Heroes: the Army
"...About an hour later some of the Germans started over the river; we could not get them to give up their rifles but they would lay down the automatic weapons and Panzerfausts by the river bank..."
Arnold M. Meyer, Jr.
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. E., 407th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC., Bronze Star Medal
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: New Rochelle, NY
by Arnold Meyer
Let me set the scene. I cannot remember the exact date but it was in the last weeks of April before the Russians crossed in front of our positions. The 4th platoon E company 407th, minus the machine gun section, was in a farm compound about 100 feet above the Elbe River where the river makes an "S" bend. From the bottom of the cliff to the river bank was about 100 yards. We were one and a quarter miles from the Company Command Post and the nearest rifle platoon
Tied up on the other side of the river facing us were five barges, three filled with coal and the others with champagne, wine, brandy, schnapps and sardines. We had raided the barges earlier for some of the liquor and sardines.
A German captain and a Regimental Adjutant crossed the river one morning to arrange for the surrender of a German regiment. The commanding officer, a colonel, would only surrender to an officer of equal rank. Archie Noorian, a private who spoke German better than most of us, talked to the Germans. A group of up went aside to discuss the matter. There were about 2500 "Jerries" on the other side against our 15 to 20 men armed with two light machine guns and three 60mm mortars commanding the high ground. We decided to "promote" Archie Noorian to "Colonel", thus satisfying the Germans. Our S/Sgt/ Grabijas (pronounced grab-your-as), did not appreciate Noorian's promotion to satisfy the Germans.
While the two German returned to report to their Regimental Commander, we set up the two machine guns up in the second story of the farm buildings overlooking the "U" shaped farm compound.
About an hour later some of the Germans started over the river; we could not get them to give up their rifles but they would lay down the automatic weapons and Panzerfausts by the river bank. A Company Commander marched his troops from the river bank up the cliff and into the compound where the now "Colonel" Noorian said "We cannot let you help us fight the Russians."
A ceremony took place where the German soldiers stacked arms and the officers gave up their sidearms. Later a formal ceremony took place where the Regimental Commander surrendered to "Colonel" Noorian. We ended up with 300 to 400 P-38's, Lugers, Sauers and Mausers pistols, plus MG42's, grenades and Panzerfausts.
We called our commanding officer, Captain Sidney Watkins, and said we had just captured a German regiment and, please, could someone come and get the prisoners. His order was to take four men and march them back to the POW cage about 10 to 15 miles away This became my job, so I ended up riding a bicycle up and down the line of POWs with three privates, one at the head of the column, one in the middle and one at the rear as we marched them to the POW cage.
The MP Lieut. at the cage asked if we had searched the prisoners and we answered "Hell, no! How can four men search 2500 men?" We had to hang around until the POWs were counted and searched. Somehow we had picked up an additional 500 POWs during the march.
----- Arnold M. Meyer, Jr.
12 January 2005.
A photo of Co. A., 2nd Platoon, 407th Regiment, 102nd Division. This image is on a page that is dedicated to Mr. Edward Marchelitis, Sr., by his daughter Carol. Most of the men in the photo taken on December 20, 1943 are identified on the back of the image.
To view the photo of Co. A., 2nd Platoon, 407th Regiment as well as other photos of Edward Marchelitis, click on the image above.
The family of Mr. Marchelitis is seeking information on his platoon.
A special Thank You is extended to the daughter of Edward Marchelitis, Sr., Carol Marchelitis Heppner.
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The above story, "The Surrender", by Arnold M. Meyer, Jr., 407th, Co. E., was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 51, No. 4, July/Sept, 1999, pp. 14.
The story is re-printed here on World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words with the kind permission of the 102d Infantry Division Association, Ms. Hope Emerich, Historian. Our sincerest THANKS for the 102d Infantry Division Association allowing us to share some of their stories.
We would also like to extend our sincere THANKS to Mr. Edward L. Souder, former historian of Co. F., 405th Regiment. His collection of stories of the "Kitchen Histories Project" series entitled, Those Damn Doggies in F, were responsible for bringing the stories of the men of the 102nd Division to the forefront.
Original Story submitted on 1 July 2004.
Story added to website on 5 October 2004.
September 5, 2002.
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