That night, after the initial attack, I recall being in my foxhole, waiting for the Germans to come at us again. The realization came to me that I was involved in a real risky business. The area was lighted by the flames of a store of fuel drums burning throughout most of the rest of the night and reflecting eerily on the snow covered ground. The only sounds were that of the fire and the crying for help from the wounded enemy who were laying out there just out of view. I stayed in the foxhole all night and never did discover what finally happened to them, apparently their people abandoned them. Later, I heard that one of our medics went out and checked on them and did what he could. Over the years I continue to feel some responsibility for their fate, since it was me who called for the fire on them when they first approached the crossroads. Responsible, yes; sorry, no. It was them or me. A lot of things go through your mind when you think that it is your time to die and I can clearly remember, laying in that cold hole in the ground that could shortly be my grave, thinking that I had not even experienced being "in love" yet. I definitely did not want to die in this strange place. I prayed to God, Jesus, and every other deity that I could think of, for help. In later years I heard the expression that, "there were no atheists in foxholes". You can believe that.
Very early, in the dark, the next morning (22nd Dec.), the Germans attacked again and we were subjected to small arms and mortar fire off and on all day. At one point, mortar rounds were landing real close to my hole and, I was feeling very exposed with no helmet to crawl into. I could hear the mortar fragments and bullets smacking into the ground around my foxhole. Most of the mortar rounds were falling farther in toward the buildings. I saw one hit the roof of Captain Brown's CP. It must have been during this time that Major Parker was wounded by a fragment. I'm not sure about that, I didn't witness it. There was a G.I. in a foxhole next to mine who would not fire his weapon. When I called to him to fire, he just looked at me. I didn't know him and don't know his fate either, I could not understand why he was not willing to help himself (and the rest of us). I have read since that this is not an unusual occurrence. There are always a certain number who will not squeeze that trigger, even when their life is threatened.
Late in the afternoon several tanks were heard approaching our position. Thankfully, they were ours. They rolled out in the open and fired their big guns into the German positions and I thought, no problem now, with all this help the day is saved. It got quiet again. And then the tanks left. Looked like we would be hung out to dry, but it did stop the enemy attack for a while. Thanks, tankers. Too bad you couldn't stay for dinner.
After dark, I was moved in closer to the CP and dug another hole along with a G.I. named Randy Pierson. One of our guys made a run from hole to hole tossing everybody something to eat. I caught a box of "wet-or-dry" cereal and ate it dry. The two of us spent the night in the hole. One of us would sleep an hour and the other keep watch and then we would alternate. This was the only kind of rest that anybody got. We had dug our hole reasonable deep and then further fortified it with some fence rails that we cris-crossed in front of it. I was sure that we would be attacked that night. I had 30 rounds of carbine ammunition remaining and a knife that I placed on the ground where I could reach it. I prayed that it would not be necessary. It got very cold that night and the enemy did not attack. Another very long night.
Once in a great while I get asked, "How do you take care of your (personal) business when you get the urge at a time like this?" Well, to answer that, I can tell you, that you pick a time like this, when everything is quiet and dark, get out of the foxhole and let it go, as quickly and quietly as possible where ever you think the enemy might step in it. If you are under fire, you just do it in the foxhole and then throw it out (in the direction of the enemy, of course). At the time, the weather was our worst enemy, but then in the morning things changed and weather took second place.