First Day in
Bastogne (for the 1st Battalion 506th Parachute
A little lead in to set up the
information you are about to read. The following
documents have the Morning Reports and Surgeon
General Reports (SGOs) and the list of books that go
along with this article. The three books for this
article are about the first day in Bastogne with the
First Battalion of the 506th Parachute
Infantry (Headquarters Company 1st
Battalion, Companies A, B & C). The three books are
The Battered Bastard of Bastogne by George E.
Koskimaki, Bastogne - The First Eight Days by S.L.A.
Marshall and Rendezvous with Destiny by Leonard
Rapport; Arthur Northwood, Jr.
The First Eight Days and
Rendezvous were written just after WWII with The
Bastards first released 1989. Coach K (George E.
Koskimaki) collected thousands of documents and
correspondence from the 101st Airborne
Division Veterans from the WWII era.
The basis for this one is all
about a letter sent from a former First Sergeant to
the Company A Captain. The three books mentioned
above has all of the details that go along with the
men listed in the letter written in 1945.
1/Sgt Ted Patching listed what
type of wounds happened to each Co A men and they
matched up perfectly except for two. Patching
had Abie Fell being hit in the stomach and Ollie
Barrington being killed with a head shot. It
was the exact opposite with Abie shot in the head
and Ollie being hit in the chest region.
1/Sgt Ted Patching – “A”
Company, 506th Para Inf
In a letter to his company
Capt. Melvin O. Davis when both were
recuperating in Army hospital in the United States,
1/Sgt Ted Patching wrote the following about
the move to Mourmelon and the forty-eight hour
passes to Paris:
“As you probably know, we went to a rear echelon
camp near Rheims, France to reform and reequip. It
was an old French Army camp –not too bad. The boys
were getting 45 hour passes to Paris. ‘A’ Co. had
just returned from their 48 hour pass to Paris on
the night they were called out at 2 o’clock in the
morning must have been slightly rough. The boys
really had themselves a time in Paris. The pride of
Temple, Texas, Amos West tangled with some
of the French-and ended up in the cooler”.
1/Sgt Patching continues his letter to his company
commander relating the names of the men familiar to
the badly injured captain and what happen- to them:
get to Bastogne –
Capt. Meason shot in stomach by explosive
bullet – after several emergency calls to the
Chaplain to perform last rites, he finally decided
to live – darn luck. He is now in the general
hospital in Palm Springs, California.
Joe Hopkins killed instantly bullet through
Sherman Sutherland commissioned a few days
after me in Holland, died four hours after being
shot through temple by sniper.
Abie Fell died a few minutes after being
shot through the stomach.
Ollie Barrington killed by piece of shrapnel
Bill Shearing’s who squad pretty well wiped
out when they were caught in the cross fire from two
German tanks – there were only two known survivors
but some of the boys seemed to think that Bill might
have made it too.
Doss had the top of his head blown off, and
was begging the boys to shoot him.
said he was still living 24 hours after he
Shoemaker was wounded again through the leg
and arm, went back to duty, however.
John Power wounded again (if nothing else,
that boy is going to have a nice string of clusters
to his Purple Heart).
‘Scurvy’ Slaton had a big dud land so near
to him that it almost covered him with dirt. It
knocked him silly and he had to be evacuated.
Behus was wounded again badly.
Gividen, a squad leader, was put out of action
by a house collapsing on him.
Tony Borrelli was wounded lightly by
shrapnel in the cheek. Rumor had it in the
evacuation hospital that
Capt. Brooks had been wounded lightly and
Capt. Kessler had been killed. By the way,
Kessler took over ‘A’ Co.
after Meason was wounded.
Loibl’s leg tied up on him and put him out
Lt. Col. LaPrade killed – his executive
Maj. Harwick, bad stomach wound – I don’t
know who has the battalion now…the boys said Kessler
was really out for blood.”*
* From a copy of a letter sent
to the author by Joe Powers of “A” Company of the
506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Both
2nd Lt. Ted Patching and Captain Melvin
Davis were recuperating in state side hospitals in
1945 when the letter was written.
(Corrected spelling of names
when needed) (Ted Patching referred to himself as
1/Sgt not 2nd Lt. Patching was promoted
just a month before he was wounded.)
Brian N. Siddall
February 23, 2023