Mason City Globe-Gazette

Mason City, IA

20 Oct 1944





Miles Visits Front in Northern Italy

(Iowa Daily Press War Correspondent)

With the 5th Army in Italy (IDPA) --Witnessing the capture of 2 nazis and participating in their return to a prisoner of war cage was my reward for a visit to the front.

Men of an American infantry unit had marched cautiously up a narrow mountain road to attack the enemy in north Italy. With me were Col. Stanley J. Grogan, 5th army public relations chief, and John McTigue, United Nations news correspondent. We had proceeded in a jeep to within a mile of our objective when we were compelled to walk. Shells had made impossible further vehicle progress.

On our return we saw an army private, who had squatted down at cause, leaped up with his rifle aimed at a nazi soldier approaching him empty-handed from a near-by woods.

Captured, the German said another was "out there" and called his name. There was no answer and no appearance.

Colonel Grogan, a World War I veteran, drew his .45 and plunged in the direction from which the captive had come.

Seeing a head poking from limbs and leaves over what later proved to be a fox hole, he dashed up and delivered sharp commands.

The nazi leaped out swiftly, reaching for the sky.

The colonel talked him into telling where he and his comrade had hidden their Mausers, then escorted him to the road.

The captain commanding the company questioned the prisoner through an interpreter. Then Colonel Grogan said he and the 2 scribes would deliver them to the prisoner of war cage, 11 miles away.

They walked with hands clasped behind their necks the mile to our jeep, then got in, the nazis and myself in the back seat, the colonel and McTigue in front with the driver, an army private. The trip was without incident.

Lt. Frank Robinson, Villisca, was in the long line of bearded, battle-bitten young officers and men in the American infantry outfit. Lt. Jacob Robinson of Malvern was nearby but I didn't get to meet him. The Robinsons are not related but are good friends.

American and nazi artillery were roaring when we went toward the front. We passed several dead nazis and a shell-killed horse by the roadside. We met a German second lieutenant and 4 privates, prisoners under guard of 2 stern-faced Yanks. We stopped and reconnoitered in dense trees at the foot of a cliff, the top of which the enemy was thought to have held.

Whenever I found GI's halted for a short rest on their long climb, I greeted them, shaking hands with many. They seemed to appreciate my cheering words. I smiled but my heart was sad in the realization some would not come back.

Before we started with one pair of prisoners, Lieutenant Robinson gave me a beautiful and powerful pair of binoculars dropped by a German officer, who, with his men, had fled out of the sector with Yanks in hot pursuit the day before. I promised to show them to his townsmen the next time I visit Villisca.

Colonel Grogan had captured a nazi a few days earlier after he and McTigue had played hide and seek with a 30-man German patrol for 4 hours near Pistoria.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, October 20, 1944

Return to News Index