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My friend August T. 'Mac' McColgan.
Lt. August T. McColgan

G Company, 2d Battalion, 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Rarely does one get an opportunity to cross the Line of Departure (LOD) a second time. I stood there and looked across the broad expanse of lush green fields at my objective about 2000 yeards away. All was peacefull and quit on 20 May, 2000. No one was there to oppose my forward movement.

It was not so on 17 December, 1944. My orders then were to attack, seize my objective, dig in, dig fast and dig deep. The Bn Cdr. finished his attack order with the statement, "gentlemen we fight and die here". Many did die there, friend and foe alike.

The attack was successful. We moved to the objective without firing a single round. There was no one there. No one had been there. We established our defensive position astride the Bütgenbach - Büllingen Rd. TD's and AT guns moved in to support the defense. We, G Co., 26th Inf. established the "Hot Corner".

The "Hot Corner" belonged to the "Blue Spaders", more specifically the 2d Bn 26th Inf.




View towards Dom. Bütgenbach. The road leading from Bütgenbach - Büllingen (picture taken December 1998). Accross the street a TD of the TD Unit 634 was standing "guard". The defence position of G Co. was right behind the car in the field (behind the shield). Here was standing a 57mm AT.

In my younger days I have been known to start "heated discussions" on various and sundry topics. To a lesser extent I guess I still do.
Many units of the 2d and 99th Divisions were on the "Northern Shoulder" of the Bulge. History records that they took the full force of the initial German attack and did a masterful job defending their positions. Many unit histories record their stand at the "Hot Corner". But as G Co. 2d Bn., 26th Inf. occupied it's objective astride the Bütgenbach - Büllingen Rd., there was no evidence that anyone, American or German, or any American or German tank had been there to occupy the area.

I believe that this is accurately reported in the official DA History on the "Battle of the Bulge", and in After Action Reports of the 26th Inf. Rgt. and the 1st Inf. Div. After 55 years they confirm my recollections of the five "W's" incident to the "Hot Corner" at Bütgenbach.

Many of you have your own recollections of the battle at Bütchenbach. Other than the above I will not take up space in your bulletin to tell you my war stories. They are best saved for reunions and face to face discussions.

I was there in May 2000 to meet up with Hans Wijers, a genial gentleman from Holland who has been researching the Bulge action in "The Northern Shoulder". Hans arrived as planned accompanied by three German vet's. One, Rolf Odendahl (see the page with the story of Mr. Odendahl ) had been with the unit that cut off, surrounded and captured E and F Co's (26th Inf.) at Merode during the battle in the Hürtgen Forrest. He was later captured by a unit from the 18th Inf. Rgt (another good 1st Div. unit). Together we roamed the tree lines and the forest. The were just as dark, damp and foreboding as they were in 1944. Despressions in the ground evidenced foxholes and machine gun positions. We traded stories of action, success and failures. It was a sobering although enlightening discussion of war and rememberance. Later we surveyed the initial G Co. defensive positions on the ridge line overlooking Büllingen.

From this high ground we could see the entire 2d Bn area and the trail back to Dom. Bütchenbach. As I stood there in silence I said a prayer for the many good men lost and wounded. I thought how could so few men defend such a vast area against the violent attacks that were to come?

The words of the Bn. Cmdr. "We fight and die here", the "Blue Spader" spirit and the Army motto "This We'll Defend" were really the order of the day, and for many days to come.

Gentlemen, a trip to the battlefield, any battlefield, to study the heroic actions of the 26th Inf. is a very worthwhile expierence. Do it while you can. It will restore your pride in your unit and your Army .

August T. McColcan, 14.7.2000

See for complete detailed story of Mac his account and many others the book:
Hell at Bütgenbach - "We fight and die here",
 click here for more information