Heroes: the Army
"...Since we were in the north of Germany during the mid-winter, darkness lasted brom 4:00 pm to 8:00 am. There were usually only two men in each foxhole so this required that one man stay awake and alert for one hour while the other man slept..."
Paul M. Wible
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. L., 407th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Bloomington, IN
Amusing Incidents During and After Combat
as observed by Paul Wible, 407-L
Christmas Day, 1944
In the town of Gereonsweiler just as our Christmas dinner of turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie was spread out and as we were walking through the chow line, the Germans started shelling us with 88s. One shell hit the building where the food was and as was our usual reaction we scattered in all directions seeking shelter. Luckily no one was hurt, the food was not damaged and as soon as the shelling stopped we were back, had our food served to us and enjoyed our Christmas dinner. Being somewhat naive at the time it did not occur to us that the Germans must have had an artillary spotter in the town. It was too much of a coincidence. He was probably hungry and since he didn't get a Christmas dinner, he didn't want us to have one either.
Across the Roer River, Feb. 24, 1945.
Since we were in the north of Germany during the mid-winter, darkness lasted brom 4:00 pm to 8:00 am. There were usually only two men in each foxhole so this required that one man stay awake and alert for one hour while the other man slept; then at the end of this hour the procedure would be reversed. The one who was awake kept time with a luminous watch. One morning when it got to be 9:00 am by the watch and it was still dark, I realized that my foxhole partner had turned the watch forward, thus shortening his time awake. This seems funny now but not at the time. Since I was a private and he was a sergent there wasn't anything I could do about it.
After the war, with nothing more to do than scrounge food, we located some potatoes and found a kettle to cook them in. After eating them we realized it was the same kettle we'd used to wash our feet.
Germany, Fall of 1945
After the war, in order to get new clothes, it was necessary to tun in our old clothes, but they must be clean and worn or damaged to a state where they could not be worn again. We collected our old clothes and purposely tore them extensively and took a duffel bag full to a German lady to wash for us. For a package of cigartettes, which at that time cost us a nickel, she washed and ironed them, and would you believe she mended every tear.
----- Paul Wible
(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.)
12 January 2005.
A photo of Co. A., 2nd Platoon, 407th Regiment, 102nd Division. This image is on a page that is dedicated to Mr. Edward Marchelitis, Sr., by his daughter Carol. Most of the men in the photo taken on December 20, 1943 are identified on the back of the image.
To view the photo of Co. A., 2nd Platoon, 407th Regiment as well as other photos of Edward Marchelitis, click on the image above.
The family of Mr. Marchelitis is seeking information on his platoon.
A special Thank You is extended to the daughter of Edward Marchelitis, Sr., Carol Marchelitis Heppner.
Interested in some background information?
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The above story, "Amusing Incidents during and after combat", as observed by Paul Wible, Co. L., 407th., was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 54, No. 1, Oct/Dec. 2001, pp. 7.
The story is re-printed here on World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words with the kind permission of the 102d Infantry Division Association, Ms. Hope Emerich, Historian. Our sincerest THANKS for the 102d Infantry Division Association allowing us to share some of their stories.
We would also like to extend our sincere THANKS to Mr. Edward L. Souder, former historian of Co. F., 405th Regiment. His collection of stories of the "Kitchen Histories Project" series entitled, Those Damn Doggies in F, were responsible for bringing the stories of the men of the 102nd Division to the forefront.
Original Story submitted on 28 October 2003.
Story added to website on 27 November 2003.
September 5, 2002.
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