Streetwise Professor

December 24, 2014

A Christmas From Hell, 70 Years Ago

Filed under: History,Military — The Professor @ 5:56 pm

Seventy years ago, on the night of 24-25 December, 1944, the US 75th Division mounted an assault in attempt to seal stem the German counteroffensive in the Ardennes. One of the men in the 75th was my uncle, Norbert Katarski.  Norbert was crawling along the snowy frozen ground cradling his heavy, water-cooled M1917 machine gun when a tree burst horribly wounded him. He suffered compound fractures of both arms, and numerous shrapnel wounds in his back and legs. One piece of shrapnel traveled ripped through his scalp: a fraction of an inch lower, and he would have been killed.

I told Norbert’s story here. Christmas was always a blessed time for him. Most years, he would give the sanitized version of his experience. Two Christmases¬†before his passing in 2009, he told the story, in all its horrific detail.

Please remember men like Norb, and their sacrifices, while you enjoy your Christmas.

And to all of my readers. Thanks so much for your kind attention over the year. I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.





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  1. Hi SWP,

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thanks for all the great work you’ve published here. I haven’t missed a post all year and enjoy every jot and tittle. All is well for me; quite a busy and eventful year. Good luck with the new role on the advisory committee and don’t let the bastards bring you down.


    Comment by Howard Roark — December 25, 2014 @ 10:22 am

  2. Merry Christmas – and thanks for remembering the great men who have served out nation.

    Comment by elmer — December 25, 2014 @ 11:19 am

  3. @elmer-Merry Christmas to you as well. It is my privilege to do what little I can in remembrance.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — December 25, 2014 @ 2:40 pm

  4. Hi Howard. Merry Christmas to you too. Thank you for your very kind words. It means a lot. I’ll try to continue to make it worth your while.

    I am glad to hear that you have had a good and eventful year. I hope 2015 brings more of the same.

    And don’t worry. My goal is to bring down the bastards!

    Cheers, and Happy New Year.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — December 25, 2014 @ 2:42 pm

  5. Merry Christmas Prof. Hope you and your loved ones had a great one.

    Comment by Andrew — December 26, 2014 @ 12:12 am

  6. SWP:

    We shall rendezvous in 2015 on a Civil War battlefield.

    VP VP

    Comment by Vlad — December 28, 2014 @ 12:21 pm

  7. @Vlad. Any preferences? I’m thinking of a Shiloh or Vicksburg trip sometime this spring.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — December 29, 2014 @ 10:11 am

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