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The Wereth Eleven


Valin

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U.S. Memorial WERETH

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Forgotten Massacre: The Story of the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion and the Wereth 11

Few realize that a decisive factor in the defense of Bastogne, during the Battle of the Bulge, rested in the artillery support of the surrounded town. One of the heavy (155mm) artillery units was the segregated 969th Field Artillery Battalion joined by a few howitzers and survivors of the segregated 333rd Field Artillery Battalion. For their actions the 969th FAB received the Presidential Unit Citation, the highest award a military unit can receive. In spite of this meritorious service, participation by Black G.I.'s in the Battle of the Bulge, or for that matter in the Second World War, is not well known or recognized.

Everyone knows of the Tuskegee Airmen and some know of the 761st Tank Battalion and the Red Ball Express. However, the majority of the Black G.I.s in World War II, 260,000 in the European Theatre of Operations, were not forgotten to history, they were simply never acknowledged. They are the 'invisible" soldiers of World War II. They include eleven young artillerymen of the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion (FAB) who were murdered by the SS, after surrendering, during the Battle of the Bulge - the Wereth 11.

The 333rd Field Artillery Battalion was a 155mm Howitzer unit that had been in action since coming ashore at Utah Beach on June 29, 1944. Typical of most segregated units in World War II, it had white officers and black enlisted men. At the time of the Battle of the Bulge, the unit was located in the vicinity of St.Vith, Belgium. Specifically it was in the small village of Schonberg, having arrived there in October of 1944. The Service battery was west of the Our River, while the firing batteries (A, B, and C) were across the east side of the Our river in support of the Army VII Corps and especially the 106th Infantry Division.

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