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517th and 501st PIR 101st Airborne paratrooper, father, husband prisoner of war A Wartime Log diary Stalag VIIA

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I recently found this incredible A Wartime Log Diary. This is outside the focus of my collection and I will likely try and find a new home for this at some point but I wanted to document it here first.

 

This diary tells the tale of G 3 O R G E Pu1ign@no, A 27 year old married father of 2 young children living in Philadelphia. He dreamed of becoming a paratrooper and worked in the home defense industry until convincing his wife to let him join in 1943. He wrote 190 full pages of his his wartime experience. He talks of working in the defense industry, his desire to serve and convincing his wife to allow it, extensive information about his training and practice jumps, shenanigans like gambling and amateur boxing matches. This leads up to his trip to Europe and his experience jumping into Southern France "Operation Dragoon" with the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Company B. After this he was transferred to the 501st PIR, where he jumped into Holland with the 101st Airborne as a replacement for Market Garden. He was captured the following morning and eventually found his way to Stalag VIIA. After being captured he endured starvation diets, beatings, forced labor, a failed escape attempt,more gambling, bartering, Allied bombardments etc. The diary abruptly stops at page 190 around the end of Feb. 1945. At this stage there is no room left in the Wartime Log. It is marked "CONT" and whether he finished his captive story I do not know, as it was separated from his Log. I do not know if he survived the camp or what happened after that point.

 

George was an incredibly talented writer and wrote in a descriptive and graphic manner. One unique thing is he wrote his diary entirely from the 3rd person perspective of his alias/alter ego "Johnny Allison". For example ''Johnny did thar, Johnny felt this" instead of using "I". I have no idea why he did this, but it actually enhances the diary, is somewhat like you are reading a historical novel. As most of the log is just text I will only be providing photographs of the images that George illustrated in here. I will provide some brief transcripts as well.


Looking for any USN diaries from the Pacific during WWII.

 

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Operation Dragoon excerpts:

Johnny saw 15 or 20 Germans coming out of the left flank of the woods and he opened up on them with the machine gun. Five or six of them were hit and the rest ran back into the woods. They tried to do this a few times, but Johnny had a perfect field of fire and every time they came out in the open, they lost a few more men. Co. B finally reached the woods and Johnny could hear the cry "Komerad! Komerad!." 10 minutes later co B marched out about 350 German prisoners....
---
When B Co. marched two miles or so they came to another wooded area. This was near the spot where Co. C jumped. Johnny could see hundreds of chutes lying on the gorund, in an open field, near the woods.
Several of the chutes were caught in the trees and the troopers, who jumped the chutes, were still in the harness, only these troopers would never see home again. Some lousy German shot them while they were dangling there helpless.
Several parartroopers were hung by the Germans, by the suspension lines of their own Chutes. The Nazi's were known for thier cruelty and this was a good sample of it. It made Johnny and his buddies hate the Germans
more than ever. The worst sight of all was a young para-trooper, who looked to be 18 years old, hanging from a low tree, with his throat cut from ear to ear. "God", thought Johnny "That boy's poor Mother."
Market Garden excerpts
As he went through the woods, he almost ran into a German coming from the other direction. The German was about 10 yds in front of him and Johnny raised his M-1 and shot the German. He heard a noise to the left of him and he saw another German rushing at him. He was on top of Johnny before he could raise his rifle up + he hit Johnny on the jaw with the butt of his rifle and knocked him down. Johnny's M-1 flew out of hands when he hit the ground. The German had his bayonet on his rigle and he rushed at Johnny to thrust his bayonet through him. Before he reached Johnny, the trooper pulled out his 45 and shot him twice in the stomach. That stopped the German and Johnny
made sure they were both dead before he left. The first German was hit in the chest and he died almost instantly. It was a lucky shot. The other one was quite dead too. Johnny was bleeding from the jaw and knew it was broke by the way it felt.

---

Johnny broke out a window in the castle and started to fire out of the window. He had a perfect field of fire from his position. He took a bead on one of the Germans who was standing out in the open firing a Mauser. Johnny missed on the first shot, but he got the German on the next one. It made him feel good to see the Arrogant Nazi go down. Another German was standing behind a bush and it only took one round to knock him off. He got two more of them in as many shots.
Prisoner of War:
The Sgt. in charge was a typical hot headed Nazi, who "blew his top" ...he clubbed a few of of them with the butt of his rifle when they refused to be pushed. Once when Johnny stopped to talk to a buddy, the Sgt. rushed over and started yelling at him. Johnny couldn't understand him, so he just smiled. That made the German really "blow his top" and he hit Johnny with the butt of his rifle. Johnny tried to duck, but the blow caught him on the shoulder. It didn't hurt him much, but he was so made that he almost "lost his head," + was going to swing at the German. It [was] a good thing
that he didn't take a poke at the German because a few months ago, a guard hit an Englishman and the soldier took a swing at the guard. The guard bayonetted him and shot him. The report that went to Geneva, Switzerland stated that the Englishman assaulted the guard and tried to escape. These Nazi's sure played the game dirty
---
The prisoners traded cigarettes for food. A can of spam was worth 20 cigarettes, canned beef 25, Jelly 10, a lb can of butter 50, powdered milk 35, D-Bar 25, Salmon 15, soluble coffee 40, tea 30, sugar 20, and civilian bread cost from 5 to 25 cigarettes, according to where it was bought.
---
The sirens blew and the raid started. The Americans and the guards were left on train, to "sweat it out".
Once in a while, they could hear the bombs hit and one of the guards said "ack-ack".....Flashes of fire could be
seen through the darkness of the night, a bomb landed so close to the work train that it was shaken up and most of the windows were broken.

Looking for any USN diaries from the Pacific during WWII.

 

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Fabulous!


Please visit my website at http://ww2awartobewon.com/ for information about WWII history, stories, news and militaria :D

Looking for WWII personalized or unit marked helmets, combat clothing, Navy and Army flying gear and souvenir items or just interesting stuff.

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There's so much to like about this between the artwork and the diary - Thanks a lot for showing us!

 

Kyle


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That is a fantastic find! That's for posting it.


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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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An incredible piece of history! Would love to read this......


Always looking for 325th G.I.R. and WWII USMC items!
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