Heroes: the Army


"In combat, being under enemy fire can best be described as being placed in a railroad marshaling yard. You are standing on one side facing the row upon row of tracks in front of you. You are then blindfolded and ordered to slowly walk across the busy tracks. The not knowing if and when one of those moving trains will hit you as you slowly proceed across is a little like facing enemy fire."


Joe Salzano,
Survivor of the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest,
13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division



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 Joseph Salzano

  • Branch of Service: Army
  • Unit: 8th Infantry Division,
    13th Infantry Regiment
  • Dates: 1940 - 1945
  • Location: European Theater
  • Rank:
  • Birth Year: 1922
  • Entered Service: New York, NY


Joseph Salzano Image Circa November 1945



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IMAGE of WWII medal


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IMAGE of WWII medal

IMAGE of WWII medal

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IMAGE of WWII medal

IMAGE of WWII medal


German Accounts of Actions Opposing the 8th Division:

We at World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words, have been given permission by the contributor, Mr. Joseph Salzano, to place the following German accounts of some of the fierce battles in which his unit, the 13th Regiment, 8th Division participated in.

The following accounts contain some five additional pages that have been added to the accounts of Mr. Joe Salzano's personal accounts of his actions during this major campaing.

By reading the following pages, you can get an idea of how this heated action was viewed by the adversaries facing the American advance into Germany.

These accounts also give some individual soldier's recollections as well as some civilian accounts of their experiences during this major campaign.

The following pages were originally documents written in German -- and then were painstakingly translated into English at the University of Maryland.

The following are accounts relating to the Battle of the Huertgen Forest -- in which the American forces suffered some 28,000 casualities -- while the German casualities can be only guessed at...

Notations as such [1] indicate the Page # from the original document.


47th Volks Grenadier Division at the Western Front.


Report of Private Bohm


Report of Private Bohm, 1. Company/GrenReg 89 about the combat in Frenz Castle.

On November 24, 1944 our company, about 30 men, took up positions in Frenz Castle. Battalion CO was Captain Ripke. Coming from the county road, the first you can see are some cow-pens, stables, and outhouses. Then you step through a gate and in front of the mansion inside Frenz Castle. Through porch and door you reach a larger hall. We, Group Cords, have spent four days in that hall. The hall is connected to the cellar by a stairway and there is another stairway leading up.

The Americans had pursued us faster than we had thought and they took up positions around the outhouses and workhouses. That was only 150 meters away from us. Right the first night a patrol was sent out against them, 1 Sergeant and Group Cords, 11 men total. We advanced to the workhouses and were fortunate enough to find a number of Americans in a large cellar, most of them were sleeping. At first they did not want to surrender and come out. But after we fired a shot with the panzerfaust into the adjacent cellar room, 50 Americans did come up, one after the other, hands up in the air. We could also liberate 30 German soldiers, mostly wounded, which had been left behind in these houses.

In the following three nights we had to go on patrols again but the Americans were now very careful to deny us any further success.

Meanwhile Frenz Castle had been under heavy artillery fire. We observed everything from the windows and occasionally fired at the enemy infantry.

In the morning of 11/27/44 a medic and an American captain came over. He asked our company CO to give up the hopeless defense of the castle. This was of course rejected especially since we still had an open connection to the rear in case of a breakdown. He left and the shelling of the mansion by artillery and mortars intensified. The house started burning.

We were relieved that same evening by 15th Pioneer Company of ParaReg 9.




image of NEWAdversaries of the 8th Infantry Division
Some Stories and View Points from the German Side

Following the receipt of the letter above, Mr. Salzano offered to allow us the use of the following information. The next segments portray images of the adversary -- the German side of the bloody battles that the 8th Infantry Division took part in.

Joe Salzano, 8th Infantry Division, 13th Regiment

47th Volks Grenadier Division at the Western Front

A Chronicle
Experiences of Johann Trostorf & Wilhelm Brvenich

Memories of Hubert Gees
Selections from the History of 363rd Infantry Division

Miscellaneous German Units




Interested in some background information?
Check out the related links below...

8th Infantry Division

Combat Chronicle: 8th Infantry Division

Combat History of the 8th Infantry Division in WWII

Personal Stories from the 8th Infantry Division

Chronology of the 8th Infantry Division

Divisional Information: 8th Infantry Division

Historiography of the Huertgen Forest Campaign 1944-1945

American Battle Monuments Commission: WWII Honor Roll


Information and photographs were generously provided to World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words by Mr. Joseph Salzano of Rockville, Maryland. Our sincerest THANKS for allowing us to share this stories!

Original Story submitted on 9 August 2003.
Story added to website on 30 September 2003.

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