Carroll Daily Times Herald

Carroll, IA

17 Apr 1945




Most Nazis Fared Well During War

By Frank Miles
(Daily Times Herald War Correspondent)

Ninth Army in Germany (IDPA) -- Thirty-one red-cheeked, healthy German children were playing in a wire-fenced lot near a blasted trench which stank of dead nazi soldiers, at the edge of a town where I stopped en route to Ninth army press corps.

Spring sunshine had brought natives outdoors all along the way. They were mostly women and youngsters who radiated physical vigor. The few men were old with rare exceptions.

One young man, whose right arm and leg were gone, stared at passing American soldiers as he leaned against a small brick dwelling, which had been damaged badly by a shell.

Many women and teen-aged girls were doing manual labor such as repairing roofs, windows and doors; making garden, sawing and splitting wood.

On the streets in the shattered towns the people were well dressed. That and their energy showed they had not suffered from hunger or cold from the war. Most of the homes had been comfortable.

On the whole the German people I have seen looked much better than those I saw in France, Holland and Belgium.

How strange the thinking of some of the Germans it was reflected in what a man and women in separate conversations told me,

"You Americans will of course rebuild our country and if we need food you will furnish it," they said in effect.

In the Ninth army, Sgts. Melvin H. Bieber, Waterloo, and Richard R. Middaugh, Sioux City, have been given battlefield commissions to second lieutenant, Beiber was of the 143rd tank battalion; Middaugh of the 113th cavalry reconnaissance squadron.

Pvt. Russell R. McTeague, Auburn, has been awarded the Silver Start for gallantry in action in the 30th infantry division.

Sgt. Clyde Border, Wyoming, and Pfcs. Bobby Selph, Granite City, and James B. Bramell, Waukee, of the 120th infantry, of the 30th division, have received the purple heart.

Pfc. Vincent Duffy, Dubuque, and Lt. Kermit B. Landrith, Sioux City were decorated recently. Duffy, a rifleman, got the Bronze Star for being instrumental in saving lives of comrades by administering first aid to Americans wounded by mines in the attack on Hasenfeld Gut near Koslar, Germany, Dec.8. The Iowan also helped care for enemy soldiers who were mangled by their own explosives. Though not a "medic" Duffy worked efficiently for three hours applying tourniquets and doing other things for victims of conflict.

Landrith was given an Oak Leaf cluster to his Bronze Star for meritorious service July 30, 1944 to February 20, 1945.

White rags were tied to door knobs or flown on windows of hundreds of homes in occupied Germany -- tokens of surrender. Most Germans in the conquered areas were meek toward Americans but occasionally one was encountered who acted defiant.

A captain friend of mine, who had difficulties with civilians, talked with one man who cursed violently because American bombs had destroyed his factory and torn a corner off his house.

"I wasn't doing much for our army," he said. "Just producing grease for vehicles. And why should your bombers hit homes? Ours wouldn't do that if they were over America."

The captains parents were both born in Germany and moved with him to Iowa when he was eight years old. He speaks the German language like a a native.

What he told the grouser wouldn't pass any censor.

(IDPA) Germany -- Bright, early morning sunshine on a starlight, level macadam road atop a bank of the picturesque Rhine looked like a setting for a pleasant drive. My driver and I were enjoying the scenery as we rolled along in a jeep.

"Nice view across there," he said, indicating the other side of the river, which was lined with trees and brush.

Then it flashed into my mind from what I knew of the military situation nazi forces were in that sector and I realized we were not only in full view of them but in easy range of their machine guns. Moreover it dawned on me that despite the beauty of the stretch we were traversing we hadn't seen a single vehicle.

"Step on the gas," I suggested. He did.

"Wasn't there an MP or blocker where you turned on that road?" asked a tall Texas captain at a company command post when I told him how we had come.

I shook my head.

"The Lord was surely with you," he added with a grave grin, then carefully from a map showed me a round about way to return to my base.

We were in territory occupied by the 104th infantry "Timber Wolves" division.

Staff Sgt. James Swasik, Centerville and Pfc. Leonard Gordy, Bloomfield, were in a group of soldiers of a heavy weapons outfit with whom I had "batted breeze." The lads met for the first time in Germany.

A staff sergeant told me at a battalion aid station that two men on duty were Pfcs. Neil Goodrich and Leslie Peters of Iowa. They were then on pass and he did not know their home towns.

Pfc. Keith Liddell, Carlisle, 19 year-old farm boy, came to the battalion headquarters when word was gotten to him that a Hawkeye scribe was there. He was a BAR gunner and wore the combat infantryman badge.

Sgt. Norris Watson, Mt. Sterling, a squad leader, and Pvt. Charles Viet, Odebolt, an ammunition bearer, and Pfc. Herman Kirkpatrick, Martelle, were in the company.

Pfc. Edward Hensley, Council Bluffs, on duty at headquarters and I had a fine visit. A buddy recently had a narrow escape when he yanked a booby trapped picture of Adolph Hitler from a wall.

Pfc. Joseph Funk, Edgewood, a BAR gunner, had been in Europe only six weeks but spent 42 weeks in service of which nine were on anti-aircraft in the Aleutians.

Pvt. Oliver W. Cox, Davenport, has been in action nearly all of the four months he has been overseas.He was a machine gunner and ammunition bearer and wore the combat infantryman badge.

"When I left the States friends said I'd never see any war," he said. "How I wish they had been right."

Second Lieutenant Edwin Segall, Omaha, who has relatives, the Katelmans, in Council Bluffs and T/5 Raymond Clemsons, Marengo, a former post office clerk there, were in another company command post.

Staff Sgt. Lawrence H. Siemonsma, Hospers, was in a Marauder whose pilot had to land it belly wise after flak crippled the wheel up-lock. As the machine hit the ground the under side was ripped open and the crew members were covered with two and a half feet of French dirt. A shovel detail freed them -- unhurt.

T/4 Harold E. Zeller, Wheatland, a former service station operator and automobile salesman, and a buddy, who is a former truck driver, grabbed the last automobile in a Ford factory in Cologne after the city was captured by American troops.

"Guess the Jerries don't like our being here," my driver drawled after enemy mortars crunched near us on our drive, "and I don't like it either."

Source: Carroll Daily Times Herald, April 17, 1945

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