Heroes: the Army
"...As the workers boarded the trolley, they looked at me and asked if I had breakfast. NO! They handed me oversized sandwiches, fruit, soda, etc..."
Fred O. Hunsdorfer
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. C., 405th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: Sgt., Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Weehawken, NJ
The Philadelphia Strike
by Fred Hunsdorfer, 405-C
I arrived at Ft. Dix, NJ from Camp Swift, TX in July 1944 as a Pfc. after finishing infantry training. Before embarking for Europe we were delayed when my regiment, the 405th, and a sister regiment, the 406th were sent to Philadelphia, PA to maintain the peace and to guard the property of the Philadelphia Transporta-tion Co. Before this duty started, I had gotten a weekend pass, good from 12:00 pm Saturday to 6:00 am Monday. Some of us jumped the gun a little and passed through the Fort Dix gate as early as 11:45 am.
I myself went to the ocean front town of Spring Lake, NJ to meet a fair someone who would later become my better half. Upon returning to Ft. Dix all of us early departees were put to one side. The pass gate had been locked at noon on Saturday and all leaves were canceled. We were directed to return to our barracks; we picked up our weapons, canteens and packs and were trucked to Fairmont Park, Philadelphia to meet the rest of our group who had set up a sea of pup tents.
The trip to Philadelphia was fantastic. There were sandbagged machine gun emplacements at major intersections, and there were automatic weapons at water towers, municipal sites, transporta-tion centers, and shipyards, to name a few spots. The 4.3 Chemical Mortars were to cover the city with teargas if necessary. Our troops had gas masks, but of course the civilians did not.
Wearing the same Sun Tans I had put on for my weekend pass on Saturday, I was temporarily assigned to guard a trolly car and bus garage with other men. Late that night we were permitted to go back to our tents and slept in the same sweaty uniforms. Early Tuesday am we were up and about. This time I drew Street Car duty. The motorman and I (with three rounds in my carbine) set off for a run down to the shipyard. Masses of workers poured onto Public transportation. My streetcar was bulging.
The newspapers and radio had mentioned our arrival and that we were not eating well. We were scattered all over the city. As the workers boarded the trolley, they looked at me and asked if I had breakfast. NO! They handed me oversized sandwiches, fruit, soda, etc. I soon gave up my seat, squeezed next to the motorman and told one and all "No more food, thank you." That afternoon and evening churches and fraternal organizations had all kinds of free dinners arranged for us all over the city. Previously at Ft. Dix we were covering up our unit designation to confuse the enemy. Now our name was known throughout the city. The next day our motorman and I became fast friends, and on a return trip (empty) he taught me how to operate the power handle and air brakes. I DROVE THE TROLLEY!.
Later when I was hospitalized a buddy sent me a copy of the Division History book which had a photo of a German trolley captured with the city of Krefald in March 1945. Members of the 102nd who helped capture the city hung a sign on the trolley, which read "From Philly to the Rhine."
----- Fred Hunsdorfer
(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, "The Philadelphia Strike", by Fred Hunsdorfer, Co. C., 405th., was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 54, No. 1, Oct/Dec. 2001, pp. 4.
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 27 November 2003.
September 5, 2002.
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