After receiving his wings and completing a stint in parachute school, he boarded the Queen Mary en route to Scotland and England, from there to Belgium and France during the Battle of the Bulge, which began on Dec. 16, 1944, and lasted until Jan. 25, 1945. The last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II launched through the thick Ardennes region in eastern Belgium, northeast France, and Luxembourg.
For Vince, the Siege of Bastogne was to be his first combat engagement of the war. He was tasked with manning a M1919 30.cal Machine Gun as part of the defense around Bastogne.
"We disrupted the Germans' plan. They were going to go cut across and capture Antwerp and tried to divide the American Army. But we changed the war. We stopped them at Bastogne, and they never made it. During Bastogne, things were bad. And we were running out of food and artillery. The Germans came in with their flags and told us we were surrounded. They wanted the Americans to surrender. They thought that maybe we would surrender. The answer our commander, Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, gave them was ʻNuts.’ He was our commander in the Battle of the Bulge.”
Vince was also involved in the liberation of Kaufering - one of the 11 sub-camps of the Dachau Concentration camps as the 101st progressed deeper into Germany. His military campaign came to an end with the capture of Adolf Hitler’s Berchtesgaden (Eagle's Nest). An infamous holiday home where Hitler would spend the most time during his time as the leader of the Third Reich.
In total, Vince Speranza spent 144 days in combat before getting discharged in January 1946. As he was demobilized, he received both a Purple Heart & Bronze Stars for his service throughout the war.
As he came back to New York, Vince became a successful teacher at Curtis High School where he would spend the rest of his career. As Vince entered retirement, he described his experiences in Europe through his book, “Nuts! A 101st Airborne Division Machine Gunner at Bastogne”.
More recently, at Praesidus Watch Co. we collaborated with Vince Speranza to create a limited edition A-11 watch. Our goal was to encapsulate Vince's Battle of Bulge experience through a custom designed watch. We launched the A-11 Vince Speranza on Kickstarter back in 2022 and have now been selling it on our website. 5% of all sales are donated directly to Vince Speranza's family as part of our mission to support veterans & their stories.