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WWII POW Photograph group - Stalag IIIB


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My father, Harold L. Reynolds, was with the Iowa National Guard, the 168th "Rainbow" Regiment, aka: The Red Bulls. Next week I will travel from my home in Norman, Oklahoma to Des Moines, Iowa to the 168th Museum in hope of turning up more information on my father. I would like to post some pictures and documents but can't figure out how to do it. Is there anyone out there who can tell me how? Also, are there other individuals who were prisoners or had fathers and grandfathers who were prisoners of Stalag IIIB? Or who had an association with the "Third Iowa" during this time? Please contact me if you are out there.

My dad was in Stalag IIIB too. His squad was captured on the beach head of Salerno, Italy in September '43. His log book is always interesting to look over, and I always find something new. He describes the brutal forced march from there to Luckenwald when the Russians got too close. Lots to tell. He was with the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion, 45th Division. They trained at the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. I've read that over 12,000 men were either killed, captured or MIA during that landing. Seems odd that the invasion of Italy, or Africa for that matter, does not receive the attention that Normandy does. Many people think D-Day was the start of the war!

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Hi, I just found this site and these great posts. My father, John Hoenscheid was a POW at Stalag IIIB. He was in the 34th Division, 168th Infantry in the anti-tank group (not sure what Company.) He was from Davenport, Iowa and was captured during the battle at Kasserine Pass on February 17th. I know that he kept in touch with many former POWs from the camp during the 1960's and 1970's but when we moved to Kentucky in the late 1970's and his visits to the reunions slowed down. I am pretty sure that he told me the story about your father having the problems with his last name being "Nix" I am not sure he was the one who explained that Nix was indeed his surname but I remember the story. Most of my dad's stories were about playing sports in the camps and trying to escape. While he did share some stories, all of them centered on how they dealt with everyday life in camp; trying to survive, eat, and get along with everyone. I know he was trying to shield us from the true horrors of war and being a POW so his stories were always more light-hearted or told a lesson on how important food, family, and freedom really are. He told some great stories about trying to play soccer when all most American's knew how to do was kick the opponent in the shins! I could go on and on...

 

He was very strict about not ever wasting food. When he enter the service he weighed 180 lbs. After 27 months as a POW, he left weighing 125 lbs. I can't image my father at 6'2" ever weighing 125 lbs.

 

If you, or anyone reads this post, and would like to contact me directly my email address is hoenscheid@gmail.com

 

Best,

Jim Hoenscheid

 

 

 

 

My father, Miles Richard Nix, was also with the 34th Division, 168th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battalion, Company I. He was captured at Faid Pass, along with all of the Company B and K with 30 caliber machine guns and Antitank Company when they were positioned on DJebel (Mountain) Ksaira in Tunisia contemplating an enemy attack from the direction of Faid. They got their final rations and water on Staurday night, just before the German attack, on February 14, 1943. The 10th and 21st Divisions of Panzers under Germon Group Commnder of the Panzer Divisions, General Heinz Zeigler, attacked at 6:30 AM during a fierce sand storm. They faced heavy fire from the Germans with little to fight back with. Finally on the 17th they were given permission to withdraw. By this time, however, they were completely surrounded. Shortly after dark, after destroying everything that could not be carried, they started their escape down the mountain and onto the flat.The ground was rough with ravines every where and they had had little food or water for several days.

 

AT 7:30, on the 17th they were discoved by the enemy and quickly surrounded. Not many men escaped that day. Most were killed or captured. Those captured were marched barefooted and thirsty through the hot sands of the dessert until the 18th when trucks came by and they were packed in and taken to Sfax where they were corralled into an open wired-in compound where they were given their first food, sawdust bread, and water that they had had in five days. They scooped out holes in the sand during the night to keep them warn during the cold night. On the 19th they were loaded into livestock cars, 40-60 men per car, and transported by train to Tunis where they were then flown or taken by boat to Capau, Italy. They stayed there for about 2 weeks where, again they had to sleep on the ground and recieved cabbage watter once per day which had the effect of causing diarehia. Then they were sent to Stalag VII A in Moosburg, Bavaria where they were processed and sent out to their permanent camps. They arrived at Stalag IIIB in April 1943. By this time the men were covered in bedbugs, lice, fleas and other vermin. They had only the clothes on their backs and shoes.

 

Daddy was sent to Work Kommando #1 in Trattendorf where they were put to work building a Turbo-electric power plant. The men worked 10 hours a day. Their daily diet consisted of ersatz coffee or tea, reportedly made from oakleaves and coal for breakfast, watery soup made from cabbage or some other vegetable for lunch and one loaf of German black sawdust bread for supper which was often moldy. When they were available the got potatoes which were often spoiled or peas that had worms in them. If they were caught throwing away any of this food their rations would be cut by 1/3. When available they also got a little horse meat. Thier loaf of bread had to be divided between 5 men. When they received Red Cross parcels, they had to be divided between up to four men. They were often not given or had been "searched" by th German guards and much of the contents gone. Once the Germans discoved that the POW's were gathering discarded potato peelins and eating them so they began urinating on the peelings to make them undesirable.

 

Daddy's surname was Nix. "Nix" in German means "NO!". When asked his name, rank and serial number, Daddy said "Nix". The guard became furious and made Daddy carry two pails of sand up and down a hill. After this happening two or three times, the guard raise his rifle to shoot him. Another POW finally made the guard understand that "Nix" was his name, to look at this dog tags, and he was saved.

 

In January 1945, dthey heard the rumble of the Russian guns coming closer to the camp. On February 15th, 1945 the POW's were told they were evacuating the camp. Little preparation was made for the enforced march on the part of the Germans,and the approximately 600 POW's suffered greatly for it. They marched for 4 days in freezing cold and snow. They finally stoped at a barn about 10 kilometers from Stalag III A at Luckenwalde. They stayed in a barn from February 19th until March 15th, nearly starving to death while there. The POW's were givenabout 47 grams of flour soup a day. They couldn't build a fire and had no means of staying warm.

 

As the Russsians advanced, the prisoners were kept moving. The Germans wanted to captured by Americans instead of the Russians if they were to be over run and captured.Finally, they were caught up with. On April 26, 1945, after almost twenty seven months of captivity, they were free.

 

They had marched for fifty-three days with little food, water, or shelter. Thy had nearly been starved and frozen. Their march later became known as "The Black March" because of the hardships and abuse suffered along the way.

 

Later, Daddy wrote to his Mother from the Repatriation Center in France. He said that the food was great and plenty of it. He hoped that his weight would be back on soon. He was getting the best of attention because "he was in Uncle Sam's hands now."

 

Sandra Nix Dean

 

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Great and very rare photos Kurt. Surprised I missed this one.

 

JD

AAF Collector...........
**Always Buying WW2 Aviation Related Items: Especially Operation Tidal Wave items (1st Ploesti Raid) ..... WW2 Fighter Ace Related Items.....Higher End A-2 Flight Jacket Groups....AAF Related Valor Medal Groups**

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