Robert Hopkins

This is Robert Hopkins
A few year back I had asked Lt. Robert Hopkins of the 32nd. Recon if he
knew anything about the reconnaissance on December, 1944. He told me
what he rememberd and I had never heard about the second Recon Section.
He also agreed to send me what he had written down and other documents.

     We did have two Scout Sections inf our Recon Co., 32nd. Armored Regiment. involved. These Scout actions consisted of 12 men per each Section, four jeeps with three men each. We were armed with our personal weapon, 60 m.m. mortars and 30 cal. machine guns. On the day the Germans broke through, December 16, 1944 as I remember, these two Scout Sections (listed above) were sent to reconnoiter roads (two) that led south to where the Germans broke through. I, at the time was a Section Sergeant, of one of the Sections under a Second Lieutenant. We were informed that German troops were dressed in American uniforms and as you can imagine, it was a very scary situation for us. Luckily we didn't encounter any problem with that. Our duty was to check roads, bridges, etc., to be able to move tanks and elements of our task forces to the breakthrough.
My Scout Section was to reconnoiter the most easterly road running south and supposedly the most dangerous. We were reconnoitering two roads, one per each Section. Our orders were to reconnoiter as far as we could or until we ran into gunfire and not to fight but to return with our information.
     The other Scout Section ran into an ambush and became a part of the massacre. We did have two men that I knew of, out of the 11 get out alive, a Sergeant Zack and Edward Bojarski. Zack was wounded and crawled out during the night. Bojarski played dead and got out alive (not wounded). He eventually got back to our Co. and as I remember him saying he felt like he was living on borrowed time. His version was that there were approximately 150 men including our 12 that were stripped of their weapons and lined up in an open field and an armored German vehicles started firing at them as they moved by. Then some German troops stopped, went into the field and shot anyone that moved (point blank). He said he (Bojarski) was kicked over in the snow two or three times and each time the Germans said he was dead.
     Our platoon and Co. (as I remember) stayed up all-night and waited for the other Scout Section to return. They never did and this was a very sad thing. At the first time I wrote this I could only remember the two survivors, but later found out about Barron, Cummings, and Wendt.

On approaching the Baugnez crossroads, some of the German Column cut across the field, about 700 yards above the crossroads where they had some reconnaissance cars guarding the road. When we got there they had already cut a supply column and they made us dismount and line us all up in a field near the road. After we were placed in the field with the other prisoners, the German column started to move. The first vehicle in their column was an armored car, and when this first vehicle got up alongside of us, the officer in charge. stood up and took his revolver and shot two men in the front row. Then he moved out and a half-track pulled in behind him and put two machine guns up on the side and just sprayed the field and mowed us down, I got wounded in the leg and we all hit the ground and they kept firing until no one moved. When any of the boys who were wounded started hollering, the Germans dismounted and want amongst us and just hit them on the head with their rifle butts and then shot them. After they had gone all through us and no one moved anymore, they mounted back up and started moving out. Every time a half-track would pass they would let a burst of machine gun fire go at us We all laid there for about two hours until the column passed and then I beeped up and hollered "anyone able to go, let's go". About eight of us out of an approximate 150 men made the break. They opened up with a machine gun again from a tank on the cross road, and those that could run took off and the rest of us hit the ground and laid there until darkness and then got up and made our way back to our lines where I was picked up by a patrol and carried to a first aid station. The German troops involved in this shooting wore a black uniform with a flying eagle insignia on it.
Other reports from Edward Bojarski, Walter Wendt and Henry Zach said about the same story.