Heroes: the Army
"...Just about the time the soldiers appeared, I heard a noise behind me, and there were two German soldiers standing not five feet behind me with their guns slung over their shoulders and their hands up..."
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
written by Paul Wible (407-L) and printed in the ARIZONA REPUBLIC Aug. 4, 1985
I was a BAR man and our company was assigned to take the town of Wickrath.
The German civilians would hide in the basements of homes during an attack, and at times the German soldiers would do this, also.
We went inot one house, ipened the basement door and called repeatedly for the occupants to come out. Just as we were about to throw a hand grenade in, a small white flag on the end of a stick was pushed through the doorway.
We told whoever was holding it to come out, and it was a little girl about four years old. Behind her was a larger child, then larger and larger people came out, then adults, and, finally, two German soldiers were in the rear who came out with their hands up.
Just about the time the soldiers appeared, I heard a noise behind me, and there were two German soldiers standing not five feet behind me with their guns slung over their shoulders and their hands up. We directed the soldiers and the civilians to the rear, and continued with the occupying of the town.
Somewhere in Germany today there are, no doubt, two or three adults in their middle or upper 40s with children and possible grandchildren who would not be here today if we had thrown that hand grenade.
On the other hand, if I had thrown the grenade, I probably wouldn't be writing this because the German soldiers who were standing behind me would probably have shot me instead of surrendering.
----- 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.
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The above story, "The Surrender", as observed by Paul Wible, Co. L., 407th., was originally printed in the Arizona Republic on August 4, 1985 and published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 53, No. 1, Oct/Dec. 2000, pp. 11.
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 2 November 2004.
Story added to website on 4 November 2004.
September 5, 2002.
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