België / Biografie
Major General Walter E. Lauer was born in Brooklyn, New York. During the Second World he commanded the US 99th Infantry Division, particularly during the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes, Belgium.
Lauer attended Cornell University, before leaving in his junior year to join the US Army during the First World War. He then saw action as part of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) during the war. During the inter-war period, he continued his army career. With the outbreak of the Second World War and then America's declaring war he saw further action during the Africa campaign in 1942.
Following this, Lauer returned to the US, where upon promotion he took charge of the new US 99th Infantry Division. He led the Division during the Battle of the Bulge, and it is said that their actions were overshadowed by other American units during this period. During this time, Lauer and his Division used the Haus Kirch, in the Belgian municipality of Butgenbach, as their headquarters.
Credit should be given to the brave and instrumental actions of Lauer and his men. If they had not blocked the route of Kampfgruppe Peiper, German 1st SS Panzer Division, in those early days, it would have allowed that unit to link up with the German 12th SS Panzer Division. They would have encircled two US Divisions, and allowed the German troops an easy quick route to cross the River Meuse and head towards their end objectives.
This fact, or the sacrifice of Lauer’s men under his command, should not be forgotten.