Heroes: the Army


"...we hit this log after I passed the paddle up and I was digging up the other one. The next minute I was in the water. I remember bobbing, coming to the surface and thinking that I really didn't need that steel helmet anymore..."



image of american flag

 James J. "Jim" Brophy

  • Branch of Service: Army
  • Unit: Co. F., 405th Regiment,
    102nd Infantry Division
  • Dates: 1943-1945
  • Location: European Theater
  • Rank: Sgt.
  • Birth Year: 1925
  • Entered Service: Salt Lake City, UT



IMAGE of 102nd Infantry Division

IMAGE of WWII medal

IMAGE of WWII medal

IMAGE of WWII medal

IMAGE of WWII medal

IMAGE of WWII medal

IMAGE of WWII medal



James "Jim" Brophy was a member of Co. F., 405th Regiment, 102nd Division [2nd Battalion] and was a rifleman in the 1st platoon. Jim Brophy's father was a VA (Veteran's Affairs) doctor out of North Dakota before Jim enlisted in the Army. Jim enlisted in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jim was virtually blind at night with or without his glasses and during his accounts he mentions events related to this on a few occasions. After his years in the army, Jim Brophy eventually relocated to St. Paul, Minnesota. He eventually retired from 3M (or maybe it was Honeywell) about 1992. Jim bought an old settler's cabin and hauled it up to rural Wisconsin where he reconstructed it on weekends up near the area of Rice Lake in Wisconsin.

What is interesting about the following story is that the story was originally recorded on audio tapes -- a total of four tapes along with an additional introduction tape. Jim referred extensively to the Diary of Gene Greenburg which is in story form also in this series. It is highly recommended that as you read the Jim Brophy story, that you also refer extensively to the story/diary of Gene Greenburg.

Jim Brophy's began recording his audio tapes in August of 1988 and finished the tapes in January of 1991 on the eve of the 1st Gulf War.

The following story has been only minimally edited -- mainly to eliminate run on sentences (which is very easy to do when recording on tape as opposed to writing down your thoughts). There are a number of instances where information was omitted. This was mainly due to the tape transcriber being unable to understand the tape during that particular point. This is usually indicated by a series of dashes [------].

We apologize for this inconvenience.

Attempts were made to faithfully transcribe all the information that Mr. Brophy has recorded in his war stories.



James "Jim" Brophy

Co. F., 405th Infantry Regiment

102nd Division (2nd Battalion)

U. S. Army


I am going to go into a little bit of introduction.

I have done three tapes based on a written diary that Gene Greenberg, who was in my squad, wrote and reading through it and commenting on it, I came up with three tapes which is kind of my memories that Gene records. After giving this to Chris, I talked to him a little bit, and I can see that an introduction or explanation is necessary to kind of introduce the thing and make a little more sense out of it.

Greenberg's diary starts in October 1944 and I guess in my intro I will go over and skim a little bit over some of my earlier experiences in the military before I ended up in October 1944. So, I'll start by saying that I was attending the North Dakota State Agriculture College in 1942 and the war was on having started on December 7, 1941, and because I was unsure of what I wanted to do and I didn't want to be drafted and one thing and another. I enlisted in the Army reserve on December 7th, 1942 as I remember and I continued to attend college until the group I was with was called up to service as I remember in April 1943 and we were sent to Ft. Snelling, Minnesota for induction in the military.

After a short time there, we were sent to Camp Robinson, Arkansas, were I took basic training where I took Branch and Material Replacement Training. Basically as I can remember it, this was an infantry basic. Then after I was there after I finished, I had the opportunity to apply for and I did and I was accepted by an army specialized training program, ASTP, and when I left Camp Robinson, I went to, I think was Camp Maxie, Texas. And as I remember it, and I am vague on this, we were sent up to Ohio State which is in Columbus, Ohio. Spent something like seven months there and then the war wasn't getting won fast enough, I guess they needed more infantry. So they closed the program down and I guess that all of us went back in the infantry. And the ones that were in the air force, also went into the infantry.

We were sent to Camp Swift, Texas, as I recall it and we joined the 102nd Infantry Division there. This was the Ozark Division which was a WWI national guard outfit or had been set up in WWI and flushed out in 1942 and '43. We joined it then. It already had cadre of noncoms and officers and so forth. With them we trained in basic infantry training again, rifle ranges, obstacle courses, infiltration course were you crawled under live machine gun fire and all that stuff and lots of hikes and that sort of thing.

And, eventually, we were sent from there to Ft. Dix as a Division. Ft. Dix is in New Jersey. And while there parts of the Division was sent to a so-called transit strike in Philadelphia. While that was going on I had been given a leave and was back home in North Dakota visiting my mother.

During the time I was at Ft. Dix, I was able to go up to New London, Connecticut, and visit my brother, John who was a cadet in the Coast Guard Academy there. My most vivid memory of that was seeing John having a good time and refused being given admission to a movie with him because he was a cadet and I was a mere enlisted man. I thought this was absurd, I though that then and I still think so. The other thing I remember vividly is being caption of a cat boat, I think they call it, a little sail boat, in the [---------] River and remember tipping it over and getting wet and being interrogated for my pass several times on the way to camp because I looked pretty bad. I probably looked a deserter for sure.

Then we went from Ft. Dix to another camp. I am searching for the name of that now. I think it was Camp Kilmer in New Jersey that was where we left from. We went onto a convoy of ships. The ship we were on was the "John Erickson" which was the sister ship of the "Gripsholen", I can't remember the Swedish name but, it was a diesel powered vessel. We were in a big convoy, took us 12 days from New York to England. A lot of the guys were sick. Jesus Taverez -- somebody said he ate three meals in the twelve days.

We landed in Normandy, as I recall at Cherbourg, we hiked on in and were billeted in --(missing segment here accidentally erased) -- carried half of the pup tent, a shelter half it was called, two buttoned together to become a pup tent.

I think Greenberg and I were together part of the time there. A little town called St Mar Eglis, which was one of the towns famous for the parachute landings in June of '44, of which D-Day. We trained there a while and hiked a lot and then went to -- by truck and train as I recall -- that was a lot of years ago -- on up through Holland to the area of the border there between Germany and Holland. We were on German soil. This is about where the armored divisions had broke out from Normandy in the summer of '44 -- outrunning there gasoline and so forth. We relieved the 2nd Armored Division. We took up positions there learning how to dig our foxholes and stuff which I will get to a little later.

Our standard equipment if I can describe it a little bit, to give you a feel. It was a wool uniform. This is a olive drab color. I guess there were two colors the army wore. The summer was suntans, which is kind of a light brown. These are the olive drab, so called wool uniform, wool shirt, wool pants, the pants were tucked into combat boots which were very much like the old GI shoes which we are used to. But instead of having a cloth legging, they had a leather upper with two buckles and were a big improvement over than the legging in that you could get them on and off a lot faster. We wore tee shirts, actually singlet olive drab in color and olive drab cotton shorts. We also in the winter time were issued wool which was kind of like a wool sweatshirt and wool drawers and we used to wear two pair of those. We got a new pair and a new pair of od's (olive drabs) every week. So we put on a new pair of od's (olive drabs) and moved the inner underwear out and the new ones would go underneath.

So, then we had the steel helmet of course which was a plastic helmet liner and a steel helmet fits over it. Over the steel helmet is kind of a camouflaged netting, 3/8's of an inch openings or so. Then we had a web belt which was a cartridge belt for the rifle with a series of pockets, maybe ten (10) pockets. Each pocket holding one clip of ammunition. A clip was 8 rounds, 8 shots. The weapon that we carried was basically the M-1 rifle which was also earlier known as the Garrand. It was a clip fed, gas operated, semi-automatic rifle. It was a good weapon, so I thought. It had a couple of problems. It was a little heavy -- weighted something like 9 lbs., 6 ounces, something like that. It also had the bayonet ferret and the bayonet scabbard -- a plastic scabbard. The rifle was fired one round with the pull of the trigger, ejected the clip at the end of the clip. The action was open and ready to insert a new clip. They were a little sensitive to mud and often would not work if they got dirty.

We carried a pack and that varied a lot. Sometimes a full field pack, which is hard to remember after all these years, but it was a pack frame, webbing, web straps, and so forth. You carried a couple of blankets and a shelter half, tent pegs, mess kit, that sort of and that thing when it was fully loaded -- I suspect was around 20 lbs. Then we had a combat pack when that same pack was made up with just a shelter half -- I'm sorry -- without a shelter half, without the blankets, just a raincoat, mess kit and that was much lighter. We also carried an entrenching tool which was a very, very good tool. It was basically a folding shovel carried on the belt and could be used with the blade set at right angles to the handle as a pick. Seldom used as that. Very good, very good steel. Very good design. We used to say a boy's best friend. Very good for digging foxholes in a hurry. Then we would also sometimes carry sheet knives which came and went depending on what you wanted to have. I noticed in some of my old pictures, I had one. I don't remember very vividly. I think I got rid of it eventually. Then the combat jacket, so called we wore over the wool uniform. It came over your hips. It was an olive drab color, cotton, rather light weight -- not very good. I always thought it was designed by someone who would go from his car into the Pentagon and back and declare that the jacket was suitable for outdoor use. It wasn't heavy enough for the climate. Being cotton too, it wasn't very good, I didn't think for the countryside were were in. We also wore gloves, leather faced wool gloves which were just terrible and during the winter they issued a heavy uniform for some of us. And of course the stuff had been looted so bad that by the time it had got to us it was only enough equipment for only one platoon usually out of the company while one forth of the men or so would get what they needed. So we ended up getting by. I sent home for a muffler. My mother sent me wool lined choppers, which were mittens with a thumb and four fingers were separate. People would ask me how I would get to the trigger and I said that I will find a way. I wore those all winter and that kept me warm. We also had overcoats and they were terribly heavy and terrible water soakers. They just soaked up water. They were real good overcoats, but not designed for that kind of service, I didn't think anyway -- dating back the design into WWI. The raincoats were good, but they drained all the water just below your knees into your boots if it rained long enough.

I should talk something about the rations were using. A lot of the rations were C-rations which stood for canned. They were cans, in one case of beans and in another case meat and vegetable stew -- one we ate a lot of. Corned beef was another one. They got very tiresome after a while. The other can -- you got two cans for a meal -- the other can was some hard candy and some biscuits.

The ration we used more commonly was the K-ration that was in a box. The colors were blue, green and some other color on the outside, like cardboard. Breakfast, lunch and supper. The box had another box inside which was a heavy cardboard and waxed impregnated and waterproofed. Then you would cut that open and inside were the rations themselves. Memory is a little hazy now, but in there would be a can of cheese, sometimes a can of pork and egg yoke -- odds and ends, I always thought anyway. They weren't much good. Then there would be toilet paper, three or four cigarettes, hard candy and some kind of soy meal biscuits. The meals varied of course for breakfast, lunch and dinner were different. Some had a drink in there which was rich in vitamin C -- a lemonade powder which you could mix with water and get your vitamin C. It was not very popular. I guess some of us used it. I did some.

Then, we also wore overshoes on occasion. That was when it got cold and wet. Particular when it was snowy. We could have overshoes if we wanted or shoe packs.

Some of us were part of the Browning Automatic Rifle Team [BAR]. Each squad, which was usually 12 men had a Browning Automatic Rifle. This was a bigger weapon than the M-1 -- fired the same cartridge, 20 round magazine. It's a rifle capable of fully automatic fire. It is really a light machine gun. Fired is the technical definition -- it fires from an open bolt. The bolt is back and when you pull the trigger, the bolt moves forward -- picks up a round and chambers it and fires it. This thing had a bipod, could be fired off and supporting legs at the end of the muzzle and the whole works weighed a little over 21 lbs. We used to throw away the bipod and carry it without. The bipod was too heavy.

I was an ammunition carrier. The crew was actually three guys, a gunner, an assistant gunner and an ammo carrier. I started as the ammunition carrier and moved to the assistant and the finally the BAR man when the BAR man got hit. That's the way you advanced up the ranks as the causalities came in. I think that it must have been something like 20 magazines for that gun. The Browning Automatic Rifleman carried some, the assistant carried some, then the ammunition carrier had an ammunition bag in which he had some of these magazines -- 20 rounds to a magazine.

We also had rifle grenade projectors, is a thing that clamped on the end of the muzzle and with a blank round you could fire rifle grenades. The were fragmentation, anti tank and some of them were flare. Again that was a pretty fair [------], clumsy, but not bad. And I will relate later about the flares.

We also had hand grenades. These were fragmentation grenades which were sort of optional -- you could have one if you wanted it or if you didn't, that was sort of optional. Some guys wanted two. They were the traditional pineapple shape, olive drab color, have a metal handle, sheet metal and you hold the handle, grasping a whole grenade and then pull the pin out and that thing is safe as long as you don't let go of the handle. When you throw it, the handle flies off and five seconds later, the grenade goes off. Quite a lethal weapon, but very, very heavy. So we used to carry them for a while and then get tired of them and throw them into the ditches unused.

We also had bandoleers of ammunition. These were lightweight cotton looped with pockets and I don't remember how many pockets there were. Each pocket had a clip with 8 rounds of ammunition for the M-1 rifle. When we were going into battle, we would be issued more ammunition that would come in the form of bandoleers.

Several pieces of equipment I may speak about later, but I don't remember if I covered that. The squad stove which was a Coleman stove, single burner. For this I carried gasoline. I found a German army canteen and threw away the cover and I begged some gasoline from the tankers and carried that in an ammo bag and we used to fuel the thing with that. That was a great thing and kept our food warm. We could heat up anything, including lemonade if you liked hot lemonade. There was also bouillon cubes in some of those packages which made a fair soup.

This is pretty much as I remember the equipment that we had. We used to carry dried socks generally in the upper front pockets in the field jacket and the toilet paper was olive drab too and it came in the rations, and we folded that up and put it up between the steel helmet and -- in actually in the helmet liner between our head and the liner itself. There was kind of a netting around your head or a webbing that your head rested in. Then there was a little gap and then the plastic and of course the steel on the outside. We'd carried the toilet paper up there to keep it dry. Chris has said I need some more explanation about things. One of them probably is the organization as the way we were organized.

But before that I want to touch on two other pieces of equipment that I missed. One is the canteen. We carried a canteen. It is about a quart. It is aluminum generally with a plastic cap that is screwed on which was held by a little chain so that you wouldn't lose it. It fit into a canteen cover which was a cotton O/D color on the outside and a felt, about a 1/4 inch felt insulation that kept the canteen water cold generally. We were always generally a little short of water. They think that's what led later in the Pacific to guys carrying two canteens. We got water every night. Someone brought water up and we would work our way back. One of the two guys in the fox hole generally would go back a couple of hundred yards were the water was -- fill the canteens and bring them up. The canteen also nested in a canteen cup which was either zinc plated steel or aluminum. That nested in the canteen cover and then the canteen fit in it. So everything was sort of compact.

The other thing that I remember is that during the winter there in Germany the water would get cold enough at night that it would freeze at the mouth of the canteen. So generally in the morning, a shell of ice anyway to get your water.

We also carried on the same cartridge belt, that the canteen hook to, a first aide pack which was a field dressing to be used if you were wounded. Someone was supposed to take it off of your belt and use it to bind you up. There was also, I think, a sulfa packet in there. They were to supposed to sprinkle sulfa powder into the wound (a siren can be heard in the background).

Now I can probably go on a little bit and talk about the way we were equipped. We went in combat often with a raincoat in the pack. We called it a combat pack. It would be the raincoat, the mess kit, the tent pegs, the shelter half sometimes we would even leave those behind and use the raincoat folded over behind the back of our belts. A lot depended on the circumstances.

We were organized, I guess I should speak on was part of the 2d Infantry Division which I suppose was 15,000 men divided roughly into three regiments (infantry regiments). Each one had three battalions and each battalion had four companies -- three rifle companies and a heavy weapons company. And then as I recall, the company, the infantry company would be three rifle platoons and heavy weapons platoon. The heavy weapons platoon had mortars, 16mm mortars and machine guns. Rifle platoons, as they were called, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rifle platoons were equipped with three 12 man squads nominally. Each squad had a sergeant in charge. He was a squad leader and an assistant squad and a Browning Automatic Rifle which was the main weapon of the squad.

There was a first scout, he was the first man into combat, second scout, rifleman, the BAR team and the assistant squad leader brought up the rear. The squad leader's job was to sight the BAR -- put it where he wanted it and then the assistant would be in the same fox hole generally. The ammunition carrier was just a regular rifleman with that little load of extra ammunition.

The 102d Infantry Division was part of the 9th Army. This was the left most American army. On the northern end of the Allied line was Canadian and British Divisions. We were often, 102d or the other divisions in the Corps, two other divisions in the Corps was the 84th and one of the two of us were on the left of the American line.

Squads generally 12 men and were much less generally 10, 9 each and sometimes I guess and I don't suppose got eight. So surely after heavy combat, after the Roer we went down -- actually Greenberg and I actually joined another squad because there were just he and I left. So until replacements would come up, you were always shy people this made it pretty rough, particularly at night when you were trying to maintain a semblance of staying awake. It was tough when you had so few people.

Here is a good place to probably insert a couple of quotes from a book called Six Armies in Normandy by John Keigan.

He says:

"Armies appear mass like, but their effective parts, the fighting units are quite small. Of the 11 million in the United States Army ground, air and services forces for example, less than 2 million belong to the 90 combat divisions of the land forces. And of these, 2 million, less than 700,000 represent tank crews and infantrymen. If the whole [--------] of the army by a selection of training and support is dedicated to transforming these 700,000 in groups of comrade whose skill and loyalty to each other might overpower the skill and loyalties of similar groups on the other side."


And I guess that was where I was, one of those 700,000 out of 11 million.


[----] says that its a blown out word. It's American. I was trying to say that the 102d Division or the 84th were the left most divisions of the American line. And then it would be either the Canadian or British divisions on up on our left on up through Holland up to the North Sea.

This intro sort of brings you on up where we started. The other three tapes which start in October of 1944. I did drop out a few time points that might be important. One of them is that we did go overseas in early September as I remember it of '44. It took 12 days and then we got to France. We spent a few weeks training before we moved up to the German frontier. I'm saying that the area that we took over from the 2nd Armored was right in and sometimes in front of bulk of the German concrete defenses known as various things such as the "West Wall" or the "Zigfried Line". That' where we began, right in that area of combat.

That's the end of the intro. Thank You.


"It's August 18, 1988. This is going to be my first recording of some of my reminisces using Eugene Greenburg's diary as a basis for -- or as a matrix if you will for what I can remember about some of the same events that Gene comments on.

I am going to pick it up in his diary of Friday, the 29th of October, 1944. He's talking about the foxholes and how we started off digging them as we did back in the States and they were pretty small -- one man holes and it wasn't very long where we were digging bigger ones where two men would take up positions in the hole and sleep alternate hours all night.

As Gene points out it was dark, pitch dark at 5 o'clock in the afternoon and it was still dark at 7 in the morning. Fourteen hours of darkness. We sat a week in those holes -- hour on and hour off -- all night long like that. You were really hammered -- You were really tired. He points that out too, which I think is quite interesting.

It was on Sunday, October 31st that it was a bright day and the artillery liaisons planes were flying overhead and he said that one suddenly dived for the ground followed by a German plane. I don't remember seeing that at all. But then that's not uncommon. You could be in the same area and not see the same things at all. And he commented that he could see fleets of Allied planes flying over us. I wasn't aware of that. I don't remember ever hearing planes over the clouds. Of course it was cloudy almost all the time there.

And Gene mentions that we could see bomb bursts on Cologne 30 miles away. I'm not sure it was Cologne, but were surely did a lot of explosions, and fire and flack and search lights and that whole number going on. As I remember, kind of to our right front, and I do remember seeing as he comments on an Allied bomber going down in flames. It couldn't have been 30 miles away. I don't think we could not have seen it. But, I remember very vividly that plane going down in flames.

But is Monday, November 1st and he remembers the abandoned German houses in the area and provided us all with whatever we could find there. I used to eat a large number of [---------]. I ate more that anyone. Preserved cherries -- they were put up in a way that didn't have very much sugar. So they were put up in a way that they were very sour and they were very tasty. I ate a lot of them. And as a consequence, I had the GI trots a lot. It took me a while to connect it up. And finally I figured it out what it was.

And Gene mentions the pill boxes that we saw in that area. They were huge things. One of them had a gigantic -- it must have been 10 feet in diameter, cast steel turret on it with aperture and a ring inside of it to accommodate a machine gun. The story was that not only were they sighted well to mutually support each other but in some cases the ground had been contoured with earth moving equipment to fit the trajectory of the bullet. In other words, you would always have grazing fire a foot for so off the ground out for many hundreds of yards on some of the sites. Whether this was true or not I don't know. We were ready to believe anything about the Germans in those days.

He mentions November 10th were we moved up into some woods, Breyan Woods he calls them. I'm not sure if that was were Galloway (Weldon C. Gallaway, Staff Sgt, Squad Leader 2nd Platoon Co. F.) and I inherited a dugout from someone and we moved into it and lay side-by-side. We had trouble with that, because it was pretty narrow, so we gradually cut away the walls. As a consequence, one day I was lying there. we had blankets at the time -- it was before sleeping bags had been issued. The wall collapsed on me and I was terrified. I couldn't move my legs. They were covered with dirt under the blanket, my arms were pinned to my side and the mud was up to my chest. I yelled for Galley. He was next to me. So he rolled on his side and took up less room. So he crawled out the door. At the door he was able to dig the mud out from over my legs and free me, so I could get out of there. I have never felt so much panic in my life, just felt like I was going to die right there. I can still recall that feeling now very vividly.

Greenberg mentions that early in November that Doherty [Robert A.] and Gallaway [Weldon C.] had shot a cow. I don't remember who shot it. I thought it was someone in weapons platoon. In any case someone was able to butcher it and we had some -- Greenberg talks about steaks -- I never got any steaks. I'll tell you, we got some meat we could make into stew. It was pretty chewy and I remember Gallaway and I eating that stuff. There were some German gardens nearby abandoned. And we found some vegetables in there -- I think a few carrots. It was my introduction to Brussels sprouts. I had never seen them before. We ate lots of those. They were really great. As Gene said, the steaks weren't very tender, but it was something to eat. We liked it well enough.

Gene also mentions Saturday, November 13th. Some Germans had come through the line to surrender. I never got a clear story on what the hell happened that night, but I think both of them ended up getting shot. It was really confusing. I slept through the whole thing. Of course, the hour on/hour off thing, you could miss an awful lot, whatever happened in your hour and I used to say that I slept through more fire fights than anybody in the ETO.

Greenie comments on one of the nights scratched Tidy Back just above the eye. I don't remember which eye. But I remember that incident. A couple inches one way or another would have blown his head off. A rifle bullet traveling at that distance is super lethal.

After the war I recall being in 1948 at the convention in Chicago. The regiment had a reunion and the medical officer -- we were critical that Tideback [William, Jr.] hadn't gotten a Purple Heart for his wound. The surgeon said "Wait a minute, he got it. It was later." He said that at the time rules stated that you had to have a wound that required medical attention and he said that that one didn't. So he got it eventually and I am sure he got home a little earlier on the account of that. The reason for that was that would be the Purple Heart was one by the points added up when you were adding points to get home.

Greenie comments on Tuesday, November 16, that two replacements, Burke [John J.] and DiGiovanni [Phillip J.] came in. If I have my memory straight, I, DiGiovanni came to replace Doherty [Robert A.] who was wounded in the foot. I remember seeing DiGiovanni that first night and he was so scared and such a quiet and handsome looking guy and I thought, Oh God, this poor child. It turned out, he was pretty irreplaceable when he found out where he was. He was the bane of Sgt., I'm sorry, was the bane of Lt. Fletcher [Walter A.]. He was always on Fletcher's case about something.

On Thursday, November 18th, Doherty getting wounded. I don't know the date but I think he was wounded and then I think DiGiovanni joined us as a replacement for him. And I think that it was in this area we were in, when Greenberg, I am not clear on this when exactly when it was, but it was near Chateau Briel where the Lt. or somebody sighted Greenburg's hole about 12 inches behind a hedge. Greenberg was bitching, he said that he had the shortest field of fire in the European Theater of Operations. I can remember that -- that was really funny.

Then he talks about the 18th of November 1944, when the 84th Division attacked through us and I remember that pretty well because I had my M-1 on top of the dugout and a guard who came through with a forward observer and a radio man put his rifle next to mine and when they took off with the carefully zeroed sights. I felt really out of place with this damn rifle that I didn't know where it shot, and I couldn't shoot it to zero it in and the Lt. wasn't very understanding about that. I really should have made a point to him that I wanted to go back and zero the sob in again, but, I didn't -- being Midwestern nice.

Greenie mentions again that this was the attack on Geilenkirken, that the 84th was participating in. The P-47's would attack up ahead of us bombing first. I think that they each carried two bombs -- then they would strafe with their two fifty calibers. Most of them would dip down and let the bombs go and then come back and strafe a little bit. One of them would go down below the tree level, where you couldn't see him and you could hear his guns hammering away and then he would come shooting up at the other end of the field and go around and come back and do it again. You could follow his progress. He was going maybe a mile with the German flack bursting above him as he went. Their ammunition was set in that particular area -- type of ammunition went off when it reached a predetermined altitude if it hadn't hit a target, as I understood it anyway. You could see this curtain of black moving across. We used to cheer when he came up on the other end. He was a real gutsy guy.

Greenie mentions on the 19th of November, he received a salami. I remember, whether it was that specific one or another one -- I had never seen a salami that big before and it was, the skin was green mold and I thought, God, nobody could eat that thing. It was pretty tasty. Greenberg was sharing it with the rest of us.

Greenberg mentions, Sunday November 21st where "Brophy found a large safe that was locked and with the help of a little TNT the lock was blown off. About 10 dozen fresh eggs were found inside. We ate eggs till they came out of our ears." I thought that was pretty interesting, because I remember that looting expedition and I blew the lock off with the M-1. The Lt. came in while I was digging around in there, some strange outfit he was from, I don't know. He was really pissed, for he thought, the firing was distracting, maybe a sniper or something. In any case, the eggs were pretty good as Greenberg said.

On November 22nd, Greenberg mentions that we moved into the attack and he mentioned that it was raining and someone told me after the war that it rained for twenty-nine days, they recorded rain at the nearest Dutch town that was recording that data.

Greenberg mentions the 22nd, and that night how they dug in. I never got up that far. As we were going into the attack, I remember my fingers were that I couldn't button my raincoat buttons. Galloway (Weldon C. Gallaway, Staff Sgt, Squad Leader 2nd Platoon Co. F.) came over and did it. Then as we moved up, some prisoners came through the lines. I was detailed with a couple of other guys. I believe Moonshine and someone else to take them back. We went back and I stopped to talk to the Captain and I thought company headquarters was supposed to take care of the prisoners and stuff like that. The Captain waved us on and told us to take them on back. So we did that. Then it was that, by the time we tried to get back up in the darkness, all I could do I remember was to help some of the other guys get a wounded man out. I can't even remember who he was, but he was hit bad and I worked really hard in the dark trying to get him out of there.

Greenberg mentions when Captain Peterson [William "Pete"] was hit too and that is in the account I just read in the regimental paper. That was the account that Souder wrote about that was Peterson was hit in the leg. He heard the yells of a boy wounded about a hundred yards in front of us. It was impossible to get to him. I think that was the guy we were looking for and found and got out that night. I don't know, I can't even remember his name.

Greenberg mentions that at this time we started getting trench foot or immersion foot, I guess it was called, too. Your toes would get numb for lack of circulation. I had that. I guess we all had it. He said that each of us, three months later could pluck a toe -- pinch a toe and not have any feeling in it.

My brother spoke about this. He was a medical officer in Korea. There he said it was a court martial offense for a captain of an infantry company to have trench foot in his company. John said that they carried the "mickey mouse boots" on the march and when they got into static position they would change to the "mickey mouse boots" and they took care of each others feet. They had a buddy system for doing that.

It seems to me that that condition obtained in my feet for a year or two after I got out of the army.

I can't remember that very clearly.

Another incident I remember very well is about the time I think that we were at Chateau Briel, I think is what Souder calls it. This is the place where Greenie had the fox hole shortest field of fire in the European Theater Operations. At that same period, this saying was current in the press "there are no atheists in foxholes". I remember Greenberg saying something like. "Bullshit, I am an atheist and what do you think I am sitting in here." We used to get a big kick out of that. Greenie was a great humorist. He had kind of an interesting sense of humor that was light and yet he could be kind of sardonic at times. Yet it was always good natured. It was always good. It was always great for moral.

I remember -- I might have mentioned that earlier that he was always writing everything home. Where we were and what we were up to. In addition I remember he was keeping his diary. And of course, we well knew that there wasn't going to be anybody coming up there and tapping you on the shoulder and asking you about your diary, you know. The command structure kind of didn't reach out to rigorously to the guys in the front lines. Which was, I think was, kind of neat. You know it wasn't fun, but it was kind of neat not having anybody on your case as much as we were used to.

On November 28th, Greenberg records what he calls an almost tragic incident in which I almost got shot and I guess that was almost tragic. But, as I recall it, it is a little different than Greenburg's recollection. As he describes it -- there was a trench line and we were out in foxholes -- I don't know how many of us adjacent to that trench line. As he said, at night we would go in for food . This particular night I headed in. The trench wasn't straight, so I came into the trench from my foxhole and didn't have too much trouble. And I noticed the angle that I came into the trench at, I did my business, whatever it was and then I went back out and, but the trench had a curve, a jog in it there. So I set off a the wrong angle. And I got out, I figured where I had gone past my foxhole somewhere. And all of a sudden in the darkness there, it was kind of semi-darkness there, because as I remember it, they were using a battlefield illumination. I came across a piece of farm machinery. It was a small thing, a two wheeled iron cultivator or something. I had noticed this many times more than halfway between my foxhole and the German pill box that Greenberg spoke about. And when I came to this machine, I thought, how many of these are lying around out here. Not too many Brophy. This is probably the goddamned thing that is halfway or more to the krout lines. You are lost, baby. So I turned around and hauled my ass back to the trench.

Greenberg records that he heard me calling "moonshine" - Shelly Overman, but Greenberg describes him as my foxhole partner. That wasn't the case, I think Overman was the last guy I had seen when I left the trench. My foxhole buddy at time was as I recall it was Burke. I am a little hazy on that. But I remember that foxhole pretty well. Anyway when I got back to the trench I didn't realize how close to death I had come. As Greenberg said, somebody --- I don't remember anybody taking a shot at me. But somebody probably had a bead on me. That's not clear in my mind after all these years. But Greenberg records that somebody -- the shot went wild. Well, I don't remember the shot. I guess that I would still be running if I heard a shot.

Then Greenberg mentions the incident where the kraut came down the trench. Greenberg was on this little shelf they dug into the sides of the trench. There was a lot of felt the Germans used for covering themselves or covering the holes. We used to call it 'black out' felt. I don't even know what the hell it was. The trenches were full of shit and I can't imagine that anyone could walk down there very cleanly at night. Well anyway, Greenberg knew the trench very well and that was kind of a pretty exciting story. I'm sure it wasn't so funny at the time.

While we were in this position and in that specific fox hole, I remember there was an attack in the area. I don't know if it was the 102d or somebody else. This group went by us. There was a lot of tanks moving around. One of these guys was crawling near my hole there and all of a sudden a round of -- I suppose it was a rifle -- while he was trying to dig in, he had his shovel on the ground in front of him. A bullet hit the feral where the wooden handle joins the metal part of the shovel and it spattered some of the fragments of that shovel into this kid's face. It hit below his eye on the right side. His face was pretty badly peppered. Of course it was hard to tell where the wound was, for we were dirty, and he had a beard and shrapnel never terribly impressive. A lot of times it was little puncture wounds. Those were kind of gray and they didn't bleed sometimes even for a while.

Anyway, this poor soul was out there for a while and we finally got to yelling at him. He wasn't very far from out hole -- 30, 40 yards at the very most. He came crawling into our hole and sat there. He was sort of stunned -- probably in shock from his wound among other things. He just sat there and never said a damned word. We talked at him a little bit and finally sort of let him sit. Eventually, I think it was Burke, said "Well, you hungry?" And the guy nodded and so Burke fixed up some of the K rations that we had. I don't remember what it was specifically. Fed the guy the rations. It was really tender and sharing. The guy got all done eating and after a couple of minutes vomited everything up. I thought Burke was going to kill him. He was really pissed. This guy...we were on short rations. Those damned K's never seemed to satisfy your hunger too much anyway. And, this guy had wasted them. That was really humorous.

I was trying to remember that a little better. I refer to his notes of Monday, November 29th. That was the 3rd Battalion attacking through us. Greenberg records what I remember too. That night there were nine tanks burning on the horizon. God, that was incredible. And a couple of days later, we were walking around and got a good look at the difference between our tanks and the German tanks. You would come across a real deep tank track. It wasn't terribly wide, but in the dark you could step down and it might be 8 or 10 inches to the bottom of the hole. And then you would come across a big wide, shallow one. That was the German tank. And there tanks were designed to foot better on that mud. And that made sense you know, they knew their own terrain. I think we built our to cruise around the Pentagon parking lot -- or something. It sure wasn't designed to float in the mud, much. They did add sort of a little sponsen on the outboard edge of the track which added about 5 or 6 more inches in width to the track in order to get more flotation, so the damn things wouldn't sink into it.

I remember earlier on, I think it was around the time of Beeck, seeing an American tank -- it actually was an American tank with a Canadian or British crew. It was sitting on it's belly and the tracks were turning. You know, it was just sitting there -- it wasn't going anywhere. And I think that they had to send out a tank retriever to get that sucker.

Anyhow, that story reminded me of the one that someone told me about Greenie having to do with the rations. Greenberg was the only guy I ever heard of in the ETO (European Theater of Operations) that used to heat up that lemonade powder that they gave us. There was a lemonade powder in the K rations and it was designed with Vitamin C, I guess -- ascorbic acid. You mixed it with water and you were supposed to drink it. Most of it litters the ground in Germany to this day, I am sure. It was pretty sour stuff. Anyhow, Greenberg would heat up water with the squad's stove and then pour lemonade powder into it and drink it. Whoever was telling me this story was in this foxhole with Greenberg and he was pretty much ---- and you would have to be careful and get your water into the cup on a stove. All of this in a foxhole and there is not a hell of a lot of room playing around in there. Then he got the water hot and went to work with the lemonade powder and in the process when he had it all completed and he was waiting for it to cool or do something, putting the stove away or something. A bid glob of earth fell off the side of the foxhole and slid down and plopped right into the cup of lemonade.

As the guy records this story, says that Greenberg looked at it, picked up the cup and drank it -- no comment at all. I always thought that was pretty funny.

Tuesday, November 30th, Greenberg records that we left these positions and was forced to walk a mile and then attack. I remember that as we started to leave, the Germans opened fire on us. It was very confusing and I remember being in the trench. Somebody told us that in that brush line over there was where the German detachment was. I remember getting on the edge of the trench there and firing my M-1. The thing was balky -- it was cold in the morning and the M-1 wasn't working so well and I remember unscrewing the screw at the end of the gas cylinder and pouring in about half a teaspoon of oil to give that gas cylinder and piston something to work there. And then, when I fired, that sucker really walloped. I am sure I fired, I don't know, a couple dozen of rounds at that trench line. Hansen said "Wait, hold your fire, that is "M" Company." And, to date I don't know who the hell it was -- but, we sure laced a lot of rounds into that brush line.

They told us that we had to leave stuff behind there. We had to get the hell out and it was going to be a run for it.

I remember Burke leaving something. I remember having a little pack. I don't remember what all was in it. But one of the items was a German calendar with some beautiful Kodachrome type pictures of German fighter aircraft -- military aircraft -- in various theaters of war. A little ME109 on skis and [---------] and that sort of thing. I think there was about, I'm not sure, if was a dozen pictures or so. Anyway, had to leave 'em behind -- decorating that foxhole. I remember as I left there, I saw one of the machine gunners who had been hit -- dead. I can't remember if it was Michael [Moses G.] or Mezaway {Nicholas G.] . The name escapes me at the moment. Greenberg records having seen him to -- it doesn't mention who it is.

I remember another incident that Greenberg doesn't mention of. When we were going over on the John Erickson. Erickson was incidentally the inventor of the Monitor. The Monitor of the famous Merrimack and Monitor battle of the ironclads during the Civil War. It was, I don't know, it may have been made in Germany. It was a motor ship. It had a -- big diesels as I recall it. I remember talking to the engineer in the engine room one time. He was an old Scott. He reminded me of one of the Glencannons of the famous Glencanon stories in the post prewar -- during the war.

Anyhow he told me some pretty rival? old stories which I remember only one of. But on that ship, I remember Greenberg and I were moseying around one day with not a lot to do and we came upon a chart on the wall -- on the bulkhead. That's what they would call it in the Navy. And it listed all of the military -- the military -- the MOS numbers which was your speciality number -- right? I don't know what that MOS stands for -- stands for Military Occupation Speciality or something. Anyhow, Greenberg and I studied that astutely. We thought, my god, there be some use for all this stuff we've learned here. So, on the left hand column, where all of the different titles, and the different MOS numbers -- and 'rifleman' as I remember was 745 and BAR man was 746 and we found those lines and we traced across -- way over on the right side. Those were applicable to the trade of 'trapper'. And I don't think that either Greenberg or I had a big yenned to be trapping after the war. Maybe that was when I resolved to get back into college and finish my education as quickly as I could.

But that's one of the stories that Greenberg doesn't mention, that I recall anyway.

And, I am going to punch out anyway now, because I can't think of another story right at the moment.

December 2nd or December 3rd, but probably the 2nd anyway. This TD, that Greenberg mention came up behind my hole. He was fired on, I don't know how many rounds he fired. I saw six or eight rounds that day and there were in intervals that day at that pill box. I wasn't more than -- gosh, I bet I was a hundred fifty feet away from him -- a little bit to his left front and I was stone deaf for about three days afterwards from that high velocity gun. He said it was a high velocity 76. I don't know what -- it was a lot longer barrel than the 75's that were on the Shermans and boy, I still think that was the beginning of a lot of my hearing problems was that day.

Seem to me, I remember that day, Thursday, December 2nd. I think I was in eight different foxholes that day. We were moving all the time -- up, back and around and sideways. Somewhere that night, I remember this story. You may have heard it elsewhere too, but I don't remember who recorded it.

I was BAR man at the time. I think it was Sgt. Smith and I were close together in the darkness because his job was to sight the BAR, put it down and arrange the squad around it, because the BAR was the heavy weapon we had. So, I was standing next to him, or crouching next to him and we could see this kraut coming out of the darkness in front of us. Smith said "Challenge him in German" to me, because he knew that I spoke a little bit of German. A lot of thoughts went through my mind in about a millisecond. One was that if I challenged him in German -- and it's an American, I am going to get shot. Anyway, the compromise I came up with was to use the word 'Halt' -- H-A-L-T. It is the same in both languages. It was as I remembered it at the time anyway. But of course, rather than the German pronunciation, I without giving it any thought I gave the English 'Halt' in my mid-western accent an all. This guy spun on his heel and took off the other way. Everybody started to fire, and anyway, Taverez began banging away with the M-1 and I pulled the trigger on the BAR and the bolt went forward with a clunk and nothing happened. And on a [------] daylight, the next day I went through full, pulled the operating handle back, pushed the magazine up, aim and fire routine, several times -- nothing happened. And the next day, I got a chance to see what happened in daylight. The bolt had gone forward, picked up the round, but not cleanly -- got it halfway in the chamber and the bolt jammed against the side of the round and bent it. So the bolt was not open -- wasn't closed with round jammed in there. When I quit doing that, and tried to get the magazine out, seemed like nothing would happen anyway. It took 'til daylight to clear the jam.

Later on that, then I moseyed out there and got a weapon and I wasn't trying to rescue the guy anyway. I was hoping he was dead and he had a pistol. But I got out there about 30 or so feet and I decided that was a foolish thing to be doing, because if someone mistook me coming back for an American -- I mean for a German -- I would be a dead cookie. So I came back without my mission accomplished. I heard later that a company on our right found a German that had been shot to pieces or as Greenberg said, almost cut in half. And I don't know if that were the case or not, 'cause after he started running, you know, he was putting distance between us in a big hurry. Anyhow, that was kind of an interesting story.

On Sunday, October 31st, Greenberg mentions that it was a clear day when a little liaisons plane dived for the ground followed by a German plane. [------] hit the Gerry, went into flames and crashed. I don't remember seeing that.

I remember one day, must have been the same period, a little liaisons plane spotted and unknown fighter which I thought was a Hawker Typhoon. These were fighter bombers -- had a big canon in each wing. I guess that he didn't want to take any chances. He saw this stranger and he beat it for the ground and scooted over the lines for home.

On December 3rd, Greenberg talks about the advance we made in the drizzling rain. Digiavonni, Burke and he had thrown away the explosives, because we didn't have any use for them. I remember something like that that night, too. Greenberg didn't have his entrenching tool. I think that put those somewhere on the helmets and little thing. Anyway, I remember that night, Burke was my buddy at the time and we were and we were moving up and we went through farmland mostly and we came to kind of a ravine, the Germans had some kind of a dug-out there and we came out of the ravine and we came out of the flat. Then we got up on high ground. It sort of seemed to me it was sort of flat or close to flat [------].

We were getting a lot of fire from our own artillery, it turned out. That was one occasion that I was standing close to Lt. Fletcher, -- Fletcher -- Benson, Fletcher. "Mousey" was his code name. He was on the radio talking to Lt. Rabbinowitz ['Rabbi'] who was in company headquarters, I think. Anyway, he was telling Robinowitz that the artillery was falling in on our positions. And it was. They were off to our right rear, moving up towards us. I remember them saying for cruelly to "Rabbi", " 'Rabbi, Rabbi' ", the artillery is falling on our positions and he said very clearly, "We are very particular about where that stuff lands." But in a few minutes the barrage shut off. I think they moved it out and we stopped getting hit. We had been getting some machine gun fire at the top of the [-----].

We dug in there -- the fire stopped -- and we dug in about -- seems to me, it was after dark and I remember leaving Burke in the hole and walking back maybe a half of a mile to a place where we had seen some straw -- and bringing back an armful -- as much straw as I could carry to dump by the hole. At that time I was the -- Burke and I were the BAR team and we had the BAR sitting there beside the hole. We still had the bipod on there as I remember. Later we threw the bipod away because it was too damned heavy. But I remember how cold it was that night. Gee, we sat in that hole and we shivered and shivered and shook and as Greenberg said, during the night we were relieved and flowed back. I think that was the last push through the concrete of the "Zigfried Line", if I remember correctly.

Greenberg records, that on Tuesday, December 7th, when he got back from a two day pass to Vaals, with Captain Peterson. Galloway (Weldon C. Gallaway, Staff Sgt, Squad Leader 2nd Platoon Co. F.) had been back with him, I guess. Peterson had gone to battalion to S2 and Lt. Everson [Donald 'Golden Boy'] became the commanding officer, later to become our Captain. Lt. Fletcher became first louie and Rabbinowitz (Rabbi) came from battalion to become our executive officer.

So earlier on, it must have been Fletcher talking to "Rabbi" in battalion about the artillery. Then the aide mentioned the 1st sergeant was busted to a private, Matushevsky, [N. 'Dottie'] became 1st sergeant. I don't remember who the hell the 1st sergeant was. All of this sort of politics is confusing to me because I don't know if there is a good analogy for it, but the squad was kind of like brothers and sisters? in a big family. And beyond that, you know, you hardly knew anybody -- even in the platoon.

Strangers would come and go, especially when you started getting replacements, because I remember DiGiovanni came in to replace Dohorety and I think Burke was the one who came in to replace Wright [William H.] who was hit earlier. Anyhow, I never could keep track of that. Matushevsky's comings and goings were always a mystery to me. Later on he was busted to private, I heard [------] for burning a building or trying to burn a building that some of his guys were billeted in.

Greenberg mentions that DiGiovanni, Burke, Gallaway and he decided to go to Liege I don't remember what the story was there. I don't remember going with them to Liege. I guess I did. I remember going to Liege at least once. I think I went once by myself and I remember like Greenberg didn't have any pass. I couldn't stay in the trench in Mentsering?? so I ended up staying in the Liege jail. There was a medical detachment there, and a guy from Minneapolis, Rose, was on duty that night. I don't know what he did. I never saw him again. I don't know if he came back to the "Cities" or not. He was probably a little older that I was -- probably in his mid twenties. A really nice guy -- he let me stay in the jail -- in one of the cells.

On the 9th of December, Greenberg mentions a trolley to Tongeren where we had a steak dinner. I remember doing that number two. I rode that trolley. The area was pretty grim and industrial and raining all the time. I remember one time the streetcar didn't come or something. A gang of us were walking down the street. A G.I. from some other outfit was there. He was drunk. He was throwing his G. I. helmet onto the cobblestone. He would pick it up and 'wham' and he would pick it up and 'wham' it down again -- just keep throwing it on the cobblestones trying to -- expressing his rage, I guess, about where he was and the hopelessness of it.

That was one of the things that we realized really clearly that there wasn't any fifty missions for us -- you stayed for the duration -- OR -- 'til you got wounded -- OR -- or captured -- OR -- killed -- OR -- whatever. You know, there was no ticket out of there. You just stayed -- and it was pretty grim and it got grimmer as time went on because more and more guys were getting hit. More and more strangers showing up as replacements.

Monday, December 13th, Greenberg mentions visiting the mines where we could shower. This was really a great experience to us for we could get hot baths -- hot showers. We went into these big tiled rooms. There were wooden benches. I remember racks that raised and lowered with/on pulleys. There were steel hooks where you could hang all of your equipment on it and you would hoist it up. So, there was room for lots of people in there. Your gear wasn't cluttering up any place -- was out of sight, couldn't get wet and we would get these hot baths. I remember at the time that we would get a clean uniform every week and you would get this one shower every week. At the time, we were -- we advanced the clothing one more step. I remember I was wearing two pairs of woolen underwear. When I would get the new issue, I would put it next to my skin and move the one out one. The one I'd been wearing for two weeks on the outside would go into the wash. We would get new 'woola-washed' O. D.s. The must of washed them in steam or something. They were completely shapeless, and clean socks, clean everything. It was really great. I always kept a pair of socks in my upper pockets in my field jacket. Dry socks ever since. I just loved those. I've got a fixation of G. I. socks. I still have some that I buy in war surplus stores and I keep them in the drawer. When I go hunting, I use them. A great feeling of satisfaction, when you have dry socks. You also carried little olive drab packets of that came with the K rations in your helmet. So, you would always have some of that.

Greenberg mentions that on the 14th of December that he took off for what we used to call Herleen. I mentioned that to a Dutchman one time and he could never figure out where it was; but finally, after a lot of conversation it was Herleen, or something like that. Herlem was our way of saying it. That was an interesting little town. I remember going back there and being amazed by the little pies that we could buy that did not have any sugar. People were very short of sugar.

On the 17th, [December], Greenberg mentions he and Clements took off and went off to Maastrich. As he says, 'We took a shave and a haircut'. That was his way of saying it. Here, in the Midwest, us Midwesterners would say, 'We got a shave and a haircut'. And the differences in the regionalism as he mentioned -- meeting people in all branches of life and all parts of the country.

Greenberg mentions on Tuesday, December 21st, we were still carrying gas masks around. From time to time we were reissued a gas mask and we had to carry them and I always used to think -- they said, anyway, that they got information from a German prisoner. I believe that at the time the German army commander, whoever it was would probably take the guy who screwed up the most and send across the lines with a gas mask and have them tell us that they were going to use gas. The American army would spring into action and spend days getting all of these gas masks together, issued and sent out to all of the troops. I don't think that it was the least likely that they were ever going to use gas.

Greenberg mentions, on Wednesday, December 22nd, that they took us out of reserve, got ready to move. He mentions that the Christmas packages were coming. One of the things that I had sent home for and arrived around this time was a pair of choppers. Couldn't get liners with the versite powder liners. I only had the silly leather faced gloves that were really silly. I think that they must have designed them a block from the door of the Pentagon, under the parked cars or something. They were laughable. So I sent home for a pair of choppers and a muffler. Eventually I got a neat olive drab muffler and my mother worked really hard to find some place. In the meantime we were cutting up strips of blanket. Somebody asked me about the chopper. How would I get my trigger finger if I had to. I said, 'Well, I think I will move very fast if the occasion arises'. And later on, we saw some huge Arctic gloves that they issued, that came up halfway to your elbow. They had a digit opening. It was a thumb and a glove finger, so you could use the trigger. But they were something you might need at the North Pole. The army didn't have very good -- absolutely very good field equipment to live in the field like we did. I'm still resentful about that. I should have forgiven them long ago, but I haven't.

Thursday, December 23rd, Greenberg records the cold. The roads slippery and icy and we hiked a long way. He says, something like five miles. I don't know if that was it or not. Anyway, we met a group of guys in the dark. He says that it was 4 A. M. when we finally settled into position. I remember that night very well. That was a sucker -- Wow! I think that's the night we walked really fast and the guys were throwing equipment left and right. I remember throwing a fragmentation grenade away into the ditch and a few other things. I was just wet with sweat when we got into that position. I froze then. That's the same night Lt. Fletcher was leading. He was wearing practically nothing -- wearing his little bitty meusette bag or something on his back. Later on I remember after that -- I think it was -- I was holding -- I was fixing my equipment, kneeling on the ground, crouched on the ground or something and I was holding Ford on all of the inequities that he perpetrated on us and how that march was the pits and how he would walk too fast. He had no load on. All of a sudden, I became aware of a pair of overshoes standing in front of me. I looked. And, I looked up and sure enough, standing in those overshoes was Lt. Fletcher. He said something to me with a laugh. He said, 'Well that meusette bag was pretty heavy.' Something like that. He thought that it was funny. I'm sure that incident ended up in my file, my promotion file if you will. I think we will get into that a little bit later. Greenberg will cover that, somebody said, later on. So I glanced at it, or Souder told me something about that. We would get to that.

That's a crazy night. You know, you get into positions. You haven't got any -- you are not quite sure where up is when you get where you are going. And I remember, when dawn came I could see a figure moving about a hundred yards from me. There was a structure out there, looked like a pill box and I thought for sure it was a kraut. This figure kept moving around. I could see him from the waist up. Not very clearly in the half light of dawn. I had the sights on him a lot. I was pretty sure -- but not completely sure it was a kraut. I waited 'til daylight and by god it was an American. I came pretty close to and I don't think I would have missed him. Anyway, I'm glad that never happened.

December 25th and 26th, Greenberg we have gone back to Beeck and had a turkey. I don't remember that at all. I remember we were getting some -- what we thought were ducks.

I remember counting as many as nine or ten, maybe as many as 20 rounds coming in. I heard years later someone telling me those were solid shot. The Germans had a solid steel shell that they used against armor. When they were short of anything else they would use those. Somebody was telling me after we left Wurm, that is where we were this time, around in that area any way, we spent a lot of times in those cellars in Wurm. The shell, I think, came in one wall, hit the basement floor, bounced up and there was a jeep parked on the back side, away from the Germans and it took the engine right out of the jeep. It was one of those solid shells. You kept waiting for them to explode and they never did. Kind of unnerving at the time.

We were doing a lot of defensive work here. We were digging foxholes like crazy. The engineers showed us how to make concertina wire. Some of the guys were doing that -- winding up the barbed wire into these concertinas. We were digging these foxholes out in the hills and we would come to town and take doors off the insides of the houses, bring them up and put them on the foxholes and build up earth 18 inches thick on top of that as kind of shelter from a mortar round or something that might fall in there. We had a tremendous defensive position there. That was one of the few times I wished the Germans would attack because they would have to come across a big valley and lots of wire out there. We had a clear field of fire down the slope. It must have been way over 300 yards. It was just an amazing place.

Greenberg mentions the armor would roll up and down the line -- parallel to the line. One of the times we were there -- this was around the 26th, I think he mentions the -- we'd meet them -- we would hear them coming and we would be outside the pill box and the would come inside our to get warm. They were frozen. They had these long pants with suspenders and a bib in front and they were padded like, I think, kind of like a G. I. blanket. But they filtered the air through the interior of the tank. It was part of the cooling system. They had big aircraft engines in them, we were told. They took a lot of that cooling air through the body of the vehicle, so they were sort of like standing in the wind. It was really cold out there.

I think that it was during this period or shortly there afterward, they issued us charges of TNT -- just a block -- a yellow block of TNT. It wasn't quite as big -- maybe 2/3rds the size of a pound of butter. It was pretty much that shape with a fuse taped to it and you could throw that on the ground and it would crack the ground enough to dig a fox hole. You were supposed to -- we did a little of that one day, and I think I remember we were supposed to carry those in case we got under fire. You couldn't dig in. You could toss that in some direction away from you, let it blow, and then have a place that was soft enough to start digging again.

The tankers? used to ride up and they had another position, parallel to the front from out end and they used to head back down there. It took a long time to make several trips at night to give the Germans the impressing that we were moving up armor ready to make an assault.

Greenberg mentions that on the 27th, that he and DiGiovanni were on guard about 2 in the morning and it consisted of walking up and down in front of the two cellars and he said the night was freezing and there was a brilliant moon. As we were talking, we heard the roar of a plane and out of the darkness, a German bomber flew directly over us at an altitude of about 30 feet. But the suddenness scared the hell out of us and we ducked after the plane was already passed us.

I am not sure if I was standing there that night or not or if it was another night, but I think that was a night that I was there with those guys. It was vague who I was with, but I remember that plane coming over and like he said it was about 30 feet over the houses -- just -- flash, you could hear this roar as it flashed across the sky there was a strange tail on it. We knew it wasn't an American plane. In those days, we knew -- and it was about that time the German Luftwaffe made one of their last ditch which was a mistake on their part I understand. They put everything they had up and it just didn't work for them. It is becoming a little clearer to me that night I was confused about the plane. I think that somebody else and I were relieving Greenberg and whoever it was, DiGiovanni, whoever was with him. So there were four of us in the street.

This is a continuation of the earlier tape about World War II starting at December 27th, 1944.

This is a little bit that I forgot. Fits back under Saturday, December 25th. Greenburg is writing about the time we were in those pill boxes. A lot of the things I remember we had outside of the pill boxes were some foxholes. There were two man holes between the pill box and the German line and they were supposedly a listening post. You sat out there, froze your ass, waiting -- supposed to give the warning if the Germans were starting an attack.

The other thing I remember about those pill boxes. They had iron frame bunks in them -- made out of netting and it is in there that Greenburg talked about the tanks or tank destroyers grinding up and down the road outside. He forgot to mention the grinding that went on inside. That was Shelly "Moonshine" Overman grinding his teeth. It was unbelievable the power of force of that kid when he was sleeping, grinding -- it used to drive us nuts. There were some real hot arguments about it. What we ought to do is put a stick in his mouth or something. I remember that pretty vividly.


The December 27th account where we were moving into the cellars, Greenburg mentions bottles filled with gasoline were used to burn for light down there right in the cellars. Some of the were arched roofs. What we would do was line them with whiskey bottles that were lying around, gasoline was put into them and the wicks were rammed into them. The wick had to fit really tight into the neck. It would take a real dense wad of cloth. Otherwise they wouldn't burn well. If you did that right the things would burn with a smoky flame. But they would burn. And, I remember after three or four days in those cellars, we would be out somewhere, you would spit -- you would spit black. That was really something. We all got really sooty. I don't think that we practically ever had candles. They were pretty rare.

On Tuesday, December 28th, there were the first of two recon patrols. Greenburg remembers that. We drew lots for it. I think we drew straws the first patrol because he said he was lucky not to be chosen. That applies to me too in the sentiments as well. No one was wild to go on those things. I remember the second time that patrol was organized. It was the next night. I have a couple of memories of that. The first patrol was OK. We were all pretty antsy and they got back OK. The second patrol, I remember -- if my memory serves me correctly, rather than drawing straws, we cut cards. Low card was losing. I remember that night and Tavarez saying, "I go, I go" -- real macho. I always had a sneaky hunch from that instant, the reason that he chose to go was because he didn't want to admit that he didn't understand how cards were cut -- what that meant or anything. So he, rather than admitting to that he said, "I go, I go." I remember when that patrol came back, as I recall it, DiGiovanni was on it. And [------] he had a choice of weapons as I recall it. DiGiovanni had chosen the grease gun. I think it is the M-3 submachine gun. When they came in the door, they would be unloading their or clearing their weapons. The clip was missing from the magazine. There was a 20 round magazine or something, a straight line magazine was missing from the grease gun. The look on DiGi's face was something to behold. He had been walking around with an empty gun for I don't know how long. I think that he didn't take that kind of weapon on anything after that.

Then Greenburg records that Lira came back. Lira [Robert M.] was always -- he was a platoon sergeant. He was a professional I think, came to the division from the 2nd Cavalry, He always wore the big patch. Lira was a nice guy, absolutely -- didn't have a mean bone in his body. He was a good sergeant and took care of his people. He and Bilyk [Theodore], who was the platoon guide were very good together. Bilyk was a T/Sergt. He was kind of a father figure. He was probably 24 or 25 years old. I remember him being very gentle and very nice at all times and very fair. Bilyk was something not very sympathetic. If you would be bitching about how very tired you were. He'd say, "Ah, that's not so bad -- a good soldier could sleep leaning up against a post." Now if you would complain about equipment or something of that nature -- inadequacy of equipment, or missing equipment or something. He would always look you in the eye and he'd say, "A good soldier is never hurting for anything", which really made you feel shitty.

On this period from -- the end of January -- end of December -- first part of January, when were in, I think it was Wurm. We were outside the cellars. The rotating the guard kind of to be a pain. We didn't have a lot of guys, and there had to have somebody on guard. I remember, over his protests, somebody made Gonzales, the medic, stand guard. They gave him a carbine, and sent him up there in violation of the Genevia Convention. And I don't think he like it for a lot of reasons.

Greenburg mentions on Wednesday, the 29th of December, we went back -- some of us, the battlefield of Beeck. That was pretty strange going back there. I remember seeing a pack lying in the field -- a combat pack, which was raincoat and stuff. Somebody said it belonged to Molina [Remigio]. Generally, when a wounded man was wounded man was picked, you left his gear there. It was too heavy, or you missed it in the dark or something. I remember examining a knocked out Sherman there. If your are standing in front and looking at it, there was a hole in the left side, in the front, to my left and it was right. You know, two guys sat there side-by-side. I don't know, one was a driver and one was a gunner or something like that. If there was somebody sitting in that left seat, he must of got the round right through the chest because the tank wasn't burned or anything. That round just punched a clean hole through the main armor belt there. And oddly, 88mm of course, around the rim of that hole as the shell entered it, raised a burr -- almost an eight of an inch burr around that hole in that hardened steel -- sharp enough to pretty near cut your finger on.

We spent some time looting those tanks. I remember finding -- I think they were Canadian -- big sardines -- sardines in tomato sauce. What a find that was -- it was really great. The Sherman's never really had a chance against the 88's -- even in an open field. The bigger German tanks were proof against the 3 inch guns we had, unless you hit them, I guess, somewhere on the side or the back which wasn't likely to happen in a battle.

[------], January 15th, when we were manning these where we relieved L Company. We had been told that they had been -- they had a lot of casualties inflicted on them by snipers. So somebody got the bright idea that we could fire any time that we wanted whenever we wanted. We were in a variety of holes there. Greenburg records that he was in with Taverez and I know that he came down one night and he was really distressed. He said, "God,I am going crazy," he said, "the sucker won't talk -- he doesn't talk at all even when I talk to him. He won't say a word." Taverez's buddy hand been Molina and they were pretty close. Molina had been killed at Beech a month and a half before. We were in various holes there. One of the holes that I was in with Burke was at the foot of this ridge. It was kind of a long that pointed into the German lines. Partway, I don't know, maybe a hundred yards ahead of us they had something like that ahead of us there were some ruined buildings. It was from there from where the Germans would come out, I think and get into position and fire on our positions. Anyhow, this ridge -- our lines ran across the ridge. If you think of the ridge pointing at the German lines and the defensive line parallel to the German lines. Our hole was a lot of time at the foot of that ridge. There was a little road that ran up way. We were to the left of that road -- and a very exposed hole -- a long field of fire there. This is where we had a little stove. We used to get bread from the kitchen and bring it up so you could toast bread and piddle around with that sort of stuff. And we got some cheese and things like that too. The food was good there, especially that fresh white bread which we were not used to.

Greenburg mentions that it was here that Danny Walsh almost got killed. I think it's comical. The story I heard at the time that Danny was in a trench system. That was to the left and rear of the foxhole I spoke of earlier. He was headed back down the trench line for lunch. So it must have been somewhere between 11 and 2 in the afternoon. He was moving and a kraut sniper got a shot at him and shredded the collar of his combat jacket. The guy just didn't lead him -- another two inches and he would have killed him. And they said Danny went back to his hole and didn't come out for three days.

These positions, Greenburg records a lot of firing. We were allowed to fire at anything. I had a grenade launcher and somewhere got a hold of a small supply, not a lot, maybe three or four grenades -- magnesium flare, parachute flare. They were not big things. You fired -- you loaded a blank into the chamber and with the grenade launcher on there and you slipped the grenade -- in this case was a flare on over the grenade launcher. You pointed at 45 degrees or so and you pulled the trigger and away she went. The things would fire out there maybe a hundred yards or so at most and they would explode and a little parachute with a flare under it would come sailing down. It was really neat. It really illuminated the battlefield. We got a great kick out of doing that. Then we would make a great show of looking for krauts caught in the open in the flare. Well, we never did see any.

From that hole, we also had another one up the line up the ridge part way and I don't remember if this is the one that Greenburg talks about where we exchanged with him or not. We had a chance every night, Burke and I. We would get a hundred and fifty round box of belted machine gun ammunition. We did this several nights. We would shuck the rounds out of the cotton belt and load them into BAR magazine. We would set up the BAR there. Any time we got bored, we would let fly with the thing hammering into the darkness. The sum total of all this is I think, is during that extended period we didn't have anybody hit as far as I know. Parise [Raymond E.] was hit -- but, I don't think that he was hit from the German side. Of course, they missed Walsh [Daniel].

We did have a few adventures there, and one of them was as Greenburg records, there was a flood. That was recorded by Greenburg, Wednesday, January 20th. The snow was melted by a rain during that night and during the rain, the rain melted the snow, and it came down that hill and it flowed. Of course our foxhole, Burke's and I were down on the low ground there. Greenburg records that they were in that hole. He and Taverez and a G Company guy. I don't remember being in it when it got flooded. I remember that the hole was full -- must have been about three feet of water, in there. By the time it all got over, Greenburg got them out of there when it got up to their ankles he said. He said the sides of the foxhole collapsed and stuff. This was an exposed hole and I remember one night earlier on, we were putting roofing on that hole. A lot of that, we would bring boards down and throw it down on the ground and work it in the dark and put a roof on the hole and that sort of thing. So we did a lot of work around that hole. Greenburg records that there was three feet of water in there and the lieutenant said that -- Greenburg says -- quote, "We would have to get the water out." About six of us with shovels tried for about two hours trying to divert the stream from the hole. It was useless. If we would even use TNT -- I can't read his next line -- I don't remember that part. I remember we were out there and one of the reasons that the lieutenant wanted to get some of the BAR magazines that were there. We had an ammo bag -- mine -- and I think it had six BAR magazines. I don't remember the total number we had for the gun was -- but six was probably about a third of them I guess. They were pretty precious. They were lost in that hole. We never did get them out. We were standing there digging and fiddling around. A flare went up. Holy mackerel! This wasn't one of our little ones. This is a big one from the artillery. It lit the whole field. And here we were standing there and it is brighter than daylight. Incredible -- but, with huge shadows because every tree and such showed a really sharp shadow. We stood there frozen which is really a terrible thing to have to go through hoping to God that no kraut was watching us. They had a clear shot to whoever was happening out there. The idea was to freeze and he might not see you move. I am not sure how wise that was.

I think, the other other thing that I remember missing, I had gotten a hold of a Weaver 330 rifle scope. I wanted to be a sniper. I thought maybe one day I could find some way of mounting that scope on the M-1. It wasn't until the end of the war I found out that they had M-1's with scopes -- big Lyman-Alaskans I guess, militarized.

Anyway, we lost all the gear in that hole and I think that we left the next night.

I remember getting quite a shock after that snow went away. Right next to that foxhole, not more than four feet just on the shoulder of the road was a big Teller mine that the Germans had buried under the snow. You know, I don't know if stepping on that sucker would have set it off or if it had to be run over by armor. We were throwing boards down there and house doors and all kinds of junk in the night. I remember that it gave me quite a turn when I saw that sucker. It wasn't sad to leave that place.

Friday, January 22nd Greenburg mentions that there was a fire in the cellar where this straw had started on fire. I don't remember that at all. At this time I was just getting over pleurisy that I had gotten earlier. We eventually got on this long march -- I got hot and wet from sweat and spent the night standing around in a foxhole. My whole chest ached. Every time I breath it hurt and then gradually it got a little better. Burke was kind of a funny guy. He was always joking. Only when he would tell some joke and make me laugh, it would hurt. I went back to the aid station three or four times trying to get sent back to get some help for that. I never even had a fever. That was it, you know. They would never send you back because you didn't have a fever. That was crazy. I was really hurting and they wouldn't let me get some help. I am not sure that there was any help available. But I surely felt isolated by that whole thing.

Greenburg records, Saturday, January 23rd we were guarding some pill boxes. Although we were behind our own lines, the routine there was some guys in foxholes around the pill boxes and the main group would be in the pill boxes. They would rotate the guard. On one of these occasions I was guarding a road. They had what they called a road guard road block which was really dignifying a couple of foxholes straddling a road there. I remember very vividly being there when another company came back through us going back in reserve. I think it was G company. Wow! Was that a sight to see. You can't believe how grungy they looked. They were a lot of them. Greenburg mentions that we pulled sleds sometimes -- little wagons. These guys had sleds and wagons with stoves in them and firewood and coal and all of that stuff. And then, a lot of them had their GI overcoats which was our winter wear. Some of them had gotten tired of the long flapping overcoats. So they were cut off back to the length of the bayonet. It was not very neat tailoring. Some of the guys had the new sleeping bags which the replacements would bring in. They would cut two armholes and then hack them off at the knees. They wore them that way which looked a combination of a sleeping bag and a Mackinaw or whatever.

[------] the weapons and by now the guys got pretty good at taking care of their weapons. The BAR flash [------] would be covered with a condom -- keeps snow and mud out of them. Because I remember when we were in the rich position early on where Perise [Raymond E.] got wounded. I must have in the dark, gotten a dab of mud in the muzzle. When I fired the weapon, I didn't notice. The next time I tried to clean it, I couldn't get the gas cylinder off. You could take the plug out of the gas cylinder, but, I couldn't get the cylinder off the barrel, in the bulge there. So I just went back to the supply room and got another rifle. I think I had eleven different rifles during World War II including three in combat.

Greenburg records that we were guarding pill boxes at that time. Greenburg mentions that when he got back from on pass he found out that the division had advanced to the Roer and took 94 pill boxes. That was a sector ahead of where we had been where we had the troublesome flooded foxhole. Right in front of us on that road where was that tangle of 90 something concrete positions were. It was a triangle. I had forgotten. Somebody had said it had been an equilateral triangle somewhere like five miles on a side. My God, we would still be there if they had manned all of those pill boxes.

We went up the road, the same road our defense line had straddled into the German lines and we found a lot of dead Germans -- not a lot, but here and there there would be dead Germans in those buildings where they had either been caught by our fire or artillery. Further on there was a smashed up German half track. I don't remember. It had been in defalaid and they couldn't see it. But an artillery shell had hit near it and an artillery observer had seen a bogy wheel flying up in the air. Then they called in a lot more artillery and blew the hell out of that whole area.

We came to a great big pill box and it had an aperture was stepped in -- little six inch steps so that if a bullet hit it wouldn't ricochet into the opening. Someone had landed a shell, that we had thought at the time was a 155mm right at the junction of that pill box face and the ground and the shell exploded there and the concussion had broken the roof structure of the pill box and dropped it down five or six feet. So when you were inside that whole thing was sagging down like on the steel construction in the concrete.

The embrasier that had a machine gun in it, the gun was still there, and belts and belts and pipes. They had pipes strung along the walls and the ammunition belts were hanging from these steel pipes. This was an odd machine gun. I had never seen one like it. I didn't get a chance to study it very carefully. It was a fin, but the fin was one constant thing like a jack screw. I don't know, maybe it was a French gun or something that they had taken. It was one like I had never seen before.

[------] on January 23rd we moved back from the pill box area and he said quote, "We packed our belongings and went along with our sleds crammed full of junk. It was a funny sight to see all these men. They didn't look like soldiers bust like junk peddlers and they probably felt they were. We walked to Beeck..."

Actually, Greenburg gives that date as Wednesday, January 27th.

He mentions on Wednesday, January 25th, that we were in divisional reserve in the town, he said, the town of Barsweiler. I think, ------, we were upstairs in a two story house and we didn't use our mess kits. Would would find German china to use. Then we would either wash it off, or if there was a lot of it, we would just throw it away. To wash it, water was scarce.

I remember being up in that upper room and Taverez would eat and then he would go to the window, throw out his plate and it would hit the ground below with a crash and then he would yell, "Watcha yo heads." He was kind of a looney tunes gut. He didn't talk much but here he was really blossoming. He would throw out a load of dishes with the cups and saucers and whatever, hit the ground out there and then he would yell, "Watcha yo heads." He thought that was great. He would be laughing uproariously.

On the 2nd of February, this would be 1945, each platoon was brought down to regimental and we were shown all kinds of photos of the other side of the Roer where we had to cross, sand tables showing all of the terrain and of course and to me as I remember was just a blur. I couldn't remember anything. It seemed pretty scary to me. I remember that. I think everybody was pretty spooked by that.

They never took that much care before to explain something to us and we could see it was going to be one hell of a big operation.

Then we went over the Dutch border to a small river. Greenburg describes it as small. Hell, I remember we went to a great big sucker. I think it was the Maas. I thought we would never get that little assault boat across. These were small boats made out of plywood. Made like a Jon boat, not pointed at each end. Two sides were parallel and then the bow curved up and the stern curved up from the keel. The top of the boat of course was flat. We loaded these things and carried them down to the river and paddled them across. We worked all day at that and it was a real pain in the butt. It scared the hell out of me. I knew something about boats and I wasn't very impressed with those.

Greenburg mentions on Sunday, February 7th, we received some replacements. Our squad got three. Ybarra, [Joe R.] I remember him. He was a Mexican kid. He was small and thin and he was a cook. A real nice guy and nervous as hell. Nolan [Leonard J.] was a clerk and he looked like a clerk. He was kind of overweight and he wore glasses. He was kind of -- as I said, he was a little overweight and pudgy and wasn't in very good physical condition. He was married and had kids. And Ravera [Herbert] came from, I thought he was Spanish. I don't know what his nationality was-- a young good looking guy. And as Greenburg records, we felt sorry for them when we received them in our squad, because they were stepping into the thick of it without any previous experience. We knew that we were at the bottom of the pile and we always felt sad when these guys joined us to share our fate, because we knew that is wasn't going to be great.


Liege [------] which was not too far from us. Greenburg mentions that we would steal the rations off the armor off the sides of the tanks and the armored cars we felt we had nothing to lose, you know. So we would take anything we could lay our hands on -- mostly rations.

I think it was along about this time that Burke and I were hiking down the street and I suggested we steal a Coleman stove that was sitting on the side -- on the seat of a jeep near by. So Burke said, "yea, let's do that." So we circled around and we came by walking casually, I on the outside, and Burke next to the jeep and as we went by, he snapped it up.

We used that to cook our rations for a long time. It might have been at this time, it might have been earlier. Every time we saw armor we would steal everything we could.

During this period we were at Bassweiler, I remember we were issued the shoe packs if you wanted them. I didn't take any. Those were the soft bottomed, rubber bottomed boot with wool socks and high leather uppers. They were great for keeping your feet warm, but they didn't support your feet any. They were agony on the march if you were carrying a load. Most of the guys found that out. Most of them got rid of them -- were able to trade back for their regular issue which was a combat boot and most of us wore overshoes over the combat boots to keep our feet dry.

During this too, Greenburg mentions, February 16th, which was a Tuesday, we went over to inspect a couple of big guns that were stationed near us. They were under nets and they were huge. They explained to us and I remember -- it was a young lieutenant. Greenburg records it was a sergeant. They were naval guns -- 8 inch naval tubes on these big carriages and two of them made a battery. They were shelling off into the outskirts of Cologne. I have forgotten -- Greenburg says 26 miles. I think I remember 18. But in any case, that day, they were ranging in on targets like crossroads. Then in the night they would be able to drop shells on those cross roads without any warning. That day they were having trouble, because their spotting plane couldn't find the hits that they were trying to range on -- a range in width.

He mentions that on February 16th that we had an incident. He remembers a little different than I did. It was night and a bunch of us were standing outside watching the show as this German plane came over. He was looking for that artillery battery we were pretty sure and he dropped a bomb finally and it lit a long ways away. Greenburg says a thousand yards, I believe that it sounded like it was going to come down and land between the two houses we standing between. I remember we all raced for the door. Everybody -- guys tried to go through that one door all at once. It really was hilarious. Once we got down in the basement and got a chance to think about it.


Here Greenburg talks about February the 18th, where we went to the Maas near Liege to train again to train again in the boats. I don't remember that early incident where we trained on the small river. Yes, but this river, he records being about 400 yards wide. I think he was right. Boy that was the biggest river I had ever seen and the current was fast. We were scared to death, I remember. All day on that, I don't know if it was very much help later on.

This period, Greenburg mentions the 14th of February, they were returning from the river. It was too ice, so they sent us back to wait again in Bassweiler for the current to subside.

The Germans had blown the dam, by the way, up in the Hurtgen Forest, and when I was back bumming around, I went off like Greenburg did and I was coming back by myself. I was more of a loner I guess than he was. A guy told me that they had even attacked that dam with torpedo planes. I don't know if that's' true or not. They sent high level bombers and torpedo planes and some division, I don't know which one it was, fought in the Hurtgen Forest. That's what they were trying to do -- get up to the head waters and and keep that dam from being opened so we could cross the river and of course they didn't make it in time and the krauts blew the dam up or opened the gates or whatever they did and let the water come down on us. The river again, to get ready for the crossing. That was on Wednesday, the 10th of February.

I remember, that was one of the reasons they moved us back from the river was that one of the company commanders in the regiment was killed. A shell went right into the living room of the house that he was sleeping on the couch and killed him and they pulled us all back.

We hiked up to the river then, I guess according to Greenie on February 10th. I don't remember that very clearly. We waited in a little town not too far from the river -- Freialdenhoven I think it was called

Tuesday, the 23rd then of February, we were up and Freialdenhoven and we were getting ready to go across the river again. We had a hot meal, put on our equipment, he said, shook hands with one another, wished luck, etc. and went outside. He mentioned, the new fellows were nervous on the 22nd, the day before. He said that he imagined that the old fellows felt no better. I know that I didn't. I share that with him. I know that we were all scared to death. We were scared of those boats, scared of that river and scared of the Germans.

I remember that night as we marched up to the river. We passed the big guns, 155's and 8 inch guns in the dark. They were all bellowing and firing across the river. Then as we moved up, we came pass the 105's and kept moving up and we finally came up where they even had the little 57mm anti tank guns firing across. Armor was lined up in the field firing across of us, across the river with the 75's on the tanks, the high velocity 76's and the 90mm guns. All of that was firing across. We could see the guns bellowing, could see the flash of the muzzles and the crews working them and we had never seen anything like that and we had never been back that far. Now we were moving up through the artillery. It was pretty impressive. On one hand it was heartening and on the other hand it was scary too. We knew it was a great big operation.

This march, I remember, when we got up to the river -- close to the river, Lt. Weigand was handing out bandoleers of ammunition for anyone that wanted them. Almost everybody took one. Some took two. Then we had a halt among some buildings up there. Then Galloway (Weldon C. Gallaway, Staff Sgt, Squad Leader 2nd Platoon Co. F.) came around and told us to blow up our life preservers. These were two parallel tubes pretty much like bicycle inner tubes around your waist. They were on a single belt. In the front they had two CO2 cartridges. If you squeezed that together with your hand. The CO2 cartridges would pierced and they would inflate the belt. Fortunately most of us had been over once or twice and when you did that it was the same thing as squeezing them and the cartridges had inflated the belts and there weren't any cartridges to replace them or very few as I remember.

We had an auxiliary way of doing it. There was a rubber hose -- two actually, one for each of the two tubes. You could blow them up manually. Galloway (Weldon C. Gallaway, Staff Sgt, Squad Leader 2nd Platoon Co. F.) was squad leader now, and he came around and had us blowing them up. I remember that and I remember doing it. I remember Tavarez fussing about doing it. I don't know if he actually did it or not. When we were waiting to get ready, you know, to go down to the river. This had been in the middle of the night sometime.

As we went down the hill on kind of a winding road that came into the river at a right angle to the river, and as I remember, turned left and down the hill and the river on our right and buildings on our left. All of a sudden a shell hit one and splattered the platoon ahead of us. You could hear the guys yelling, and [------] . It was pitch dark. The confusion [------] and I remember hitting the ground on top of a pile of rubble and bricks and stuff, my M-1 underneath me and Burke right next to me. And I thought, My God -- if we -- everybody had taken off for the buildings. I thought this was the end of the crossing and we never get everybody organized and back to the river. I thought it was crazy. Anyway, Burke and I scooted back among the buildings to and people got us organized. The I learned that Gallaway had been and I think at the time I didn't realize it but Lt. Fletcher had been hit and Shelly Overman, known as "Moonshine" had been hit. Jim White took over the squad and he made Burke his assistant squad leader. My immediate reaction to that was pissed because when Galloway (Weldon C. Gallaway, Staff Sgt, Squad Leader 2nd Platoon Co. F.) had told me when White had made assistant squad leader, Fletcher, Lt. Fletcher had wanted him because of his national guard experience. Otherwise Galloway (Weldon C. Gallaway, Staff Sgt, Squad Leader 2nd Platoon Co. F.) said he -- probably they might have made me the assistant squad leader.

I guess looking back at it is very unlikely, several of us, Greenburg among them, had bragged on Fletcher that he was likely to give us anything. We were lucky to get our rations I think.

I remember one time back around Baesweiler or someplace, we were hiking down a road going to Brachelen and we got pretty hot and steamy. I remember kneeling there in the road working on my boots or overshoes or something wailing about how Lieutenant had led us at too fast a pace and da-da-da. I looked down and there was a pair of overshoes and I followed them and sure enough there was Lt. Fletcher looking at me and he said something about the musette bag he was carrying was pretty heavy. I really had shot off my mouth that day -- it wasn't very bright of me.

Anyway when we got reorganized we headed down to the river and this time as I remember it we hit the ground a lot and I was lying in a ditch and there was a guy behind me and a guy in front of me and I was just about lying on the guys' legs in front of me. The guy behind me said, "Let's go, Let's go." I said, "Wait a minute, I can't go anywhere, this guy's in front of me." Well he said, "Well, push him out of the way." I said, "Well, he's dead I think." About that time the guy in front of me started to crawl down to the river.

So, we got down to the boats. I don't remember much about how that was except that there seemed to be too few combat engineers for the [------].

The Allies Drive for the Rhine

On March 12, 1945, LIFE magazine ran an article on the crossing of the Roer River. This article was by LIFE photographer, Geroge Silk who took some dramatic photographs of just one small part of the crossing. If you wish to read this article and see the haunting images, click on the link below.This article offers an insight into what the men of Co. F experienced.

Crossing the Roer

I remember we were paddling like crazy in that boat. Greenburg observes that too few guys were paddling which was surely true. We got to the far shore in very quick time and bounced off. God Almighty -- we went spinning downstream and we hit something. Greenburg knows more about what we probably hit than I did because he spent a couple of hours sitting on top of whatever it was. He said a van with a large hole in it and kept going and we hit a submerged log and that was what I remember. I was on the downstream side. I passed my paddle to the guy up ahead of me and yelled at him to paddle. I was trying to get a paddle out from under a pile of feet and guns that were next to me and that was what I was grabbing for when we hit. That side of the boat I was on just slid under water and in an instant I was swimming.

Then as I remember, we hit this log after I passed the paddle up and I was digging up the other one. The next minute I was in the water. I remember bobbing, coming to the surface and thinking that I really didn't need that steel helmet anymore. I knocked that off and I don't think that I had gone under very far. I remember that I couldn't gone down too far. I don't think the helmet would have stayed on. I thought what a crazy place to die here in this black river in the midst of Germany. Next instant, I thought I had got to get rid of my equipment I had on -- a pack, a combat pack which was raincoat and rations and mess kit and stuff, the entrenching tool and I had an ammo bag. Had a sweater in it, rifle grenades, rifle grenade launcher and I had several bandoleers of ammunition, some BAR ammunition in BAR magazines as I remember it. So I had a lot of equipment. I got my pocked knife and started to cut on my webbing equipment. I couldn't cut the pack webbing, absolutely not. It just wouldn't cut. It was webbed and my hands were getting cold already. I knew that was going to come on fast. So I managed to cut, I think to cut the bandoleers off. Then I started swimming. I seemed to be floating OK, so I put the knife away. I was afraid of cutting the life preserver tubes. So I swam and I got to the kraut shore. The bank was almost chest high. I was standing in the water -- crawled up on the bank. I could see nothing. It was night time still. The bottom of the valley had fogged in by white phosphorus shells. As I crawled up I could hear a P-47 Thunderbolt coming from our side strafing. His 50 calibers going like crazy. Strafing the German positions. I thought, wow, if he comes down the least bit low I am a dead cookie. And of course he was probably shooting a mile or more inland -- I have no idea. But anyway, I could hear a German machine gun ahead of me there and that sucker could not have been more than 50 or 60 feet inland. I could hear him firing upstream at the bridgehead and I could hear him when he opened the action on the thing to load a new belt. I could hear him charge the gun and start shooting again. I crawled on my right front, which was upstream a bit maybe 30 feet or so into a shell hole and I lay there half paralyzed in cold and fear. After a while I became aware that it became a little lighter. There was a guy standing where I had come out of the river in the same position.

At this time then, I had figured out a few things. I got my pack off and I opened it up. I got my ammo bag and looked at that and I had lost my glasses in the river and I had lost my wrist watch someplace. I took out my spare glasses and put them up on the bank ahead of me because they were covered with water. I took out some chocolate and then I noticed this guy standing below me there. I couldn't tell if he was a German or American. I figured on that a while and I finally decided he was probably American. He was standing in the water.

So I crawled over there and I gave him help. He couldn't make it up the bank himself. He had been in the water too long I guess. I exhausted myself getting him up so I just waddled back to the hole on my belly and waited for him. After a while he crawled over. He said something about, "It was good I came him because he said I was going to holler to the Germans to come and get me. I was afraid I was going to fall back in the water and I couldn't get out and I didn't want to die." So I asked him if he wanted some chocolate. He said "Yea." It was a Hershey bar, commercial type. He was so cold he couldn't hold it. He couldn't feed himself. So I fed him the pieces. Slid little squares into his mouth. And after a while he felt better. And we decided -- we talked a little trying to decide what we were going to do. I kind of thought well, I said, "I speak just a little German. Maybe I could go around behind them and bluff them out. Maybe think they are surrounded. You could holler from this side. He said that he didn't think too much of that. He thought we ought to sneak up stream. I kind of thought there were krauts all the way along that bank on both sides of us. We took the smart path and started crawling upstream actually wriggling on our bellies first and then I think and then crawling and then finally getting far enough so we could stand up. As we moved upstream, eventually we could hear a voice calling upstream.

We got up there. It was somebody yelling for "doggie, doggie". As I remember the "doggie" was the nickname of one of the sergeants in the, I think, the heavy weapons platoon. Anyway we got behind a couple of big stout trees and yelled at the guy not to shoot, we were Americans. Then we moved in there. He was still looking for "Doggie". We said there is nobody behind us but krauts. So we turned around and all went up stream as I remember it and we got up to the site of the bridgehead. They said that there was a counter attack expected. I said, "Holy Christ, here I don't even have a gun." So I went around and I finally found a white phosphorus grenade that had it's handle bent and fallen off somebody's belt -- off his lapel or something and hung onto that.

After a little bit there was obviously no counter attack. So we hung around there until, I guess, one in the afternoon and there was nothing we could do. At one in the afternoon, they got a, had a little, infantry bridge across. Guys would come across single file. There was a break in the action there. I scooted back across and the engineers stayed on there to work. I saw one guy step on a shoe mine and get a hole in his foot.

As I got on to the opposite bank, coming down a column of troops. One of them was a guy named Gallager who I had met in basic training back in Camp Robinson, Arkansas a year and a half or so before. Here he was in the same division. We recognized each other, said hello and I went on up the hill to the aid station. Because I lost my glasses, they sent me back to the hospital, someplace, I don't remember in an ambulance to get new glasses.

I had a civilian pair in my pocket. I didn't tell anybody about it. I had it very clear in my mind, it made sense to me. If I used those glasses, they would never get me new ones. It would be three months or more. I would probably break these and stuff. And that was just a crock. The reason I was going back was I was scared to death.

So I got to the aid station and there were a few guys there I knew. I recognized Greenburg. I remember that. That's about all. I think that there must have been some others there. I went back to the hospital and I don't know...it was two days or so later I think. They had us unloading wounded at the hospital. I think, maybe two days later -- maybe it was longer, I don't remember actually getting back to the platoon. Greenburg was there already. Bustos [Oscar] had been killed and they put myself and Greenburg in Mucci's [Joe] squad. Mucci put me back, one guy ahead of the assistant squad leader, Wojciechowski [Edward C.]. That was the way it went until the end of the war. As I remember it, Greenburg and I were both in that squad and I remember Joe was so glad to see us back, he gave me a big "hello". I remember that big grin. I always thought Mucci was a great guy. He treated us great. Greenburg and I were kind of like orphans. I imagine we were pretty sad sacks. We were pretty shook up by that whole thing.

So that is about all I remember of the river crossing. I don't know the day that I joined the platoon.

I walked up the road that we had come down a few hours earlier. I suppose it was ten hours earlier. By that time the potholes in the road were full of blood -- just like ketchup. By that time I think -- well I don't remember. I didn't see any casualties on the [road]. They must have been cleared away by then. The dead and wounded. Just the blood was there which was bad enough -- for Christ sake.

Left the river. They were trying to put a pontoon bridge across. This was before I got back to the aid station. I mean a big pontoon bridge for the armor. They had it across. It looked to me like they were within a few feet of the far bank. A guy took a -- There were two incidents there. One guy, a second lieutenant, took one of those boats, like we had, an assault boat and had a big outboard on the back. He headed upstream. He gunned the engine. The nose of the boat went up in the air and the stern went underneath. He was swimming for shore. Then someone took one of the great big great big "ducks", DKW or whatever they were. I had never seen one of them before into the river above the bridge. The engine stalled. That sucker was swept down by the current and it smashed the bridge. It took it right out. I don't know if anyone ever wrote about that one. But it sure happened. I couldn't believe it. I don't know how many hours that delayed the armor, but that must have been about one or two in the afternoon. They had been working on that bridge I suppose since early in the morning. I don't know how long it took them, because I left then to get it going again.

Greenburg reports, Monday March 1st, that I joined them that day and we went into the attach the next day. He mentions that the Tiger tanks started firing from beside a house in front of us and we were on flat ground with no protection. And he says that Munger (Lyle) was killed on the first burst.

I remember that day very vividly. As we were moving up on that flat ground, Bilyk, [Theodore "Ted"] sent me and someone else back to go through a brush pile, kind of not a brush pile, but a growth of brush in a low spot in the field to make sure there were no Germans there who would fire into the back of the column as we moved by. So, I grumbling went back -- a hell of a long way back. It must have been at least a hundred yards. I don't remember who else went with me. We walked through the bushes. There was nothing there -- turned around and came back. It was during that time while we were doing that bush number that Munger got killed. I would have probably have been close to him when he was hit. As I remember the incident, we got pinned down with machine guns and then they worked us over with mortars.

We kept moving ahead, getting up and running and hitting the ground and finally came to a trench that the Germans had dug to defend the village in front of us there. So the parapet was on our side. I jumped over the parapet and landed in the bottom of that trench. There was somebody on my right...quite a ways down the trench. I couldn't hear much shooting. I couldn't understand that. So I got into the trench and I looked over this little village in front of us -- started banging away with the M-1, firing into the windows and doors, into the hedges, wherever I thought somebody might be hiding. It wasn't long, I got a response. Somebody took a shot at me from the village and he was right on for elevation. The bullet hit the parapet which was of course behind me. His windage was off. It was maybe ten or twelve feet down the trench from where my head was. I retired. I got down in the bottom of the trench. I tried to find a stick or something to hold my helmet up. I didn't want to hold my rifle up in case he hit that. I couldn't find a damned thing. That trench was brand new. They never used it. This reinforced my belief that a lot of guys never fired their rifles at all. Because I couldn't hear any shooting. A little bit maybe at the other end down the line.

So I read years later that in Korea after intensive training, they could get Marine Corps rifle companies up to about 50% of the men would fire in a given battle. I had no trouble believing that when I read it.

As I was in the trench, a replacement came in behind me and jumped into the trench. He had been hit in the arm. He had a puncture wound which didn't look like much. They never did -- kind of like someone would stick a graphite pencil into your arm or something. A black dot. He said, "Oh, I'm all right, I'll be O.K." And I said, "Bullshit, that will stiffen up on you will be evacuated pretty soon." He was gone that day. I never even found out what his name was. They came and went pretty fast.

The tank pulled out of there, and we moved into the village and rested in a house. As I remember there was some looting going on. The guys were for beer -- liquor. We moved in through the village. There were a lot of civilians there. We moved out to a road just passed the village. As I remember, lying in a ditch and we were getting ready to attack. I think it was Lt. Weigand [Jack] wanted someone to go back to the village. He was walking up and down the road to get some civilians to drive in front of us to keep the Germans from shooting at us. I remember thinking with disgust. That was what I was getting paid to do there. I didn't want any civilians to be driven in front of me. I knew it was a violation of the Geneva Convention anyway. All I could do was to give him a dirty look. That was about all you could do. At least that's all I thought I could do. I probably should have said something to the effect that he was a horses' patutete. But, I didn't. Anyway, we had to move out quickly. Nothing happened about the civilians.

E Company as always was getting the shit kicked out of them in front of us. We came where the Munchen-Gladbach. I think that was the outskirts of Munchen-Gladbach.

At Munchen-Gladbach airport we dug in. I remember that pretty vividly. I got into a small foxhole that the German people had dug for the air -- ground crews who were working along those runways when they got strafed or something and they could jump in those.

Then Rosenbaum [Harry] came along. God, there was not room for the two of us in that hole. I was afraid that that armor was going to come and squash us -- a couple of Mark IV's. I think they would come out of a ravine ahead of us and were heading towards us. We thought we were going to get an armor attack out there in the open ground. That would have been murder. It turned out that everybody started firing at them. I remember carefully selecting a clip of ball ammunition and putting it aside and getting out a clip of AP which had black tipped bullets and firing that at the tank. I know damn well I hit him every time. And then I fired another clip of the same stuff. I think I fired three clips into the guy.

There was a bazooka there someplace but nobody brought the ammunition, so there was nothing there. Somebody in the weapons company had a water cooled 30 there. They had the trigger down. They were just hosing that tank -- feeding belt after belt into it. Every time a tracer would hit it, it would carom off into one direction or the other. Those guys must have thought. Those guys must have thought they were in a rainstorm. In any case I think the reason they were coming towards was to get out of this ravine. Both tanks turned and waddled off into the distance. Everybody was still shooting at them. The P-47's were flying over us oblivious to everything. It turned out that as I was told the story we had no radios that could reach the aircraft. The radio net went way, way back some place. They would have to radio up to the P-47's. I supposed he thought it was our armor or something. Anyway, he never saw them, maybe, I don't know.

During this time, just after the tanks disappeared, there was across and in front of us there and I would guess it was something like 500, 600 or 700 yards -- somewhere in that range. A guy was riding a bicycle from our left to the right. Again, everybody in sight of me started shooting at him. I cranked the site up higher than I had ever seen it before and was banging away at him, estimated the range. Eventually, he disappeared. I don't know if he got off the bike or we blew him off the bike but who he was I'd never known.

That was a pretty wild day. One of the few days that we got to shoot a lot of stuff.

That, I think was on the 1st of March. On the 2nd of March there was an air battle. I remember that. I think I got into a brick chicken coop or something thinking it might give a little protection. The planes were flying all over -- the bullets were flying. Greenburg reports a big victory for the P-47's. They shot down, he said five jerries. I don't remember seeing any jerry planes going down. Maybe because I was in that chicken coop.

Greenburg mentions that on the 2nd we -- no on the 3rd. We walked to attack Krefeld. I remember he reports a snow storm. I remember that. I thought, "My God, what's going on." A blinding snow storm. It didn't last long, but huge white flakes came across the road. We were going up through a -- along a road that had a lot of trees. There was kind of a belief that winter was almost over and that snowstorm scared the hell out of us. At least it did me anyway. I remember there was a drunk guy -- a drunk G. I. in that group ahead of me and he moved to one tree and he leaned against it for a while and then he'd stagger to the next tree and a colonel came up. I don't know if it was Col. Williams -- somebody in a jeep. Some of the G. I.'s, I heard one of them yelling at him, "Sir, I don't think you should be up here." And I don't think the colonel felt he should be either. The jeep turned around -- he went back. I remember that. It's pretty confusing in my mind. But I think it was on that day, the 2nd when we left the little town where the air attack was, Greenburg reports that we went on the 3rd, we walked seven miles to attack Krefeld.

As I remember that day, the armor was with us and as we left that little village, one of the guys -- I tried to steer clear of the tanks as Greenburg reported earlier we learned that. Because they drew fire like crazy. This guy turned out of his way to smash a little chicken coup with a wire fence around the chicken yard. Instantly that chicken wire formed into a big cable that was 2 1/2 to 3 inches thick and it grabbed, wrapped itself into a cable and it wrapped around the rear bogey wheel or the drive wheel of the tank. I bet they are still there trying to cut that sucker out of there. That clown disabled that tank as good as the Germans could have done.

As we moved across that land there, we would come to these big anti-tank ditches that the Germans had dug. The armor would come along behind us. Gradually, we lost them because it took them a long time for the tank dozers to fill those -- to fill those ditches so the armor could get across. As I remember it when and I don't remember this too well. I had better check out her for a minute and get my marbles straight.

Things are kind of confused in my memory. I would almost have to check with Hottin [Albert A.] on this. It seem to me the day that Munger was killed, we fought our way into the edge of a German town and I remember going past a fox hole with a couple of German machine gunners in it. I heard later someone came along behind us and shot them. It seem to me that to these houses. There were civilians in them. I shot the lock off a door. Hottin was right behind me. We went sailing in that house. We spent the night there. I don't know what town that was. We spent the night there and the krauts were down in the basement -- the civilians. We were scared to go down and they were scared to come up. It was kind of funny. I yelled down to them something trying to tell them they weren't in any danger. I am sure that all my voice did in German was to scare the hell out of them. I am very hazy about that period. That I think was before we got to the Munchen-Gladbach airport. I will have to see if I -- if Hottin can sort that out for us. It's very confusing to me.

What is kind of confusing a lot in my mind is that, seems to me that the day Munger got killed and if I'm right then we went into the outskirts of this town and E Company got whacked pretty good on our right. On the way in I remember seeing a guy from E Company dead, as I remember it was Tintera [William J., Jr.] and he was sitting up against a fence. The dead had a waxy yellowish complexion. He had been hit and bled to death and someone had propped him up against the fence there. I don't know why. We went on.

I thought that was -- and what is confusing is maybe something I remember from another time when we went into the edge of Krefeld. I am not at all sure about that.

[----] reports that Monday, March 1st is the day, he said that we were relieved at midnight and walked back to a town and that Brophy joined him there. We took off on the morning of March 1st and Munger was killed that day. Then my memory has it -- that was the same day that Hottin and I went into that house and we spent the night there. The whole company was scattered around the edge of that town. And that may very well have been Krefeld, I don't know. Maybe we can sort this out later.

Greenburg has the attack on Krefeld on March 3rd.

It was in one of these towns that I saw a scene very vividly that I am not clear if it was Krefeld or around Munchen-Gladbach. As we came into the center of the town, a lot of the civilians would go to the air raid shelters -- big concrete bunkers and this young mother -- couldn't be more than 25 I suppose. She had a little boy with her. They were crossing the street and she was carrying the gas masks for the pair of them. Apparently that is what they had been drilled to do and they went to the air raid shelter. Anyway, she was carrying, and I thought that was just a pathetic little scene.

Greenburg mentions in Krefeld on March 6th that we were in an apartment buildings and I remember that very clearly. A very upper middle class -- I think we were up two or three stories -- very nice buildings -- no damage. I remember finding a Nazi arm band in one of them. And a few other little moments I don't recall at them moment.

He mentions that we were -- we would occasionally liberate a chicken there. I remember early on when ready to cross the Roer -- the night before we moved up to the river. Burke and I went out. There were some civilians in that town. It must have been Bassweiler and we got a couple of chickens out of a kraut chicken coup. I regret that to this day. Those people were pretty hard up. As it was, Ybarra [Joe R.] who had been a cook, cooked the chickens and we had a chicken dinner before we moved up to the river. Of course that was the last meal that Ybarra cooked. He was killed in the crossing.

Those were -- a large number of those who participated -- in a sense, looking back at it, it was kind of like the last supper. There weren't that many survivors.

Greenburg talks on March 8th, that replacements had come in. They brought the platoon up to strength. He said that he went to see why he hadn't made sergeant because he felt he deserved it. And he relates the incident I recall where I had been chewing on Fletcher and didn't realize that he was standing next to me. I guess Greenburg had participated in that conversation. So it is not unique that either one of us had been made sergeant.

I think around that time when Wojciechowski had been made sergeant -- he was one of the replacements. He was assistant squad leader to Mucci. I know I resented it. I didn't go and complain about it, but, I guess that I didn't think there was much a guy could do about that.

Operations on Friday, March 12th with Lt. Fletcher, known as 'Mousey' had been transferred to another company. I didn't remember that. I just remember looking back at it, he wasn't around any more and I know nobody mourned him.

At this time, March 10th, 11th, 12th, somewhere in there, they had a drawing and I had a -- won a pass to England for a week. We went in trucks which seemed like half of forever went to the French coast to a little town called Etretat, I think. It is famous for some of the paintings that were painted over the years in the 1800's. Then we went on to England and I spent a wonderful week there. We were billeted in the -- kind of a big hotel. The food was whatever we could get in the restaurants. I remember having a lot of wonderful experiences going to Marble Arch and Hyde Park, listening to the people in Hyde Park talking about anything and everything. Some guy was entertaining the crowd. He was an entertainer. His son was in that group in the British service somewhere. He just did every weekend to amuse people and kind of past the time during the war. There wasn't a lot of amusement for the English.

I also remember being stopped on the street by an older woman right here. She said that she wanted to thank me for the American's being there working with and helping the English out in the war against the Germans.

It was very touching. I was very embarrassed.

Also, I was very impressed as to how the English would line up as they say "q-up" for buses and stuff. Very polite. No bucking the line -- really amazing amount of discipline. I don't think that existed in any country other than England that I ever heard of.

We used to go out in the bars and I was really a rookie as far as women were concerned. We had a couple of dates, walked in the park and did some heavy petting and that sort of thing.

The week went by much, much too soon. I headed back to the unit and when I got back it was very confusing because as Greenburg records in his diary the division was masquerading as another unit. So it was very confusing when got back like trying to find where we belonged.

Another incident that I remember that occurred before we crossed the Roer. We were moving through a village that was muddy and there were trucks on the right side of the road. We were moving on the right side of the road and it was a high crowned road. A column of tanks down the middle of the road and they were stopping and starting. All of a sudden one of them slipped off to the right. Burke was ahead of me. The tank pushed against him -- a truck on his right side and the tank on his left and turned him. The opening wasn't big enough for the width of his shoulder -- turned him. I was just behind him. I had a little more room. The tank was angling in toward him. Somebody yelled. The tank stopped. We got the hell out of there before the tank moved again. We were concerned that we might have got squashed right there.

Another incident I remember was one night, in that same time frame we were moving up through -- on a dark road -- usually on two columns -- one on each side of the road. As we went by -- through this little village, we passed some lights. That was a company headquarters or something, or a battalion headquarters or a signal corps group or something. They had a radio on. In the dim light you could just see the guys huddled around the radio. As I remember it, it was an Eddie Cantor show. I would have given anything to just stop there and just listen to that funny show because where we were going, it wasn't going to be so funny. I remember that very vividly.

Another incident that I remember, probably took place around the end of October in the Frelenburg area. Someplace in this area, Doherty was in my squad -- developed some kind of a rash on his face -- scabees or something. It ended up he was only to shave only half his face. He was really a bazaar looking character. He had this beard on one side of his face. Then the other side was clean shaven. That was pretty bizaar. He was really weird. He is a neat guy. I think he was from Idaho or some place. And sometime during that time he was off by himself and he stepped on some kind of -- we were told was a flare trap. I don't know what the hell a flare trap is. It is a trip wire and firing a flare. It might have been a shoe mine or something. Anyway he ended up with a wound in his foot and was evacuated. As I remember that he was our first casualty.

It seems to me that Phil DiGiovanni came up then and then was the replacement for Doherty. I remember seeing Phil that night and he came up at dark and he was a very handsome guy and probably still is. But in those days he was very, very handsome and scared to death. He couldn't help but show it on his face. He was in the dark and he knew that he was close to the front lines with a bunch of strangers and all of that. He kind of looked like a, oh I don't know, a painting of an Italian angel or something. It wasn't too long before I found out there was another side to Phil. He was pretty brash and a lot of guts and would try anything, especially he was an expert at harassing Lt. Fletcher -- 'Mousey'. I think Greenburg relates that later. Greenburg and I got into trouble making fun of the lieutenant.

I have got to quit for a minute now. I have to think of some more stuff when it comes to mind.

In Greenburg's diary, on Tuesday, March 23rd, which would have been 1945, he mentions the item about passwords. Supposedly and presumably, I guess, that was the case the case everyday there was a new password. I don't think we got every day and maybe we didn't need to know it every day. He was supposed to challenge people using his password. I don't remember any of them to tell you the truth. The standard challenge was, "Who goes there", of course supposed to say, "A friend", I guess, if I remember and then to be recognized. Or you would ask him for the password. It was sort of screwy in my mind.

I recall one time that Ray Parise, who was the assistant squad leader. This was in those woods that -- Briel Woods or something like that where we were in an apple orchid near a chateau. Parise challenged somebody in the dark. He said, "Who goes there?" And the voice cam back out of the darkness, "Me." It was Masteo Francesco, if I remember the guy's name. Ray was furious. He just ribbed the guy [----] and just chewed on him. I think Masteo ended up being sent to battalion and became an MP as I recall it now.

In Greenburg's diary, Monday, April 5th, he reminds that he was -- we were trucked up to a place called Rhinehausen which is on the bank of the Rhine and just across or on the west side of the river, the Rhine from Duisburg. The town appeared to be abandoned and occasionally some shells would drop in and we would drop some over on their side, I guess. A lot of patrols were run in the streets. In those days, as I remember, hiking around one time with Harry Rosenbaum. Harry was from Richmond, Virginia. Harry and I were marching around there by ourselves seeing what trouble we could get into. It was really odd in a huge city like that and it was deserted. Harry told me about a young DP [displaced person] who had come up to him a while before and asked Harry if he were Jewish. Harry alouted to he was. The guy said he was sixteen years old -- a Polish Jew. He never told a sole. He would run with -- I don't know where his family was -- he would run with a gang of kids. From that time, which I suppose which was around 1941, in there all the way up until now. This gang of young kids -- toughs, which ran in the street, survived some way or another. Never told a soul he was a Jew. He wouldn't take that chance. It was one of the first instances I had come across of the reality that we were going to learn more later how the terrible treatment that the Jews got at the hands of the Germans.

On of the interesting things that we had occur there that I remember was that a patrol came back one night said that had found the -- had made contact with the German squad or a couple of German soldiers of some kind and open fire. After that they redoubled the patrols. We were out a lot at night walking up and down those streets. It turned out later that the whole story was a hoax. These kids kids were bored to death. They had a small patrol -- I don't know how many guys there were. They had a BAR -- Browning Automatic Rifle. They set it up in the street and I suppose on the bipod legs and and fired off magazines down the street. Then they had to concoct the story as to why they had been firing. Then they came up with this story. They caught a lot of hell from everybody else because we had to do a lot of patrolling on their account.

That place I also think was a site where somebody fired a round. They were on a ground floor and they fired a round from their M-1 up through the ceiling and if went up of course through the floor through the room above and out the roof. I think that was Dewey Smith. There were guys upstairs but fortunately nobody ever got hit by the round. That was always a hazard because they never taught you any safety procedures. The didn't want you to having to think your way through that one if you encountered an enemy. Just pull up the gun and fire.

April 7th, 1945, Greenburg records that our crossing of the Rhine. I remember that quite well. There were great big pontoon bridges crossing the river and we were riding in 6 x 6 trucks and I was really scared crossing that water. I was still frightened from the Roer River crossing where many of us had done some swimming in the water.

We could see our first view of these barrage balloons that were tethered on the land and they were up some distance in the air so the German aircraft could not get down close enough to bridge to hit it. On that day I remember seeing a lot of wrecked gliders around the crossing on the German side. They were great big gliders, mostly Waco's I think. I don't remember their name, now. But some in the middle of the field were broken up and crashed into edges of the field, into the hedges and stuff. It was a wild looking scene. Of course we were going by pretty fast. This is where the airborne had made a landing to secure the bridgehead. In those early days of April we were going in trucks most of the time. We would cover a lot of ground -- but, on occasion in this period we would be down in the hills on foot. I suppose other troops were on the road. We would be at a flanking force.

On another occasion, I guess I don't know where the tape broke in there, we in that open country going up and down a lot of not very steep hills -- rolling country and quite and quite wooded and interspersed with farms. We would search the buildings and make sure there were no German soldiers there. It came to all things out in the middle of nowhere this gigantic windmill, Dutch windmill style, four great big arms -- a big solid base and a whole upper structure that would rotate to be into the wind.

Myself and two or three others had the job of going into that sucker and that was spooky. I thought that was a great place for them to be because it was high up and it would give a really good observation. The thing was spooky, but, it was deserted. There wasn't anything in there for which I was really thankful at the time I remember.

This time frame I guess, April 8th, 9th, too that we had a very clear blue day as we were marching through that country side. I remember one day, we were on the road. We looked up, we could hear a sound. We knew that it was the aircraft in the sky -- was Flying Forts and they came from the west and they kept going and pretty soon the sky was full of them. I don't know how many. There were, I suspect there must have been a thousand planes. There were huge numbers of airplanes. In fact they extended -- some were disappearing over the far horizon and some were still coming from the west. Most of them were old olive drab camouflaged look to them lumbering on up there. They weren't very high. And then, here and there in the formation, I would guess maybe 10 to 20% of the aircraft were brand new shiny aluminum. They weren't bothering to camouflage them anymore. The German's hadn't anything to hit anyone with. That's' where these planes were from. That was a really elating day for me. I just knew, when I thought God, if the Germans see all of those planes in the air they would know -- if they don't know already that this is over for them because there was nothing that could withstand all that air power...Wow it was really something with us walking down on the ground and then seeing that.

April 10th, Greenburg mentions that we were riding atop tanks. I remember that. It would be a small number of us. Greenburg records seven. I don't remember how many. But, six or seven guys sounds about right to me. We would ride on these things. Some of them, I guess were tank destroyers. They had refitted a lot of the tank destroyers with new turrets -- taking them out of service as I recall. Put new turrets on them -- 90mm guns which were the same type of gun that had been used earlier for anti aircraft. The turret now overhung in the back. I think that was to handle the recoil mechanism of the big gun. They were supposed to be more of a match gunwise for the German's with their 88mm guns which up 'til that time had been ruled the battlefield as far as the tanks were concerned. Any 88 that was either on a tank or a tank destroyer or in place always took a bad toll or our armor because of the tremendous penetration those shells made. I saw one shell one time and I swear it was about as long as my leg -- fixed ammunition, you know, case and shell -- all in one -- a huge long thing.

One of these trips, the tank destroyer I was on and some of the others, the turret started to swing to the right. They said there was another column on the other road and they were Germans and they were getting ready to engage them. In about two minutes it was all over because the other column was a parallel column of American going the same direction. Though, I sure had a few anxious minutes because we didn't feel very comfortable sitting on top of those tanks.

Greenburg records that on April 11th when we were walking through this hill country in extended order that we encountered the first slave laborers we had seen. I remember that period very well while we walked a lot during the days. The weather was thawing. The fields were very muddy. I remember walking across the field that was late in the morning. I had eaten some ham the night before that really wasn't agreeing with me at all -- just having the trotts pretty bad. I felt pretty weak and so in the middle of a plowed field I just took off my overshoes, unbuckled them, and, we wore those over the combat boots a lot and just left the overshoes standing in the field -- walked and left them and got rid of them. I felt about 10 pounds apiece of mud under those overshoes and I supposed some kraut finally found them and put them to good use.

Then as I recall it, it was later that day, we ran into those people with striped, vertical striped, almost looked like pajamas. It was the uniform of the concentration camp people. They were walking skeletons. I had never seen anything like that, nor had any of us. We were in extended order. We couldn't bunch up around them or anything. So as we moved towards them and they moved towards us, some of our guys -- I think Sgt. Bilyk [Theodore "Ted"], one of them who could speak some Polish, or whatever it was that these people could understand cautioned them not to eat too much of the rations. All we had was combat rations. They were pretty concentrated. To this day, I don't know how much damage if any or was fatal to these people, but, we didn't have much, but we sure shared it with them.

I remember very vividly, that we had a medic named Gonzales [Bobby] who was as hard a hearted guy as I have ever known. He had been carrying, I suppose was a half liter of milk in an ammo cup like thing all morning. He was going to have it for lunch. I think we came across those people about eleven in the morning or something like that. They walked by us and I saw Gonzales without saying a word, just hand the crock, to one of the guys, the cup that he had, giving the milk.

Greenburg vividly describes the scene later on -- a couple days later when we encountered this town of Gardelegen, where these people, many of the concentration camp people had been executed.

It was in this period, I think, maybe that same day we encountered those people, that we had our last fire fight. Greenburg told me it was April 14th. I could be wrong. I remember we were in extended order. I don't even remember who the lieutenant was. It wasn't Fletcher, but we were supposed to be attacking and G. Company was supposed to be on our right. We were moving through an open field and there was a woods parallel to us, maybe 200 yards away on the right.

All of a sudden we started getting rifle fire from that woods. I think it was one guy who opened up on our group. So we broke into a run. I yelled, I don't know, I think the lieutenant was running by. I said something like, "Let's set up the BAR." He didn't want to stop. He said, "No, no, we got to keep moving. That's G. Company on our right and we can't fire in that direction." So nobody fired. We just kept running. This guy kept popping away. I remember very vividly hearing the bullets -- one of them snapped by behind me. Later I talked to the guy who was behind me. I don't remember his name anymore. The bullet snapped in front of him. So I presumed this guy was trying to hit me, but he wasn't leading me -- as a consequence missed me. He did hit someone in the back of the formation. One of the guys -- can't think of his name. I saw him at the convention in Cincinnati. His nickname was "Shakey" -- he said he saw the wound and actually saw the bullet that had made the wound. He claimed it was a wooden bullet. Well, my experiences with wooden bullets. They used them to project their grenades which allowed the round to function through the bolt action. They were kind of a lavender color. I don't think that they carried 200 yards. My theory always has been, most of us were used to the amount of wound you would get from a single rifle shot. Be as it may, he hit one guy. Then we kept going. That was the same day then, I think Lt. Walt Greene "Green Hornet" got killed. They were attacking a German -- soldier killed him and then threw up his hands in surrender. His best friend was a guy by the name of "Tennessee". "Tennessee" just kept going. He got up to the German and knocked the guy and then smashed his head with the butt of the M-1.

It was a day or two later when we were in Gardelegen. This where the Germans had killed over a thousand concentration camp people that they had brought from the north of Germany.

Years later I had read where this was a column of some of those guys who were held up near the Baltic. One of the groups was marched south and a lot of them were killed along the way. They had a lot of nationalities there -- French and Polish and I don't know what all and Germans as well. They armed some of the Germans, according to that story and used them to guard the column and when they got near their destination, they disarmed these German prisoners and killed them along with the rest. The story that I heard at the time was that they herded them into the barn and there was a lot of straw on the bottom of the barn. They soaked it with kerosene and they fired a flare pistol into it and when anyone tried to escape they machine gunned them. I don't know if that was all that or as Greenburgs' account of they killed them and then burned the bodies. I am not real sure of that.

But we got there. Someone was looking for boz. We found the bodies and I remember and we built...well, anyway I will get back to that. The bodies were found and when I got there, some G.I.'s had gone to town a few minutes earlier. They captured a German army medic. He was wearing an arm band. Somebody searched and they found a stick of Spearmint in his pocket. When I saw him, he was standing with his hands above his head. One of the displaced persons, a DP, standing holding a small pistol against the guy's chest, threatening him with it. Apparently the DP's brother had been killed by the German's or something. So I walked around the end of the barn and came in the other side. There were doors on both sides. It was kind of a like a machine sh---, brick building. As I was walking around, I heard a shot and as I got in the other door, the German was down on the ground dying. He had been shot in the chest by the DP. The other German that had been brought out was a woman -- a nurse. Some of the guys wanted to kill her, too. But cooler heads prevailed. As much as I saw, someone had her knees and was forced to kiss some of the dead people in the barn. Some of them had tried to dig their way out under the doors. I could see where the body could be half buried and trying to dig out before he died.

German people were brought out in batches the next day to see the sight and they all claimed American bombers had done the damage. German boys would never do anything like that. I have often wondered if anyone ever caught the perpetrators. They made the Germans rebury the people and make a cemetery out of the place.

I remember that night guarding the bodies, we had a fire and we would sit there. The bodies were cooling and there was a constant sound of rustling sound as the bodies changed position as they cooled. Pretty eerie.

There is a lot of story involved in that. On of them I heard was that this column that was sent south. The story that I had read was that the Frenchman who was a civil engineer -- the first one who really figured out the German V-1 launching site in France pointed at London. He worked it out on his maps. He got the sites mapped -- a lot of them and sent them to England -- the maps. The British were able to investigate to some degree using the French underground and decided to attack those sites. The story I got was where they had hoped to launch ten of those missiles in a given period of time. They were only able to launch two. In other words they lost 80% of the missiles, because the sites were destroyed. I don't know what the total number of missiles they launched was or how many they destroyed at the sites. This Frenchman was then taken prisoner and he was part of that group that was brought up in that Baltic area. Half of them were put into boats -- old freighter hulks and the Germans were going to take them out to sea and sink them. The other half were marched south. I don't know why they split the column. The Swedish Red Cross intervened and forced the Germans not -- just by saying they were going to take names, ranks and serial numbers and then after war the Allies would catch the perpetrators. So they didn't sink any of the hulks. But one was sunk by the RAF by mistake. They thought it was a German boat. These guys drowned in it. In any case I was told that a book indicated that this group ended up at the town of Gardelegen and that would have been the same group.

That was one of the really terrible things. That is something that you are absolutely prepared for. You know, I thought this stuff was going on. It was beginning -- when I was home, a kid playing cowboys and indians and this was a lot -- a lot grimmer than any of us had ever seen.

I remember at that battle that Lt. Walt Fletcher was killed in was our last fire fight of the war. We stayed in Gardelegen for a while.

Then we went up a town called Stendal which was up near the Elbe River. Then, a few days before, around the first part of May, Greenburg refers to the 4th, we left Stendal for a small town called Hindenburg on the Elbe. We used to wait there for a while waiting for the Russians to come.

The Elbe was going to be the end of our advance and the end of theirs. South of there, we didn't get involved directly that I remember. At least, I didn't. The German's surrendered in mass -- a couple of divisions.

Then, it was up in this area right next to the river one day going with a guy named Linderman [James W.], I think his name was. We were hiking around kind of to get into mischief and we found an abandoned German motorcycle. It was a BMW and painted a kind of sandy-grey color. It didn't have a chain. I had never seen a motorcycle with direct drive. While it was broken, we finally fixed it. It was shaft driven. [------] post, piston engine and no gasoline. We never got the thing running.

It was up in this area too that we met as I recall it -- we met some Polish prisoners, that had crossed, not prisoners -- some Polish soldiers that has crossed the Elbe. The only common item on the uniform was that they had caps with a bronze Polish eagle on the front. The were all dressed in all rag tag uniforms and they had some German guns and some of them had Soviet tommy guns. They had been fighting with the Soviet army. They didn't like the Russians a bit and they were trying to get to the British group north of us that had Polish troops with it. These were the more western oriented Poles. They were very suspicious -- very nervous. They didn't know if they could trust us and eventually somebody either showed them the road or led them down the road and told them which direction they should go and they would catch up with the British. I often wondered what happened to those guys. I suppose eventually they went back to Poland.

OK, I am going to break it here. I am writing some Christmas cards. It is 12/12/88 at the moment.

As I remember the end of the war there up on the Elbe. I don't remember the specific place that little town where the Poles showed up.

May 8th, VE Day, just came like any other day and it went like any other day. I never heard anybody raise their voice, cheering or shouting or saying anything about the war being over. It just seemed to end with a whimper.

I guess that we all had in the back of our minds that we might end up in the Pacific. So whatever celebrations there were were a little bit subdued.

After thoughts and comments:

I've got some odds and ends that occurred as I was recording some of these things. I'm just going to throw them in here at random. They don't have any time line with them.

One time when we were in Normandy, we landed at Cherburg in September -- latter part of September. We were training in the area of Normandy, St Mar Eglis, which was one of the focal points of the airborne landings during the Normandy invasion.

We did a lot of training up and down those hills. One day I developed a bloody blister on the back of my left heel -- could feel the blood warm and then cold. The sock was stuck to my foot. Later I remember when I took it off. We came to a long hill, and then I couldn't make that hill. I told Doherty I couldn't make it, maybe would he take my rifle. So he took my rifle. He didn't like it. He gave me a bad looking face. But he took the rifle and carried it up the hill for me. That was the first and last time I ever got to have that done. I guess that I learned something there that you can't always make it happen on your own. You have to sometimes rely on others to do stuff for you. And when I got to the top, I took the rifle and finished the march.

I remember when we were going into the attack at Beeck, a shell hit not far from me and I figured that they could never land around in that same hole, so I ran over there and jumped into the hole. The ground was surprisingly warm from the impact of the shell. I was really surprised by that. It was such a cold day.

During that period too, we were told if we wanted to communicate with the tanks -- we couldn't by radio apparently, but they put a sound power phone on the back of them. I think they welded on a 30 cal ammunition can on the deck of the tank. They put a sound powered phone in there. You could run up there an grab the phone and talk to the crew.

Then sometime during that, Lt.'Mousey" Fletcher developed a case of jock itch. This made him venerable to having to walk straddle legged down the road and Digiavonni -- Phil Digiavonni, used to tease him about that something terrible. He would see him coming and start chanting, "Fletcher's got the jock itch, Fletcher's got the jock itch." He would keep it up and keep it up. Sometimes he would say, "Fletcher's got the clap," and clap his hands as I remember. Anyway, I am sure Fletcher was aware of it and never made an issue out of it. I not for sure why.

During this period too, when it was cold that winter little slit trenches were dug for latrines and you would have to go out and in the cold. I'm guessing it was about ten above, sometimes reaching zero and ten above and relieve yourself. A couple of pictures exist with Mucci sitting on one of those with Danny Walsh wadding up some snow to throw at him. I think it was Burke who come up with the chant, "Well, I gotta go out and bare my ass to the wintry blast." Everyone knew what that was.

Then, let's see, what else took place during that period.

I remember being on the back of a tank or tank destroyer and a guy -- I think he was in a jeep -- came up behind the thing and told me that if I heard if Roosevelt had died. I said, "No, I hadn't heard that." In fact, I didn't believe it because there were so many rumors about everything. You never really knew what was going on. Roosevelt had been around since I was a little kid. So I couldn't conceive of a world without him in it. But a few days later, I did get confirmation of that from a German newspaper. You could read enough. There was this big obituary on the front page. In fact I got a clipping of it somewhere.

They had a black border obituary just like you would have in the States. It was kind of remarkable considering this was a leader of a foreign country. It pointed out where he was born and all of this and that. I think that must have been in April. I don't remember the exact date. For many years I remember it exactly, what the exact date was, but, now it has gotten hazy.

I guess it would be April 13th or 14th -- that's what my memory tells me and that is not a very reliable witness for sure. I guess that some of the other things I remember at the moment. I had three or so adventures with involving Vandergrift [James L.]. Vandy was quite a man for drinks. I remember sometime during the war, he had gotten a hold of, by methods by I wont even imagine, a fifth of Whitehorse scotch which was of course something from the officers rations because we were not issued any liquor, even beer at that time. Somehow or another , Vandy had gotten a hold and he wanted to share it a couple of belts around, and I of course at that time had never drunk any whisky and I wasn't about to try any stuff that I couldn't handle already, without getting involved with something like that. So I said I wouldn't be interested. I guess that didn't displease him too much. That just left more for him.

Then our paths crossed again during the war. The war wasn't quite over yet. I suspect it was over somewhere Stendal someplace and Vandy was supposed to go on guard one weekend or one day, I don't know, or one night. Whatever happened, he refused to go on guard and it got to be an altercation. I don't know if he had been drinking or what. I suspect he had been drinking the story was he pulled a knife and all kinds of stuff. Anyway, how I got involved was the next day, I guess it was, somebody came down from battalion. They read the charges against Vandergrift. I was guarding him. That was my job to guard him. I had an M-1. He was under arrest. Everybody that was sitting in the room were bringing charges against him. The sergeant, the lieutenant and some guy (cough, cough in background) from battalion was writing all of this stuff down. If you added up all of the charges and the attendant sentences if he were guilty, I guess he would have been in jail for about a hundred years. Insubordination, refusing a direct order, assaulting a noncom and all kinds of stuff that went on and on. It got pretty heavy. Vandergrift was a pretty hard case. You know, he had been around the barn a time or two and yet before it was over, tears were streaming down his cheeks. He was scared to death. After they had got done with that procedure, I was detailed to take him down to battalion where he was going to be held for trial. As we were getting ready to go to battalion, the sergeant, at that Sgt. Smith [Carson] who was the squad leader, took me aside and said, "Now, if he makes a break for it, I want you to kill that son-of-a-bitch." Then I thought to myself, "Well sergeant, I ain't about to kill anybody, because you want him shot. I am going to deliver him down there, and if he makes a break, I am gonna shoot, but, I am not going to shoot to kill him. I'll drop him, but, I'll shoot him in the leg. I ain't getting close enough to him with the M-1, so he is going to get away from me, or get the M-1 away from me."

Well, anyway, it turned out that we made the trip down there very uneventfully. I never could remember how that came out, but I know that Vandergrift was still with the unit. After all when you with a rifle company, what the hell can they do to you. I mean, what are they going to do to you -- send you to the Riviera to prison or something. Forget it.

So anyway, that was the second incident involving Vandergrift. Another one that occurred later on and I think the war was over by that time. We were at some chateau. Vandergrift and McMillian [Glenn A.], and somebody else got hold of some liquor, some French liquor they issued to us. Rotten stuff and they ran it through a still and they made something really potent out of it. Somebody found both these two guys unconscious and I guess, they pumped their stomachs. Their hearts were beating very -- very slowly at the time they pumped them out. I remember that we weren't supposed to be put on guard as punishment, but these two guys were guarding company headquarters -- not simultaneously, I guess, but at intervals. I remember seeing Vandergrift out there with the M-1 with the butt on the ground -- him standing there barely able to stand up. I guess they kept them at this for quite a while as punishment for getting drunk on duty or some such thing.

Another incident involving some booze reminds me of another story. This occurred at the town of Aigen, I believe, am Inn which was near Braunau (am Inn, Austria) which was the town where Hitler was born on the Inn River in Bavaria. Hitler was born across the river in Austria. We were living in a house that belong to a schoolmaster. There were a lot of references upstairs to village and all that stuff, various picture books that this professor, whoever he was left behind. I don't remember that very clearly, but, I remember that there was an apple orchid behind the place. Some of the guys, including Dewey Smith and "Moonshine" Shelly O'Brien got some apples out there. They mashed them up in a barrel and with the aid of one of the cooks, got a hold of some sugar, mixed it in and let this stuff ferment. Then when it got fermenting, they rigged up a still in back of the building near the, on the back of the building, underneath -- this was on the ground floor -- underneath the upper place where we slept. And back of the kitchen, there was a fireplace, oven like. It was a brick construction and they had an opening for fire and a chimney out the side. Into the top of this brick structure there was a big metal tub which must have been the contents of one of our big American style wash tubs. It was for heating wash water.

So these guys were creative and they got a carpenter to make a wooden lid for it. Tight fitting wooden lid. Then out of the center of that wooden lid, they had a vertical pipe that was up maybe 18 inches to 2 feet -- something like that. Just a plain old galvanized steel plate. But then it went through an angle and sloped off across the room -- probably 20 feet away or something like that.

They put the mash in there and started a fire and of course it started to boil and the alcohol boiled off, go up the vertical pipe and then turn the corner and slope down and this was a kind of an air cooled condenser then and apple brandy would be dripping out of the far end. They had a jug or something down there where this stuff would come out. Three or four of the guys were involved in this effort. They could get drunk enough so that they would forget to fire it up. So of course the brandy would stop flowing. And then, one of these guys, I don't know, one time it would be Shelly and sometimes it would be Dewey would come around madder than hell that somebody was drinking their stuff. It was really because no one was firing it -- that the supply was diminished. I don't think that there was anybody there that would touch that rot gut. It was really terrible stuff, I guess. I never tried it. You know, coming through an old rusty sink pipe and all of that -- Wow, that was pretty bad. Anyway this went on for quite a few days until they either ran out of fuel or got so hung over that they couldn't do it anymore. I don't know. But, it was quite an operation. It kept three or fours guys drunk for about a week.

I've got a couple of other stories that probably that should be inserted and this is as good a place as any.

One of them goes to when we were getting ready to cross the Roer and we had a guy by the name of Coudira [Richard J.], who was a Cajun, spoke French, couldn't write French, spoke broken English, couldn't write English either. He nursed an ingrown toenail until he thought we were going to cross the river. Then he went to seek medical help. And as it happened, they pulled us back from the river. During the time we were back, his toenail got fixed up and he came back and joined us and as far as I know he was killed in the river crossing. He was an interesting guy. He didn't believe the war was real, somehow on the way over. Of course when he got to see the shooting, then he knew it was real. He thought it was some kind of a ploy, a play, a confusion for the people, so that governments could reach some end. I don't think that he even understood or thought about it.

At this same time, I threw in another remembrance had. When we were up at this trench line, Burke and I were in a fox hole. This was the place where the Germans raided down the trench and Greenburg was on the shelf and woke up and heard them talking German in the trench. He just lay there and waited and pretty soon they pulled out and went back. This was the place, the same trench where I almost got shot wandering around in the dark coming back to the trench.

Burke woke me up one night and said, "Broph, there's a kraut out here. I want you to look." So I got and staggered up to the edge of the hole and looked up. But I couldn't see anything and said "I don't see anything." We were whispering, of course. "They're right there", and he kept pointing, and I kept not seeing, and he kept pointing and I couldn't see it. Finally I saw what it was. It was a weed out there -- about four feet from the hole. It stood up about three inches and it was wiggling in the wind. It had a seed pod or something on it. Anyway, Burke thought that it was a kraut and eventually I convinced him that wasn't the case and got back to sleep.

I guess that I should end here pretty soon. I've been gabbing away. It's already January of 1991. And I think that I will do is trace briefly where I went after the war was over.

I was -- we traveled around a good deal after the war and ended up for a while in a town called Vieden -- or Weiden It is over near the Czech border. And then from there I was sent with 10% of the division strength to Holland after riding on trains forever and ever. We were in graves registration, trying to find, disinter and rebury the Allied troops in Holland. Some were from the airborne landing at Arnhem and Nijmegen. Some were American bomber pilots and air crew that were gone there on their way back from raids on Germany. Often the planes were hit and they would go down in Holland and the men would be buried there in the Dutch cemeteries.

I remember we stayed in an insane asylum which was kind of appropriate. Part of it was occupied by the Canadians and part by us in a town called Apeldoorn which was where the summer palace of the royal family of Holland is.

We went to class learning what to do about this thing. What they taught us was that we had to take the bodies and make positive identification. If this was possible through dog tags, you did that. And if not, they had to cut off the jaw bone and make dental charts of the bodies. These were then used identify who the cadaver was. I only went to one orientation session. The body was a young second lieutenant and I think he had lost a leg as I remember it. He was still wearing his wool flight jacket. His body was mummified. The Dutch soil was very rich in peat. I took one look at that and said, "Screw it, I'm not going to do this crap." I was a sergeant and said, "I'm going to just sit on my ass and when it is time to come home, I'll go home." And that's what I did.

I did see one other thing and it was a set of dog tags. Actually, one dog tag that had been taken from a wrecked plane and it was compressed end from end like an accordion. I couldn't believe that would happen. But this guy must have hit at a tremendous impact. Maybe the plane exploded something.

From there we went to -- down to France to one of the cigarette camps. They called them Camp Camel, Camp Luck Strike and all those and eventually was sent back to the United States on a victory ship as I remember it.

We got back to New York. I was then shipped out to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, where I was discharged. I think I got home in -- near the last few days of February or the first couple of days in March to Fargo North Dakota where I started this long trip. I got there and I was the only G. I. getting off the train. The place was lonely. There wasn't a soul on the platform. I caught a cab and went up to my home and my Mother at that time was in Salt Lake City.

So I stayed there for a while. That's where the war ended for me in March of 1946.

My memory keeps flashing back. The time sequence on these stories is mixed up pretty badly now, but, I recall another incident soon after Burke joined us in the same foxhole where I spoke earlier about the weed.

I was overcome with sleep. I knew I had to stay awake. Burke was sleeping. I would put the butt of the M-1 in the bottom of the fox hole and sit with the muzzle of the M-1 under the soft tissue of my chin, just in back of the chin there in front of your throat. Of course the safety was on, but if I would nod off the sharp muzzle would prod me I would stay awake. It was odd, because you knew you had to stay awake and yet the desire for sleep was so much. You really were out of control.

Another that comes to mind was when we were in the so called Briel Woods. We were actually near a chateau called the Briel Chateau according to Ed [Edward L. Souder]. This particular foxhole line ran down through an apple orchard and from my hole at night, I could see on occasion the flash of a heavy German mortar. Then three seconds later I would hear the "whomp" of the mortar, and shortly after that the shell would land in our apple orchard. Usually one shell was enough to cut the phone lines connecting some of our holes back up to the platoon headquarters.

The interesting to me about this is my early engineering memories were coming back to me at the time. I knew that sound moved at 1080 feet a second, roughly. The three second count meant that mortar was out there about 3,000 feet which is a thousand yards. Not terribly far. I wish I had known enough to talk to someone and had some artillery, maybe an observer come spot them, give them something to worry about in the middle of the night.

I don't have any deep philosophical statements to make about all of this. I just think war is stupid.

And as I read this into the machine, we are on the brink of another war. It's January 11th, 1991.

I hope to make copies of these tapes, get copies to Sandy, my children, John, Christopher, Julie and Kathy, to some army buddies. Of course Gene Greenburg without whose diary, these tapes wouldn't have been possible.

Also to Ed Souder. Ed bragged on me enough from time to time so that I really finally did complete these tapes.

For now, then, I will say Good Bye and Good Luck to all of you.


----- James J. "Jim" Brophy


Taps for
Mr. James J. "Jim" Brophy
May 1, 2004
Ft. Meyers, Florida
Co. F., 405th Regiment, 102d Division, [2nd Btn]
World War II Veteran
United States Army



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

image of NEWGardelegen: April 13, 1945:
Massacre at the Isenschnibbe Barn

American Battle Monuments Commission: WWII Honor Roll

National World War II Memorial


Information and photographs were generously provided to World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words by Mr. Edward L. Souder of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The subjects of these essays are all members of Co. F., 405th Regiment. Our sincerest THANKS for allowing us to share their stories!

Additionally, we would like to say THANK YOU to the son of Jim Brophy, C. J. "Chris" Brophy for sending us a series of excellent photos of his Dad and his buddies in Company F. taken during the months of December 1944 through February 1945.

Original Story submitted on 12 May 2003.
Story added to website on 23 June 2003.
Series of 10 photos added on 18 October 2003.



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