Heroes: the Army
"...I woke up and no one was around. I went outside and asked some of the men what was going on. The answer was that during the night a German plane flew over and dropped a bomb and a truck caught fire next to the ammo dump. Colonel Wohner got into the truck and drove it away..."
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
Who Was My Angel?
by Arnold Meyer, 407-E
After leading my 60mm mortar squad, in the dark, over the Roer River without a casualty, about four days later we found ourselves in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Companies F & G were leading the 2nd Battalion of the 407th and E Company was in battalion reserve. In the late morning, Col. Wohner called E Co. forward to relieve one of the lead companies. The company was spread out in a ragged two columns down the road, the weapons platoon bringing up the rear with my squad last.
After the squad got over the brow of the hill, about 50 feet, and past some abandoned trenches an 88mm gun fired upon us at close range. Three of us dove in one shell hole and the other two got into another shell hole. The Germans fired a number of rounds but could not depress the barrel to hit us. I kept poking my head up to see what was going on but it only caused more 88mm fire. I called to the squad "On the count of three we will all jump up, spread out and run for the trench we just passed." We all got to the trench spread out over 50 feet. I landed with the mortar on my shoulder in a mud hole up to my armpits. I could not move. I called for help and the four men of the squad came to help. It took them several minutes to pull me free and meanwhile, the Germans were trying to hit us with the 88mm. They were missing us by about 15-20 feet, so we had to keep our heads down. After the squad got me out of the mud, I Just sat there covered with about four inches of mud. I asked for a trench knife and started to cut off the mud. It felt like a ton. I told them to follow the trench and find the company and I would follow after I got rid of the mud. I sat in a part of the dugout to cut off the mud so I could move. It was quiet for about half an hour; it was about noon. I stuck my head up to see what was going on, I saw an explosion and saw dirt flying into my face. I did not hear a thing and I did not remember a thing until I was in the Aid Station, sometime in the late afternoon.
A fellow from H Co. 81mm mortars said he found me wandering around the field so he brought me to the Aid Station. I asked who he was and he said Mueller, Muller Mullins or some similar name. The battalion surgeon wanted to know what happened and I told him what I could remember. It was about 4 pm and he gave me a pill to take, and said to get some sleep. I asked him to let Capt. Watkins know what had happened.
I walked down the street and saw the Battalion A & P Platoon and found the platoon leader, Lt. Pollock, who had been E Company's weapons platoon leader. I asked if I could bunk with his men. I explained what had happened and he said OK. I took the pill and nothing happened in 30 minutes. I got up and reported to the Aid Station, and the battalion surgeon gave me another pill to take after I got back to the cellar. He told me to be sure to sit down where I was to sleep. I waited another 30 minutes and nothing happened so I went back to the Aid Station and the surgeon was surprised to see me and asked if I had taken the pill and I said 'yes." I took the pill and do not remember a thing until 8 am the next morning.
I woke up and no one was around. I went outside and asked some of the men what was going on. The answer was that during the night a German plane flew over and dropped a bomb and a truck caught fire next to the ammo dump. Colonel Wohner got into the truck and drove it away. Everyone evacuated the cellar but they could not awaken me. I called Captain Watkins who told me to get a clean uniform, stay with the mess sergeant for two days, then report to him.
Does anyone in H Company 407th remember helping me??
----- Arnold Meyer
(Editor's note: Attempts were made throughout the text of the following story to place full names to the men listed in the story. For the most part, this is an educated guess and some names may very well be mistaken in their identy. The names were all taken from the division history book: With The 102d Infantry Division Through Germany, edited by Major Allen H. Mick. Using the text as a guide, associations with specific units were the basis for the name identifications. We are not attempting in any to rewrite the story. Any corrections are gladly welcomed.)
Interested in some background information?
Check out the related links below...
United States Army, 102nd Infantry Division
102 Infantry Division
History of the 102nd Infantry Division
Attack on Linnich, Flossdorf, Rurdorf - 29 Nov -- 4 Dec 1944
Gardelegen War Crime
Gardelegen: April 13, 1945:
Massacre at the Isenschnibbe Barn
American Battle Monuments Commission: WWII Honor Roll
National World War II Memorial
The above story, "Who Was My Angel?", by Arnold Meyer, Co. E., 407th, was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 53, No. 3, Jan/Mar., 2001, pp. 14-15.
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 25 March 2005.
Story added to website on 26 March 2005.
September 5, 2002.
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