I try to be pretty sharp with my notes, but this was one spot where I just wasn't entirely sure if I got everything exactly right. I apologize to anyone who served here.
This field area was the site of a pitched tank battle, the original march in by the 101st airborne and major resupply drops by C-47s. The fields were so open, that the C-47s saw this as an ideal drop zone for supplies. This field is about 2.5 miles from Bastogne.
Hemroulle was in the northwest sector of Bastogne, and in some later pictures, you'll see more of this town. Just so you all know, the 101st Airborne did their "Three Foot Jump" when they detruck
ed, just up the road northwest of Hemroulle. I'll show you in later pictures the road they came down. They exited near Champs and came down through Hemroulle into Bastogne. The order happened to be where First Battalion of the 506th was in the lead of the regiment, so that's why when the 506th deployed, they ended up in Noville, all the way in front.
Hemroulle is a tiny town and a lot of the houses seem post-war and I'm guessing that many buildings were flattened during the fight.
I posted below a story about the battle for Hemroulle, but I'd like to try to add some things that I read off a sign right next to the church, which you see on the left.
This road runs northeast and the town on the other side of that treelein appears to be Longchamps.
On December 25th, the Germans attacked in force in Hemroulle and it led to an incredible fight involving skirmish lines made up of artillerymen, cooks and others.
I got a little turned around and I think they came right across from the left in that field and were blasted back by hidden tank destroyers and men along the road and from those far trees. I apologize if I got that wrong. It was hard to follow the exact line of battle because the German tanks came in from the southwest and then turned to the north, which would be towards those trees, and they were then blasted.
Since I've butchered the story, here's a history of this battle
Just as the first light of Christmas morning broke, the S-2 of the 1st Battalion, First Lieutenant Samuel B. Nickels, Jr., came at a dead run into the chateau where the Headquarters, 502d, was. "There are seven enemy tanks and lots of infantry coming over the hill on your left," he said.16 He had first sighted them moving along parallel to the ridge southwest of Hemroulle. (Plate 36.) They were striking toward the ground where the 502d and 327th joined hands.17
The Rolle Chateau was emptied almost before Lieutenant Nickels had finished speaking. Cooks, clerks, radio men and the chaplains collected under Captain James C. Stone, the 502d headquarters commandant, and rushed west to the next hill.18 From the chateau gate at Rolle, the road dips down through a deep swale then rises onto the ridge where it joins the main road into Hemroulle, about two miles northwest of Bastogne. The road line is on high ground all the way until just before it reaches Hemroulle where it drops down again to the village.19 Captain Stone's scratch headquarters force ran across the swale and took up firing positions close to the road and facing westward.20 Within a few minutes they were joined by the men of the regiment's wounded who were able to walk. Major Douglas T. Davidson, the regimental surgeon of the 502d, had run to the chateau stable that was serving as a temporary hospital, rallied his patients, handed them rifles and then led them out against the tanks.21
They could see the tanks coming on toward them now. From the archway of Rolle Chateau it was about 600 yards to the first line of German armor. (Plate 38.) Colonels Chappuis and Cassidy and the radio operator looked westward from the archway and could see just the outline of the enemy movement in the dim light. They were now the only men at the headquarters.22
Colonel Cassidy called Major Hanlon and told him to leave Company B where it was but to get the company ready to protect its own rear and then try to get Company C faced to the west to meet the German tanks as they came on.23
The 327th Glider Infantry was already engaged. At 0500
Colonel Harper had heard by phone from Company A of his 3d Battalion that 18 enemy tanks were formed for attack just east of Mande-St.-Etienne.24 At 0710 the German armor supported by infantry of the 77th Grenadier Regiment smashed through the positions held by Companies A and B.25 In coming through the companies, the tanks fired all their guns and the German infantrymen riding the tanks blazed away with their rifles. The spearpoint of the German armor had already broken clear through to the battalion command post.26 At the 327th regimental headquarters Colonel Harper heard by telephone of the breakthrough, and on the heels of that message came word from Lieut. Colonel Cooper that his 463d Parachute Field Artillery Battalion already had the German tanks under fire.27 At 0715 Colonel