Friendly Fire in the hills of Grandmenil.

December 25, 1944, 13.00 am:
In the early morning of December 25, Christmas Day, the battalion reorganized after the attack at Trou Loup, and digs in because they feared an imminent counterattack. They know that, if the Germans would come back, they would be supported by infantry troops.
Dead and wounded are evacuated. A platoon of the 3rd Armored Division tanks, is supporting the battalion. The anti-tank battalion take positions in the short distance to the back to add depth to the anti-tank protection. A small minefield is placed on the highway (In 2009 we found a mine in the woods; BK) , with bazookas and a small unit of fire arms.
Communication is extremely difficult. Due to unknown reasons, the radios do not work. During Christmas Day engineers attempt to repair the wiring. The reorganization of the tank units behind the battalions ensures that the wires keeps breaking.
Because of t he lack of communication, the command post, which is situated at the front, is set up straight up in the front lines.

Grandmenil P38 Lightning friendly fire
P38 Lightning

By 14.30 pm Task Force McGeorge stands between Harre and Mormont , ready to attack Grandmenil. A that time, some P38 Lightning aircraft approach Grandmenil to bombard the village.
Accidentally they bomb the Americans, resulting in 3 dead officers and 26 dead soldiers.
Six American P38 aircraft, each with two 500 ponds bombs, fly at 13.00 hours on this position and firing their 50 caliber ammunition and bombs on the platoon. They aim excellent: they disable a sherman, blow up a minefield, blow up a truck full of ammunition, and cause some deaths. The battalion is not aware for an upcoming air attack.
Short time later a plane is flying over and drops a message. A unidentified force, marched to the northwest of the valley to the left of the battalion. The battalion commander understands that a pilot made a mistake and thought Company L was the enemy.
Ted Breeden, I co 289th infantry regiment:
I remember I was walking in the direction of Grandmenil and groove a foxhole on the lower part. When I had dug the hole , I enjoyed the Sun.
I looked straight up and saw P-38’s approaching. They dropped one or two bombs. I rolled in my trench and thought how ironic it was because it was Christmas. At home, in California, my parents, two uncles and three aunts worked at Lockheed and built this beautiful aircraft.
I believe that the bombs hit our ammo truck on the road. I saw flames and heard explosions for some time.

Alfred S. Roxburgh ( Gun Crew #3 Cannon) 3rd Section 2nd Platoon Battery BCannon 289th Infantry Regiment , 75th Infantry Division:
December 25-26: We rested on the attic of an old abandoned house. We had reached the point and we limped out of the trucks after a miserable trip. We dug in our FDC (Fire Direction Center): Frozen ground is no fun for digging a hole. The hole that I groove was not a foxhole nor a trench. It was just big enough for a couple hours to spend. We were near an intersection in the north east corner of a field. I think that the field artillery (897th and 790th field artillery) were near us. To the south were open fields to a wooded edge, further to the south. To the southeast the wooded edge seems closer and just past the corner of the intersection. There are several tanks at the crossroads. These men are fighting since june. To our right are flat fields with wooded hills behind it.
The sun came up and we saw Allied Air Forces flying to Germany. It was wonderful to see B24s and P47s flying, until we saw a yellow trail wich told us one of the planes was hit. Shortly after a B24 went down, and two parachutes opened. It makes your blood boil when you see an pilot landing in enemy terrain and the other on its own site.
Several P38 were climbing and diving behind the hill towards the south east (Grandmenil).

Robert H. Mabes, M Company, 289th Infantry Regiment , 75th Infantry Division .

We had been ordered to put up a defensive position and dig in . On Christmas day the weather was clear and fresh. I dug a Foxhole of only 30 centimeters deep when I knocked on the rocks. We sat on a slope looking over a valley. Grandmenil was below us, but we could not see the village . That morning there was a large group of bombers flying over. All aircraft, except three, were shot down. I counted nine parachutes whowere on fire. Immediately after, our planes attacked the German positions. The rest of the day bombers flew over us towards Germany. A P38 flew over and I waved to it. The plane turned immediately and opened fire on us and a truck with ammunition was hit. Afterwards I heard that the roof of the truck had the wrong color, so the pilot thought the truck was occupied by the Germans.

Grandmenil P-47

Paul Frohmader – 75 th infantry division, 289th infantery, Company K:
At dawn, the group returned to the place where the German tanks had attacked. Two jeeps were flattend and there were deaths and wounded. They were ordered to dig in on this place. Their aim was to attack Grandmenil, a village that was about a half mile further.
The Germans were occupying Grandmenil. It was an important route to transport supplies.
American tanks arrived and everyone was glad they were there because of the attack the night before (Trou de Loup, BK). The weapons were limited: they had bazookas, most did not even have ammunition. They were lost during the attack.
From their position they could see that P38 and p47’s attacked Grandmenil. One of the P38, however, turned to their direction and dropped two 500 ponds, some 150 yards away from them. One of the bombs hit the ammo truck. The medic of the group was slain, juast as 8 soldiers from the 3rd Armored Division.


Edward M. Yazijian, 3rd armored division, 2nd infantery bataljon, Company E:
On memorial day I try not to think of the white crosses on the slopes of the Henry Chapelle cemetery. My thoughts go to Grandmenil. The Battle of the Bulge was only a week old and was marked by brutality and a Siberian winter. Spit froze before it hit the ground. I was in Company E, 2nd Battalion infantery, 3th Armored Division, and I yearned for the Arizona desert.
On Christmas Day we were ordered to attack Grandmenil. Our attack faltered and we called in air support. Someone forgot to tell the P-38 pilots that they had to bomb the Germans. When the bombardment was finished, there were 39 of us dead and many wounded. The Germans wanted to take us out of our misery and shot as much as mortars and artillery at us, that we no longer had fun. It does not matter where you looked, there was no long life for us. I kissed a picture of my mother in my helmet and that was it. Then someone cried, with fear and bravour as hard as he could: “For godsake, Lieutenant, get these men out of this damn hell!” I thought he had lost his mind but there was still a glimmer of hope. I knew then that we would continue and take Grandmenil. And so we did on December 26, 1944.
I do not know who shouted these words. I believe the owner was a replacement who has not lived long enough to make friends.
At the end of the Battle of the Bulge, there were 19,276 deaths and 47,493 injured in a few weeks time. What government could look at people today with so much victims as then…