BP2S3 Assault of Village of La Chapelle
Baker Company, Second Platoon, Third Squad
29th Infantry Division
The sun was high in the sky as we mounted our assault towards the village of La Chapelle. The village had been occupied by the German forces since the beginning of the invasion of France. La Chapelle itself was located in the Ardennes, north east of France, serving as a primary route for the German mechanized forces. We were able to push back the Germans and drive them into the edge of France. The high command ordered us to seize the village in the hope that we could cut off their mechanized forces route.
The assault force was split up into two squads. The first squad's objective was to secure the farm area while the second's objective was to push towards the northern village. Our squad was the first one, which was tasked to secure the farm area, while the others were tasked to attack the eastern flank. Our squad consisted of ten men. Before the assault started, our squad leader, Cpl. Rogers, explained to us on how we were going to approach the farm. The farm itself consisted of three main buildings: the south, middle, and north building. Since the south building was the one nearest to us, it was to be our first target. After we secured the southern building of the farm, we were to immediately secure the middle and north farm building. He explained the tasks of each of our squad members. After everyone was briefed, we proceeded to assault the village of La Chapelle.
I could see their grim faces reminding me that maybe we weren't going to survive to see our loved ones back home. We had already lost a member of our squad, PFC Paul. We were securing a building when, in a blink of an eye, the building collapsed after being struck by a thunderous rain of artillery. I felt very sorry for his fate: that he would never again be able to see the daylight. All I wanted from this war was to be able to go back home and see the face of my beautiful wife. I took out the photo of her and looked at it closely. Her lovely brown hair, beautiful round eyes, and sweet smile captured inside a film grain. “Don't worry, I’ll be back to see your face again." I could feel her love although we were separated a million miles away.
After an hour had passed, the Lieutenant gave us a clear signal to start the assault. We started the assault on the village from the southern approach. The sound of my combat boots stomping on the field rhymed with my pounding heartbeat. As we were running on a field towards the farm area, we were greeted with a rain of mortars.
The Germans knew we were coming.
Although mortar shells rained down upon us, everyone kept running towards the objective. “Don’t bunch up! Spread out!” shouted Cpl. Rogers. I forced myself to pass through that field of death. I saw someone get directly hit by a mortar as his body exploded into a red mist; I was horrified as his blood splashed over me. My bravery had been shaken for more than a moment, but I quickly snapped that feeling out of my mind. My only goal was to stay alive.
I stopped by the outside of the middle building to watch the western flank while my squad mate cleared out the building. I could see Pvt. Ferguson not far from me hiding behind a hedge while watching the eastern flank. One of our squad mates, T/4 Conley, set up his 30. cal on the south bridge to suppress any possible enemy infantry on the northern farm and eastern flank. We were able to secure the south and middle building, but the north building was still compromised. I could hear MG-42 fire buzzing out from the north farm building. West of the farm, across the road, there was a field covered with trees along the road line; we knew it was possible that the Germans could launch a counter-attack from that area. “Krauts spotted on the field on the western flank!” shouted PFC Chris as he fired his rifle towards the field: my hunch had been right.
I started to watch the western flank. It was clear that the Germans wouldn't give up the farm area easily. After we exchanged gunfire for some time, we were able to hold back the German counter-attack, but the north farm was still compromised. PFC Chris hurled some rockets to the north farm building, but such effort was not enough to make the Germans lose their grip in the farm area, especially in the northern farm. A powerful series of yells started echoing from inside the building. "McCray is down!" shouted PFC Brian as I gazed in disbelief with the news that we had lost another man.
After an hour of pointless firefight and a loss of multiple squad mates, we were unable to make a further advance. Out of nowhere, Cpl. Rogers showed up behind me to awaken me from my despair and tell me that we had to take the north farm area as quickly as possible. We had received confirmation that the Germans were already pushing from the east to attack the southern village, which is where the second squad had made their push towards the northern village. Cpl. Rogers quickly crafted a plan to assault the northern farm. He told me to get inside the middle building with Pvt. Ferguson to give covering fire for the assault team as they advanced to the northern building. I quickly ran inside the middle building and went up to the second floor, positioning myself beside a window that gave me a clear view of the northern building. “Go go go!” shouted Cpl. Rogers. After a moment, a smoke grenade landed on the field in the middle of the farm as it began to emit its blanket of distortion. Under the cover of smoke, the assault made their push towards the northern farm building.
As they swiftly entered the building, clearing out the individual rooms, Pvt. Ferguson and I fired some suppressive shots to give covering fire. Finally, after much hard work, we had secured the farm area completely. However, the German counter-attack from the southern village still exhibited a rising threat. PFC Chris volunteered himself to assist the second squad, scavenging for any ammunition he could find around the site before he made his journey to meet with them. I was amazed by his bravery and wished that I could be like him: a fearless soldier that volunteered for another death march. After some time and a strong fight back, in which we put forth all of our combined efforts, we received confirmation that the Germans were starting to retreat from La Chapelle.
After hearing the news, everyone cheered. I could see gleeful smiles appear from each face of my squad mates. I felt relief that I was still alive, but I couldn't help but feel very sorry for the men that lost their lives during this attack. I am sure they had families waiting for their homecoming, but they will never be able to see their faces again; they will only see their gravestones commemorating the lives they gave up to protect our freedom and democracy. It is unimaginable for me that I could only be returning home with my body lying stiff and lifeless in a wooden coffin covered with a flag.
We have won this battle, but the war isn't over yet. Tomorrow, we will march into the depths of Europe and to the heart of the Third Reich to end this war once and for all.
Written by PFC Wallace.
Edited by WO1 Brewer & PFC Laird.
Formatted by PFC Laird.