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


IMAGE of WWII medal

IMAGE of WWII medal

IMAGE of WWII medal

IMAGE of WWII medal

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.


A Chronile: the Huertgen Forest Campaign


Report of an Unstated German Civilian


Page 2 (rest missing)


The following night I spent alone in the basement on the Casino restaurant in Schevenhütte. My family and the other civilians had been transported to Vicht near Stolberg. By way of various military and civilian hospitals I later caught up with my parents in Vicht.

On November 20, 1944, on the transport by the Americans back through the gorge, there were many dead German and American soldiers in the creek by the French Cross. There must have been a hard-fought battle.

I remember a lieutenant and some of his men who had brought wounded soldiers to Merode earlier. The soldiers wore Red Cross coats. In my mind that must have been the same soldiers who attacked the tank. The lieutenant limped slightly.

From March 20, 1945 on, we were back on the Laufenburg. To the right of the gate in the wooded hill and on the surrounding meadows still lay dead soldiers whom did the Americans now recover. My father helped with this task.

While cleaning the rainwater cistern in the yard, in front of the big tower, we found the skeleton of a German soldier, it was 1945 or 1946. This discovery was reported to the officials in Langerwehe. The skeleton showed that it was a German soldier.

Shortly afterwards, in the summer of either 1945 or 1946, a woman arrived at the castle from Graz/Austria. She was trying to find her dead son. She said her son had been a captain. Then my father told her that a severely wounded captain had been lying in the basement below the restaurant and he must have died. The basement had been completely torched by the time we returned and hadn't been cleaned out since.

After the woman's story my father could remember the exact spot where the wounded captain had been lying. While clearing out the debris we found the torched remainders of a body. The woman took it home in a small carcass that had been custom made in Langerwehe.

I don't recall her name. We haven't heard from her again. In reply to the question if her name was Hein I must say that name sounds familiar.

The families that had been seeking shelter in the Laufenburg in 1944 were family Hupperz, teachers, and a family Dr. Kind from Essen who had many children.




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 20 October 2003.

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