQ to continue tomorrow.

  A civilian from the village is translating.

 The last work in HQ is done: messages read and passed on. In the afternoon once again the patrol unit comes in at 14.30 They don’t bring any news and HQ is closed in time for the Show.

In the evening they have Thanksgiving  Dinner and go to the party in  the bar.

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