Mount Pleasant News

Mount Pleasant, IA

06 Apr 1945




Nazi Sniper Spotted 48 Hours After Cologne's Fall

(By Frank Miles)

In the Field With the First Army (IDPA) -- The mangled body of a nazi soldier lay face up in a drizzling rain by a curb in the heart of Cologne 48 hours after the city was captured by American troops.

Passing civilians stared at the gruesome sight but exhibited no more outward interest.

"Has he been left there two days?" I asked a husky GI with a carbine slung over his right shoulder.

"He just got it a little while ago," was the reply. "We thought the scrap here was finished, then, like a bolt from the blue, rifle bullets zinged from that second story window up there at one of our guys. He dashed around a corner, went down an alley and slipped in the back of the building where the sniper was, hoping to get a crack at him.

"Pretty soon he spotted the Jerry through an open door and cut loose. The Jerry jumped up on the window sill and the Yank's next shot knocked him to the street."

When I asked the GI his name and address, he walked away swiftly.

In the shell-shattered cathedral the first doughboy I met was Pfc. V.I. Neuberger, Sioux Falls, S.D., who once lived in Sioux City. He was in the first infantry battalion to enter the cathedral area in the drive, which hurled the Germans across the Rhine.

While I was outside alone a German shell exploded near the Hauptbahnhof, the huge, imposing central railway station a half block from the cathedral in Cologne. The enemy had bombarded the area heavily early that morning, apparently willing to tear up one of their own cities in an effort to kill Americans.

At military government headquarters I talked with Helmut Maurice Faber, a well-dressed Cologne citizen, whose left foot was in a cast and, who walked with a cane. He said his father was English and his mother German, that his father fled to England at the outbreak of the war, had never communicated with his family since and was thought to be dead. He asserted he was a Catholic Democrat, a printer by profession who had always been against Hitler, and that he wanted a job as interpreter for the American army.

"My leg was broken in a skiing accident five years ago, which was lucky for me because that he kept me out of Hitler's army," he added.

Parked nearby was a jeep upon which its name -- IOWA-- was printed in large letters.

Pfc. Ralph Curtis, Davenport, was the driver. He was of Ninth Army public relations and had brought a war correspondent from here to Cologne. A chunky, good-natured youngster, he pretended to be angry when I asked him if Davenport was in Illinois.

"See you in Iowa sometime," he said with a big smile as we parted.

Source: Mount Pleasant News, April 6, 1945 (first of two columns by Frank Miles in this issue)

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