Remembrance page 2019-2020

Abraham Matza:
75thID, 289th regiment, company C
KIA january 6th 1945
Area of Forge a La Plez
Additional information:
” According to testimony of Jose Longoria, born in Texas, Sgt Matza saved his life on January 6th, 1945 at the Battle of the Bulge. Their position was being overrun by the advancing German Army. Sgt Matza was shot in the leg and could not pull back. He had a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle). He told Jose to fall back. Jose refused. Sgt. Matza ordered him to fall back. Jose then retreated. The next morning the American Army regained their previous position. Jose went to look for his friend. He found Matza’s body with about 20 -30 bayonet wounds in him. He also found about 40 enemy dead all around Sgt Matza. Pfc Matza gave his life protecting the men of the Second Platoon and he took a heavy toll of Germans before they got to him. “

Dayton Atwood:
75thID, 289th regiment, company I
KIA december 25th 1944
Area: Grandmenil (most likely chemin Goffin)
Additional information:
For gallantry in action on 25 December 1944 in Grandmenil. While serving as a radio operator of a weapons platoon, Private First Class Atwood had an opportunity to  withdraw from his position because of extremely heavy attacks of enemy armored force, rifle, and machine gun fire. However, this courageous soldier heroically electe…d to remain at his radio and by so doing kept his Commanding Officer constantly informed as to the  enemy situation and activity. Until he was killed, at his post, Private First Class Atwood  was in continual contact with his unit. By this great devotion to duty and purely unselfish and brave action he maintained contact with his company after all other means of communications had failed thus enabling it to complete its mission. This gallant act reflects great credit upon the armed forces.”

Earl Naumann:
75thID, 289th regiment, company K
KIA: december 25 1944
Area: Trou du Loup
Additional information:
While Trou du Loup was overrun by tanks of the 2nd Ss Das Reich, Earl and a couple of others tried to get away from them and tried to reach the other side of the road. It is most likely that Earl was KIA because of an incoming mortar/ artillery shell and was killed by the concussion.

Lloyd Rauch:
75thID, 289th regiment, company C
KIA; January 6th 1945
Area: Forge a La PlezAdditional information:
It is most likely that Lloyd Rauch was one of the other men, like Abraham Matza, who was killed by the German counteroffensive on january 6 1945 in the Forge a La Plez area.

Bob Myers:
75thID, 289th regiment, company G
KIA: december 25 1945
Area: Sadzot area
Additional information:
Robert V Myers and his mate James Deane were sent out on patrol to make contact with  company E, who were near the village of La Fosse and wich got kind of lost. Radiocontact could not be made, so these two man took off to find company E.
They left the village of Briscol, went into the woods and disapeared. Both men run into a German patrol and a fire fight broke out. 5 germans were later found dead, and also the bodies of Bob and James were recovered.

Lester Wertman:
3rdAD, 36th armored infantry regiment, company D
KIA; december 25th 1944
Area: Rue d’Erezée, Grandmenil
Additional information:
Lester was killed during the first attacks on Grandmenil , together with Leonard Mellitz. Both men were killed by tankfire.
Lt. Mellitz formed us up and he led off with several men on the left side of the street and a few of us on the right, in the opening stages of this new attack.  We hadn’t moved more than a few yards down both sides of the street into the village when there was an explosion of unusual force.  It must have been a round of high explosive from a nearby German tank.  That shell left Lt. Mellitz dead, as well as a man by the name of Lester Wertman, and a number of our men wounded, so the attack never really got under way.” -Bob Kauffman statement

Leonard Mellitz:
3rdAD, 36th armored infantry regiment, company D
KIA: december 25 1944
Area: Rue d’Erezée, Grandmenil
Additional information: see Lester Wertman

Richard Wiegand:
75thID, 289th regiment, company K
KIA: december 25 1944
Area: Trou du Loup
Additional information:
While German tanks overrun the positions of the 289th regiment, Richard managed to arm his bazooka and shot one round in the first Panther tank. Because of the hit, he was killed instantly. It is thanks to Richards’ shot that the complete 2nd SS Das Reich Division was stalled.
It was a major turn in the tight of the Battle of the Bulge.

Walter Eberly:
8thUSAAF, 389th Bomb Group, 565thBS
KIA: december 25 1944
Area: La Fosse
Additional information:
While retunring form a mission on Wahlen/Germany, the B-24 was attacked two times. The 2nd time the plane was going to crash and pilot Raymond Price ordered everybody out. Walter jumped too late and fell to death, seconds before the plane crashed. (Also see:

Owen Fox:
8thUSAAF, 389th Bomb Group, 565thBS
KIA; december 25 1944
Area: La Fosse
Additional information:
See Walter Eberly.

*** May They All Rest In Peace ***

The infamous foxhole.

It was 3rd armored division/ 36th armored infantry regiment veteran Bob Kauffman who asked me to start the research about the Ottré massacre.
He simply could not believe this story.

bob-kauffman-tony-vaccaroThe first time I met Bob, was on May 9th 2009. He had sent an email to researcher Eddy Monfort, saying he wanted to meet me.
We gathered at the Grandmenil crossroads, where Bob was arguing with a elderly, white haired man. I did know the man at that time, but later on it turned out that it was world war II photographer Tony Vaccaro.
This tableau was all filmed by a small crew. (Later it turned out to be a crew from Dog green productions, who were filming Tony’s journey from France to Germany)
It was kinda funny: Two elderly men arguing at the tank of Grandmenil, surrounded by some American, Belgium, German, Dutch people and a filmcrew.
After that, they made a tour through Grandmenil, visited the church and we finally ended up in our backyard, with loads of cakes, coffee and great stories. The filmcrew and mr Vaccaro had left before that.
With sorrow we said goodbye to Bob and the people who were with him: his son Allan, producer Allan Flemming and writer Timm Haasler with friends.

But to my surprise Bob came back the next day with his son.
We sat down and he told me that the meeting with Tony Vaccaro bothered him. Tony had told him that he was in Grandmenil during Christmas 1944. According to Bob that was impossible: the 83rd infantry Division was never in Grandmenil.
And that other story bothered him too: The story of an almost unknown massacre, wich took place just outside the hamlet called Ottré.
According to Bob it never happend.
With his soft, light crackling voice he asked me if we could investigate that story.
And so, this journey had started and Bob and I became very good friends.
While I’m writing this, the Ottré story is still not finished.
But during our research something marvellous happend.

I think it was in October 2009 that I wrote a message to Bob, asking him why he was so interested in that Ottré story.
His answer stunned me: “Because I was there!”
Bob was just outside of Ottré, when two platoons of company F, 331th regiment, 83rd Infantry Division, were on their way to attack the Germans.
Bob-Kauffman“I was there with George Sampson and 4 others! At a crossroads, in the direction of Bihain.”
George Sampson, his buddy during the battle of the bulge, and Bob dug in together with 4 others in 3 foxholes. This was on january 9th 1945.
Later, Bob published his book “The Replacement” and the situation is told on page 147:
“A runner came for Pop Waters and told him to report to the company CP. In a very short time he returned with news we did not want to hear. Our 3rd rifle squad was ordered to get it’s rear together, and we were taken to the edge of the village and ordered to dig in. Sampson and I, with the bazooka, were ordered to dig in right beside the road, Clark and another man, a few yards from us and the other team, beyond them.”
Bob Kauffmans memories were always very vivid. He took me to places wich he remembered. He gave me a simular discription of the foxhole situation as above. Via email I told him that there was a chance that his foxhole still could be there.
Bob mailed me back that this was impossible. Because of the cold and loads of snow, they hadn’t dug that deep. The other four had very soft soil, so they managed to dug deep. The third team even found a door, wich they used as a cover.

Why did Bob remember this event so vividly?
Because during that night, a vehicle came towards them, from the direction of Bihain. Bob and George both thought it was a German tank, on his way to the tiny hamlet. They had a discussion, because they were not sure anymore if the sound was a German or Americain vehicle. When they finally had vision on that tank, they saw it was an Americain tankdestroyer.
“That man would never know what kind of hell he put us through and how close he came to having a bazooka round through the side of his vehicle.”

I called my best buddy Marco Eradus and made an appointment for the 23rd of October 2009 to have a look for Bob’s foxhole.
On that day, we spent some hours in another region, researching other events. Around 16.00 hrs we headed for the hamlet Ottré, searched for that crossroads and found it between the village and the village of Bihain.
german-helmetWe parked the car, and decided to walk through a small forest with young pinetrees. After a couple of minutes, Marco started to shout that he had found a helmet. I rushed through the branches, only to find Marco laughing hard, holding up a motorbike helmet.
We reached the first houses, without finding the foxholes.
That was a great disapointment. We lookd thorough, but there where no foxholes.

It already was getting dark, when we headed back to the car.
We decided to take a quick look on the other side of that crossroads.
3 seconds later, I was standing in Bob Kauffmans foxhole. It was filled with branches. But is was unmistakenly a foxhole. Not deep, and like Bob said, it looked crappy.
If it was Bob’s foxhole, the we had to find the other ones too!
And we did. Just like Bob told us. One foxhole a few yards further on and the third was downwards.
We took some pictures and the next day I contacted Bob. He simply could not believe that we actually found his foxhole.
So, I promised him, that we would visit it, the next time he was in Belgium.

bob-kauffman-foxholeBob came back to the Ardennes on otber 11th 2010.
On the 13th I took him too the place where he was during the night from january 9th till the morning of january 10th 1945.
I parked th car on the other side of the crossroad, with the nose in the wrong direction. I did it to confuse him.
He got out of the car and looked around. “Where is it?”, he asked.
I looked at him. “Well, you were here in january 1945. You tel me!”
He turned around and looked to the other side.
“You parked the car at the wrong side of the road. It’s over there!”, he pointed to where his foxhole was and took off. He walked straight away to his foxhole.
Together with his son, daughter and daughter in law he stood there for a moment in silence, in his so called “infamous foxhole”.

Each time Bob visited us, he wanted to go there. And we did.
We stood there with his grandsons Jay, Eric,  son in law Alan, friend David and other people.
This was a great found. And I’m glad we made Bob so happy with this.

To me, this foxhole will forever be connected with the fields just outside of Ottré, where that massacre took place on january 10th 1945.
It is that foxhole and that great man who was there for just one night, who keeps me going in this research.
Bob later wrote to me: “The family has concluded that you really made the trip highly successful with al you did.  Especially finding that  foxhole.  That was a stroke of genius!”

Bob passed away on june 2nd, 2013 and is dearly missed by us.

You too can visit the “infamous foxhole” of Robert F. Kauffman.
You will find it on the map below.
Please treat that place with respect.






In october, during his last visit, I filmed Bob in his foxhole: (will be uploaded)