Mount Pleasant News

Mount Pleasant, IA

31 Mar 1945




Nazi Planes Over Area While Miles Writes

(By Frank Miles)

In the Field With The First Army -- (IDPA) -- Nazi planes are over the war-mangled, black-out town near Cologne in which I am writing this article.

When enemy craft are in the air above, I wonder whether I will be caught in a bomb explosion. You hear a blast close by you, smile and say something nonchalant to someone and he answers back in like vein but you are both scared if you are normal. The man, who says he is not frightened under fire, either lies or is devoid of human sensibilities.

This has been a day of scares for me. The first ones came when shells crashed into a woods near a house from where I was watching a combined American artillery tank and infantry attack on Cologne: next when the jerries poured air burst over a suburb of the historic German cathedral city while I was there.

When the bombardment started I dashed across a street to get close to a stone house. Soldiers and a few civilians ought shelter in various places. The only ones who stood and "took it" were 17 jerry prisoners and their guard -- a short, chunky Pennsylvania GI in front of a building where captives were being interrogated. The lad knew that in the confusion they might try to make a break for liberty, so he tensed his hold on his carbine and watched them like a hawk. I admired him while wishing I were back in the quiet of tall corn land.

Lt. Mervin B. Teig, Iowa Falls, was the first infantry officer to enter Cologne, leading a company of shooting doughboys. Time and again during the day I heard praise of his valor there and in former battles. He was making a superb record.

Sgt. John Schoessler, Omaha, whose uncle, Henry Ohrlich, lives in Council Bluffs, was cooly doing his duty in the operations section in a cellar lighted by candles. We agreed it would be much more pleasant to be on the Missouri River.

An Illinois technician, 6 feet 2 1/2 inches tall and weighing 240 pounds, gave two other scribes and me some soup and salmon for lunch he prepared in the kitchen of a dwelling, which had been vacated by the residents.

At breakfast I met Capt. Hobert Morris, Oskaloosa, a liaison officer of the 7th corps, and learned that Col. F. Herbert Moehlmann, the chaplain who conducted religious services I attended yesterday, was formerly a Lutheran preacher at Waterloo.

Garnet E. Harbeck, Sioux City, and Kenneth M. Juhl, Harlan, have received battlefield promotions to second lieutenant. Juhl had been awarded the silver star for gallantry in action.

In the first army in North Africa, the Bronze star for heroic achievement in action has been awarded to Staff Sgt. Robert L. Stewart, Cedar Falls; Sgt. Leon E. McPherren, New Market and Cpl. Henry Bucks, Davenport.

Capt. John C. Stevens, Muscatine, won an oak leaf cluster to his bronze star for meritorious service in combat and Staff Sgt. William L. Broghamer, Dubuque,got the decoration for meritorious service in combat.

Eight Germans moved up on Staff Sgt. Theodore Frymuller, Magnolia, and a comrade in a dugout dugout, and started throwing grenades. When the first one came down one of the Yanks picked it up and tossed it back. Several more came in and each one was returned before it had time to explode. When the exchange ended, four jerries were dead, the others had disappeared.

This evening an MP brought seven Frenchmen to forward press camp who had been doing forced labor on farms as prisoners for the Germans for nearly five years.

"We want nothing but a chance to get home and we'll walk every step of the way if you will let us," said the spokesman.

Public relations officers and scribes have no authority in such cases so they were referred to another department of the army.

Source: Mount Pleasant News, March 31, 1945

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