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First Day in Bastogne (for the 1st Battalion 506th Parachute Infantry) ©

A little lead in to set up the information you are about to read.  The following documents have the Morning Reports and Surgeon General Reports (SGOs) and the list of books that go along with this article.  The three books for this article are about the first day in Bastogne with the First Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry (Headquarters Company 1st Battalion, Companies A, B & C).  The three books are The Battered Bastard of Bastogne by George E. Koskimaki, Bastogne - The First Eight Days by S.L.A. Marshall and Rendezvous with Destiny by Leonard Rapport; Arthur Northwood, Jr.


The First Eight Days and Rendezvous were written just after WWII with The Bastards first released 1989.  Coach K (George E. Koskimaki) collected thousands of documents and correspondence from the 101st Airborne Division Veterans from the WWII era.


The basis for this one is all about a letter sent from a former First Sergeant to the Company A Captain.  The three books mentioned above has all of the details that go along with the men listed in the letter written in 1945. 


1/Sgt Ted Patching listed what type of wounds happened to each Co A men and they matched up perfectly except for two.  Patching had Abie Fell being hit in the stomach and Ollie Barrington being killed with a head shot.  It was the exact opposite with Abie shot in the head and Ollie being hit in the chest region. 


                    1/Sgt Ted Patching – “A” Company, 506th Para Inf


     In a letter to his company commander Capt. Melvin O. Davis when both were recuperating in Army hospital in the United States, 1/Sgt Ted Patching wrote the following about the move to Mourmelon and the forty-eight hour passes to Paris:

    “As you probably know, we went to a rear echelon camp near Rheims, France to reform and reequip.  It was an old French Army camp –not too bad.  The boys were getting 45 hour passes to Paris.  ‘A’ Co. had just returned from their 48 hour pass to Paris on the night they were called out at 2 o’clock in the morning must have been slightly rough.  The boys really had themselves a time in Paris.  The pride of Temple, Texas, Amos West tangled with some of the French-and ended up in the cooler”.

1/Sgt Patching continues his letter to his company commander relating the names of the men familiar to the badly injured captain and what happen- to them:

     “To get to Bastogne Capt. Meason shot in stomach by explosive bullet – after several emergency calls to the Chaplain to perform last rites, he finally decided to live – darn luck.  He is now in the general hospital in Palm Springs, California.

     Joe Hopkins killed instantly bullet through head.  Sherman Sutherland commissioned a few days after me in Holland, died four hours after being shot through temple by sniper.  Abie Fell died a few minutes after being shot through the stomach.  Ollie Barrington killed by piece of shrapnel in brain;  Bill Shearing’s who squad pretty well wiped out when they were caught in the cross fire from two German tanks – there were only two known survivors but some of the boys seemed to think that Bill might have made it too.  Doss had the top of his head blown off, and was begging the boys to shoot him.  Shoemaker said he was still living 24 hours after he was hit.  Shoemaker was wounded again through the leg and arm, went back to duty, however. 

     John Power wounded again (if nothing else, that boy is going to have a nice string of clusters to his Purple Heart).

     ‘Scurvy’ Slaton had a big dud land so near to him that it almost covered him with dirt.  It knocked him silly and he had to be evacuated.  Behus was wounded again badly Gividen, a squad leader, was put out of action by a house collapsing on him.  Tony Borrelli was wounded lightly by shrapnel in the cheek.  Rumor had it in the evacuation hospital that Capt. Brooks had been wounded lightly and that Capt. Kessler had been killed.  By the way, Kessler took over ‘A’ Co. after Meason was wounded.  Loibl’s leg tied up on him and put him out of action.  Lt. Col. LaPrade killed – his executive officer Maj. Harwick, bad stomach wound – I don’t know who has the battalion now…the boys said Kessler was really out for blood.”*


* From a copy of a letter sent to the author by Joe Powers of “A” Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment.  Both 2nd Lt. Ted Patching and Captain Melvin Davis were recuperating in state side hospitals in 1945 when the letter was written.

(Corrected spelling of names when needed) (Ted Patching referred to himself as 1/Sgt not 2nd Lt.  Patching was promoted just a month before he was wounded.)


Brian N. Siddall

February 23, 2023




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