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Max L. Noe's .30-caliber machine gun

Max L. Noe's .30-caliber machine gun

Somewhere near Wiltz, when the battle broke out, Noe remembers the last radio message his group received, "Hold out to the last man. Goodbye and good luck." During the chaos that was the allied side during he first hours of the German attack, a "company" of 118 men was assembled, and put under the command of a captain who until that morning was the division band director.

Noe was assigned duty on the machine gun because, unlike other members of his beleaguered group, he had received training. Unfortunately, there was no tripod so he drafted a spare apple box in an effort at taming its recoil. "Can you imagine shooting that machine gun," he said. "And if I hit a tank, it was like throwing rocks on a tin barn."

Noe and two others were all that remained of the company after 18 hours of fierce fighting, and despite trying to work his way back to allied lines for the next three days, he was captured by a German patrol. His Christmas dinner of 1944 consisted of a cracker and a spoonful of syrup.

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