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Old July 1, 2022, 09:22 AM   #551
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POW interrogations

"A new crop of war prisoners was brought in and turned over to the team of interrogators. An interrogator costumed for the encounter with a pup tent shelter half draped importantly around him walked over to the group slowly, gave each prisoner a lingering, terror-inspired gaze, then with a dramatic flourish selected one and sent him to another interrogator wearing a Russian gold start general's insignia. He began testily to question the prisoner, quit abruptly in a few moments and haughtily turned him over to a third interrogator. This one took a milder tone, drawing out the prisoner conversationally.

"A lieutenant emergend from the headquarters tent and said loudly in German, 'Everyone from the 5th Company step out.'

"Two prisoners began moving, caught themselves but it was too late; they had given themselves away and identified their unit. Finally the prisoners were segregated into two grops, one with those who would talk and the other who wouldn't.

"'This group goes to America,' said the lieutenant, then pointed to the nontalkers,' and this group goes to Russia.'

"Instantly the nontalkers outshouted each other saying, 'I'll talk, I'll talk!'"
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Old July 1, 2022, 06:44 PM   #552
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Good stuff Gary, And where might we purchase your book?
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Old July 5, 2022, 05:01 PM   #553
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Highland Regiment Inspection

Never knew this stuff. Reading about a soldier who served in the First Battalion Argyll & Southerland Highlanders (called by some wit the agile and suffering Highlanders). Being dressed in kilts, they presented themselves for inspection so that they may be presentable when out in town.

"Bob Moat, Ginger and I decided we would go into toown to see this new Walt Disney movie called Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We walked into the guardroom, dressed in kilts as usual, faced the duty sergeant and told him our names and regimental numbers. He then told us to stand over a shiny plat strategically positioned on the floor.

"He took a quick glance down at the lack of hairy one eyed monsters not glaring back up at him and then told us, "Ye hav draws on so ye dinny git oot the nacht!"

I have to read this book very slow because the Scottish speech is spelled out phonetically and I don't understand those words unless I can hear them.
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Old July 15, 2022, 02:36 PM   #554
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Help yourself

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"At Mail Call we would gather around the mail cler and as he called out our names a voice from the crowd would respond with, "Yo," or "Here," or "That's me." The letter was then passed on overhead in the direction of the call. I can still picture the smiling face when each name was called. I latter from home was worth a pound of cure. My mother would send me boxes of homemade butter cookies, and Italian pastries on a weekly basis. When my name was called and the package was being passed back to me, the boys would start opening it. As soon as the package was completely open, all the guys around me and I sahred the cookies with them. They were called, "Ma Limoli's cookies." We were like brothers by the virtue of our life together."
From Memories of a WW II G.I. by E. Gene Limoli. Limoli served in a field medical company attached first the 5th Army and then when Southern France was invaded, the 7th Army. They actually landed via glider in quasi-secured area. Seven days after they landed more stuff came in via parachutes. Yellow meant Signal Corps, red Artillery and maroon medical.

Ms. Limoli must have used some margarine in her cookies. Butter was rationed and if she wanted more butter, she would have to get some from a neighbor who understood the purpose of her needing more. Too bad Limoli never looked into how his mother got past the rationing.
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Old July 30, 2022, 12:04 PM   #555
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BTW, recently read of a WW II American hospital in England where a black GI who had volunteered from the Red Ball for the infantry was housed among whites. All the injured men there were combat soldiers and no one cared about race anymore.
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Old August 5, 2022, 06:02 PM   #556
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Alcohol smuggling

I've mentioned how soldiers smuggled alcohol in the past. There's also one involving a mother who sent a bottle to a friend's son in Vietnam and how after it broke, the postal inspector visited her. She thought it was a death notice but relievingly laughed when told it was about the booze. Post Office Inspector was not amused and told her it was serious. Still laughing, she apologized and told him she thought it was a death notice. He admonished her and left embarrassed.

Anyway, here's the first WW II incident that I've found:

Quote:
"I'm looking forward to receiving your packages. Now I know you won't want to send me any booze, either because you are afraid you might be embarrassed or because you don't want me to have it. I think it is the former. Here's a fool proof method that is working for the other guys. Simply put the alcohol in a bottle of Dill pickles after draining off the vinegar. The pickles do not hurt it at all and looks O.K. Suit your self but I would like to have a jar of Dill pickles, and some stuffed olives and you might slip in some good fresh crackers. Anything else you might think I like. Oh yes, a box of Chili peppers."
From p. 93 of John Pearce's A Private In The Texas Army. It's the diary of his father, Frank Pearce.
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Old August 25, 2022, 12:32 PM   #557
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Impotency pills

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Our company officers were taking turns eat day standing at the head of our chow line to make sure that we were taking our atrabrine tablets to prevent malaria. By this time, we were required to take four of these very bitter pills at one tine. Atrabrine destorye dour sense of taste and often made us sick to our stomachs. In time, our skin turned as yellow as squash. These pills cause much consternation after the rumor started that they would cause us to be impotent. The officers had to force us to take atabrine after that. The great baby boom after the war certainly refuted this rumor.
From Jesse Coker's My Unforgettable Memories.
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Old November 18, 2022, 09:10 AM   #558
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Hollywood moment

Here's a GI who was involved in a moment made for Hollywood. The GI is the angel/savoir.

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"I came down the back stairs to the first floor as we cleaned out one building. There was a glass in the outer door and I carefully looked out. In the yard was a German soldier. He had a slave with him who he had apparently ordered to get on his knees and say his prayers. The German pulled out his pistol, loaded it and placed it to the slave's head. I carefully opened the door, stepped out, took aim and fired, dropping the German in the hopes his pistol wouldn't go off.

"Some of my men came to the landing behind me. They covered me as I went down the few steps and crossed the yard. The slave was still saying his prayer and shaking all over. I placed my hand on his shoulder. As he looked up, I pointed behind him to the dead German soldier.

"I couldn't speak his language. He looked but didn't seem to understand what had happened. There was a lot of shooting going on in the town he hadn't heard my shot. It took a few seconds for him to understand. Then, he pivoted around his knees, wrapped his arms around my legs and cried his heart out."
If that isn't a movie moment, I don't know what is. This is from p 79-80 of Curt Whiteway's Brave Men Don't Cry. Whiteway belonged to the 99th Infantry Division (Battle Babies).

That man was among many that Whiteway and his buddies liberated. They once caught up with a Jewish prisoner column from Muhldorf that was escorted by the SS (for execution). Whiteway and his squad formed a skirmish line, shot down every single SS man and saved the prisoners.

Elsewhere Whiteway and his buddies learned that their duffel bags had been looted by MPs. Two MPs carelessly talked about it in a bar. By now the checkerboarders (because of their patch) had had their patches removed as they were awaiting return to the United States where they would go to a new camp and be temporarily assigned to a new command. So the MPs talked in ignorance of the presence of their victims. Whiteway and his buddies followed the off duty MPs and worked them over in revenge.
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Old December 22, 2022, 03:41 PM   #559
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Texas A&M is a school that included military training as part of its cirriculum (1940s). Thus when students were inducted at the outbreak of WWII, they puzzled their drill sergeants who knew nothing of their background. They already knew all the marching drills. Slowly they were sent off to OCS to graduate as officers. There were still some waiting for their orders to go.

"Also included in our group of overseers was a corporal who had attended A&M for a couple of years with some of the men. He had dropped out to join the army and was familiar with our background, traditions, training and so forth. The first sergeant and other NCOs were somewhat perplexed when they observed us instantly comply with instructions from the corporal while seemingly grudgingly tolerate their own leadership efforts.

"By the last two weeks of our stay, our ranks had dwindled down to only a hundred or so men who had not yet shipped out. Looking for ways to get out of the barracks and away from trivial duties, we conspired with the corporal to institute daily training hikes, made with the blessings of the first sergeant and other non-coms. What the upper echelons didn't know was that we had also conspired with the corporal and a local bakery and a dairy distributor to meet us every afternoon a couple of miles away from the base with vans laden with pastries and dairy treats. After a long, leisurely snack time, we all hiked back to base. The staff kept waiting to hear complaints about the daily hikes, but none were forthcoming."

In the next installation, I'll share how these college boys cleaned their barracks.
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Old December 23, 2022, 01:53 PM   #560
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"Field Day" or cleaning the barracks

"We hadn't been in the barracks long before the sergeant reappeared to issue further orders. 'Okay, gentlemen, we are going to have what is known in the army as a 'field day,' which was nothing new to the Aggies. 'That means I want these barracks to be scrubbed from top to bottom. There are some GI brushes in the latrine. I will be back in a few hours to inspect.' Following his departure, a discussion ensued in our ranks as to whether we should comply with this order or not, and what the other optioons we might have. My roommate, Ike McCarroll, had been issued a fatigue jacket with corporal's stripes painted on the sleeve. Another classmate, Cullen Rogers, who had been a starting halfback on the A&M football team, said, 'I've got an idea. Ike, give me that jacket. I think I can take care of this situation.' He put the jacket and went for a walk down the company street. He soon chanced upon a couple of recruits fresh off the farm and stopped them. Pointing to his sleeve, he said, 'Do you men know what these stripes mean?'

"Wide-eyed, they responded, 'Yes, sir.'

"Come with me, I have a job for you." They obediently followed him to our barracks. He informed them that their assignment for the afternoon was to thoroughly clean the barracks. 'By the way,' he added, 'these men have been on an all-night training exercise and are very tired. Work quietly so they can get some rest.' Thereupon, most of us settled into our racks for afternoon naps.

"After the two boobs had finished, Rogers inspected their work and had them clean the latrine a second time before dismissing them. They had just left before the sergeant returned to conduct his inspection. After a thorough tour, he assembled us and issued his verdict, 'You men have done a good job. Go ahead and take the rest of the afternoon off.'"

And that faithful readers, is how you clean your barracks.
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Old January 5, 2023, 10:56 PM   #561
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"Once before I had passed an evening in the ADSEC billet at the Hotel Harscamp in Namur while motoring back to Luxembourg from the First Army. I recall the name of that hotel clearly. It was dusk and we had stopped in town to inquire of a GI the way to Harscamp.

"Whore's camp?" At first he looked puzzled but then he brighterend with the thought, "say-d'ya mean they really got one here?"

From Omar Bradley's A Soldier's Story, page 502.
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Old January 14, 2023, 05:14 PM   #562
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British soldiering

Having served as a teenaged home guardsman, Bill Ness came into contact with old soldiers/veterans who had served in WW I. From them he learned much about army life before he enlisted into the Duke of Wellington's Regiment and later the Paras.

One thing the veterans instructed was to respect authority and never question an order. "Always do as you're told. If you couldn't, salute smartly, turnabout and disappear. Alternatively, if you received an order that was stupid, salute smartly and go away."

Lurned it in James Goulty's The Second World War Through Soldiers' Eyes: British Army Life 1939-1945. Goultry does for the British soldier/army what Irving Bell Wiley did in The Life of Billy Yank and The Life of Johnny Reb. Started it today and about 1/2 through.
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Old January 23, 2023, 03:40 PM   #563
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“I had trouble with my bedroll. We were restricted to one bedroll per officer, which had to be within a specified maximum weight, and they were all weighed on an old platform scale, to keep us honest. Mine was slightly over weight, mainly due to a hundred rounds or so of .45 pistol ammunition which I'd included. I'd brought my old Colt .45 automatic from Canada with me, one I'd bought, as I always believed that if one ever needed a pistol, the biggest slug one could get was best, and our issue handguns were .38 S&W revolvers. All my spare .45 ammunition was tied up in a sock in my bedroll. I unrolled, it, took out half or more of my supply, and threw it under a hedge where I'd been sleeping. I suppose it is still there … my bedroll passed the weighing.
….

I had brought my Colt .45 pistol back with me, unloaded and tucked inside my BD blouse, and when I first got into bed, I slipped it under the mattress. When I was issued a little drawstring bag for soap, shaving gear, etc., I put it in that. But twice, nurses making my bed or getting my shaving gear found it, and gave me hell. The last time, I returned from a walk, and it was gone. I demanded to know where it was, and was told I couldn't have it, and it had been turned in their stores. I hobbled to the Stores, and found a Colour Sergeant and his Cpl with it on their desk, all stripped down, they intended to keep it as a souvenir. I scooped all the loose parts off their desk, and distributed them through my pockets, and walked out. I heard no more about it, but from then on, I left it in bits, and was very careful about where I kept them."

R.F. Fendick, A Canloan Officer
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Old January 28, 2023, 11:03 PM   #564
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Judge Roy Bean was shady?

"My favorite Bean story concerns a Mexican lady who came into his courtroom with a quart bottle of milk, while he was on the bench in El Paso. She was a customer of Bean's dairy. It was one of his many commerical enterprises. The customer went straight up to the bench, plunked the bottle in front of Bean, showed that the cap was still sealed, pointing at a live minnow swiming inside, and accused him of watering the milk.

"Damn," he said, "I told that stupid boy not to let those cows drink in the Rio Grande."
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Old January 31, 2023, 07:22 PM   #565
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From a PoW memoir:

Quote:
"Another time the Gestapo agents came in the barracks and woke us up in the middle of the night. They made us take down our pants and bend over while they looked up our a**holes. I don't know what they were looking for, but one of the fellows down the line from me had a good case of dysentary, and as the Gestapo was looking, he almost got an eye full. Needless to say, the German moved on quickly. We never did find out what they were looking for that we would hide up in that part of our anatomy."
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Old February 9, 2023, 04:25 PM   #566
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Transported for Life

Was the 19th Century way of saying banishment. Generally the deported did not have the means to pay for return passage.
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Old March 6, 2023, 11:46 PM   #567
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"Your sons planning to kil Stalin?"

Quote:
"Thus Abukumov and I kept out of each other's way - until falsifying investigators were on the loose and I received an unexpected phone call from him. 'What is this I hear about your sons planning to kill Stalin?'

'What do you mean? I asked.

"Just what I said,' replied Abakumov.

'Do you know how old they are?' I asked.

'What's the difference?'

'Comrade Minisiter,' I replied, 'I don't know who told you that, but the truth of the charge is highly unlikely because the younger of my sons is three and the older one is five years old.'

Abakumov slammed down the receiver andthat was the last I heard of him for almost a year."
I wonder if the accuser got a bullet?

Excerpt from Sudaplatov's Special Tasks.
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Old March 16, 2023, 10:25 AM   #568
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Excerpted from The Prairie Traveler by Capt. Randolph B. Marcy, published by Authority of the War Department in 1859


"Notwithstanding Colt's army and navy sized revolvers have been in use for a long time in our army, officers are by no means of one mind as to their relative merits for frontier service. The navy pistol, being more light and portable, is more convenient for the belt, but it is very questionable in my mind whether these qualities counterbalance the advantages derived from the greater weight of powder and lead that can be fired from the larger pistol, and the consequent increased projectile force."

"This point is illustrated by an incident which fell under my own observation. In passing near the "Medicine-Bow Butte" during the spring of 1858, I most unexpectedly encountered and fired at a full-grown grizzly bear; but, as my horse had become somewhat blown by a previous gallop, his breathing so much disturbed my aim that I missed the animal at the short distance of about fifty yards, and he ran off. Fearful, if I stopped to reload my rifle, the bear would make his escape, I resolved to drive him back to the advanced guard of our escort, which I could see approaching in the distance; this I succeeded in doing, when several mounted men, armed with the navy revolvers, set off in pursuit. They approached within a few paces, and discharged ten or twelve shots, the most of which entered the animal, but he still kept on, and his progress did not seem materially impeded by the wounds. After these men had exhausted their charges, another man rode up armed with the army revolver, and fired two shots, which brought the stalwart beast to the ground. Upon skinning him and making an examination of the wounds, it was discovered that none of the balls from the small pistols had, after passing through his thick and tough hide, penetrated deeper than about an inch into the flesh, but that the two balls from the large pistol had gone into the vitals and killed him. This test was to my mind a decisive one as to the relative efficiency of the two arms for frontier service, and I resolved thenceforth to carry the larger size."
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Old March 16, 2023, 06:14 PM   #569
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Originally Posted by Sarge View Post
Excerpted from The Prairie Traveler by Capt. Randolph B. Marcy, published by Authority of the War Department in 1859


"Notwithstanding Colt's army and navy sized revolvers have been in use for a long time in our army, officers are by no means of one mind as to their relative merits for frontier service. The navy pistol, being more light and portable, is more convenient for the belt, but it is very questionable in my mind whether these qualities counterbalance the advantages derived from the greater weight of powder and lead that can be fired from the larger pistol, and the consequent increased projectile force."

"This point is illustrated by an incident which fell under my own observation. In passing near the "Medicine-Bow Butte" during the spring of 1858, I most unexpectedly encountered and fired at a full-grown grizzly bear; but, as my horse had become somewhat blown by a previous gallop, his breathing so much disturbed my aim that I missed the animal at the short distance of about fifty yards, and he ran off. Fearful, if I stopped to reload my rifle, the bear would make his escape, I resolved to drive him back to the advanced guard of our escort, which I could see approaching in the distance; this I succeeded in doing, when several mounted men, armed with the navy revolvers, set off in pursuit. They approached within a few paces, and discharged ten or twelve shots, the most of which entered the animal, but he still kept on, and his progress did not seem materially impeded by the wounds. After these men had exhausted their charges, another man rode up armed with the army revolver, and fired two shots, which brought the stalwart beast to the ground. Upon skinning him and making an examination of the wounds, it was discovered that none of the balls from the small pistols had, after passing through his thick and tough hide, penetrated deeper than about an inch into the flesh, but that the two balls from the large pistol had gone into the vitals and killed him. This test was to my mind a decisive one as to the relative efficiency of the two arms for frontier service, and I resolved thenceforth to carry the larger size."
A Colt army in 1858???
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Old March 16, 2023, 07:16 PM   #570
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A Colt army in 1858???
You caught that too, LOL.

My guess is he was referring to one of Colt's Dragoons.
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Old March 18, 2023, 08:45 PM   #571
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You mean we have been debating Bear Pistols for over 150 years?
I thought that was an Internet Subject.
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Old March 25, 2023, 08:05 PM   #572
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1972 great lakes boot camp. i laughed at a guy getting chewed out for a shave and finger nail inspection. due to my blond peach fuzz i never had to shave.
... My first class petty officer stood me at attention and burnt the peach fuzz off my face with a lighter, never laughed again at the more hairy fellow sailors. bobn
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Old May 4, 2023, 09:04 PM   #573
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Mafia to the rescue.

During WW II, British MI9 branch responsible for assisting Allied personnel to escape from German lines to England was desperately in need of Colt 32 ACP pistols with which it could arm its personnel.

Quote:
"At this time the favourite weapon of my agents, a 32 Colt Automatic pistol, was virtually unobtainable in England and I asked our American liasion officer if he could help. 'Sure captain,' he replied, 'no problem.' A month later he gave me 20 with the necessary ammunition. As it was not a regulation service weapon, I could not resist asking how he had got them.

"'Plumb easy,' he said. 'I cabled the War Department, asking them to request the Mayor of Chicago to put out an appeal to the gangsters. I have 300 more when you want them.'"
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Old May 6, 2023, 08:17 AM   #574
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"It was while I was placating the American evaders (who were voicferous in their complaints of what they considered very high-handed action by a British officer in closing down a good party), the hepers and hangers-on, the hotel manager and the Rescue Team officer, that an RAF sergeant evader asked if he could have a word with me in private.

We strolled over to a vacant table and called for two beers.

'Yes, sergeant,' I queried, 'what can I do for you.'

'Don't look around, please sir,' he whispered 'But that man in plain clothes over there is a German officer.' I choked over my beer. 'How the hell do you know?'

'Well sir, I was a prisoner for a short time and he twice interrogated me.'

'Are you sure?'

'Certain, sir. Look out, he is getting up and walking out.'

'We will follow him,' I said. The street outside was full of people and it was obvious that he would be quickly lost in the crowd.

I came up close behind him, pulled out my loaded revolver and stuck the muzzle in his back.

'Stop,' I hissed nervously,' you are a German spy.'

'No, no, no,' he quavered, 'I am a German officer trying to escape and I will prove it,' he continued, pulling a sheaf of papers out his pocket only to drop them on the pavement at my feet.

It seemed so so natural at the time. 'Here, hold this,' I said, passing my revolver to and stooping down to pick up the papers with my one hand [note: right before Dunkirk the writer was injured and had his injured arm amputated.] A glance at the top one, his military identity card with a photograph was sufficient confirmation of his statement. I handed back his papers and received my revolver in return.

'The crowd will kill me if they learn who I am,' he muttered, glancing at one or two passers by who had stopped and were eyeing us with curiousity. Yes, I thought, they probably will but it is nothing to what Norman Crockett will do to me when he learns I have handed an evading German officer a loaded revolver to help him on his way.

'You will be perfectly all right if you come along quietly with me,' I assured him. And so it proved as I handed him over to the nearest Military Police headquarters."
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Old October 21, 2023, 02:11 PM   #575
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Thunk! Thunk! or mysterious sounds on a battlefield

The scene is an infantry battalion antcipating a panzer counterattack. An argument ensured as to where to lay a minefield with the engineering officer wanting to lay it across a field that flanked the American position and the American tanker insisting that they be placed on the road. The engineer won and so late at night they began laying the mines where the engineering officer wanted. He describes their work and a mysterious sound.


"....the guys stopped bringing the mines. We were out of our mines and Huey and I were standing out there in the dark. Huey said, "Lieutenant, I'll run back and see." I said, "No, you stay right there. I'll see what's the matter." I went about fifty yards when I heard what sounded like a bunch of Germans. I hunkered down and said to myself, "God-dang it, they're already behind us." I stayed there for a few minutes and then I heard 'em going thunk-thunk-thunk. I couldn't figure out what they were doing. I finally got up enough nerve and moved a little closer, then I could tell they were taking English. It was the rest of my platooon. They had run into a watermelon patch and the dang guys had set the mines down and were thumping the watermelons, looking for ripe ones! Right in the middle of a war! You could get your dang head blown off! So I got 'em back to work and we got all the mines laid out."

The German panzers and panzergrenadiers attacked the next day not along the road that the American tanker insisted they would use but right into the minefield. Eight panzers and two armored half-tracks were knocked out by the mines.
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