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The Battle of the Bulge


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#1 Franek

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 05:27 PM

In ther middle of November 1944 my outfit the 99th division,a green outfit just out of the states. We were shipped to what they called the Ghost front,because it was a quiet area.
The day that we entered the Ardennes it was snowing and added the look of a winter wonderland. The snow clung to the branches of the pine trees. It was beautiful.
Being in a HDQS company we were billeted in homes
The line companies built dug outs,out of pine logs.they were heated with 50 gallon drums burning wood.Life was good.We dug potatoes from the abandoned farms,and made french fries.On occasion we shot a cow. Telling them that we thought it was a deer. We ate good. Even the Co. commader wanted some BBQ deer meat. LOL

My job was a line man.We supplied communicationstio the front lines back to HDQS. There was a little villiage called Lazareth.it was where our I&R platoon was.The most forward location on the line.Their job was to capture prisoners You could look across no mans land land see Germans hanging clothes outside of their block houses.
This was great. My partner and I decided to do some sniping.
The I&R guys came running out and chased us because we gave their position away Well ,so much for sniping.
On another occasion we came apon a rifle grenade..We never used one before,so we went into the woods,aimed it at a tree. And KABOOOM the tree and the forest was blown to hell.When we got back ,we saw no one they thought the Germans were coming.. We kept quiet about that.
Sorry My old eyes are giving out. If will continue if you want later
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#2 Owen

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 05:32 PM

If will continue if you want later

Too right we do!
I had my first visit to the Ardennes back in February.
You can see my photos here.
http://www.ww2talk.c...ary-2008-a.html
Look forward to reading more of your stories.

EDIT: Ah, I see the 99th Div were the Battle Babies.
Lone Sentry: Battle Babies: The Story of the 99th Infantry Division -- WWII G.I. Stories Booklet

Edited by Owen, 04 May 2008 - 09:25 PM.

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#3 Franek

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 09:52 PM

Before I go any further, allow me to relate another funny incident that happened. since things were still very quiet, my buddy and I decided to take a walk along the railroad tracks. As we walked, in the distance we saw two other figures approaching us. As we got closer we realized they were German and we were American. They turned around ran to the German line and we ran back to our American lines. There was to be no heroics this day.

About thte first of sdecember 1944, we were taken out of reserve and put on the front line. We occupied the dugout from the previous occupants. Things were still very quiet. We had snowball fights as our warfare. At this time we deemed war to be "a piece of cake."

Then on Dec. 16, 1944 at 5 qm.....all hell broke loose. We were subject to a horrible artillery barrage. I made myself as small as possible and crawled into a corner. Logs and metal flew in all directions. When it was over there was complete chaos. There was no communication at all. We were sent out to restore communications from the line companies back to head quarters. It was still dark, snow waas on the ground and snow clouds were gathering above us. The Germans took powerful search lights aimed them at the clouds reflecting light to the ground. At this time I was in the cross road called Loshiem. I was in a tree restoring communication at the crossroad. I heard a lot of shootind coming from the Losheim gap. Our 57 mm gun were not enought to stop the tanks. the shells just bounced off. As I watched I saw a group nof Americans run into a building at Losheim. Next a Gernam tank loaded with infantry appeared. they stuck a gun inside the window and blew the house away. seeing this, I jumped out of a tree and ran for the woods. I was seen by the Germans and they were chasing me as I ran. I was the only American GI who outran a German tank. As I ran they kept shooting and then they stopped because they had better things to do than chase one man. As I stopped to catch my breath, I looked down at eh snow and saw blood. I was shot in the leg and did not even know it. I made my way to an American aid station where I was treated and sent to Malmedy for further treatment.
to be continued.....
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#4 Franek

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 11:55 PM

OPPPS! I posted this in the wrong place. It belongs in The Battle of the Bulge:unsure:

Edited by Owen: Post moved to correct thread.

Edited by Owen, 05 May 2008 - 08:07 AM.

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#5 Franek

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 02:09 PM

Thanks Owen;
As I came to our battalion aid station everything was in Chaos. With the Germans but a half mile away,and more wonded coming in we were evacuated to MALMEDY. It too was in panic. Wounded were coming in from all sectors. We who could be moved were shipped to PARIS.
Now the whole front was sending in their wounded. It was found that I had a clean wound,the bullet went through without hitting bone or artery.They sewed me up and sent me to a french town called etamps to recuperate. I stayed there but a couple of days. The order came from above that all able bodied men were to be shipped to the front.. That included the walking wounded.
I rejoined my outfit at a place called Elsenborne.It was located on a high ridge. We called it Elsenborne Ridge
( The Northern Shoulder) With the help of British units and elements of the second division/ We formed a defensive line that could not be moved We had 50 caliber and light machine guns galore. Artillery was hub to hub. There we waite
The Germans had a staging area below us in the woods. To get to us,they had to climb a hill. But flushed with victory they attacked. On a loud speaker a German speaking soldier shouted ( American GI, today you die)YEAH SURE,little did they know what awaited them. As the attacked up the hill,we were ordered to hold our fire. We did. When they came close we were ordered to fire.
It was pure carnage. They dropped like flies. It didnt last but a couple of minutes.The survivors retreated. A little time later they attacked again.Although I never saw it,a lot of GI"S said they saw a lot of Germans crying. Which led us to believe that they attacked against thier will. Again it lasted but a few minutes. It was over we broke the Germans back.We were ordered to advance forward to gather prisoners. We advanced,but with the story of the Malmedy masccre still fresh in our minds.There were a lot of shots fired,but a few prisoners.
I came upon a wounded German soldier holding something in his hand. At first I thought it was a grenade. I was abourt to blow him away ,when I realized it was a book.He held it out to me and said mien mutter then he died. He was one of hitlers youth. He was no more than 13yrs old.I kept the book. It looked like a diary. Remember this book later in my story,you will see where it saved my life Continued

Excuse my typing mistakes. My 83 yr. old are not too good.
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#6 Franek

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 04:55 PM

The 106th was a green outfit just on line for about two weeks before December the 16th. They suffered the most casualities than any other division



http://Posted Image
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#7 Franek

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 05:20 PM

Here was the commander of the German Panzers that murdered the American engineers at Malmedy. He was given jail time that was recinded later in time He moved to France but was murdered in his home later in time.



http://Posted Image
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#8 Franek

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 06:04 PM

:poppy:http://Posted Image Dedicated to the Americans who died in the battle of the Bulge
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#9 Franek

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 07:58 PM

On the bottom of the hill,we were instructed to advance into the German staging area. Upon entering the woods, all that we saw was abanded equiptment dead bodies and horse drawn wagons with dead horses. Effectes from our artillery.We followed the tracks in the woods until we came to the road leading back to the Losheim Gap On the road there were abanded tanks, trucks etc. all in perfect shape,except they ran out of fuel. They counted on capturing American fuel supplies across the Meuse River. Failing to do this they retreated,until they ran out of fuel.
From here on back it was a cake walk. The Germans put up a little resisatance on the way back.By early February, we were back where it all started. I looked at our dugout. It was destroyed, from the inside for everything was blown outward. Probably a satchel charge. We advanced no further ,the weather was getting warmer,the snow was gone.Life was good again. We got hot food and new clothes.(SUMMER) Fatigue pants and a field jacket new shoes,socks and underwear Our dead and wounded were replaced and we got losds of new Ammo. Again we became a fighting unit.
Sometime in early march. We were called oin to join tghe Advance on Cologne(KOLN).
Unlike the Ardeness which were woods and hills. We found the plains of Cologne to be flat farm country dotted by small villiages. There was very little resistence.The villiagers hung white sheets out for a sign that they surrendered.When there was any resistence we were ordered to halt in place. Our armor moved forward along with airstrikes and blew the place apart. It was not long before they came out waving white flags.We liberated a lort of displaced people that were sent to work on German farms. We reached to where we could see the church towers in Coilogne. there we stopped. It was March the 7th, when word came down that the 9th armored division was fighting to take the last remaining bridge over the Rhine. Since we were so close we were sent in. In my entire Cologne campaign. I never fired my rifle.It was a cake walk.
NEXT REMAGAN
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#10 Owen

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 09:00 AM

Franek,
Afriad I don't know too much about the Americans in WW2.
I did find this webpage about losheim, does it bring back any memories?
The Losheim Gap
some pictures of it now here.
Losheimer Graben (Gap of Losheim)
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#11 marcus69x

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 11:47 AM

really interesting. Is Franek a WW2 vet? Shouldn't he be purple?
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#12 Franek

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 01:57 PM

Marcus.
Nope not yet. But hang in there .I understand that we WW2 vets are duing at the rate of 1000 a day.:lol:
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#13 marcus69x

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 02:03 PM

Lol. Nice one Franek. I like your humour mate.
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#14 Franek

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 02:39 PM

Owen;
The pictures of Losheim are exactly as I remember them. We lived like moles under ground. But it worked.
Before I move this thread to your Remagan thread. I want to explain that the Battle iof the Bulge was much bigger than I described above. North of us at Monchau was the 2nd. division. The 99th owes them a lot. South of us was the green 106th. aqt St. Vith.They were destroyed. Then there was Bastogne,Stavelot,The 101, the 82nd and many more. Plus the American engineers. God bless them.This was a very cold winter.The ground was always covered with snow. Trench foot was a big problem. Our regular GI shoes were no match for the weather. Our feet got wet and we suffered gangerine that resulted in removal of toes,and in some cases feet.We were told to wash our feet and wear dry socks. I did. I never had a problem. Later on we werei issued boots with the feet encased in rubber and upper leather. That cured the problem.
The rear line had problems too.The Germans dropped American speaking Germans in American uniforms in our rear. They disrupped traffic and caused other problems until they were caught.
I thought that his should me mentioned bbefore I moved into your thread at Remagan.

On to your Remagan thread
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#15 Franek

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 05:44 PM

http://www.history.a...i/7-8/7-8_7.htm

Owen read the above url. I spoke a lot about the 106th. Read this it will explain a lot.
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#16 Franek

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 06:00 PM

Posted Image
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#17 Franek

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 06:10 PM

CHECKERBOARD
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#18 Slipdigit

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 07:30 PM

Have you been to any reunions or are a member of any associations?

Have you posted your story before?
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Jeff


#19 Franek

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 08:48 PM

Jeff;
I have been in touch with other buddies that I found in our division paper there were six that I found. But I am the only one left.. I refuse to die.LOL
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#20 Slipdigit

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 09:48 PM

How long have you been active with compuuters?
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Warmest Regards,
Jeff


#21 Owen

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 10:32 PM

Did you say you were in 394th Infantry.
I know you mentioned the I & R platoon.
I see ,

the I&R Platoon, 394th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division, would later become "the most heavily decorated platoon for a single action in World War II.


The Heroic Stand of an Intelligence Platoon
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#22 Franek

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 11:22 PM

Owen;
That was an amazing find. I know the story from our division book. Yes,it was the 1st,battalion of the 394th regiment. Today Lt. Boueck is a retired doctor. That is if he is still living.They deserved more credit than what they got.Although there was a corporal, the name I forgot. He deserved the medal of honor. He mounted a jeep 50caliber machine gun and instremental in most of the german dead. From what you showed me,he only recieved the Bronz star. Hell I never did more than he did. And I have two bronze stars.
There was a lot of injustice shown in the war. After the war I got a book from my division telling what decorations were handed out. Almost all of the officers got silver stars and others.That was bull shit. Most of them in HDQS never deserved them.There were good officers and bad.Although I dont know him. There was a refort that one of the line company commanders cracked and command was taken over by a sargent. Yes this was the same I&R platoon that I spoke of. I spent a lot of time with them I knew them all.
Look up Bucholtz station. That played a big part in my story. The 393rd, battlion used that as an escape route.
I left a lot out of my story because of my eyes,and I make a lot of mistakes in my typing and spelling. That bothers me. If there are any questions you want to know. Just ask. I loved your pictures of our dugouts.They were our for sure. Just remember the story that I told was just the highlights of what happened there is so much more.

MAYBE ANOTHER TIME
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#23 Owen

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 11:31 PM

He was still alive in 2004.

azcentral.com | Phoenix Arizona News - Arizona Local News

Here's book.
The Longest Winter by Alex Kershaw

I've just realised that back in February I drove right across that area on the way down to Prum from Trois Ponts.

EDIT: Just found another interesting webpage about the 99th during the Battle.
99th ID Testimony

Edited by Owen, 07 May 2008 - 07:14 AM.

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#24 Franek

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 03:13 PM

Jeff, I have been using a computer for a couple of years. BVut I never was able to become good at it because of my eyes. When I get stuck my daughter helps me out. My eyes are bad because of some damage to my brain from that head wound.I suffer from extreme virtigo too from the same wound.
My daughter is going through boxes in an effort to find that telegram.
You also asked about reunions. It was many years later that I read in my DAV magazine ,that my outfit had an organization. I joined and recieved a division paper called the checkerboard four times a year.In it I found 6 names of guys that I served with.They were shocked to find that I was still alive. It seems that they found a body of an American,with my serial number in it.The helmet had a bullet hole through it. They assumed that it was me. I found this out a number of years later
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#25 Franek

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 05:37 PM

For those of you that do not know. The Battle of the Bulge (The Watch on the Rhine) was but one of two attacks that Hitler planned. The other Operation Norwind took place in early January. They attacked south to Alsace and Strasborg. At first there was some success. But it too faltered. Check out the URL below.

HistoryNet » Operation Nordwind: U.S. Army’s 42nd Infantry Division Stood its Ground During World War II

Edited by Franek, 07 May 2008 - 10:28 PM.

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#26 Franek

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 03:38 PM

Posted Image

The Mauser Karbiner R(W) .It was a 5shot b olt action rifle. Range 4000 yds.
It was changed to a weapon with a range of 4000 yds.
With a smaller,less powerful cartridge. The older was kept but only issued to snipers.
After seeing the American M1 simi-automatic Gerand. They tried a semi automatic of their own but were not happy with it.
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#27 Slipdigit

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 03:57 PM

He was still alive in 2004.

azcentral.com | Phoenix Arizona News - Arizona Local News

Here's book.
The Longest Winter by Alex Kershaw

I've just realised that back in February I drove right across that area on the way down to Prum from Trois Ponts.

EDIT: Just found another interesting webpage about the 99th during the Battle.
99th ID Testimony


I've read the book, it was good.
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Warmest Regards,
Jeff


#28 Franek

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 04:03 PM

http://[IMG]http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll71/franek_01/mp40.jpg[/IMG]http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll71/franek_01/mp40.jpg[/IMG]

The MP40 schmeisser was used to great exte nt by the German Army
The earlier design was the MP38
A less known model called thrERMA. It was a copy of the British sten gun
The Waffen SS used a submachine gun called the MP34
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#29 Franek

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 05:18 PM

I 1943 it was developed. It was less powerful but less recoil. Hitler still wanted the 4000 yd. Mauser. The arms minister disobeyed and put them into production.They were shipped to the eastern front. The troops loved them. They begged for more. Hitler found out and blew his mind.He ordered an investigation which proved to Hitler that it was a superiour weapon and it would counter the American Thompson 45 cal sub machine gun. Hitler relented and ordered full production.
I have a picture of it,but for some reason it will not paste
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#30 Franek

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 03:29 PM

Controversy at high command
As the Ardennes crisis developed, Montgomery assumed command of the American First and Ninth Armies (which, until then, were under Bradley's command). This controversial move was approved by Eisenhower, and was intended to prevent communication and control problems between Bradley and the North flank command.[14]
On the same day as Hitler’s withdrawal order, 7 January, Montgomery held a press conference at Zonhoven in which he said that he had “headed off ... seen off ... and ... written off” the Germans. “The battle has been the most interesting, I think possible one of the most tricky ... I have ever handled.” Montgomery said that he had “employed the whole available power of the British group of armies ... you thus have the picture of British troops fighting on both sides of the Americans who have suffered a hard blow.[15]
Montgomery also gave credit to the “courage and good fighting quality” of the American troops, characterizing a typical American as a “very brave fighting man who has that tenacity in battle which makes a great soldier,” and went on to talk about the necessity of Allied teamwork, and praised Eisenhower, stating that “Teamwork wins battles and battle victories win wars. On our team, the captain is General Ike.” Despite these remarks, the overall impression given by Montgomery, at least in the ears of the American military leadership, was that he had taken the lion’s share of credit for the success of the campaign, and had been responsible for rescuing the besieged Americans.
His comments were interpreted as self-promoting, particularly his claiming that when the situation “began to deteriorate,” Eisenhower had placed him in command in the north. Patton and Eisenhower both felt this was a misrepresentation of the relative share of the fighting played by the British and Americans in the Ardennes (for every three British soldiers there were thirty to forty Americans in the fight), and that it belittled the part played by Bradley, Patton and other American commanders. In the context of Patton and Montgomery’s well-known antipathy, Montgomery’s failure to mention the contribution of any American general beside Eisenhower was seen as insulting. Focusing exclusively on his own generalship, Montgomery continued to say that he thought the counter-offensive had gone very well but did not explain the reason for his delayed attack on 3 January. He later attributed this to needing more time for preparation on the northern front. According to Winston Churchill, the attack from the south under Patton was steady but slow and involved heavy losses, and Montgomery claimed to be trying to avoid this situation.
Montgomery subsequently recognized his error and later wrote: “I think now that I should never have held that press conference. So great were the feelings against me on the part of the American generals that whatever I said was bound to be wrong. I should therefore have said nothing.” Eisenhower commented in his own memoirs: “I doubt if Montgomery ever came to realize how resentful some American commanders were. They believed he had belittled them—and they were not slow to voice reciprocal scorn and contempt.
Bradley and Patton both threatened to resign unless Montgomery’s command was changed. Subsequently Bradley started to court the press, and it was stated that he would rarely leave headquarters “without at least fifteen newspapermen”; it has been suggested that he and Patton began to leak information detrimental to Montgomery. Eisenhower, encouraged by his British deputy Arthur Tedder, had decided to sack Montgomery. However, intervention by Montgomery’s and Eisenhower’s Chiefs of Staff, Major-General Freddie de Guingand, and Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith allowed Eisenhower to reconsider and Montgomery to apologize.
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