So, here we sat in this hole in the ground, just waiting and watching, until about midnight, when we could hear strange noises in the fog. It was very dark and our visibility was extremely limited, but, we were able to discern what was making the strange noise as about a dozen Germans soldiers riding on bicycles came into view. They stopped in the road when they came on the mines. Being unaware of our presence, not 10 yards away, they stood there in front of us, in the middle of the road, probably talking over what to do next. We could hear the language was not English and they were wearing "square" helmets. Sewell and I were in big trouble. This was a first for us, to be this close to the enemy. Thinking that there was too many for us to take on with a carbine, I took the telephone and whispered our situation to Captain Brown. His orders were to, "Keep your head down and when you hear me fire my .45 the first time we will sweep the road with the AAA quad 50's. When that stops, I'll fire my .45 again and then we will hold fire while you two come out of your hole and return to the CP. Make it quick!" And that's the way it happened. That German patrol never knew what hit them. On hearing the .45 the second time, Ken and I left our hole, and keeping low, ran back toward our perimeter. I was running so hard that my helmet bounced off my head and went rolling out into the darkness. I thought, "to hell with it", and never slowed down to retrieve it. I lost sight of Ken and honestly don't remember ever seeing him again. (I heard many years later that he was captured along with Bernard Strohmier, John Gatens and others after the Germans took the crossroads.)
By calling out the password "Coleman," I got safely past our perimeter defense and was then shot at (and missed) by somebody at the howitzer position as I approached it. After a blast of good old American obscenities they allowed me through and I reported to Captain Brown. (The official book says that there was an eighty man patrol from the 560th Volks Grenadier Division and the 2nd Panzer Division out there that night. Maybe the rest of them were back in the fog somewhere.)
The next morning, 21 Dec., I was sent forward to have a look around and found several dead German soldiers in the snow. I was not at all comfortable with that, and was happy to have not found any live ones. The enemy had apparently pulled back after we had cut down their advance group the night before. All that day was spent digging and improving our defensive perimeter. We were given some "warming time", off and on, inside the stone building being used as a CP. At one point, I was detailed to guard two German prisoners that were brought in. I never learned the circumstances of their capture. One, an officer, spoke good English and warned us that the German Army was coming through us and would kill anyone in the way and push the rest into the English Channel, so, we could save everybody a lot of trouble by surrendering to him right then and there. Right.
There were some American stragglers in and out during the day. A few stayed, some left. I really didn't know what was going on, or who they were. I was mostly out of touch, occupying a foxhole. Apparently, there was still one of the roads open to our forces to the west. At one point a Sherman tank came along and was set up in front of our CP and fired a few rounds across the field and into the forest at some distant soldiers running from tree to tree for cover. I supposed that they were enemy, too far off to see for sure. I doubt that any were hit at that distance in any case.