Carroll Daily Times Herald

Carroll, IA

26 Jun 1945




Platoon Lead By Iowan Captures 750 Germans

By Frank Miles
(Daily Times Herald War Correspondent)

In Germany (IDPA) -- Sgt. Ross A. Challberg, Davenport, led a platoon of 27 American soldiers, who took 750 nazi prisoners in 10 hours of hard fighting when the 45th division captured Nuremberg.

The Hawkeye and his men were ordered to make a frontal assault on fortified positions in the medieval section of the city. Supported by tank and artillery fire they scaled a wall surrounding the area under heavy machine gun fire, rifle and sniper fire. By noon they had more than 300 captives. In the afternoon more than 400 jerries from behind walls in buildings offered such stiff resistance the yanks turned loose mortar weapons.

"It was a powerful persuader," Challberg said, "and it didn't let us down. After a 10-minute barrage, we entered their strongholds without much trouble. The mortars took all the fight out of them and they were glad to surrender."

Breakdown of the figures credits each doughboy with 28 prisoners, the total of the rate of one every 50 seconds while the battle lasted.

Staff Sgt. Leslie C. Back, Duncombe, of the same regiment was in a squad that captured 50 prisoners in a wrecked building. He crawled over debris to reach a doorway. In entering a jerry tried to shoot him with a panzerfause German bazooka. The sergeant fired with his M-1 first with deadly aim. The other nazis scrambled for a cellar. Back and comrades hurled hand grenades down the ventilation shaft at them. When that failed to get results, they unloosed white phosphorus. In no time jerris began clambering out with hands up.

Indices to nazi mentality may be noted at almost every turn here.

When an American outfit found it necessary to occupy a house in Nuremberg, the owner a big business man greeted officers cordially and in the ensuing conversation confided he was not a nazi but a Mason. A captain, who belonged to that fraternal order, put him to a test. He discovered that man was lying but didn't let on. Later the man informed that a neighbor a block away had a nicer place, which he thought the Americans would prefer. He said that he would be glad to get in their car and show it to them if they didn't take him close enough to be seen by the occupants. Disgusted, the Yanks told him to vacate in a hurry. That evening they found nazi regalia, literature and letter the pseudo Mason had hidden while packing.

While jeeping in Austria recently, I saw signs, "Ernie Pyle Memorial Bridge" American engineers had placed at each end of a pontoon structure they erected across the Ache river.

"Pyle was with our outfit awhile and he was our pal," a GI said sadly.

Source: Carroll Daily Times Herald, June 26, 1945

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