Don Stivers Desperate Hours
All was quiet along the American forward position held by the 1st Battalion, 112th Regiment, 28th Division just inside Germany on the Our River. Too quiet, thought Sergeant Lamoine "Frank" Olsen; his men could hear the un-nerving cries and moans of the enemy wounded. He was almost relieved when, at 6:20 a.m., December 16,1944, German shells arched overhead, drownČing out all other sounds. By 6:30 relief became concern as enemy infantry was reported in their rear. It would be a while before anyone named it, but the attack was the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge-the last German offensive of the war.
Though surrounded, at daylight his regiment attacked. On December 17, German orders were to destroy the forward American companies. Olsen's "A" Company, 1st Battalion was right in their path.
After fighting nearly all day, the regiment was given permission to withdraw west of the Our River. But cut-off even from communications, the last orders Olsen and his 1st platoon had received were to hold at all costs. For another day-and-a-half, without reinforcement or resupply, Sergeant Frank Olsen and his men held, as did the rest of the isolated 112th, buying precious time for the U.S. Army to move the 82nd Airborne near St. Vith and halt the German offensive.
Captured and sent to the POW camps, Olsen had a few nagging regrets. Foremost was that he had to lose men in the last major battle of the war.
The spirit of the Americans who fought in World War II is captured in Don Stivers' latest print, "The Desperate Hours."