A Midnight Clear - William Wharton
Set in the Ardennes Forest on Christmas Eve 1944, Sergeant Will Knott and five other GIs are ordered close to the German lines to establish an observation post in an abandoned chateau. Here they play at being soldiers in what seems to be complete isolation. That is, until the Germans begin revealing their whereabouts and leaving signs of their presence: a scarecrow, equipment the squad had dropped on a retreat from a reconnaissance mission and, strangest of all, a small fir tree hung with fruit, candles, and cardboard stars. Suddenly, Knott and the others must unravel these mysteries, learning as they do about themselves, about one another, and about the "enemy," until A Midnight Clear reaches its unexpected climax, one of the most shattering in the literature of war.