War Diary of Detector 6Lt Col Edgar V. H. Bell
CO, 90th Chemical Mortar Battalion
This diary was kept by Lt. Col. Edgar V. H Bell, commanding officer of the 90th Chemical Mortar Battalion. It covers the period January 1, 1945, through May 31, 1945. During this period the 90th moved from its base at Oulton Park in Cheshire, England to Nurnberg, Germany. Along the way it was engaged in combat as a unit of the U. S. First Army from the Roer River, across the Cologne Plain, across the Rhine to the Remagen Bridgehead, on to the Ruhr Pocket, and finally to a point well south of the Danube River at the close of hostilities. So, Col. Bell's diary is actually a thumbnail history of the 90th in combat and the few weeks that followed.
A few words of explanation. The Colonel's diary has been in the possession of some members of the 90th since shortly after the end of the war. Thanks to the kindness of a friend, I received a copy earlier this year (1995). It is my desire to repay his kindness by making the diary available to other members of the 90th. In order to shell out copies when desired, I have fed the diary into our little old Macintosh computer/word processor. In the process, I have taken the liberty to make some ever-so-slight changes in the original version. For instance, sometimes the Col. said "A Co." and again "ABLE Co." I settled for ABLE Co. all the way. The same for B and C, of course.
The Col. would write 1st Inf. Div. and 1st INF DIV. I liked 1st INF DIV best, so I made this standard. In two instances I have altered a statement by Col. Bell, and both instances involve my own platoon, so I know that the Col. was in slight error. On Feb. 15 he says, "Andreoli platoon in position and fired." We arrived at the sector held by the 325th Glider Regt. that afternoon, but did not go into position and fire until the following morning. On April 10, the Col. has Charlie Co. CP in Siedlinghausen, with 1st and 2nd platoons in nearby towns. Actually, the 2nd platoon was with the company CP in Siedlinghausen in the resting mode. In copying the diary, I changed 2nd to 3rd platoon. No exciting changes, these.
My sincere desire is that anyone reading this diary will derive from it the same deep appreciation for Col. Bell's efforts to obtain the very best for the men of his command as I did. The weather at Oulton Park was miserable at times (the Col. described it best). On such occasions, by about 10:30 PM, I would be in my straw bed snug and warm. I had no idea the Col. was some where, pulling his hair out in an effort to get the equipment we needed. Only upon reading this diary did I know how quickly he responded to any hint of injustice to the officers and men of his command.
Omar Bradley has often been called "the GI's General." I submit that E. V. H. Bell might well be called "the Gl's Colonel." Those of us who served under him were, to use one of his own words, "Lucky."
[Addendum, 23 July 2001: The previously missing entries for 10 January through 18 February 1945, and for the month of June 1945, have now been added, courtesy of Ray Zickfeld, former adjutant of the 90th CMB.]
All months are in 1945January
1. OULTON PARK - BN Officers dance at TABLEY. Good party. Won bottle of Scotch. It lasted all of five minutes.
2. OULTON PARK - To TATTENHALL with Morrison. Otherwise dull day.
3. OULTON PARK - Major Mayers, Asst. Cml. O., XXIII Corps, stopped for chow. A dull tool from a SNAFU outfit.
4. OULTON PARK - To DENDlCH, WALES to see Major Davy Plummer, S-2 of a FA group. Very cold trip.
5. OULTON PARK - To CAMP DODDINGTON at NANTWICH to sit on General Court. Gave a Pvt. Newman 15 years and D. D. for assault and attempted rape. Gave a Pvt. Ledyard 10 years for refusal to obey orders of a commissioned officer. Back to CP at 2030. Placed Sgt. Miller and Pvt. Rohrabaugh of BAKER Co. under arrest. Violation of guard orders and theft of a jeep.
6. OULTON PARK - Spoke to entire BN on last night's arrests. Then broke Miller and reamed both heartily. I could not send my lads up for GCM after yesterday. Getting to be a sissy, I guess.
7. OULTON PARK - Sumptuous dinner, chicken and FF potatoes, good and hot. Ours is a wonderful mess crew. Told Taylor to go to London to find out about his transfer. He is no good to us. Mopes and cries in his beard all of the time. Wants no part of combat.
8. OULTQIN PARK - Ernie Wright to hospital again. Taylor said we can't take Wright to the far shore. Will never stand combat. BUNK. It might kill him NOT to go. Sgt. Otway Brown warned of a clique of ASTP jerks. Guess I can handle that 0.K. Very cold. Snow.
9. OULTON PARK - BAKER Co. started night problem at 0500. Very cold. Fair job. Dwyer made usual bitches. Col. Forney inspected mess. Average ages: HQ- 27 years, A- 25 years, B- 25 1/2 years, C- 23 l/2 years, Bn.-25 1/4 years, ASTP- 23 years. Officers- 26 years. The old man brings it up. ALL passes and VOCO stopped from 0600 10 January to 2400 21 January.
10. OULTON PARK - Returned Philo charge sheets. Will give him one more chance. About 2100, Capt Brading came to quarters with a message from XXIII Corps at CHESTER. Equipment ready date 21 January. Marshalling date 31 January. No dope on vehicles.
11. OULTON PARK - CHARLE Co night problem. Very poor. No drive. Critiqued at 1300 and used the ream. Taylor will be transferred to some station hospital. Too dopey for combat Bn surgeon.
12. OULTON PARK - ABLE Co night problem, very good. Excellent spirit. Good old Robby, XXIII Corps, phoned for dope on ADV party. Major Cameron of 89th in for chow. They are at STONE.
13. OULTON PARK - To 89th Bn at STONE overnight. Morale bad. Yanka still a prick. Took £3 from him at poker.
14. OULTON PARK - From STONE to LEEK to see Plummer. Returned CP at 1630.
15. OULTON PARK - Capt Wright returned from hospital. Looks O.K. to me.
16. OULTON PARK - The General Court sat here today. We acquitted a kid from a FA Bn at TARPOLEY of rape. I broke the case all to hell with one question. The kid cried all over me. Slapped an ENG Lt with dismissal, for future pay, and 2 years hard labor. He borrowed $2175 from 6 EM in 2 months. The son-of-a-bitch!
17. OULTON PARK - Received 88 jeeps. The balance due us, most of them new.
18. OULTON PARK - Some soldier slugged a taxi driver, took his money and cab last night. All T/4 and higher in lineup at 1300. All personnel restricted to camp. That Forney completed familiarization firing of rifle and carbine today.
19. OULTON PARK - Release on 102 trailers ¼-ton, 9 weapons carriers ¾-ton, and 10 trucks 2½-ton. Cold - snow.
20. OULTON PARK - Hall to LIVERPOOL to get vehicles. Brought back 84 trailers and 10 trucks 2½-ton. Rest tomorrow. Roads terrible. More snow - cold as a witches teat. At motor pool until 1900. That's a wonderful crew.
21. OULTON PARK - Motor pool all day. Assembled 46 trailers. Lt Barstow brought in 9 weapons carriers ¾-ton, all with 12-volt ignition, and 18 trailers ¼-ton. More snow - very cold - no lights.
22. OULTON PARK - Assembled 42 trailers. All weapons carriers complete. All 2½-ton trucks are Z-13. This is "RED ALERT" day at TATTENHALL. Very cold.
23. OULTON PARK - Very GD cold. Capt Hetnz, M.C., surgeon general U.K. Base, phoned. Put Taylor on TD at 318th Station Hospital, OXFORDSHIRE. Replacement Capt Gooch due here Thursday. BAKER Co dance in CHESTER.
24. OULTON PARK - Very, very GD cold. Release on last of 1½-ton trucks. We get 9, and 7 are with winch. Lucky. RTO at CREWE phoned about ADV vehicles. Col Forney paid me a long visit. Capt Frank Gooch, MC, arrived.
25. OULTON PARK - Got up at 0500 to have breakfast with Lt Taylor and see him off. Not a bad egg, but no combat man. We wrecked another 2½-ton truck.
26. OULTON PARK - Lt Col Gunderson, Cml O, XXIII Corps, inspected. He said only 2 men to a vehicle, rest by rail. How can anyone be that dumb, even the XXIII Corps? I phoned the RTO at CREWE. He said "Entire Bn go per OWI on organization vehicles." Gave me MO verbal for ADV party and main body including routes. I chose to obey the RTO and not the XXIII Corps. They can CM me when the war is over. Hall and I took the COOKES to EDGERTONARMS for farewell dinner. The Scotch did not run out.
27. OULTON PARK - ADV party prepared to go. Last minute instructions from XXIII Corps at 1645 required Wright to go to LONDON to fly over. What a SNAFU outift.
28. OULTON PARK - Up at 0300 to breakfast to see ADV party off. Washed clothes and packed gear. To TATTENHALL for supper.
29. OULTON PARK - Heavy wet snow. Received 4 trailers 1-ton. Need 18 more. No word of time of main body movement. Lt Zickfeld left at 1230. He phoned at 1400, jeep upset, will go on tomorrow. Capt Brading returned with party from route recon. Took 54 hours, much too long. Reamed him. Must have "played" enroute.
30. OULTON PARK - Last trailers, 18 1-ton, were released at 1215. Are crated at ORD DEPOT 110 miles from here. Sent Skwarek with crew to assemble them at depot. Will pick them up enroute. The RTO phoned the MO (OWI) at 1225. We leave at 0700 tomorrow. Three XXIII Corps inspectors in at 1400. I screamed bloody murder at them and chased them away. Those dull tools. It is thawing, thank God. Checked all preparations and to bed at 0100.
31. OULTON PARK - Up at 0300. ABLE Co off 5 min late. Hq Co off 55 min late. Delay due to horrible condition of CHARLIE Co officers quarters. I led the last serial and we were up on our march schedule at 1100. Weather - all kinds. Rain, fog, snow, wind, sleet. CHARLE Co got lost twice. BAKER Co jeep hit a pony, only accident. Entire Bn hit the RP at CAMP C-1 at SOUTHAMPTON right on the button at 2300 in drenching rain. Moved to CAMP 13 at once. Horribly filthy hole. Tore a British sergeant's ass out for cursing my men. Then tore a British major for letting his sergeant do it. Both vanished into the night. Got the men under cover and fed and drying gear. Took over British officers club by brute force, built fire for our drivers and part of Hq gang. Up all night.
1. SOUTHHAMPTON - Roused the men at 0500, loaded on vehicles, and left CAMP 13 at 0600 to the hard and loaded each company on an LST. Hq loaded on LST 290. Loading completed at 1030. Sailed at 1300 down river to rendezvous. Men are quartered very well, are warm, well fed, lots of hot water, cleaned up. Ship moved into CHANNEL at 2230. I slept.
2. LST 290 - Arrived off quay at LE HAVRE at 1200, but could not beach or dock. Too much congestion, too much wind. Hove to off breakwater until 1500, then orders came to sail up RIVER SEINE to ROUEN. Very happy to be on ship another night. More good food and hot showers. Ship's people all fine to us. I cried when I came aboard and saluted the quarter deck. God bless the U.S. Navy and God damn the Transportation Corps. Skipper is Lt j.g. Murphy of Bradford, Pennsylvania. Ship dropped hook at 1800. Too many mines in river to sail after dark.
3. ROUEN - LST 290 sailed at 0800 and beached on hard at ROUEN at 1230. Unloaded ship in 47 minutes, beating another LST by 30 min. Had beef steak dinner before debarking. Destruction all along river was impressive. Thousands of German tanks, trucks and other equipment caught on east bank and smashed. Moved to CAMP TWENTY GRAND about 12 miles from ROUEN. Met up with ADV party and the mortar companies. This a mud hole and the most completely FU place ever. Again, GOD DAMN THE TRANSPORTATION CORPS.
4. TWENTY GRAND - To ROUEN with Lt Wright to Army Field Force. Liaison officer is Col Woodward, CWS, then to DISTRICT A Hq then to DISTRICT A 2M, Lt Col Rapp, then to DISTRICT A CWO, Lt Griffin. I want to get the hell out of here. Believe that we are going to FIRST ARMY not NINTH. Trying to get sleeping bags, arctics and combat shoes. Everyone kisses you off and can't or won't do a goddamn thing. There are enough lard-ass officers in the COM Z to beat GERMANY if they could fight, which they can't.
5. TWENTY GRAND - More rain and still in this wet hole. Drew our sleeping bags. Will issue tomorrow and take up all blankets in excess of 2. Got all but 100 covers, balance on Wednesday, I hope.
6. TWENTY GRAND - Wright and I went to BARENTINE and ROUEN again. Same old futile promises. No one knows anything. Sent Capt Gooch to CAEN for February likker. Scotch at 85 francs ($1.70). Trunk lockers packed for shipment to RHEIMS tomorrow. Had meeting of staff and Co COs. Clear off all ammo vehicles. Carry 24 rounds on ¼-ton trailers, 150 rounds on 1½-ton trucks and 1-ton trailers. Use battalion 2½-ton trucks and trailers for rest of basic load.
7. TWENTY GRAND - Sent Andreoli to RHEIMS to store lockers and to pick up combat shoes if possible. More snafu on our Class V requirements. Repacked duffle bag and made up forward roll. Got demand from Camp CO, Lt Col Lefler, TC, for 60 men and 12 trucks, 2½-ton, at 0800 to build roads. I blew my top. Could not find Lefler. "Not available" was report. The S.O.B. got to Camp S-3, Lt Moffett. Said I, "Do we build roads or get shell? It's your ass if we get up to FIRST ARMY without ammunition." He answered, "Get shells." Licked that dull tool.
8. TWENTY GRAND - Sent McKeown off with 7 trucks to pick up 1440 rounds of HE. Andreoli back from RHEIMS with 4 pairs of combat shoes - that's ALL! Got movement order "when ready" to NOISTER, BELGIUM. Will go Sunday, if possible. Capt Brading brought back lots of mail. He goes again tomorrow. Sent Rovekamp off for small arms ammo. Issued warning order on movement. Braxton goes to advance detachment. I am miserable and mad at the outrageous inefficiency of the whole goddamn COM Z.
9. TWENTY GRAND - Braxton off at 1030. Wright and I to ROUEN about overshoes again. Loaded duffle bags. All officers to my tent to celebrate our first birthday.
10. TWENTY GRAND - Rovekamp back at 0400 with ammo. Sgt Yonek back at 1100 with 1 truck and shell. No word on others. Talked to entire Bn on our first anniversary. Brading returned with little mail. McKeown got in late in night with rest of trucks and shell. Reamed him. To bed at 0030.
11. CAMBRAI - Awakened at 0310 by orders from Post CO to move at 0600. Got ABLE Co off at 0600, followed by BAKER, CHARLIE, AND HQ. Last serial off at 0800. Route: BARENTINE - ROUEN - BEAUVAIS - MONTDIDIER - PERRONE to CAMBRAI. Driving rain all day. Closed on DP at 1700. March in good order. All gear soaked. To bed in billets at 0045 after seeing all troops bedded down and fed., and making up march order for tomorrow. Zickfeld, Morrison and I in tiny old hotel. Bribed the concierge to heat our K rations.
12. RAERAN - Up at 0400. Bn cleared IP in good order at 0600. Route: VALENCIENNES - MONS - CHARLEROI - NAMUR - LIEGE - EUPEN - RAERAN. Met by Braxton, good billets for all men. Am in house with Morrison, Braxton and Wright. Got Bn fed and bedded down, then went to CP of XVIII Corps, Col Barta, the little Polish bastard. We are to be attached to III Corps (CENTURY). 2 companies to 1st Inf Div and 1 company to 82nd Airborne Div. To bed on floor at 0100. Fisher made 1st Lt.
13. RAERAN - to CENTURY FWD G-3 at ZWEIFAL. He confirmed Col Barta''s information. They are just moving in. Got men and gear straightened out. Warned companies. Then to SPA to report to Col Cunin, Army Cml Officer. He is a right guy, knows mortars. ARMY sure lives swell. Returned to Bn. Some V bombs. To bed at 0130.
14. RAERAN - Went with Braxton to CP, 1st Inf Div (DANGER). Saw Col Foley, Cml O, and Major Lord, Asst G-3. Will attach ABLE Co to 26th Inf and BAKER Co to 16th Inf. Move them up tomorrow. Seem to be good bunch to work with. Returned to Bn CP, almost continuous meetings until 2330.
15. RAERAN - ABLE and BAKER Cos moved out at 1100. CHARLIE Co 1st platoon at 1500, 2nd platoon at 1600, balance of company tomorrow. I stood by the bridge and watched my kids go to war. Pride (or something) put an awful big lump in my throat. Braxton to DANGER as liaison officer. Morrison went up with Andreoli. BAKER Co requested and got 100 rounds WP in addition to basic load. BAKER Co in position and fired. Andreoli platoon in position and fired [the next morning pfd]. First blood.
16. RAERAN - With Zickfeld and Wright to CHAMPION FWD (82nd Airborne Div) at HURTGEN. Talked to Lt Col Geiger, Cml O, and to Col Haughton, G-3, and to Capt Lenford, Asst G-3. To CHARLIE Co CP and 1st platoon position. Ready to fire at 1205. Met Hall there. Also saw the C.T. G-3 and 2nd Bn CO, Major West. Put 1000 rounds WP additional at CHARLIE Co CP. Went on up to DANGER FWD. Saw Braxton. All of BAKER Co in position. Their mess truck broke down. ABLE Co in FWD assembly area. Will move into position tonight. Some shell fire forward but mighty quiet front. Was in plain view of Krauts as close up as 600 yards but no shooting. To CENTURY CP. Saw Col Wannamaker, Cml O. He wants us to move to ROTGEN. I saw ROTGEN. No soap.
17. RAERAN - To CENTURY FWD. Talked to Col Wannamaker out of moving CP. Hall to DANGER and to ABLE and BAKER Companies. Wright, Washco and Zickfeld to all companies. ABLE Co in position and fired.
18. RAERAN - To DANGER, then with Braxton to ABLE CP. Robinson promoted to captain. To BAKER TN DIV, then to their CP, then to 1st and 2nd platoon positions. Both firing. Then to OP in church steeple in WINDEN, 500 yards west of ROER. We fired on base point, house in KREAZAV. To ABLE CP, after dark to 1st platoon near BAGHEIM, then to 2nd platoon in BILSTEIN. Mortars in street 500 yards west of river. Ticklish position, but looks good. Inspected area with Robinson and Rovekamp. Returned to ABLE CP about 0130 and slept.
19. RAERAN - To HURTGEN to see G-3 NOTORIOUS (9th INF DIV) Col. Feil and Major Riley. CHAMPION (82 AB DIV) out tonight. 9th INF will employ 3 platoons of CHARLIE Co. Then to Kings platoon in BERGSTEIN. Saw King, Dafter, and Smyer there. To CHARLIE CP, saw Massey. Good job there. Back to BN CP. Lots of mail. Am dead tired, too tired to read my mail. Am damn filthy, too.
20. RAERAN - Hall off to companies. I had bath in tin tub in cow barn. ALL clean clothes. Went to VERVIERS to see Cml. Maint. Co. Good layout there. The M-51 FA FUZE experiment did not pan out. Too much dispersion. Shell out of balance, fish tails. Back to BN CP. Washco and Capt. Gooch lost jeep. Stolen in SPA. Got it back about 2130. Lucky. Brading in. Hauling more shell to CHARLIE Co.
21. RAERAN - CHARLIE Co. reported first casualty. Pvt. Dalton killed by mortar shell in Andreoli's platoon. Lt. Col. Batt of 87th BN visited CP.
22. RAERAN - To CENTURY CP. Saw S-2 and S-3 of 87th BN there. Then to CHARLIE CP. Took Dwyer to NOTORIOUS CP at HURTGEN, liaison officer, replacing Bartels who goes to Andreoli's platoon. Then to BAKER guns and CP and TN. DIV. Saw good show in air. Our P-47s bomb and strafe DUREN. Nazi jet planes over. Big flak. To ABLE Co. CP. Spent the night with Robby.
23. RAERAN - To CENTURY FWD, then to DANGER. Lt. Gen. Hodges there with Corps and all Div. C. G. Attack plan changed. VII going well, has several bridgeheads and most of DUREN. 1st DIV will go over 8th DIV bridges, then 9th DIV will go over 1st DIV brides, avoiding frontal attack. This changes our smoke plans. Returned to BN CP to give news to staff and to contact Co. officers. BAKER Co. fired 1565 rounds WP for 8th DIV bridgehead. Good work, handled by Bird.
25. RAERAN - To CHARLIE CP, NOTORIOUS CP, King and Eckes platoon. To BAKER TN DIV, OP AND CP AND ALL GUNS. Eason platoon shelled while I was there. No casualties. To DAGWOOD CP. Talked to S-3. 18th INF will pinch off 26th INF. ABLE Co. to 18th INF. Then 16th INF all over ROER. KREAZAV taken. 26th INF all over tonight. Eason and McKee over with l6th INF about 1300. Firing missions by FO about 1430. To DANGER and then back to BN CP.
26. RAERAN - BAKER Co. displaced to KREAZAV about 1600. ABLE Co. from 26th INF to 18th INF effective 0700, 27th. Will cross ROER in morning. CHARLIE Co. displaced Eckes platoon FWD about 4000 yards. King's platoon to ZERKALL on river tonight Col. Cunin phoned, will be here tomorrow.
27. RAERAN - To CHARLIE Co. Saw Smyer and Eckes and King's guns. NOTORIOUS building bridge at ZERKALL under cover smoke. Will displace BN CP to GROSSHAU tomorrow. Sent message to Col. Cunin.
28. GROSSHAU - Moved CP at 0700. No roofs and only one floor left in town. Waited until 1330 for Col. Cunin, then went up to ABLE Co. at ESCHWEILER and to DANGER FWD at DROVE and back to BN CP. Will get 11 replacements tonight. Some night bombers over, after bridges over ROER. GOSSHAU and KREAZAV were just north of HURTGEN (for which the HURTGEN FOREST, of notorious fame, was named. GROSSHAU was almost nothing but rubble! Here, Bill fischer and I "shared" two half-walls of a corner of a "house," with a half-2nd-floor above for a roof! Hq meat-can laundry wasn't boiling (in the cold, brutal rain) at supper. The first night and most of the Co got the GIs. Bill fischer did, and couldn't get out of his USAF down sleeping bag in time, late that night! I hope I never spend one night, again, as bad as all of these nights in GOSSHAU were!
1. GROSSHAU - Will move BN CP to VETTWEISS tomorrow. To BAKER Co. at VETTWEISS, then to guns at GLADBACH, both platoons, then to ESCHWEILER to ABLE Co., then to NORLEVICH, to Rovekamp platoon near PINGSHEIM. They fired a fine smoke screen between PINCSHEIM and WEISERHEIM at 1230. Back to BN CP. BAKER Co. from 16th INF to 26th INF effective about 1100.
2. VETTWEISS - To 9th INF DIV CP at RATH. CHARLIE Co. CP at NIDEGGAN with Smyer to FESSENICH. Saw Andreoli. Got sniped at. Took wrong road and drew MG fire. Turned around and drew more on way back. Saw Eckes at VETTWEISS. Robinson, Baker, Smyer, and Braxton all in, CP unexpectedly about 1530. Lt. Dafter wounded. Dwyer in about 2000. Will send him to CHARLIE Co. BN BP displaced in AM. Received 79 replacements.
3. VETTWEISS - To BAKER Co. rear at ERP. Then to CP and guns at LICHENVECH. Assigned new men. Moved to larger cellar. Lt. McKee brought in about 2000. Hit, badly shell shocked, stone deaf. Put him to bed with us. New officer, Lt. Egnatchik, reported. Assigned him to CHARLIE Co. Also sent Dwyer there. Sent Lt. McKeown to NOTORIOUS as Ln. officer. Lt. King hurt, brought him to BN CP to rest.
4. VETTWEISS - ABLE Co. out of lines with l8th INF in reserve at NORLEVICH and PINGSHEIM, detached l8th INF and attached l6th INF effective 1500 today SO right back. CHARLIE Co. reported F. O. party Lt. Evans and four men missing since 1100 yesterday. S/Sgt. Williams and two other men wounded.
5. VETTWEISS - to CHARLIE Co. CP at FESSENICH to ABLE Co. CP and guns at WEILERWISS. To CHARLIE Co. 3rd platoon guns at LOMMERSUM. Watched S/Sgt. Pettit fire a beautiful mission while under heavy mortar and small arms fire. Reamed Lt. Gover left and came back 20 minutes later and reamed him again. To BAKER Co. rear at ERP. Saw Sam Baker, to guns at BLEISHEIM to WICHTERICH to pick CP of tomorrow. To FESSENICH again. Saw Smyer. CHARLIE Co. 1st platoon north of HAUSWEILER, 2nd platoon moved up from MULHEIM. Capt. Brading in from III Corps. They want to send a company to the 78th INF DIV. We will displace BN CP at 1000 tomorrow. McKeown could not find CHARLIE Co. CP at FESSENICH, the dull tool. I was there at 1000 and again at 1600 today.
6. WICHTERICH - I went back to III Corps Col. MEWSHAW, G-3 will leave all companies in present attachments. Talked him out of one to the 78th DIV. To new BN CP. Living in house of Nazi Oberst. Very nice, too. Hall and I have twin bedroom, second floor, southern exposure, good stove. To ABLE Co. CP at WEILERWISS, to gun positions in farms about one mile East. Moved at 1600 to WALDORF less than 7000 yards to the RHINE. Saw DANGER G-3 and met the Cmdg. Genera1 at their CP. Back to BN CP soaked, hungry, cold, and goddamn tired.
7. WICHTERICH - Spent most of morning with Braxton looking for BAKER Co. No luck. Got stopped East of OBERLIBRA by Nazi rood block. Was in front of our Adv. Cavalry and did not know it. In PM to ABLE Co. 2nd platoon guns at WALDORF, to 3rd platoon guns at BRENIG. Met Lt. Col. Henry L. Davisson C. O. of Task Force Davisson of DANGER. We beat gums on an exposed ridge and got chased off by Krauts. BAKER Co. to 18th INF at 1200. 1st DIV objective is now BONN. Hall's birthday. HQ. officers gave him a dinner in our quarter's dining room. The turkey was shot by Ernie Wright. Silver, china and linen all "courtesy" of our absent hosts.
8. WICHTERICH - To 9th INF CP at MIEL. Some elements of 9th ARM DIV and 47th INF REGT. of 9th INF DIV, crossed RHINE over railroad bridge at REMAGEN last night. CHARLIE Co. goes to 60th INF REGT (NUTMEG) today. To BAKER Co. at NETTEKEM. Close Shelling. A big one hit 15 measured paces from me. Lucky. BAKER Co. lost 13 men today. Will move to DUISDORF this afternoon. To CHARLIE Co. assembling at LUFTELBERG. Saw Col. Philips of NUTMEG. CHARLIE Co. will cross RHINE tonight. Corps says we now hold bridgehead 5000 yards deep. ABLE Co. to DRANSDORF 1st INF DIV to VII Corps. III Corps will spearhead drive across RHINE.
9. WICHTERICH - To EUSKIRCHEN and ZULPICH. III Corps moves to RHEINBACH Tried 3 ways to get up. Traffic all jammed to hell on every road. Our REMAGEN bridgehead will be another ANZIO because of poor traffic control only. NUTMEG with CHARLIE Co. over at 0400 after 14 hours on road. Jerries throwing everything at the bridge. To DANGER at METERNICH. Hall made it as far as RHEINBACH but could go no farther. Brading phoned orders from Corps. Will not let us move for 3 or 4 days. Wanna bet!
10. LINZ - To III Corps CP at RHEINBACH, then to BAD NEUENAHR, to REMAGEN and over the steel RR bridge. To 60th INF CP. Saw Col. Van Houten CO, to 2nd BN CP in LINZ. To CHARLIE Co. CP in HOTEL WEINSTOCK. Guns in garden on river and firing 12 1/2 rings, so KRAUTS are only 2500 yards away. (And Corps said the bridgehead was 5000 yards deep day before yesterday. The dull tools). Lots of air activity, mostly single Kraut planes. We shot one down. Bridge under continuous heavy shell fire. Andreoli platoon to 47th INF at OCKENFELS. Other two platoons firing from LINZ. Rather rough night. Very heavy fighting.
11. CARWEILER - Our mortars broke up 3 counter attacks last night and finally drove Krauts from concrete block plant in LINZ at 0400 this morning. Pop Grenier arrived with HE at 0600. We were down to 3 rounds per gun. God knows how he got over! Andreoli platoon to OHLENBERG. Back to bring up rest of BN over pontoon bridge N of REMAGEN. Broke up bad traffic jam S of REMAGEN with help of fine kid officer from tanks. Road under very heavy fire. General Millikin, III Corps CG, stopped me on road about 1200 E of BODENDORF. Ordered me to break up worst traffic jam he ever saw about 2 miles back. It was a lulu. Both bridges knocked out right after I crossed. God what a mess. I broke it up and had all vehicles barrel-assing through in both directions by 1650. To new BN CP at CARWEILER. Corps orders ABLE Co. to 99th INF DIV and BAKER Co. To 78th INF DIV. Both cross tonight. Braxton back. We will set up FWD CP at LINZ tomorrow.
12. CARWEILER - To RHEINBACH, then, BAD NEUNAHR to find III Corps. Told G-3 about position of troops and conditions E of the RHINE. Great praise from Col. Philips C of S. Also, Lt. Col. Edwards Asst. G-3. Morrison and Braxton left for LlNZ about 1300. Robby in. DAUNTLESS CP and ABLE CP at LlNZ. 1st platoon with 393rd INF (DAKOTA) at 702198, 3rd platoon with 395th INF (DANZIG) at ARIENDORF. BAKER Co. closed on their CP at SCHEUREN about 1400 today
13. LINZ - To III Corps CP at BAD NEUENAHR, crossed RHINE over pontoon bridge KRIPP-LlNZ Shell hit jeep ahead of me while stalled in KRIPP. Lucky. Joined Morrison and Braxton in FWD CP. Robby and Snow reported in. Much air activity. Lots of shelling, but plenty of champagne and some brandy.
14. LINZ - To ABLE Co. CP. One of their 2 1/2 T trucks badly smashed by shellfire last night. To Gasaway platoon at ARIENDORF. Firing 10 rings. To BAKER Co. CP at SCHEUREN. Then to gun positions in woods about 4 miles E of RHEINBREITBACH. Got shelled and bombed there. Both platoons firing 5 rings. ABLE Co. CP hit by heavy bomb, at 1600. Got right up there. Capt. Robinson, Lts. Foster and Barstow and 8 EM wounded. Lost one jeep, one 1½ T truck and one 2½ T truck. S/,Sgt. Woodard hurt while trying to get HE shell out of burning building.
15. LlNZ - Lt. Skwarek up from BN rear with crew to repair smashed trucks. To 9th INF CP to bitch about relief for CHARLIE Co. No soap. To BAKER Co. for bath in tin tub and fresh underwear, first since 26, February. Back over RHINE to III Corps CP. Got permission to move BN rear to LINZ. Back over pontoon bridge to LINZ.
16. LINZ - Skwarek brought all motor personnel to LINZ. Capt. Wright will bring up rest of HQ tomorrow and Sunday. To ABLE Co., BAKER Co., and CHARLIE Co. CP and guns.
17. LINZ - The steel bridge over the RHINE at REMAGEN fell into the river today. It was the most valuable structure ever owned by the U. S. Army. The bridgehead is secure now, but the collapse of THE BRIDGE gave us "early settlers" a hollow feeling.
18. LINZ - Back over the RHINE to MASTER CP to DUREN, then to EUSKIRCHEN. Col. Cunin got his eagles today, a Bronze Star, and 2 bottles of brandy from me.
19. LINZ - Col. Wannamaker visited ABLE Co. in LINZ. Some air activity.
20. LINZ - To BAKER Co. CP at SCHEUREN, to gun positions at 720272 on the AUTOBAHN. Capt. Baker will go on leave to PARIS tomorrow. Braxton takes over BAKER Co. Snow remains as Ex. 0. Robby will go with Baker. Took a bit of persuasion to get these guys to go on leave, but both are dead tired and needed it badly. I got 9th INF DIV to relieve one platoon, CHARLIE Co. The 3rd platoon returned to wash, rest and refit. To ABLE Co. Rovekamp at 756168, Gasaway at HAMMERSTEIN. Sgt. Ivy, BAKER Co., hit 8 March at NETTEKEM, died 9 March.
21. LINZ - Braxton took command BAKER Co. Barstow to ABLE Co. III Corps kicked us out of hotel. Will move to cement block works tomorrow. Lt. Col. Williams and 4 officers of 94th BN in for 3 day visit.
22. LINZ - Moved BN CP to cement block works. I took Col. Williams up to CHARLIE and BAKER Co. guns at STRODT. Fired on RAHMS and other towns. Observed fire of CHARLIE Co. 2nd platoon from l200 - l600. Good show. Got some shelling, too. Returned to BN CP with my "guest". The 93rd, 94th, 95th, 96th, and 97th BNs are all at Twenty Grand. Officers with Col. Williams are Capt. Hickey, Lts. Borden, Snell, and McNally.
23. LINZ - To CHARLIE and ABLE Co. To 2nd platoon ABLE Co. at RIEFORT, Lt. Jim Bartels. I watched advance of infantry across WEID River. To 2nd platoon CHARLIE Co. at STRODT. Did some more observing of good shooting. LINZ received a few shells today after a lapse of 48 hours, and more came in tonight. Col. Williams left for 86th BN. No platoon displacements up to l700.
24. LINZ - To WALDBREITBACH and ROSSBAGH across the WEID River. BAKER Co. to 39th INF at WINDHAGEN. Our Third and Ninth Armies and the Second British Army now across the RHINE. Capt. Shillstone, Lts. Mcnary, Boyd, end Jenkins, all of the 94th BN are for a visit. V bomb hit near BN CP at 1330. No casualties. We attack again tomorrow.
25. LINZ - To BAKER Co. at GUNDERSCHIED. Lots of firing last night and today. Will displace to DINKELBACH this PM. To CHARLIE Co. 3rd platoon at 748249, will displace to 740252 today. 1st platoon at GERHARDSHAHN. CHARLIE Co. rear at ST. KATHARINEN, will displace tomorrow to STRAUSCHIE. ABLE Co CP to ESCHERWEIS at 1430 today. 1st platoon at KURTSCHIED, then to BONEFIELD. 2nd platoon to HOCHSCHIED Col. Williams returned at 1400.
26. LINZ - We broke through this morning The 7th ARMORED DIV is on the loose. To ABLE Co. CP, to 2nd platoon, ABLE Co at UBACHUBERDORF. 1st platoon with DAKOTA Cannon Co. on the run. Played cavalry with Gasaway over the AUTOBAHN to GlERSCHOFEN. We took the town To DIERDORF where "Gas" and I greeted the infantry when they arrived. Back through GIERSCHOFEN to capture 20 Krauts who were there when we first went through. Back to BN CP at 1530. Capt. Shillstone and others of 94th back from A and B. Loud praise for the 90th. Received 41 replacements S/Sgt. Williams back. BAKER Co. at REEG. CHARLIE Co. on wheels.
27. JUNGFERNHOF - BN CP displaced at 0800 to 788232. I went on to ABLE Co. CP at URBACH-OBERDORF, to 2nd platoon at BRUCKACHDOPF and 1st platoon at KLEINE-MAISCHED. Both "on carts", ready for fast move. Our armor going like hell. LIMBURG TAKEN. Back to BN CP at 1530. This is a nice little town. Not beat up. No troops in sight but us. Hall to HINTERMUHLEN to set up CP there tomorrow.
28. HINTERMUHLEN - BN CP displaced to here. Distance 31 miles. I arrived 0810. To BELLIGAN, CP NUDGE with Braxton. They will move with CT at 1230 about 30 miles. Back to BN CP. HQ men captured 1 officer and 7 EM here in village. To CENTURY CP at SELTERS. Can move CP when and where I please without clearing through Corps. Have been doing just that anyway. Capts. Robinson and Baker returned from Paris. Col. Williams with 4 more officers arrived from the 94th. They are getting to be a goddamn nuisance. Ernie Wright is father of boy born 10 March.
29. ULM - BN CP displaced here in AM - 24 miles, a total of 73 miles in 24 hours. I arrive at new CP at 0815. With hall and Robby to KROTDORF. Lt. Jim Bartels there. ABLE Co. CP will move there this PM. To 9th INF DlV CP at KIRCHVERS. CHARLIE Co. platoons at OBERWALGERN, rear at LOHRA. BAKER Co. at KATZENFORT. 9th INF DIV CP will not move tonight. III Corps at ERDA. We will move to FELLINGSHAUSEN. Returned to BN CP. 95 miles in the jeep today. Lots of liberated prisoners. My jeep hit a small boy in WETZLAR today.
30. FELLINGSHAUSEN - Move BN CP in AM 18 miles. ABLE Co. CP at HAUCHENHEIM, 1st platoon DOLAR, 2nd at LAUNSBACH. BAKER Co. at 652332. CHARLIE Co. at LOHRA, 3rd platoon at ODENHAUSEN. To III Corps HQ at ERDA. Captured 4 prisoners on the way. Returned to BN CP. We are living in schoolmaster's quarters in a school. Living room, dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, and BATH with HOT water. Had a bath, then another. Fresh underwear, too.
31. FELLINGSHAUSEN - III Corps ordered all companies under BN control effective 0800 today. We received order at 1100. Will remain in place today, probably move tomorrow. Men cleaning up and getting a bit of rest. Hot food!
1. FELLINGSHAUSEN - III Corps orders to assemble BN at SCHONSTADT, leaving present areas at 1700 tomorrow. HQ Co. men captured three Kraut officers. Hall left for new area at 1000.
2. SCHOENSTADT - Moved BN CP and ABLE Co. to SCHOENSTADT, BAKER Co. to UNTEROSPHE, CHARLIE Co. to REDDEHAUSEN. We will have a defensive sector here. Advanced clocks one hour. BN HQ and all companies closed at 1900. BN CP moved 120 miles in 6 days.
3. SCHOENSTADT - To CENTURY CP at 1100 to meet Col. Cunin and Col. Gearhart, the new FIRST ARMY Cml. Officer. They arrived at 1345. Back to BN CP. Brading phoned at 1630. Corps has new mission. I went heck to Corps and saw the G-3, Col. Mewshaw. ABLE Co. and BAKER Co. to 99th INF DIV. CHARLIE Co. to 9th INF DIV. Sent Dwyer to 99th, and McKeown to the 9th. Alerted companies. Mission of Corps to push NW to clean out pocket S of RUHR. In morning on recon to SCHWARTZENBORN. No troops there. To BRACH, CP - RED BN of DAKOTA. To ABLE Co. and CHARLIE Co. CP's after supper. Saw Baker at BN CP. DAKOTA CP at ELSDORF, DANZIG at ROSENTHAL, DAUNTLESS at ROTA. ABLE and BAKER Co's. Will move out at 0800 tomorrow.
4. SCHOENSTADT - CHARLIE Co. moved to 39th INF (NUDGE) at 0200 on orders 9th INF DlV, received at 2330 yesterday. BAKER Co. to DANZIG (394th INF) at DIEDANSHAUSEN at 1100, ABLE Co. to DAKOTA (393rd INF) at SCHWARTZENHOW at 1200. I went on up to DAKOTA CP in the AM. Had lunch with C.0. Col. Woolnough. Good guy. This attack looks tough. Mission - clean out all Krauts to the RUHR. Will move BN CP to HESBORN tomorrow. Got my tommy gun fixed. Cold - sleet - rain. Hall got himself sniped at near WINTERBERG at CHARLIE Co. guns.
5. HESBORN - Displaced CP in AM - 31 miles to NOTORIOUS BP at FRANKENBERG, to DAUNTLESS CP at SCHWARTZENHOW, to ABLE Co 1st platoon at BERGHAUSEN. ABLE Co. CP at BERLEBERG, BAKER Co. in WEMLIG-HAUSEN, CHARLIE Co. CP in WINTERBERG. Corps at FRANKENBERG. Have fair quarters here. Attack making good progress in 99th DIV. zone, fair in 9th DIV. Not many prisoners.
6. HESBORN - BAKER Co. CP and rear at WEMLIGHAUSEN, guns at LATROP, will displace to FLECKENBERG tonight or tomorrow. Have taken 54 prisoners to date. ABLE Co. CP at BERLEBERG, will displace to WINGSHAUSEN today. I went to CHARLIE Co. CP at WINTERBERG and guns at GRONEBECK, displaced FWD. Went on to SILBACK, could not find Smyer. Back to BN CP. HQ picked up 2 prisoners in screening all males in village.
7. HESBORN - ABLE Co. at MUSSE, BAKER Co. at FLECKENBERG. DAUNTLESS at WINGSHAUSEN. BAKER Co. has not fired 100 rounds since attached to 99th INF DIV. CHARLIE Co. at SIEDLINGHAUSEN. They have fired over 1200 rounds since attachment to 9th INF DIV. Smyer a Captain since 1 April. Braxton and I went to CHARLIE Co. guns, saw Andreoli fire 20 rounds of HE and 20 rounds of WP into draw at 1400 yards W of town this AM. Result - 104 prisoners, 60 dead Krauts, counterattack smashed. Gen. Craig, CG 9th INF DIV, visited guns and fired a round. Braxton and I captured 4 young, healthy Krauts in a camp near WINTERBERG. NOTORIOUS CP to NIEDERSFELD yesterday.
8. HESBORN - To Corps CP to request shift of BAKER Co. from 99th INF DIV to 9th INF DIV where they are needed. Found that 5th INF DIV is now in Corps. I recommended that BAKER Co. be attached to 5th INF DIV. Lt. Col. Edwards, Ass't. G-3 agreed. At 1700 Dwyer phoned that Baker had received orders from DANZIG to go to 5th INF DIV. Will assemble at OLDSBERG. BAKER Co. was in FLECKENBERG when orders received at 1630. ABLE Co. in MUESSE. CHARLIE Co. at SIEDLINGHAUSEN, 1st platoon at ELPE, 3rd at ALTENFELD. Went back to raid German Army Camp again with Hall and Ernie. No Krauts, except 12 women and 16 small children. Hall and I broke dishes. What fun!
9. HESBORN - To NUTTLAR CP 10th INF - 5th INF DIV. Met Division CG, Ass't. Div CG, and Divarty CG. Much brass. To MESCHEDE, BAKER Co. CP and guns. Sniping in town, still cleaning up. Saw C.O. WHITE BN 10th INF, Lt. Col. Walker. To SIEDLINGHAUSEN, CHARLIE Co. CP. 1st platoon at RAMSBECH, 3rd platoon at WESTERNBODEFIELD. 9th INF DIV will be pinched out tonight. ABLE Co. CP and 1st platoon at SCHWARTMECKE. 2nd platoon displaced from OBERHUNDEN (305765) to vicinity of LENNE (304818).
10. HESBORN - To SAALHAUSEN via BERLEBERG - MUESSE - WINGESHAUSEN. Met Robby. DAUNTLESS to SAALHAUSEN this PM. ABLE Co CP at LANGENE, with 1st and 2nd platoons in assembly area near LENNE, 3rd platoon at STAPPEL (2781). Returned to BN CP, then back to Corps. Col. Wannamaker out. Saw Major Sharp. Advised him to attach CHARLIE Co. to 5th INF DIV on relief of 9th INF DIV. CHARLIE Co. CP and rear at SIEDLINGHAUSEN, 1st platoon RAMSBECK, 3rd platoon FRIELINGHAUSEN (4397). BAKER Co. CP and guns at WALLEN, rear at VELMEDE.
11. NIEDERSORPE - Displaced CP at 0800 - 25 miles. Quartered in local inn. Went to 9th DIV CP at NIEDERSFELD, saw Col. Phail CHARLIE Co. to remain with 9th INF DIV until they are relieved tomorrow. To 5th INF DIV CP at BIGGE. Moved up to MESCHEDE. Saw C.G. there, also Lt. Col. Dickens an ass't. - ass't G-3 and a pompous young prick. To WALLEN and BERGE, but no sign of BAKER Co. To 2nd INF CP at KALLE. Sew Capt. Flinn, S-3. Will move CP to ALTENHELLESFELD when it is cleared. Found BAKER Co. in WALLEN. Returned via RAMSBECK – WESTERNBODEFELD. CHARLIE Co. at SIEDLINGHAUSEN, to WINTERBERG, back to BN CP. ABLE Co. at ELSPE. I went 130 miles today
12. NIEDERSORPE - To Corps for most of day. ABLE Co. at ELSPE. BAKER Co. CP at KALLE, 1st platoon RUMBECK, 2nd WESTENFELD. CHARLIE Co. at SIEDLINGHAUSEN, 1st platoon RAMSBECK, 3rd REMBLINGHAUSEN.
13. NIEDERSORPE - To CENTURY FWD on orders to see Corps Commander. He was gone. To BAKER Co. rear at WALLEN. Talked to Baker about Snow. Will transfer him. BAKER Co. to ARNSBERG. CHARLIE Co. to 2nd INF at ALTENHELLESFELD. ABLE Co. remains at FRETTER. DAUNTLESS CP to ALLENDORF. McKeown relieved Dwyer as DAUNTLESS Ln. Off. I tried to move BN CP to ESLOHE, but 7th ARM DIV there so we went back to NIEDERSORPE. This afternoon the Krauts shelled hell out of ESLOHE. Hall and I went on recon after supper. Found SP gun intact. Shot up Kraut vehicles, burned one.
14. NIEDERSORPE - What a day. Saw Gen. Van Fleet. Very pleasant. Great praise for the 90th. "Splendid troops". Took Brig. Gen. Roane, Col's. Power, Scott, and Gearheart on tour of the "front". Said they wanted to see mortars in action. Told them the war was over here. Found Eason's platoon at BACHUR "on wheels". Then to SORPE STAUBECKEN DAM (mine holes), to AMEKE for dinner with Gen. Lauer and staff at DAUNTLESS CP. Steak for the brass, cold K rations for my drivers. This is the dumbest bunch of real bastards in the Army. CHARLIE Co. at RETINGEN, ABLE Co. at FRETTER. BN has not fired a round in 48 hours. Thousands of prisoners everywhere.
15. NIEDERSORPE - To AMEKE. DAUNTLESS displaced to DIELINGHOFFEN. I got there 2 hours before their adv. party. Very heavy shelling, but not so close. To BALVE, ABLE Co. CP and one platoon at WESTIG, one at IHMERT. BAKER Co. at ARNSBERG. CHARLIE Co. at MENDEN. To Corps at 1800. Back to BN. Col. Wannamaker phoned at 2000 for me to come to Corps CP. BN will assemble vicinity of BRILON tomorrow. Companies to BN control at 2400 tonight. Capt. Robinson to BN CP. Lt. Dafter returned last night. Brading phoned at 0100. BN will assemble at RAMSBECK instead of BRILON. No route until morning.
16. RAMSBECK - No word on time or route, so I went to Corps CP at 0900. Orders changed. ABLE Co. will not be pulled out. Route was "Any one you want, keep off main roads if possible, leave when ready". That's the kind of orders I like. HQ cleared 1100, BAKER Co. and CHARLIE Co. at 1430. All closed before dark. HQ Co. and CP at RAMSBECK, CHARLIE Co. at BERLAR, BAKER Co. at HERINGHAUSEN, ABLE Co. will be at OSTWIG.
17. RAMSBECK - To CHARLIE Co., then to BAKER Co., then to ABLE Co., Robby closed at OSTWIG at 1030, less 1st platoon closed at 1430. To WINTERBERG. With Hall to spot along creek near BRUNSKAPPEL. We got 18 trout with grenades. Hibbard helped back to BN. Zickfeld made FF potatoes. I dipped trout in egg and K ration cracker crumbs. Whole staff in to supper. Boy, were they good fish. Bath and clean shirt, first since February. Clean pants, too.
18. RAMSBECK - and on road. Brading in at 0600. BN will go to Third Army with III Corps. What did we do to deserve this punishment? No word of time of movement nor any details then. I sent Brading back for more data and alerted all Companies. God, but I feel rotten. Have fever. Got march details about 1300. Made up order. Will clear at 2100 - OCHSENFURT- LAAPSHE - WETZLAR - FRANKFURT - DARMSTADT - ASCHAFFENBURG - WURZBURG to destination. March order - CHARLIE Co. - BAKER Co. - ABLE Co. - HQ Co. I left at 2100 in rear of CHARLIE Co. Hell of a night to stay awake in a jeep.
19. FRANKENFELD - Dawn came at FRANKFURT-ON-MAIN. Badly smashed, a ghost town. Awful delay at bridges over MAIN RIVER, 4 hours at MARKTHEIDENFELD and 2 hours at WURZBURG. Dwyer met us there giving new CP location. Closed at 1945 - distance 270 miles; time 22 hours 45 minutes. Went right to III Corps CP and reported in to Col. Wannamaker at 2000, returned to BN CP at 2115, 24 hours in a jeep, my mileage 330. Feel very rotten. HQ Co. last serial closed at 2245, all vehicles in BN in except one ABLE Co. jeep wrecked. That is wonderful.
20. FRANKENFELD - To Corps BP at NEUSTADT. ABLE Co. at LANGENFELD, BAKER Co. at BAUDENBACH, CHARLIE Co. at HAMBUHL. Maint. work on vehicles all day. Hall and I on recon to North through woods. HQ men caught Kraut soldier who spoke excellent English. Quarters here are filthy. Lots of eggs. Slept like a rock last night. Feel better.
21. FRANKENFELD - To Corps CP. BN, less ABLE Co., attached to DAUNTLESS. Able Co. to 86th INF DIV (TANGO) effective 1800 today. To TANGO CP at ANSBACH with Capt. Robinson. Sent McKeown there as Ln. Off. ABLE Co. to assembly vicinity of ANSBACH at 0800 tomorrow. To DAUNTLESS CP at LANGENZEHN. Saw Sen. Lauer and Major Bishop, Ass't. G-3. Sent BRAXTON to DAUNTLESS as Ln. Off. BAKER Co. to DANZIG, CHARLIE Co. to DANUBE, ABLE Co. to DAKOTA on relief from TANGO. Stopped at Corps CP on return to BN. 2 men, reported missing today by BAKER Co., were picked up by Corps MPs. Charged with rape and other crimes. This town stinks.
22. UNTER REICHBENBACH - To Corps CP. ABLE Co. cleared IP at 0800, BAKER Co. at 0730. Braxton in from 99th INF CP. HQ Co. and CHARLIE Co. to clear IP at 1500 for assembly area near SCHAWBACH. I left at 1415, arrived DAUNTLESS CP at SCHWABACH at 1730. Saw Braxton and Ass't. G-3. Met CHARLIE Co. and HQ here on outskirts of SCHWABACH. Put HQ into billets here. Sent CHARLIE Co. along to DANUBE near ROTH. Slight peel to Braxton. Good quarters. Cold - rain - sleet. Skwarek used "Plan X" on FRANKENFELD - the FILTHY upon departure.
23. UNTER REICHBENBACH - To 99th INF DIV CP. No moves today. Back to BN. A Polish slave laborer reported 50 SS bastards holed up in woods S of BN CP. Organized HQ men and beat through woods for 2 hours. Saw only one. Pvt. Freidman killed him, he would not halt. To ANSBACH, a beautiful city. Saw Robby. He is relieved tomorrow by 94th BN, thank God. TANGO is lousy. Tried to make one platoon stand reveille when in position ready to fire. Brading in from Corps. Had a wonderful bath. This place has electric lights! ABLE Co. to ANSBACH, BAKER Co. to LEERSTETTEN. CHARLIE Co. near PFAFFENHOFEN.
24. UNTER REICHBENBACH - ABLE Co. to WEISENBURG. BAKER Co. and CHARLIE Co. went forward with the 394th and 395th INF, still on wheels. DAUNTLESS CP at HILSPOLTSTEIN at 1700. ABLE Co. to 99th INF tomorrow, I hope.
25. HAUSEN - Displaced CP FWD at 0800 to ECKERSMUHLEN, stayed on wheels moved up to GREDING, and finally closed on HAUSEN at 1700. BAKER Co. at RAITENBUCH this AM and moving up. ABLE Co., released ATT 86th INF DIV at 1220 near EICHSTADT will move to DAKOTA tonight. CHARLIE Co. moved to ROCKENHOFEN last night. ABLE Co., last platoon relieved at 1730, closed at DAKOTA T645630 at 2115. BN CP in large farm buildings along road. I made local Krauts remove large roadblock. Hall pretty sick. McKeown relieves Braxton at DAUNTLESS.
26. SOLLERN - To ABLE Co. CP in woods T645630, to CP DAUNTLESS at RUDERTSHOFEN. Saw Col. Woolnough and S-3 Major Belt. DAKOTA moving to assembly areas BITZ, then to HEXANAGGER. Does not know when attack across DANUBE River will go. To DAUNTLESS CP, no knowledge there. Went FWD with Hall and small party to establish FWD CP at SOLLERN at 2000. To DAUNTLESS CP at 2200. No News. Back again at 2400 with Braxton. At 0030 Col. Warren, C of S, said, "Attack will not go tonight, probably tomorrow night". Back to SOLLERN to sleep in priest's bed with real linen sheets. McKeown woke me at 0145 with message, "Attack will go at 1200 tomorrow."
27. ARRESTING - McKeown woke me at 0500, "Attack goes at 1000". How these 99th DIV bastards do change their alleged minds! Braxton and I got to DAKOTA at HEXANAGGER at 0615. We have smoke mission to screen DANUBE River crossing from H-10 to H-15, H hour 1000. Robby there, assigned him his part of mission. Col. Woolnough said, "Co. B is in position, ready to fire". We went to find Capt. Baker, who is attached to 394th INF. Col. Jeeter, CO, did not have slightest idea where BAKER Co. was. Finally found them in woods near KELHEIM, Baker had gone to DAKOTA CP. His ammo was left near DlEFURT on Col. Jeeter's orders. Not ready to fire. We got ammo and BAKER Co. in position to fire at 0950. At 0955 received message from CO assault BN (DAKOTA WHITE) not to fire. At 0945 I was on riverbank, and nearest INF was a mile from river. Assault boats not yet up. ABLE Co. held back by DAKOTA EX O orders, in position at 1115, leading battalion started across at 1400. Col. Warren, CofS 99th DIV, reamed me at DAKOTA CP for not firing my mission at 0950, and he did not even know that his troops had not started across while he was reaming me. Col. Woolnough knew, but he kept quiet to save his own hide. No opposition at all to crossing, but lead BN got hell knocked out of them in EINING on E bank. They pulled out, and ABLE Co., in position at ARRESTING, blew ElNING right out of existence. It was beautiful. The town burned like hell all night. Stayed with Robby.
28. ARRESTING - Stayed here all day awaiting orders to cross the DANUBE. CHARLIE Co. at MARCHING and LOBSING. Will cross with 394th INF. Finally left at 1900 - terrible traffic jam. 1st vehicle ABLE Co. on pontoon bridge at 0115 last vehicle BAKER Co. over at 0642. A wicked cold night.
29. PFEFFENHAUSEN - Assembled ABLE and BAKER Co's. at EINING and fed hot meal. I went forward alone at 0130, found DAKOTA at ABENSBURG. No orders, to EINING and brought up ABLE and BAKER Co's. ABLE Co. to WHITE BN at KIRCHDORF, BAKER Co. to RED BN at ARNHOFFEN. Braxton stayed with BAKER. I went with ABLE to TONBACH, to point NW PFEFFENHAUSEN to WEIHMUCH. Hibbard and I holed up here in good quarters. Lt. Fischer found me at 2000. Will establish BN CP here. I go FWD with ABLE Co.
30. ALTDORF - To DAKOTA at NEUHAUSEN for preliminary attack order for ISAR RIVER crossing at LANDSHUT. Brought up ABLE Co. into positions at ALTDORF I opened up church steeple for fine OP. With Robby and Gasaway on recon down through RR yards to river. Got shelled pretty hard. Almost got us, thought Robby was a goner. Got scratches right hand from a close one, about 105 mm. To DAKOTA at EUGENBACH for final attack order. ABLE and BAKER Co's. fire from 0150 to 0230. With Baker and Braxton to MUNCHERAUA on recon for gun positions. Moved ABLE Co. up at dusk to positions near RR at LANDSHUT. Established CP and OP there. No sleep except 1/2 hour nap. Hall came up for the show. ABLE and BAKER Co's. under BN control at 1400.
1. GIESENHAUSEN - ABLE Co. fire called off by DAKOTA at 0130. BAKER Co. fired on schedule. I watched it. It was beautiful. To DAKOTA CP after dawn for orders. ABLE Co goes to TASK FORCE CUMMINGS to secure bridge over the INN RIVER. I requested permission to go. Lt. Col. Cummings said "OK ", but Col. Woolnough said "No". BAKER Co. over bridge at 1300. ABLE Co to TF CUMMINGS at 1700. To DAKOTA CP at LANDSHUT, then on to GIESENHAUSEN. Snowed all day. Am very tired and very cold Hibbard and I holed up in house on square. I cooked a fine hot dinner for a lot of GI's in house. Food from our SAVE box.
2. SALKSDORF - Found Nestlen at DAKOTA CP, BAKER Co. at BERGHAM. McKeown found me at BERGHAM - "Report to Gen. Lauer at once". I did and got reamed but good. Military courtesy, discipline, road discipline, uniforms - the works. From the CO of this stinking F.U. Division, it did not set so well with me. While there, Col. Warren, CofS, came in with Corps orders- "Stop all units in place". Saw Col. Woolnough. I assembled, less CHARLIE Co., in vicinity of SALKSDORF. ABLE Co. closed at 1830, BAKER Co. at 2030. Lt. Col. Herbst, G-3 Dauntless, phoned at 1930. CHARLIE Co. will be released at 2400 tonight. Entire BN under BN control and attached 99th INF DIV.
3. SALKSDORF - CHARLIE Co. closed at GUNZKOFEN at 0945. BAKER Co. at HOHENEGGIKOFEN, ABLE Co. at FINNBACH. Brading in from Corps, McKeown from Division, no news on our next mission. Loafed end cleaned up. Took care of a hell of a lot of paper work. All company commanders in for orders. Good to have my gang together again.
4. SALKSDORF - To DAUNTLESS CP. No news. None from Brading, either. Visited all companies, Co. CO's meeting. Motors inspection tomorrow. DIV CP phoned 1500. All unit CO's at CP 1600 tomorrow.
5. SALKSDORF - It was clear for a few minutes when I got up at 0600 and I could see the snow covered ALPS to the south. To DAUNTLESS CP, then to III Corps at DORFEN. Lt. Col. Edwards, G-3, said "No more war for your battalion in this theater". We go with Corps to NURNBERG area as security troops. Raced back to BN. Assembled and spoke to each company in turn. Men received the news very quietly and seriously. They knew the war was over for them for a while, but that our guys were still dying out in the PACIFIC. Funny feeling about the end of this war. It just sort of petered out, not a bit like 1918.
6. SALKSDORF - With Hall to MUNICH, 50 miles. Met up with war correspondents, Joel Sayer of the NEW YORKER, Miss Sigrid Schultz of the CHICACO TRIBUNE, Eddie Folliard of the WASHINGTON POST, and a couple of others. Drove all over the city. Saw beer garden where it all started, the "BROWN HOUSE"` the Cardinal's home, art museums. MUNICH is KAPUT. Good AAF job. A dead city. Must have been very beautiful.
7. SALKSDORF - To DAUNTLESS CP. Saw Top Secret map of occupation areas for III Corps troops. To LANDSHUT to report to CO 14th Cavalry Group (CEYLON) to whom we are to be attached. Back to BN. All Co. CO's in at 1130. Radio announced all Germans would surrender, terms signed today, effective 0001 9 May. VE Day is tomorrow. Hall and I shared a tiny spot of whiskey. Was called at 2400 by Corps. Orders to move to NURNBERG at 1000 tomorrow. Got out orders to companies.
8. BUCKENBUHL - Hall brought up BN. I went on ahead to LANDSHUT to report to CEYLON. Left there at 0800. Cross ISAR at NEUSTADT, down DANUBE to INGOLSTADT, cross DANUBE there, and over AUTOBAHN to NURNBERG, arr. 1230. Found quarters entire BN in German Army Camp here. BN closed at 1700, every vehicle in. I led them in and reported to Col. Smith, CO CEYLON. He was amazed and pleased. 130 miles. Excellent quarters. Had hot bath. Hall and I share the Kraut CO's rooms.
9. NURNBERG - To CEYLON CP with Co. CO's to report to Col. Smith at 0800. Then to CO 2nd BN 22nd INF, 4th INF DIV, Lt. Col. Goforth. We relieved them at 1500 taking over all their guard posts and their quarters. I cleared quarters with Col. Fuller AMG and town Major. CHARLIE Co. stays at German Camp. BN closed on new CP at 1900. An officer from an Eng. Group came in to argue that these quarters were theirs. He lost. But these quarters are too luxurious to last.
10. NURNBERG - New sector overlay effective 1200 tomorrow. The 162nd Smoke Generator Co. (NEGRO) attached BN. Capt. Turner, Negro officer, reported company closed at 1200. Assigned them area N part of new zone. Hall and I on recon to FURTH. Found quarters for l62nd S.G. Co. Will stay with CHARLIE Co. tonight and move out to FURTH tomorrow.
11. NURNBERG - Col. Smith inspected guard posts. We removed some. 162nd S.G. Co. closed FURTH this AM. I unpacked all my gear, first time since February. Now I guess we will move.
12. NURNBERG - To CEYLON CP. Co. CO s meeting at BN CP at 0900. Back in BRAGG habits again. To 162nd S.G. CP (HEAP) at FURTH. Capt. Turner has a fine outfit. He is a smart officer. To 95th BN CP. Back to BN. Hall and I took long walk through the old city. Huge Cathedral climbed up to top of steeple, 230 steps. Saw "ADOLF HITLER PLATZ". It sure is flattened.
13. NURNBERG - To III Corps CP in woods near ERLANGEN. BN will move soon, PACIFIC bound. Requested and got 7 days leave to UK. Corps CG will have me flown there and back. To BN CP, then to fire in woods in ABLE Co. sector. LUFTWAFFE incendiary experimental station. Bombs and rockets nasty fire. Got it out. Reported to CEYLON. Corps phoned that I am to fly to UK 19 May at 1400. BN on 30 day alert.
14. NURNBERG - To Corps CP. Saw Col. Wannamaker. The G-1 and G-4, about 30 day alert No.1 and E program. Inspections start at once. TE 21, T/O & E and 1.9. Moved CP to new offices, same building.
15. NURNBERG - To Corps, to FURTH, 162 S.G. Co. New sector. Saw Lt. Pickett. To airport R-20 near HERZENAURCH and back to BN. With Hall after chow to see SPORTZ PLATZ. It is tremendous.
16. NURNBERG - Col. Wannamaker and Major Ludtke here for lunch. They pinned Bronze Star on me later. To FURTH, Capt. Turner in to BN. At retreat I decorated S/Sgt. Grenier with Bronze Star. He should have had a DSC. Washco returned, thank goodness.
17. NURNBERG - THE BLACK DAY! About 1350 Hall told me that CHARLIE Co had phoned for help and medics. Exploded ammo and fire. We got there at 1410. Both ABLE and BAKER Co.'s. were there in force. Big fire. We removed shell until jeeps began to explode. Many fires started by exploding WP shell. Got it under control at 1700. Loss- 23 jeeps and trailers, 1 weapons carrier, 12 mortars, complete Third Army 1.9. Lt. Col. Nelson arrived and talked to Hall. I appointed Hall the investigating officer at 1445. We had no casualties. We found the bodies of two German youths in the ammo building near crater I estimate over 700 rounds of 4.2 shell blew up, and lots of SA and grenades, bazooka shell, etc. Many shells did not explode
18. NURNBERG - To CHARLIE Co. Report on casualties of Q.M. BN yesterday, 3 EM evacuated, 11 minor cuts. Major "Orsen Wells", the III Corps Himmler, at CHARLIE Co. all day. To Corps CP and then to FURTH. I had ceremony there. Pinned Silver Star on Capt. Turner, and Bronze Star on S/Sgt. Cross. Read citation for Pvt. Cunningham killed in action 4 May. On return to BN CP, Wright reported that we may go to RHEIMS, turn in all our gear, thence by train to LE HAVRE and on to PACIFIC via the USA. Cancelled my leave to England. Must stand by Smyer.
19. NURNBERG - To all company CP s and to CEYLON, 162 S.G. Co. detached for operations. I was grilled by Orsen Wells at CHARLIE Co., a regular inquisition, that bastardly son-of-a-bitch. All EM of BN will get battle jackets. I bet Wright $10.00 that we would not be on a boat before 19 June. To Corps CP. I told Major Ludtke that we would remain on duty until Col. Smith got more troops, or we received movement orders. Corps CofS and Col. Smith both very grateful. We received our trunk lockers from RHEIMS.
20. NURNBERG - To all company CP's. Dinner and a good hot bath at ABLE Co. To CEYLON and then to Corps CP. The 14th Cavalry group will be relieved by the Corps Artillery. I reported to Col. Wattlington. We are attached to the 211th FA GP effective upon relief of CEYLON. I reported to C.O. Col. Dixon at their CP in LAUF. We are to stay on present job.
21. NURNBERG - To Company, CEYLON, and Corps CP's. Major Ludtke said, "You will go to the PACIFIC through the USA. Do not draw shortage in T/O and E. We will draw battle jackets tomorrow". ["Eisenhower jackets" - pfd.]
22. NURNBERG - Major Ludtke took Smyer to SCHWABACH to see Major Wells, who held Smyer guilty of gross negligence, dereliction of duty, and inefficiency. That low son-of-a-bitch. We are all sick. I wrote to Sgt. Ivy's mother, a tough job to do.
23. NURNBERG - To Corps CP. Saw Col. Wannamaker about Smyer, also my good friend Col. Phillips, Chief of Staff. I won't go to England until that kid is cleared. Must pull all the wires I know to get him off. Wells said to Smyer at SCHWABACH, "Do you think this will prevent your getting the Bronze Star?" That low rotten stinking bastard. (Wells is on the Corps awards board). Found hidden SA ammo factory in ABLE Co. area, millions of rounds, and tons of smokeless powder, not guarded until we found it by accident. Capt. Braxton returned from I&E school in PARIS.
24. NURNBERG - To Corps CP. III Corps will join First Army shortly. That's good. Rough draft report of Orsen Wells report will be sent to Major Ludtke today. To 162 S. G. Co. at prison camp. To CEYLON. They move out at 1500. CONGRESS, 211th FA GP moving in. Nestlen returned with liquor. Short 9 bottles, all "lost", and took 11 days for trip. He got reamed, too.
25. NURNBERG - To CONGRESS, and to Corps CP. Saw the I. G. (Wells) report. He reprimands me and crucifies Smyer. All hope for leave gone now.
26. NURNBERG - Major "Orsen-Himmler" Wells, the III Corps Inspector Gen. came to the CP at 0930 to report that he had found me guilty of negligence. He advised me concerning my rights including the opportunity to make a verbal or written answer "If I cared to". I replied that I know my rights, that I damn well would make an answer, and a written one too, that he would have it at 1700. I then retired to quarters and drafted a sworn statement - a LULU. It should blast the balls right off that GFU. The investigating boards sat at CHARLIE Co. from 0900 on all day.
27. NURNBERG - With Hall to airfield near ROHR. About 1930 Major Ludtke phoned Hall that the I.G. report is in, but that all reference to me is eliminated. I guess my written answer put that S.O.B. right back on his hocks. Now, if I can get Smyer off we will have won a great victory.
28. NURNBERG - To BAKER Co., then to CONGRESS. Saw Col. Dixon, and to Corps CP. My sworn statement created quite a stir among the Corps Staff. Wells was told that if he filed his report against me, he would be court marshaled himself. Col. Phillips put his arm around my shoulder and said, "Don't worry, the General takes care of his best combat commanders". So I rushed off to get a seat on plane for England, Tuesday 5 June.
29. NURNBERG - The Board finished its investigation of the CHARLIE Co. calamity at noon. Recommended that Smyer be let off with punishment under AW 104. That is complete victory! Baker, Robinson, and Smyer receive Bronze Stars. To 162nd S.G. Co., to DP Camp, to AMG HQ, Col. Barnett, and to Corps CP. To USO show at FURTH.
30. NURNBERG - To Corps CP. Col. Phillips said no fine for Smyer, reprimand only as a matter of record. To all companies, and over all company areas. Board report completed.
31. NURNBERG - Worked all day with Capt. Baker, BN investigating officer on CHARLIE Co. report. Received 29 replacements from 99th INF DIV, cold, tired, wet, and damn hungry. They were sent out on 24-hour trip without rations. We fed them big hot meal, then I interviewed each one of them, poor kids. No wonder so many hate their officers. I'll bet Gen. Lauer had his three hot meals today. My Birthday! Hall invited staff and Co. CO's for drinks. All of BAKER Co. came, but there was enough. CHARLIE Co. for a wonderful dinner with all the men.
1. NURNBERG - To Co A for bath. To Corp CP. They moved from woods to German army barracks in ERLANGEN. I will shake up Bn officers. Crafted changes and spoke to King, Massey and Pete Egnatchik. None pleased except Pete who does not give a damn.
2. NURNBERG - Inspected Co B - excellent. Talked to Barstow and Nextlen. With Hall to see and hear Grace Moore and Nino Martino at Sportz Platz. We saw them only.
3. NURNBERG - Decorated Capt Baker, Capt Robinson, Capt Smyer and Lt Quarles of 162nd S.Q. Co with bronze stars all at company formations. Hall left at 0600 for Paris. To Corps CP.
4. NURNBERG - To Corps CP to 95th Bn in field S.W. NURNBERG. Living in tents. Reveille, retreat parade, close order drill every day. Well, maybe my kids are spoiled but they earned it. To Congress. Saw Col Vaughan. New areas and orders tomorrow.
5. NURNBERG - Presented bronze stars to S/Sgts LaValle and Zirkle of Co A, and to S/Sgt Parks, Sgts Jones, Pettit, T/5 Arnold and Pvt Williams of Co C.
6. NURNBERG - To Corps CP. They expect to leave here 23 June, sail 28 June. We go to XII Corps when III Corps pulls out. To gala opening of Bell Movie Theatre. Showed "Music for Millions." Braxton got his majority dated 1 June. I pinned on the leaves. Congress told Mayronne that Bn is to assemble in one spot. I went to Congress CP. Saw and talked to Col Vaughan out of that idea. We stay here.
7. NURNBERG - To 97th Bn in bivouac in woods near GRAFENWOHR. Major Hays is CO, a stupid young jerk. Saw Dave Snoeberger, Jock Richardson, Macreanor, Nelson, Rife and others. This Bn never got within 50 miles of fighting yet received nine bronze stars. Oh, my God!
8. NURNBERG - To Corps at 1500. My least at last OK. Checked with G1 and at airport - all set. USO troupe in for dinner. At 1730, Col Wannamaker phoned "You will go to port at once, are due there the 12th." I sent Wright to Corps CP. To USO show - cancelled leave for 4th time. I guess I don't live right. Pinned 2nd Lt bars on Bluejacket, a battlefield commission. Wright returned with orders to turn in all T/O&E stuff at points 300 and 500 miles from here.
9. NURNBERG - Decorated 4 EM, Co C, with bronze stars. Repacked loot and gear. Received preliminary movement order at 1400. We leave here between the 12th and 14th. Wright made arrangements to turn in our T/O&E stuff locally, strictly dishonestly too. Hall returned from Paris at 2100.
10. NURNBERG - To Corps CP for movement order. We leave here 0700, Friday, 15 June. Saw Col Philips, Chief of Staff. He approved Board report. All cleared now..
11. NURNBERG - To Corps CP. We go to Xii Corps on 13 June. Completed turn in of all T/O&E property except minimum essential which goes with us. Fast work.
12. NURNBERG - Visited all companies. Checked preparation for movement.
13. NURNBERG - Reported to CP XII Corps at REGENSBURG. 71 miles in cold driving rain. Col Johnson there, told me that we would not go to XII Corps at all but would remain with III Corps until we leave. What a waste of time.
14. NURNBERG - To Corps CP to say "Good-bye." final check of all units. We are all set for the first leg of "The Big Parade."
15. KAISERLAUTERN - Bn cleared IP NURNBURG on time. I went on ahead, leaving at 0500. Bn closed on bivouac area here at 1800 in excellent order. I travelled 226 miles. S/Sgt "Pop" Grenier and Hibbert travelling with me.
16. SOISSONS - I left at 0530, Bn at 0600. I switched off Bn route at LES ISLETTES to VARENNES, MONT BLAINVILLE, APREMONT, CHATEL CHERY and back to VARENNES. Had lunch as guests of Dary family who live in old 28th Div PC there. Rejoined Bn at RHEIMS. Left route at FISMES to CHERY CHARTREUVE, DRAVIGNY, ARCIS Le PONSART, COURVILLE and back to FISMES. Found old 108th FA PC at ARCIS and cave there too. Hall left convoy to visit Lt Jackson at St Quentin. Bn closed into bivouacs west of SOISSONS at 2100. My mileage 316.
17. LUCKY STRIKE - Bn cleared at 0900. Arrived here 1700, distance 168 miles. Bn distance from NURNBURG 522 miles, mine 710 miles. In tent camp near STE VALERY.
18. LUCKY STRIKE - Spent day POMing. [POM: Preparation for Overseas Movement] This place is really FU. Worse than Kilmer. I must make dozens of certifications to things no human could accomplish. Oh well, I'll sign anything to get the battalion home.
19. LUCKY STRIKE - Cols Hankins and Brooks in for visit. New mortar battalions will train in States. Meeting at night of nine mortar Bn COs all here. I submitted list of officers all qualified to hold higher rank in new Bns.
20. LUCKY STRIKE - POMed all day. What a goddamn hole this is.
21. LUCKY STRIKE - Same as yesterday but more so.
22. LUCKY STRIKE - Held "surprise" show down at 0900 - orders at 0830. duffle bags empty, all gear on bunks. Hq Co - Capt Baker, Co A - Capt Wright, Co B - Major Morrison, Co C - Major Braxton. Found over 400 rounds S.A. ammo and one incendiary grenade. Those bastards! Dumped it into latrines. Hall and I went to Le Havre. City is badly smashed. German concrete and steel defenses very impressive. Many ships in the roads but no shipping plan for us.
23. LUCKY STRIKE - Hall, Ernie Wright, Pop Grenier and I went to DIEPPE. We wandered along the coastal road, stopping in all the villages on the way. Beautiful little seaside places all loused up by the fantastic defense works built by the Nazis. It is impossible to believe the extent of these defenses without seeing them. They are cleverly hidden, perfectly sited of massive steel and concrete, millions of mines, wire tank traps and blocks. Had our C ration plus a loaf of French bread in a beautiful churchyard by the sea. We all had a grand day.
24. LUCKY STRIKE - Capt Rober Pease Smith, MC, reported for duty as Bn surgeon. He looks like a right guy. Our advance party, led by Hall, alerted for shipment on SS MONTEREY tomorrow.
25. LUCKY STRIKE - To LE HAVRE with Wright, McKee and Pop Grenier. In the operations office of Hq Port, one officer said "You go on SEA ROBIN on the 27th." Another, "MARINE DEVIL on the 30th." Another, "No sailing date set." What a SNAFU outfit. Returned to camp at 1630 coming back along coast road visiting STE PIERRE and other villages. Millions of mines everywhere. Hall off this AM, lucky stiff. A Major Kitchen phoned post Hq at noon. Wanted to transfer Morrison to COMZ Chemical Section. T-S, too late.
26. LUCKY STRIKE - In camp all day. Post Hq told me at 1700 that we sail on SS WAKEFIELD. Baggage will load tomorrow. Don't know when men will go aboard. Said to be a good ship, used to be SS MANHATTEN.
27. LUCKY STRIKE - Baggage went at 1400. At 1700, received orders to leave here at 0700 tomorrow.
28. SS WAKEFIELD - Left camp at 0735, trucks were late. Arrived LE HAVRE at 0940. The Transportation Corps guide got lost and wandered the convoy all over the city for an hour. I finally took over and got us to the HARD. Detrucked at 1050 in driving rain. Waited on HARD and then loaded on British LST which lightered us to floating dock and SS WAKEFIELD. Bn completed embarking at 1420. God, but those duffel bags got heavy. Bn has guard - 10 officers and 218 EM, police - 7 officers and 138 EM, and traffic - 7 officers and 16 EM for entire voyage. We are first troops aboard, rest load tomorrow. I have tiny stateroom with 5 other officers not yet loaded. Had good dinner and hot shower. Feels grand to be on way home. We may sail tomorrow.
29. SS WAKEFIELD - Good breakfast. Ship loaded troops all day. III Corps staff with General Van fleet came aboard. My room mates are Lt Col Shepard of 95th Bn, Lt Col Dixon of 99th Bn, Lt Col Skinner and Lt Col Roberts, both tankers, and Lt Col MacWilliams of G-2 section SEVENTH ARMY. Later MacWilliams and Roberts moved out. To bed at 2230 hungry as a dog. Only 2 meals per day on this lugger.
30. SS WAKEFIELD - We sailed from LE HAVRE at 0530. I was on deck. Passed THE LIZARD at 1730 and had my last glimpse of ENGLAND about 1800. Clear, beautiful day, calm sea and fair west wind. We are going home.
[This ends the diary of Lt. Col. Edgar Van Hooten Bell, Commanding Officer of the 90th Chemical Mortar Battalion, and one of the most remarkable men I have ever known. On 15 June 1945 the 90th started on the long voyage to the Pacific Theater by way of the USA. Thanks to a couple of Big Bangs, we scratched the second leg of that voyage. The Colonel stayed in the Army and later commanded the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion in Korea, thus serving in World Wars I and II and Korea. When he retired, he held the rank of Brigadier General. In retirement he became one of the leading citizens of Avalon, New Jersey. SOME GUY! pfd]
Return to the home page for chemical mortar battalions.