I entered the armed forces on June 27, 1941, inducted at Fort Snelling, MN. My comment at the time, as written on the back of one of my pictures of the grave, was that that angry Communist Burgomeister, whom I came to know well, was the only German I had met at that time whom I would trust with my life. Top subscription boxes – right to your door, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Most of the others were also shot in the back of the head, at close range. Murdock Mitchell and myself then went on foot to get Lt. Sylvest. One other surprise about my Polish crewmate.
During that interpreter- investigator activity, with the help of some German civilians who were not Nazis, I was able to bring to light a then recently dug mass grave, in which forced laborers had been executed and buried by the German military in the Warstein-Suttrop area in the Ruhr. He threatened that the fight would occur only over his dead body and made it clear that, if there was to be a fight, it would have to be between him and my not so friendly new crewmate.

After about one hour into the stay, a freight train loaded with food supplies rolled in right next to us. We stopped, helped him, and then the gas truck came along. With the ham scavenged from a German attic, foraged potatoes and the tough hard cheese from our last tin can rations, we managed to feed ourselves. Following a visit from an Army Chaplain our outfit began to move forward to the battlefield. By Richey L. Swartz I got the shock of my young life. It was on the Normandy coast when the invasion occurred and so fought in the Battle of Normandy. My roommate was a dead German soldier who, apparently, was left there when his outfit took off in a hurry. The retriever was behind and came up about 1pm with another tank and the halftrack limping along. E-mail: [email protected] He had been shot in the back of the head. Horace Barrett crawled over Baun to get out of the tank. From there we were sent to the Mojave Desert to train.
331 Days : The Story of the Men of the 709th Tank Battalion. It was raised in May 1941 and used for occupation duties during the German occupation of France in World War II until the Allied invasion.

About 1AM, I half awoke from a lightning flash and ice cold rain, pulled my roll under a tank and fell asleep again.”. These were a mixture of volunteers, conscripts and former Soviet prisoners-of-war who had chosen to fight in the German Army rather than suffer the harsh conditions of prisoners. At 5:30pm, we slowed down and there was Clarke’s tank about 50’ in front of one track he had thrown. Maintenance Problems This is an example of the American GI’s ability to improvise. for informational purposes only. All, as I said, were bloated and were beginning to decompose, smelling to high heaven. More than a half-year later, after our baptism of fire in Normandy, he was reassigned for a while to our headquarters platoon, where, presumably, he would cause the least trouble. Then we went to get Truman Sylvest about a hundred yards forward. They must have noticed that we were 20 and they were just 2, because they allowed us to take our needs, which was very kind of these guys.


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