Pine Belt veteran was behind enemy lines during Battle of the Bulge

Pine Belt veteran was behind enemy lines during Battle of the Bulge

COLLINS, MS (WDAM) - Americans are remembering the service and sacrifice of our soldiers on the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge.

The five-week campaign, through parts of Belgium, France and Luxembourg, began on Dec. 16, 1944. It was the last major German offensive of World War Two.

19,000 U.S. soldiers were killed.

Among those lucky enough to survive was Charles Kroen of Collins. He was a member of an army combat engineer squad that was caught behind the German lines during part of the battle.

"We were in bad shape for awhile," said Kroen. "We didn't know where we were and we didn't know where anybody else was and we were just running around for awhile until everything got settled down.  And we all found each other and it turned out right, but it was a mess for awhile," he said.

The Germans suffered nearly 100,000 casualties during the offensive.

All 16 men in Kroen's squad survived.