Easy company member haunted by Bastogne weather

Every winter, Paul Rogers applies his own standard of measure onto the cold. The weather was glacial during the 29 days he and his comrades spent in Bastogne fighting the Germans. “People don’t know what cold is. Nobody could get to us, or they didn’t even try because it was so cold. I was able to pack some extra socks, but not everybody had them, so a lot of guys had their feet ruined.”

The soldiers had no gloves for their hands and most wrapped their feet in gunnysacks in hopes to keep them warm. They could light fires during the day but due to the continual siege, once night fell all the fires had to go out. It’s a mystery how they even survived.

Rogers has good recollection of his experience of the battle. His first foxhole was a slit trench. “But frost got in that right away,” he said. The next foxhole was more spacious, with a roof of tree limbs and dirt to protect against “tree bursts” — the rain of iron and wood that fell when artillery rounds detonated in heavy timber overhead, the MSN News reports.

Easy Company pulled out of Bastogne that January and advanced into Germany. They eventually reached Berchtesgaden in May, which was the site of Adolf Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest retreat. There were originally 140 Easy Company members of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. There is belief that Rogers is among one of the six surviving members, him being the oldest. They try to keep in touch and some even travel together. Their children also continue to organize reunions. The stories of Easy Company’s experiences on the battlefields continue to prompt books. Ed Shames, also a company member, will publish his memoir next year.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE