Heroes: the Army
"...While we were sitting on the edge of our foxholes enjoying some "real" food, we noticed three P-47s circling around overhead. However, we did not pay much attention to them until suddenly they started peeling off and came in on us in a strafing run. We found out later that these planes had been captured by the Germans..."
Billy E. Deal
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. E., 406th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Conroe, TX
"Puffendorf" - Fact or Fiction
by Billy E. Deal, E-406
It was with a certain amount of amusement that I read the "MEMOIRS" of Bob Meade, Btry A, 927th FA Bn. in the Sept./Dec. '91 issue of the Ozark Notes, expecially wherein he mentions the "Battle of Puffendorf" and whether it was the site of "an historical battle, or just a fictional one."
My combat records, and yes, faint memories reveal that Puffendorf was very real. According to my records, the first attack on the village of Puffendorf took place on the morning of November 21, 1994, after the usual artillery bombardment and strafing runs by the P-47s. My records also reveal that Company E (my company) and Companies A and F were involved in this attack.
On the morning of November 22, we moved forward and took the village of Geronsweiler. On November 23 it was necessary for us to go back and retake Puffendorf, due to the fact that a German panzer unit had moved into the village in a attempt to cut us off.
Then, on November 25 we moved on and took the village of Beggendorf. We moved on through the village and dug in on the forward outskirts. While we were there waiting for orders a company runner (messenger) came up and passed the word that a mess truck had arrived in the forward edge of the village, and we could "slip" back, a few at a time, and get us some Thanksgiving dinner - which we did, of course. While we were sitting on the edge of our foxholes enjoying some "real" food, we noticed three P-47s circling around overhead. However, we did not pay much attention to them until suddenly they started peeling off and came in on us in a strafing run. We found out later that these planes had been captured by the Germans.
We were held up there for several days, wondering what was coming next, and then, on December 1, we attacked the town of Linnich (on the banks of the Ruhr River), and, that was, by far, the worst combat that we had faced to date. There was a Waffin SS "Blue Devil" division (number unknown) waiting for us there, but that is another story.
The primary purpose of this chronology is intended only to reveal that the little village of Puffendorf was very real indeed. I feel sure that this will rekindle old memories in the minds of some of the original "Men of the Ozarks" of Companies, A, E & F and the other division units that supported us.
----- Billy E. Deal
(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, "Puffendorf" - Fact or Fiction", by Billy E. Deal, 406th, Co. E., was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 46, No. 1, Oct/Dec. 1993, pp. 11-12
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 28 October 2003.
Story added to website on 24 November 2003.
September 5, 2002.
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