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American Soldiers of the 99th Infantry Division March Into Captivity

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American soldiers of the 99th Infantry Division are accompanied to the rear by paratroopers ofThird Fallschirmjager Division. While this column was marched into captivity, they could see and hear the battle between German and American artillery not far away. The 99th Division had just begun combat operations on the Roer River on December 13, 1944 when three days later the Ardennes Offensive broke with a heavy concentration of artillery fire. Despite being an inexperienced unit and their lines pierced by many German armored columns, the small unit actions fought by the 99th would prevent the timely completion of the German timetable. At Lanzerath, a German speaking municipality in Belgium, The Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon of the 38Fourth Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division, under the command of First Lieutenant Lyle J. Bouck, Jr., comprised eighteen men but inflicted 400-500 casualties on the Ninth Fallschirmjager Regiment, which failed to continue the assault. Bouck and his men were captured, but only one American was killed. This column of prisoners are lucky to have kept their winter coats and boots; some Americans were stripped of clothing. Many lost watches and jewelry when they were taken. The thousands of American prisoners from the 106th, 4th, 28th and 99th Divisions were marched through Northern Germany, where food and survival were constant concerns. Most men lost an average of fifty pounds during their five month captivity. Some men, like author Kurt Vonnegut of the 106th, were caught up in the firebombing of Dresden in February 1945.
Image Filename wwii2005.jpg
Image Size 3.24 MB
Image Dimensions 2396 x 2935
Photographer Unknown
Photographer Title SS Kriegsberichter (War Correspondent)
Caption Author Jason McDonald
Date Photographed December 18, 1944
Location Rollbahn D Between Lanzerath and Merlscheid
City Lanzerath
State or Province Liege
Country Belgium
Archive National Archives and Records Adminstration
Record Number NWDNS-111-SC-198240
Status Caption ©2007, ©2024 MFA Productions LLC
Image in the Public Domain

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