Heroes: the Army
"...About 15 minutes later I heard the explosion of the mines, ran back to the house where I had been sleeping in the basement and realized that had I not been awakened 15 minutes earlier I would have been BURIED ALIVE when the building caved into the basement..."
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. H., 405th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 1921
- Entered Service: Breese, IL
New Year's Day, 1945 in Beeck
...the Rest of the Story
by Robert Enklemann, 405-H
John Rieskes story is correct but he did not know the REST OF THE STORY. That morning I was asleep in my sleeping bag in the basement of the shattered house which contained the unexploded German 80 mm mortar shells. We were authorized to use these shells if they were checked out because some slave laborers in German munitions plants sometimes sabotaged shells. Since our mortars were 81 mm size many of the 80 mm German shells would slide down the tube unexploded and were recovered and stored in the room to be picked up by such a truck. I had been continuing to dig company, batallion, regimental and division defense positions because this was the BATTLE OF THE BULGE time and we expected a pincer movement from Von Rundstedt through our area. When the 84th division left for the Hurtgen forest area (we learned at a later Reunion from our commanding Gen. Keating that it was determined by a flip of a coin which division would go to he BOB area and which would stay) we occupied the area of two actual divisions. Thus the need for all the prearranged defense positions and the mines across roads at night when we expected the counter attacks from Tiger tanks. To my chagrin i.e. I was royally pissed off that someone would wake me up to help the cooks who had set up a kitchen in another damaged house down the streets. About 15 minutes later I heard the explosion of the mines, ran back to the house where I had been sleeping in the basement and realized that had I not been awakened 15 minutes earlier I would have been BURIED ALIVE when the building caved into the basement. Fortunately, I had a guardian angel and she had taken care of me. When our reunion was held in Columbus OHIO several years ago where John taught and from which I had matriculated in 1949 I told him THE REST OF THE STORY sincd he had been a member of our mortar squad. Needless to say I have celebrated each New Years day since 1944 and said a prayer of Thanksgiving to my ANGEL!!
You can read the entire story at the following link:
"New Year's Day, 1945 in Beeck " by John Rieske, Co. H., 405th
----- Robert Enkelmann
(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, "New Year's Day, 1945 in Beeck...the Rest of the Story", by Robert Enklemann, Co. H., 405th., was forwarded to us via e-mail on January 24, 2007.
The story is re-printed here on World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words with the kind permission Mr. Robert Enklemann. Our sincerest THANKS to Mr. Enklemann for allowing us to share his story.
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 24 January 2007.
Story added to website on 28 February 2007.
September 5, 2002.
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Updated on 17 January 2012...0832:05 CST
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