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Dog Co. 1/16th 1st Infantry Division WWII Reenactors

The Gap
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 Fort Indian Town Gap
Battle of the Bulge Reenactment
Sgt Paul Mullen and T-5 Mike Kilian

   It was 20 Degrees out on the morning of 16 December when the call came that the Germans had just launched their counter offensive in the Ardennes Forest.  Since we had lost our unit, we became the Armored Infantry support for the 6th Cavalry Regt. under Patton's command of the 3rd Army.  The call was to drive a spearhead north, and this is exactly what we did.  Our decimated squad left us with: Sgt Paul Mullen, T/5 Michael Kilian, PFC. Jerry Michalski, and Pvt. Todd Knighton.  Cpl. Rory Bialecki had been MIA since 12 Dec. 
     After becomming aquainted with our CO, Capt. Joseph DiGiovanni, and other members of the unit, we aquired our ammunition and headed out to find trouble.  Clad in our overcoats and cold weather gear, we sped down the road in an armored column supported by several halftracks, weapons carriers, and armored jeeps.  As we passed retreating infantry units, it became clear to myself and other members of Easy Co. that this was not going to be an easy task. 
     The collumn stopped near a small section of woods after reports of German positions in the area nearby.  Our Company and other members of 6th Cav. set up a skirmish line and advanced across a snowy field and into the woods.  Unbenounced to us, a German Machinegun position, heavily camoflaged, lay directly in our path, along with German Reinforcements of the Gross Deutschland division.  After closing in up to 200 yards of the position, the machinegun opened fire and we immediately returned fire.  After several hours, it became clear that the Germans had stopped reinforcing their machinegun nests.  After flanking moves on either side, the Germans retreated and we followed. Pvt Todd Knighton and T5 Kilian moved forward in order to weed out German positions where both were pinned down and slightly wounded, but able to carry on.  Sgt. Mullen remarked that they were drawing us in too fast and we then regrouped and headed back to the armored vehicles, not wanting to leave them open to a kraut counter attack.  Along with several other dismounted 6th Cav troopers, Easy Company Lead the way down the road, where Sgt Mullen and T5 Kilian lead the way as scouts, with PFC Michalski and PVT Knighton right behind them.  As we flanked around the Germans to positions in their rear, we took heavy casualties as we drove hard deep into the german lines.  Casualties included Pfc Masterangelo (6th Cav.), Lt. Zuddackis (6th Cav.) Sgt. DeRose (6th Cav).  and several other men from a unit (78th Infantry Division) which had become entangled in the cross fire of several german machineguns.  In one incident, after we had dived to the side of the road infront of our supporting lead halftrack, T5 Kilian became pinned down when several german rifleman tried to advance to take out the vehicles.  The 50 Cal. gunner atop the halftrack (PFC. Mike Ciaravino, 6th Cav) made short work of them.  As rear units finally came forward, it became clear that the germans were retreating and that we had done our part.  We counted our dead, helped our wounded, and thanked almighty god that we were alive, if not tired, wet, and worn out.  We set up a regtimental CP and hoped for several hours rest.
     It was on 17 December that we headed out again looking for trouble.  Heavy casualties saw many promoted on the spot.  Capt. Joseph DiGiovanni was promoted to Maj, Medic T5 Vic Montiero was promoted to T4, and many others were put into leadership positions.  As we moved farther down into the Forest, orders came down to set up positions and be on guard against any German patrols.  With the challenge "Orange" and the response "Shovel", Sgt. Mullen and T5 Kilian, went on a two man scouting mission trying to infiltrate jerry's lines with newly aquired snow parkas (Taken from enemy soldiers who didnt require their services anymore.)  On another note, T5 Kilian also picked up an Iron Cross in the same mannor.  As Sgt Mullen and T5 Kilian went off, PFC Michalski and Todd Knighton made a fine foxhole complete with camo and reinforcement in hopes that it would sheild it from a german attack, after several hours and no german attack, we moved out and accompanied by our armored collumn, Easy Co was once again at the front of the collumn advancing along infront of the vehicles.  Orders once again came down that there was a temporary cease fire to evacuate both German and American wounded and we bedded down for an hour.  As orders came to move on again, we advaced down a forest road and kept on our toes, for Germans could be behind any tree on either side of the road.  We didnt have long to wait as we advanced up the road, The Germans attacked inforce with the help of a captured weapons carrier armed with several heavy machineguns.  T5 Kilian and Pvt Knighton scurried off in hopes to flank their positions along the road.  When they reached the top of the wooded hill, all they found were dead GIs and dead Germans.  Scared woodland creatures, including a large BLACK BEAR scurried away from the battle.  Pvt Todd Knighton claimed a german rifleman that had pinned down T5 Kilian.  They found themselves seluded away from their unit, which is a bad thing and went to rejoin.  As the battle raged, they scurried down a large snow and heavily wooded  ridge to get back to the road.  They rejoinded they unit and found Sgt Mullen manning a 50 cal. machinegun on a jeep.  As the collumn moved forward, T5 Michael Kilian was seriously wounded while running for cover behind the jeep.  Sgt Mullen immediately jumped out and dragged him across the road to cover where medic's from tried to keep him alive.  He died shortly thereafter.  The battle raged on.  but for many, it ended there.  Alongside the road in that hellish place, marks the graves of many men, both enemy and american. 
Thus ended the Battle for many men of Easy Co.

T5 Michael J. Kilian
2/16 E Co. 1st plt 2nd Sqd
1st Inf Div
Armored Infantry Support for 6th Cav.

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