The Daily Plant : Thursday, December 16, 2004
ON ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE, REMEMBERING ONE OF OUR PARKS’ NAMESAKES
In the early morning hours of December 16, 1944, three powerful German armies plunged headlong into the hills and forest of the Ardennes Region of Belgium and Luxembourg, attacking thinly held American lines along an 85-mile front. Their goal was to split and trap American and British forces and eventually reach the Port of Antwerp.
Fighting in dense fog, snow, and bitter cold, American forces stubbornly resisted all-out German attacks, stalled their advance, and completely upset their timetable. After penetrating more than 40 miles into Allied territory, forming a salient, or bulge, the German advance was finally stopped on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1944. Bitter fighting continued until January 25, 1945, when the bulge was finally erased and the original front line restored. The Allies were then poised for the final assault into the German heartland and final victory on V-E Day, May 8, 1945. After the victory, Prime Minster Winston Churchill said, "This is undoubtedly the greatest battle of the War and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever famous American Victory."
More than 600,000 American men and women participated in that epic battle, which began exactly 60 years ago today. An untold number of those soldiers hailed from New York City, and of the 50 New York City parks named in honor of those who served or died in World War II, Cutinella Square in Brooklyn specifically honors a man who gave his life fighting the Battle of the Bulge: Armond Cutinella.
Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Cutinella raised Armond and his 12 siblings at 2215 West Seventh Street, in Brooklyn. After Armond married and fathered twin daughters, Armanda and Arlene, he volunteered for the Army and became a member of the Infantry Company in the 26th Division. Also known as the "Yankee Division," the 26th was inducted on January 16, 1942 and entered combat on October 12, 1944, spending 199 days in combat. By late December, the Allies stopped and reversed the German advance near the Meuse River, where the borders of Luxembourg, Belgium, and France meet. By mid-January, Cutinella’s company reached the capital city of Luxembourg and took part in its liberation.
During the assault, Cutinella’s company was reduced to only 12 men. This group was left to hold the position and wait for reinforcements. When help finally arrived, they found that all 12 men, including Cutinella, had gallantly given their lives in attempts to hold the position. On January 16, 1945, five days after Cutinella’s death, the Allies forced the Germans to withdraw. The massive losses Germany suffered at the Battle of the Bulge, which proved to be their last major offensive of the war, contributed to their final collapse in the spring of 1945.
Cutinella was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for gallantry as well as the Purple Heart. His body is buried in the United States Military cemetery at Hamm in western Germany, the same cemetery in which General George S. Patton is buried. After the war, Cutinella’s friends and family formed the Armond Cutinella Memorial Association, which organized an appeal to the City in 1950 to name this square, at the intersection of Avenue West 86th Street, and West 6th Street, in honor of their beloved local war hero.
Written by John Mattera
Parks & Recreation Librarian
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"…no one can demand more of life than that life do him the honor to demand that he learn to live with his fears, and learn to live, every day, both within his limits and beyond them."