Foy, Belgium in 1945 – Then & Now with Easy Company

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Easy Company Monument Bois de la Paix

In the wood behind this monument, on 18 December 1944 “E” Company of the 506th P.I.R. 101st Airborne division U.S. Army dug their foxholes in the Bois Jacques Woods as part of the defence perimeter of Bastogne City that was soon to be surrounded by several enemy divisions. The circumstances were dreadful with constant mortar, rocket and artillery fire, snow fall, temperatures below -28 Celsius at night with little food and ammunition. The field hospital had been captured so little medical help was available. On December 24th the “E” Company position was attacked at dawn by about 45 enemy soldiers. The attack failed and “E” Company held their position with 1 casualty against 23 of the enemy. The position of “E” Company was twice bombed and strafed by American P-47’s. During the periods of January 9th and January 13th “E” Company suffered its most casualties ending with the Attack and capture of Foy on January 13th. 8 were killed in Foy and 6 earlier. During the whole period 32 were wounded and another 21 were evacuated with cold weather illnesses. In many units involved in the defence of Bastogne the casualties were even greater. This monument is dedicated to all that fought and is symbolic of what happened to other units during the Battle of the Bulge. Airborne Always, Men of E Company.

Foy, Belgium – 1945

Is for ever engraved in the monument dedicated to the men of “Easy” Company of 506th PIR / 101st Airborne Division, located in Bois de la Paix. From January 1st through the 13th Easy Company was to take control of “Bois Jacques” (Jack’s Wood) in Bastogne, Belgium. During this period the woods were continuously shelled by German artillery which would kill Pfc. Alex Penkala and Sgt. Warren Muck (“Skip”) when a shell hit their foxhole. On the 13th their task was to take the town of Foy.

Easy Company was to lead the attack on Foy, under command of Lieutenant Dike. The plan was to charge across a 200 metre snow-covered field to reach the village and clear the buildings of German soldiers. These German soldiers belonged to the 9. Kompanie/ Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 10 (9. Panzer-Division).

During the attack, Lieutenant Dike, whom shielded behind some haystacks, stalled and didn’t know what to do. Major Richard D. Winters, unavailable to get Dike on the Radio, ordered Speirs to take over the attack.

I remember the broad, open fields outside Foy,” Speirs wrote in a 1991 letter, “where any movement brought fire. A German 88 artillery piece was fired at me when I crossed the open area alone. That impressed me.”

He relieved Dike and took control. Boosting the moral of the men who began to assault the village. Whilst “I” Company was cut off, Lieutenant Speirs, ran through the German lines and the village of Foy to contact “I” Company and when succeeded, ran back. After the action at Foy, Major Winters recommended Dike be relieved and Speirs be officially put in charge of Easy Company. Sergeant Carwood Lipton stated later, “the Germans were so shocked at seeing an American soldier running through their lines – they forgot to shoot!”

Foy – Now & Then

Foy - Then & Now - 1

Photo from the edge of the wood i.e. start line on the assault on Foy. As you can see Foy lies below the wood and you can go the first 100m without being seen. After the first 100m that’s is no cover and you are in the killing zone. (Credits: Rob Appleyard)

This is the church in the main crossroads in the centre of Foy, from here the US troops are to my right and up the hill about 400m to the tree line. You can not see the base of the wood from here are you are too low down.

This is the church in the main crossroads in the centre of Foy, from here the US troops are to my right and up the hill about 400m to the tree line. You can not see the base of the wood from here are you are too low down. (Credits: Rob Appleyard)

A knocked out Panzerkampfwagen IV in front of the Church of Foy.

A knocked out Panzerkampfwagen IV in front of the Church of Foy. (Credits: Lasegundaguerra)

To my right hand side is the church, this building shows the scares of probably the flanking movement of the US troops after the assault from the woodbine came to a standstill. To the left of this building is dead ground for a good approach to the centre of Foy, the MG in the church tower can't see you as the view is blocked by buildings.

To my right hand side is the church, this building shows the scares of probably the flanking movement of the US troops after the assault from the woodbine came to a standstill. To the left of this building is dead ground for a good approach to the centre of Foy, the MG in the church tower can’t see you as the view is blocked by buildings. (Credits: Rob Appleyard)

This is the sniper position in Foy where Carwood Lipton acted as bait so Shifty Powers could kill the German sniper. (Credits: Kevin Pearson)

This is the sniper position in Foy where Carwood Lipton acted as bait so Shifty Powers could kill the German sniper. (Credits: Kevin Pearson)

Jack's Wood about 1km south East of Foy, US troops fort off an attack from German troops here.

Jack’s Wood (Bois Jacques) sign. (Credits: Rob Appleyard)

Easy Company positions in the Bois Jacques overlooking Foy. (Credits: Kevin Pearson)

Easy Company positions in the Bois Jacques overlooking Foy. (Credits: Kevin Pearson)

Jack's Wood about 1km south East of Foy, US troops fort off an attack from German troops here.

Jack’s Wood about 1km south East of Foy, US troops fort off an attack from German troops here. (Credits: Rob Appleyard)

jack's Wood were the german attack entered the US position, the trees show shrapnel damage, the floor of the wood has shrapnel inbedded all around.

Jack’s Wood were the German attack entered the US position, the trees show shrapnel damage, the floor of the wood has shrapnel inbedded all around. (Credits: Rob Appleyard)

U.S. 3rd Army soldiers thaw out by fire on slush covered street in Foy, Belgium. (Credits: Pininterest)

U.S. 3rd Army soldiers thaw out by fire on slush covered street in Foy, Belgium in 1945. (Credits: Pininterest)

35th_Infantry_Division_Halftrack_and_Panzer_IV_Foy_Belgium_Bulge_1945

American M3A1 drives past a destroyed German Panzerkampfwagen IV J in Foy, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge.

Foy - bulge
The village of Foy acting as the aid station for the 101st Airborne in January 1945.

German captives walk past a disabled tank as they are led into captivity by U.S. troops, on Jan. 25, 1945, north of Foy, Belgium, in the final days of the Battle of the Bulge.

German captives walk past a disabled tank as they are led into captivity by U.S. troops, on Jan. 25, 1945, north of Foy, Belgium, in the final days of the Battle of the Bulge.

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Argunners Magazine is an independent online historian and collector's magazine, dedicated to the militaria and history of both Axis and Allied powers during the World War 1 & 2. Argunners is a central resource offering the latest militaria and war history news, journals, articles and press releases related to these themes.

2 Comments

  1. Highly discipline men who put the weather and the lack of comfort out of their mind for destruction of tyranny. I now enjoy my way of life and that of my children and grandchildren. Thank you to the greatest generation!

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