Back to Luxumbourg / BLARNEY THEATRE
Nearly a month elapsed before the 23rd was given any more work. Although this inactivity led to boredom, obesity and internecine strife, the weather in Luxembourg was getting colder by the minute and operations lost their picnic attraction. The troops were kept busy and unhappy taking basic courses in military courtesy, interior guard, first aid and sanitation. The irrepressible Sgt. Berry helped save the nights with his BLARNEY THEATRE. This wasn’t the first or last location in which he set up his old faithful 16mm "gun" as he called it. He estimates that he shot 2,741,523 feet of film of 69,716 fellow soldiers during his tour in the ETO. This amount of entertainment could run for 679 continuous hours or the entire month of February day and night. Berry maintained his BLARNEY THEATRE in eight different CPs across Europe and toward the end of the war he also had a "mobile unit," which played anywhere.
However, it was not through lack of trying that the 23rd was twiddling its thumbs. On 15 November the command started planning what turned out to be the most embarrassing operation of the war.
For a long time, the Luxembourg sector was the dullest part of the Western front. It was held lightly by VIII Corps and used primarily as a rest area for tired divisions or an orientation area for new divisions. Over a period of a few weeks, the 2nd, 8th and 83rd Infantry Divisions were replaced by the 9th Armored and 106th Infantry (brand-new) and the 28th and 4th, both weak from the Forest of Hurtgen. On the other side of the border, the Germans seemed to be doing the same thing. They would bring in a baby-fresh Volksgrenadier division or a pea-green "Battle Group," permit them to enjoy a short course of leisurely combat and then move them either north or south into the steaming cauldrons of the Roer or Saar. The American High Command did not like to see the fresh German troops being trained in an deployed from such a rest sector so steps were taken to prevent the enemy from moving its units around at will.