Sample Chapter from ...

Buried In Paper:

Fascinating and Poignant Stories Revealed in Actual World War II Documents


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Chapter 5

A Bluff Brings a Victory

On September 3, 1944, a few hundred men from the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry marched into a forest outside Mons, Belgium. They had been told the woods were free of Germans.

"What was not known was that thousands more Germans were constantly filtering into the woods," an Intelligence Report stated. “The battalion, however, had not penetrated more than a few hundred yards into the woods before it was engaged in a stiff fire fight. In the half-dark, and at quarters so close that nothing but small-arms fire could be used, the battalion fought Germans coming from every direction in disorganized groups."

At 4 a.m. a German captain suggested that the two sides stop fighting so that he could evacuate his wounded. The vastly outnumbered Americans agreed—with one condition: German forces had to surrender. By noon, the few hundred Americans, who were almost out of ammunition, had thousands of German prisoners. Total American casualties: 1 man shot in the leg and two minor injuries.

Editor's note: The document refers to a "4.2 chemical platoon." That's a unit that uses mortars with a diameter of 4.2 inches.

The Document

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