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Dead Cold Ridge

From the book Bastogne: The First Eight Days pg 63
(506th Parachute Infantry)

"A was blocked by heavy tank fire immediately and after a small advance was forced to return to the village.  But on the flanks, B and C went on until they reached the lower slopes of the objective ridges and started to climb.  At that moment the enemy
tanks came against them, supported by some infantry.  A few of the paratroopers kept going; their snow-covered bodies were found on the ridges weeks later. But the greater part of the two companies went to earth and sought whatever cover was at hand.

Then they continued to slug it out with their small arms as best they could. They could hardly see the enemy at any time.  The fog was closing down again and it was mixed with the smoke drifting over from the fires of Noville.  They held the ground until dark.7  Then Colonel LaPrade's men fell back on Noville.  The fighting on the slopes had cost the battalion heavily but the men thought they had caused equal" along with Map 9.

There were a total of 16 soldiers Missing In Action for the fight up the Ridges on December 19, 1944.  8 Company A were missing with 6 becoming POWs and two wounded in action.  3 of the 4 Company B soldiers were killed with one wounded and 2 Company C soldiers killed and 2 wounded.

The 5 missing Company B and C soldier's bodies were located January 16, 1945 after they retook the Ridge they lost back December 19.  If you look at Map 97 from RWD you will see they took the Ridges January 16, 1945. 

Most of the 5 soldiers date of death were shown to be correct, December 19, 1944.  Two were not though as all of the records showed a January date of death.  One of those two was finally corrected for the burial back in the United States.  There is one though Private Goldbacher to this day that has the date of death as January 15, 1945 as that is the date his body was located.     

Company B and C soldiers whose bodies were left where they fell for a month before found;
Company B  who attacked Objective B December 19, 1944
Sergeant John R. York
Private Angelo A. Bottacin
Private John W. Johnson

Company C who attacked Objective C December 19, 1944
Private John J. Burke
Private Robert H. Goldbacher

Company B and C soldiers whose were wounded on the Ridges;
Company B
Sergeant Homer E. Nichols

Company C
Sergeant Jack W. Dunn
Corporal Henry W. Barrett Jr.

Finally Company A soldiers who attacked Objective A and became POWs December 19, 1944
Private First Class Curtis P. Smith
Private J. C. Chambless
Private Donald F. Dieball
Private Robert L. Gunners
Private William C. Weber Jr.
Private Paul Wilson

The two Co A men who were wounded December 19, 1944
Private Gentry W. Boothe
Private Rudy Lisjack

The above 16 Soldiers showed up on the respective Morning Reports as Missing in Action for December 19, 1944.  Those men were either killed or captured that day.  On the same Morning Reports it shows soldiers from Headquarters Company First Battalion and Companies A, B and C for Soldiers that were killed or wounded the same day December 19, 1944.  Those Soldiers were sent back to Bastogne as they weren't under Germany control like the 16 MIAs were.

_________________________________

Sources:

S.L.A. Marshall, Bastogne: The First Eight Days, (Center of Military History (First Published 1946) 2010) 63.

Leonard Rapport and Arthur Northwood, Jr. Rendezvous With Destiny: A History of The 101st Airborne Division (Greenville, TX: 101st Airborne Division Association, 1948), 628.

506th Parachute Infantry Morning Reports

Hospital Admission Card Data Files

Army Records

The George E. Koskimaki Collection

 

Brian N. Siddall
February 27, 2023


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