Kurt, this is just a wonderful grouping. The letters always add so much.
Laury, I loved the story of your guy and the scroll.
Thanks to both of you for posting and it's good to know both your guys survived the war.
You are most welcome. Those men went through things that most of us can't even imagine in our worst nightmares. They were beaten, tortured, starved, and damn near worked to death. For whatever sins they may have committed on this earth, I sure hope they have a nice soft spot in "Ranger Heaven" with an endless supply of good whisky and cigarettes....they certainly earned it!!! That they survived the ordeal they went through and lived as long as they did is a testiment to just how tough they were. I'm sure the remaining years of their lives were haunted by demons and nightmares that most of us will hopefully never know.
I just pulled my guy up on NARA...he was in Stalag 2B at Hammerstein, which was apparantly a work camp. I remember him telling me when he was liberated, he "hitched" a ride on a tank (they wouldn't let him inside of it because he was ate up with lice and other vermon). He rode into Berlin on top of a tank. He stayed in Germany after the war for a period, I'm sure he had enough points to rotate home, but volunteered to stay....heck, he was making too much money to go home. The "black market" was good in 1945...coffee, sugar, gas, etc. He told me the Germans had money to buy stuff then, but there wasn't anything for them to buy. When he was thrown out of Germany (that is another story), he had 83 thousand dollars in a bank account that he had to leave behind. This was 1945 dollars! He had just sold a G.I. truck full of gas and was sitting in a bar and had a drink and had just ordered his second one when the MPs came in the bar and arrested him.
It must have been in Italy, he said he came ashore and there was the nicest looking German helmet you ever saw on the beach. He wanted it for a souvenier really bad. He knew it was booby trapped, but dug around it for at least an hour with his bayonet. He was never able to get it though and had to leave it behind.
He told me when he and the other replacements joined the Rangers in North Africa, the 1st Sergeant had them in formation and cussed them out telling them that none of them were worth a damn (among other things I'm sure). He invited any of them that thought they could take him to step forward. He and his buddy stepped up to the challenge. He grabbed the 1st Sgt from behind and his buddy was going to work him over from the front. The 1st Sgt flipped him through the air and did a roundhouse kick to his buddy's forehead. He went to a Ranger reunion at Fort Benning (this was in the mid to late 1970s). And lo and behold, all three of them were there. They had all thought the other 2 had been killed in action. The 1st Sgt told them both they were the only ones in the Company that were worth a damn because they were they were the only ones that had the guts to step forward. His buddy apparantly still had a scar on his forehead from the Shirt's boot.
He wasn't a model soldier when he wasn't on the line. That was common in those days. He had several courts martial and Article 15 actions. He told me though that he never had a single one when he was in the Rangers. The First Sergeant would just take them out back and work them over...cuts down on paperwork that way. He was reduced in rank several times...where is velcro when you need it? He was (at least) once promoted to sergeant so he could afford to pay his fines.
I remember a lot of his other stories of his exploits. I'm undecided if I will post them here or not.
I hope I didn't steal your thunder here Kurt....your post reminded me of my guy's stuff. I'm sure they probably knew each other. Today's Rangers wouldn't be what they are without what these guys did.
"Rangers Lead the Way"