Heroes: the Army
"...adjacent to the house, but toward the rear (figuratively speaking), a twoholer privy which when compared to our recent standard of living was a definite step up - even if it had no steps up..."
Carl F. Main
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. B., 405th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942-1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC, Purple Heart
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Columbus, IN
"History Bits of Experience
of B Company, 405th Infantry"
Carl Main, B-405
l0 Jan. 1945
Mullendorf and Wurm; on the Wurm River, Germany.
2nd Squad of 2nd Platoon.
Winter on Ninth Army Front
It had snowed several times in the early part of January 1945 and there were several inches of snow on the ground at Mullendorf. As few buildings had an intact roof, there was also considerable snow inside of many buildings. This contributed to our wariness concerning booby traps.
The house where the 2nd Squad of the 2nd Platoon was quartered had one room which was intact after carefully cleaning out the debris (which is an all inclusive term for many kinds of waste). It also had adjacent to the house, but toward the rear (figuratively speaking), a twoholer privy which when compared to our recent standard of living was a definite step up - even if it had no steps up. Concerns for possible booby traps - and spiders - made us cautious.
Finally I decided on a solution to this problem. Pulling the pin on a white phosphorous grenade, I dropped it into the king-sized hole and scurried back. In a few seconds the mission had been accomplished; the objective was cleared of not only any booby traps which may have existed, but was also sanitized and free of spiders and insects, - and the seat was warm!
Our thanks to Carl Main for sharing this episode - in poetry and in prose.
----- Carl Main
(Editor's note: Attempts were made throughout the text of the following story to place full names to the men listed in the story. For the most part, this is an educated guess and some names may very well be mistaken in their identy. The names were all taken from the division history book: With The 102d Infantry Division Through Germany, edited by Major Allen H. Mick. Using the text as a guide, associations with specific units were the basis for the name identifications. We are not attempting in any to rewrite the story. Any corrections are gladly welcomed.)
Interested in some background information?
Check out the related links below...
United States Army, 102nd Infantry Division
102 Infantry Division
History of the 102nd Infantry Division
Attack on Linnich, Flossdorf, Rurdorf - 29 Nov -- 4 Dec 1944
Gardelegen War Crime
Gardelegen: April 13, 1945:
Massacre at the Isenschnibbe Barn
American Battle Monuments Commission: WWII Honor Roll
National World War II Memorial
The above story, "History Bits of Experience of B Company, 405th Infantry", by Carl Main, Co. B.,405th, was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 48, No. 3, April/June. 1996, pp. 13.
The story is re-printed here on World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words with the kind permission of the 102d Infantry Division Association, Ms. Hope Emerich, Historian. Our sincerest THANKS for the 102d Infantry Division Association allowing us to share some of their stories.
We would also like to extend our sincere THANKS to Mr. Edward L. Souder, former historian of Co. F., 405th Regiment. His collection of stories of the "Kitchen Histories Project" series entitled, Those Damn Doggies in F, were responsible for bringing the stories of the men of the 102nd Division to the forefront.
Original Story submitted on 28 October 2003.
Story added to website on 24 November 2003.
September 5, 2002.
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