Mount Pleasant News

Mount Pleasant, IA

21 Apr 1945




Shell No. 100,000 Scores Direct Hit

By Frank Miles

In Germany (IDPA) -- Staff Sgt. Glen F. Nickerson, Newton,of the 13th infantry of the 8th "Golden Arrow" division, was in a combat patrol that penetrated deep into the German lines on the Roer river. A cold, biting wind was blowing. Thick barbed wires entanglement in the woods made progress difficult. The jerries waited until the Americans were near, then shot flares to make them visible, opened up with mortars and five machine guns.

Nickerson and his comrades dived into snowbanks.

When the enemy ceased firing a number of Germans ran out to capture any Americans they found alive. All of the Yanks except one - a shell shock victim - promptly gave battle. More than a dozen jerries were killed by American bullets.

The Americans got back to their lines with T-Sgt. Alvin W. Holmes, the patrol leader, carrying one casualty who recovered in an evacuation hospital.

Capt. Paul W. Wilderson, Jr., Des Moines, of the 8th division, saw three jerries entering a dugout while he was manning a battery observation post. He telephoned the fire mission:

"Concentration 20 is 200 right, 300 over, three Krauts in dugout, request fuse delay, platoon for adjustment, battery converged for effect.

Six adjusting rounds were discharged, then the captain ordered:

"50 short, fire for effect."

The shell was the 100,000 fired by the battery and scored a direct hit.

"Cease firing, dugout demolished, no further activity observed," the captain messaged.

Recently I talked with a 70 year-old German who professed to be strongly anti-nazi. A group of rugged American doughboys passed.

"Hitler had most Germans believing that your soldiers were weaklings," the man said. "I knew better because in the States I saw many football and baseball games. Your boys are pleasant and they smile a lot but they can really fight when they want to."

He is right.

Source: Mount Pleasant News, April 21, 1945

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