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Retracing the Paths of My Uncles, Part 8

Discussion in 'Philosophical Musings' started by cincibuck, May 26, 2017.

  1. cincibuck

    cincibuck You kids stay off my lawn!

    The German drive managed to create a gap in the US First Army. This broke the communications, supply lines and command structures. To solve the problem, Eisenhower turned the US forces on the northern shoulder, including the 75th Division and the 99th, over to Montgomery's British command. Uncle Cliff and Uncle Ray were thus on one side of the gap, and when Patton turned his entire army away from Metz and rushed to the defense of Bastogne all three brothers were involved in the same battle, on opposite sides of the enemy's flanks.

    Patton's turn and drive is a remarkable feat of arms. Imagine turning a city of 250,000 around 90 degrees and then pushing it over a narrow, winding road net, 90 miles - all the while maintaining communications, security and food and medical support. It would require discipline and constant monitoring to do in peacetime. Patton does it in the middle of a chaotic battle, knowing that he must be alert to defend his back and his flank at all times.

    I drove along the major route used by Patton to get to Bastogne. I began fittingly at his grave site in the American Military Cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg. A beautiful spring day, the traffic was filled with families going somewhere. There were so many trucks that I was reminded of driving into Cincinnati on 1 - 75.

    Throughout this journey I know that I have been half expecting to see war relics: tanks, artillery, trucks and jeeps piled up and pushed aside and left to rust away. There has been nothing like this except for two places: Omaha Beach and the little French ghost town of Oradour Sur Glane; and even at Omaha it was always a display of some military vehicle to mark a museum or a monument. The grade school boy still inside me, playing sand box battles with his friends doesn't always appreciate the need for the world to get on with life.

    I drive along. I'm on a super highway - a four-lane express way that didn't exist in 44, in a road net of hundreds of tiny two lane and one-and-a-half lane roads that Patton had to use. I wonder which one of these roads Uncle Bobby was on. A 20 year-old kid, living through part of a historic battle in a historic crusade.
    Back roads in the area of Bastogne, Bastogne today.
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    FCollinsBuckeye and ORD_Buckeye like this.

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