Carroll Daily Times Herald

Carroll, IA

30 Apr 1945




Mystery How Nazi Troops Were Killed

By Frank Miles
(Daily Times Herald War Correspondent)

Air Power Press Camp in Germany (IDPA) -- How the 21 dead nazi soldiers lying on a muddy wooden slope beyond the Rhine river 10 miles east of Bonn had been killed baffled four uniformed Iowans.

Maj. Errol Olson and 2nd Lt. Myron Piper, Boone; Maj. Karl Herd, Davenport, and myself. All had one or more head wounds.

No craters eliminated an artillery shell or air bomb as the killer. Hand grenades or rifles might had done the job but more probably it was the work of a machine gun or strafing plane.

The men had been dead less than 24 hours. They had worn uniforms and shoes of good quality. Their bags contained full sets of toilet articles, smoking tobacco, cigarettes, candy bars and cartons of field rations. Their weapons were in excellent shape. They had lots of ammunition.

I crossed over a Yank platoon bridge on the Rhine in a jeep to reach the first army battalion headquarters where I met Majors Olson and Herd and Lieutenant Piper; Captain Maurice Nathanson, Estherville and North English; Sgt. Kenneth Tillotson, Osceola; T/5 Guy H. Boyd, Winterset, and Tech Sgt. Carl Bratler, North English. Nathanson, a lawyer as a civilian, and Bratler entered the army together.

It was a beautiful day but heavy smoke screens, din of artillery, roars and blasts of strafing planes, burps of machine guns and cracks of rifles made me realize that war was raging over a wide sector.

Enroute to one point I saw a dead horse with a right hind leg off from a mine explosion.

Upon reaching my destination I found a company of combat engineers preparing for a mission that night. Pvt. Frank Whipperman, Davenport, and I shook hands.

Returning to camp I read on road signs: "Soldier....Don't Walk....Don't Stop....Don't Park....No Bicycles....No Motorcycles....No Civilian Vehicles"...then "Under Enemy Fire....Keep 75 Yards Intervals"

In one town upon seeing an MP taking two young civilians to military government headquarters, I jumped out of my jeep and followed. The arrested were two Hitler youths who had been with the army, deserted, got across the Rhine, and were trying to get home, they said.

A man and six women, all Poles, who had been forced to labor for the Germans, were in a yard, happy because they expected to go home soon.

A ritzy nazi woman, who had a group of Polish and Russian girls working on her chateau, told an American colonel he and his men might have them on condition she and her daughters were unmolested. What the colonel told her was terrific but can't be printed.

In a half moon lighted blackout one night, I met Pfc. Francis Helton, Leon, of the 8th division. He planned to go back to farming after the war. Now he's a member of a bazooka team.

Source: Carroll Daily Times Herald, April 30, 1945

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