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Kenneth T. Delaney:

Hi, my name is Kenneth Delaney. I was born and raised in Historia, Long Island City, New York. Got married May 16th, 1953. Have five children, two girls, three boys, and 15 grandchildren, eight girls and seven boys and they all know Grandpa's war stories especially about D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. The Battle of the Bulge started December 16th, 1944. I was still in the hospital from the wounds that I received in the Hurtgen Forest Battle back in November.

That was my second wound. Anyway, the German army, about twenty-five divisions, open up an artillery barrage on the American front in Belgium. It was held by two crack divisions, American divisions, and one armored division and reserve. The two American divisions had been badly beaten from the Hurtgen Forest, the Hurtgen Forest Battle around the end of November. I was recuperating from the wounds received in that battle at a hospital, like I said, in Liege. Then on December 17th the hospital staff informed us that if you can walk or crawl, you know, you will have to go back to your division headquarters as soon as possible. I fought with the 1st Infantry Division, 18th Regimental Combat Team on D-Day Omaha Beach and the Hurtgen Forest Battle. I got back to my outfit on December 18th and I left the hospital. On December 19th, the next day, I again joined my regiment. I traded my walking cane in for a M-1 rifle and some hand grenades. The company commander told me I had to take over the 3rd Squad when, you know, when I got to the outfit up in the front. When I reached the foxholes where the company was I found the 1st Platoon. They were already in position on the front lines, so the platoon sergeant showed me where the 3rd Squad was. Now, usually the squad has twelve men. My squad, the 3rd Squad, had about eight riflemen and they were all new replacements and no combat experience. Finally, got orders to move toward enemy position.

We advanced about eight or ten miles through the woods and couple of small villages which we had to search every house for German soldiers but both villages were empty. Then about an hour later we were back in a wooded area again and that's when all hell broke loose. The 1st Platoon ran into a machine gun nest. Besides carrying a rifle and hand grenades, I also carried a radio set called a walkie-talkie and my lieutenant told me to radio for tank support because the platoon was pinned down. We were pinned down for about at least an hour still without tank support. I wasn't too worried because we had pretty good back-up with the 2nd and 3rd platoons on our left and right flanks. I had been carrying six hand grenades, hand grenades which came in pretty handy. Before we silenced the machine-gun fire four men in my squad were wounded and three were killed. Later that day they gave me four replacements. On December 20th, 21st, the company moved out and advanced about twelve miles further into Belgium. My squad, the 3rd Squad, and the 1st Squad ran into two German squads. They saw us running towards them and decided to surrender, all 19 of them. Then on December 22nd we started out with another mission. I noticed a farm house in the distance and as we got closer I noticed some activity around the house. Then I signalled the platoon to lay low and take cover. I signalled with my left hand above my head when I felt a sting in my left arm, very hot sting.

We took thefarm house about half hour later taking three more prisoners. I felt my hand, my left hand wet and sweaty and when I pulled my jacket sleeve up, took off my glove, I saw blood on my arm starting, you know, on my arm all over my watch and then my arm started to hurt. The field medic took me back to the field hospital which was about anywhere 7 to 10 miles. We went by, you know, by Army jeep. And then back at the hospital doctor said it was a small bullet went straight through my arm, so I stayed there three weeks in the field hospital and then went back to my company to combat duty again and was wounded again but slightly. One thing we were told was never to take a path that is already made in the woods or the forest for fear of land mines being planted there. But on January 28th we started to move out for the next village at about 8 a.m. The village was about three or four miles down the road so we decided to cross an open field and guess what? It was mined. Our platoon leader lieutenant, I forgot his name, decided to call for a Sherman tank but the radio I had, walkie-talkie, was not working to tell them what the situation is and he called, "Hey, Delaney, you got to go back to company headquarters and tell them what happened to get a tank up here." To make a long story longer, we got the tanks to spray the mine field to blowup what mines were in there and there were some. Then about an hour later we moved out toward the woods again. So being the first scout, naturally I was the first man in the woods.

It was pretty thick wooded area, almost a forest but not quite. So I decided to take the first path that I saw. Didn't take too long to find one. The path was an incline that led up the -- led up to the main road that we found out later we were going to take anyway which was held by German troops, so we, that were holding the road so we were told. The road had to be taken so our convoy could get through with some supplies to our troops in the different area. I was nearing the top of the incline near the road when I noticed a pile of logs on the crest of the hill. So I turned to my second scout and said "You know, that looks like a machine gun nest." So he looked at me and said, "You know, if it is, then we should be dead." I hand signalled back to the 1st and 2nd squad to lay low until we found out it was and thank God it wasn't when three German machine gunners jumped up from behind the log with their hands up and said, "Please, don't shoot. We surrender," and I guess we lucked out again. On May 8th, 1945, the war ended. We all got drunk. But I was in combat from the end of January to the, February, March, April until the end of the war and we had a big party that day. But one more story on a patrol we had in Czechoslovakia on May 11th, 1945. We went into, I believe it was before we got into Pilsen with the trucks with loud speakers to tell German soldiers the war has ended, you know, that it's over and we had one soldier with us that went through seven campaigns without a scratch.

I don't know how he done it. But we ran into a machine gun nest. They fired on us and he caught a bullet and it was his first and last wound. He died that day and here is a guy that went through the whole thing and when the war ended it was how he ended. We got the four German soldiers with a 50 caliber mounted machine gun on top of our truck and that was our last combat with the enemy. Anyway, the war was over for most of us but it was also over for him. Just want to say one more thing, thank you for listening.

 
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  October 26, 2011
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