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I & R Platoon - A story

Article about: What a story steve, i found it fascinating and thrilling, i find that someone who can relate a portion of history so easily makes a book seem almost redundant, plus it adds that personal tou

  1. #11

    Default Re: I & R Platoon - A story

    What a story steve, i found it fascinating and thrilling, i find that someone who can relate a portion of history so easily makes a book seem almost redundant, plus it adds that personal touch to the action that took place, what happened to the surviving members, pows , obviously, but any info apart from that, also i can imagine the shivers that ran down the spine when you found the casings and heads.

  2. #12

    Default Re: I & R Platoon - A story

    Nice work steve !!
    The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )

    1st July 1916

    Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
    Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
    Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
    Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
    We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
    But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader

    House Carles at the Battle of Hastings

  3. #13

    Default Re: I & R Platoon - A story

    Many Thanks Steve!!!
    That was better than watching a war film!!!

  4. #14

    Default Re: I & R Platoon - A story

    Napalm - Sadly no. Nothing at all. Maybe I should start a campaign to get one.

    LS - Good idea. Mind you, it would need to be a big frame !

    WH - Thanks Glad you liked it

    DaveJB - I am getting goosebumps again now looking at them ! I'll have a look see if I can find out what happened to them and post back. Certainly 'Pop' made it back as he served a full 30 years.

    Paul E - Thanks mate

    lew07 - What a nice thing to say Many thanks.

    Steve T

  5. #15

    Default Re: I & R Platoon - A story

    Hey all

    I have done some more research and discovered that all the men of the platoon, (except one who was killed in the action), were made POW's and passed from various camps until liberated at the end of the war. I was totally gobsmacked to discover that not only did they survive the action, but that they all made it home.

    Extract from Wikipeadia.........

    Bouck considered the wounding of most of his men and the capture of his entire unit a failure.[2] He only later learned that because his platoon prevented the lead German infantry elements from advancing, armor units were backed up behind them for miles during the entire day. At the end of the fight, exhausted from more than 15 hours of continuous combat, out of contact with their division, and out of ammunition, after Bouck and most of his men had been wounded, the platoon was overrun by German soldiers. The remaining 15 men were captured and were prisoners of war in freezing, disease-infested prison camps for five months until the war ended, and were near death when their own Army division freed them.

    Wilhelm Mohnke, in charge of the Sixth Panzer, had charged his best colonel, Standartenführer Joachim Peiper, commander of the 1st SS Division, with leading the push to Antwerp. The unit finally arrived in Lanzerath just after midnight, having been delayed 12 hours by horrendous road traffic, blown bridges, and ultimately the tenacious defense of the American soldiers.[4] The eighteen men's day-long battle not only prevented the German infantry from advancing, but held up the entire 6th Panzer Army behind them. Instead of reaching the Meuse River on the battle's first day, the German's went nowhere. The entire northern wing of the German attack fell hopelessly behind schedule, never to recover.

    Author Alex Kershaw said, "Had they not stood and held the Germans and halted their attack, or rather postponed it for a crucial 24 hours, the Battle of the Bulge would have been a great German victory."[5] Bouck attributed the unit's success to the fact that all of his men were expert marksmen. The excellent defensive terrain, the extra weapons Bouck acquired, and their prepared and well-concealed defensive positions contributed significantly to the massively disproportionate casualties they inflicted on the Germans. The inadequately trained and inexperienced German troops also attacked across an open field in waves that made them easy targets for Bouck and his men.

    Due to their capture and the general chaos of the Battle of the Bulge, the unit's story was not well known. When Lt. Bouck was freed as a prisoner of war, he was too weak to file a combat report, and didn't think much of what the men had done. "We were in those foxholes and ... what we did was to defend ourselves and try to live through it."

    After the war ended, Bouck returned to St Louis and was reintroduced to a fifth grade classmate, Lucille Zinzer. They married on April 27, 1946. Bouck attended the Missouri Chiropractic College on the G.I. Bill and graduated in 1949. He practiced for nearly fifty years, until 1997. They had 5 children, Daniel, Diane, Denise, Douglas and Dwight. Two of his sons served as U.S. Navy pilots and the third followed his career as a chiropractor. He was a charter member of the Concord Village Lion's Club and served as its president. His unit's actions were largely forgotten or unknown. Of his war experience, his wife Lucy said, "He never talked about it. Never."

    In 1965, the U.S. Army published a multi-volume history of WWII, The Ardennes: The Battle of the Bulge. Author Hugh M. Cole mentioned Bouck's platoon in passing, which upset platoon member William James (Tsakanikas). He contacted Bouck and encouraged his former commanding officer to get his men their proper recognition. Bouck contacted his former division commander, Maj. Gen. Walter Lauer, who nominated Bouck for a Silver Star. In June 1966, the Silver Star arrived in Bouck's mailbox, but no other man had been recognized, which upset Bouck. He was shortly afterwards interviewed by John S. D. Eisenhower for his book The Bitter Woods, in which the actions of the unit were told in detail. Columnist Jack Anderson unsuccessfully campaigned to see that William James (Tsakanikas) be awarded the Medal of Honor.

    On October 26, 1981, after considerably lobbying and letter-writing by Bouck, members of the unit were finally decorated. Fourteen of the 18 members were present. Secretary of the Army John O. Marsh hosted the ceremony. Every member of the platoon was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. Four members were given the Distinguished Service Crosses, five Silver Stars, and ten Bronze Stars with V devices, all for their 10 hour struggle with an entire 500-man strong German battalion.

    In 2004, the book The Longest Winter was published documenting the defensive actions of the platoon. Bouck cooperated with the author, Alex Kershaw, but imposed one condition, "I told him that other authors never wrote about the other men in the platoon, just me. I said I wouldn't talk to him unless he promised that he'd also write about the other men."


    I did some more research and you will never guess what.


    Lt Lyle Bouck is still alive and I have this very minute been advised of his contact details and have sent him an e-mail !!!!!!!

    I have also managed to obtain his phone number and, through a contact I've made, he has said he will be most pleased to hear from me and to see what I found !!!

    Unbelievable !

    I'll let you know how things go


    Steve T

    PS Picture of Lyle Bouck attached
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture I & R Platoon - A story  

  6. #16

    Default Re: I & R Platoon - A story

    Steve that is great news and again marvelous research on your part, what a story to have passed down to your children, it also leaves the question, how many other unknown feats of outstanding bravery and soldiermanship are out there, i guess we will never know because these heroes are to humble to float their own boat, and i think thats a shame because i think parts of military history could be re-written with the deeds they performed, and what terrific screenplays they would make. They would equal blockbusters that have been so prevelent over the past years, i think that now all the surviving members have been duly recognised , goverments should follow suit and ensure that awards and recognition are fully researched, and endeavours such as these be made public knowledge.

  7. #17

    Default Re: I & R Platoon - A story

    Hi Steve,
    I'm gobsmacked with this, top marks on the follow up research its great work. I was wondering did you take any pictures at the time of your visit to the fox holes? Perhaps if Lyle Bouck is on email it would be great to send him the pics so he can see his handy work is still there. I look forward to hearing what happens next, perhaps he'll send you a signed picture to go with your awsome finds.

  8. #18

    Default Re: I & R Platoon - A story

    After reading this story, I couldn't resist of going there myself.(1Hour1/2 drive)
    I took my camera along for the trip and made some pictures for the guy's here on the forum to enjoy.
    With the directions Steve gave me, it was easy to find the place.
    But when I got there it was verry misty.
    I hope you wil enjoy.
    Ps: Thanks Steve, I never heard that story before.
    So this winter I did some research on the battles in that area and found a promising spot thanks to it. Just added the pictures to my thread "back to the bulge".
    Thanks again for the story and keep up the good work.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture I & R Platoon - A story   I & R Platoon - A story  

    I & R Platoon - A story   I & R Platoon - A story  

    I & R Platoon - A story   I & R Platoon - A story  

    I & R Platoon - A story   I & R Platoon - A story  

  9. #19

    Default Re: I & R Platoon - A story

    Excellent pictures WW2Hunter. For those who've never been, without the fog you can see for about 10miles across the valley in front of this position. It's a magnificent view but one that must've scared the hell out of the platoon that morning.

    Thanks for uploading them

    Steve T

  10. #20

    Default Re: I & R Platoon - A story

    You're Welcome,
    I will go back there, to make a few pictures of the view from the positions in to the valley, when the weather permits it.
    If you're ever come back to the area, give me a sign, I would love to meet you there.


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