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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
His name was Art Johnson - he was a Bazooka man w/ the 2nd Armored Div. He only told me 1 story - ever. He was running through the snow to get a shot at the tracks of a German tank. The loader was right behind him. He ran as close as he dared - aimed - fired (nothing). Waited - tank getting closer - aimed - nothing. Looked back and the loader was running away throwing rockets to lighten his load. Grandpa tossed the bazooka, chased down the loader and nearly beat him to death with his helmet. When he finally settled down he looked to find the tank about 20 yards from him with the hatches open and the crew looking at him. Grandpa stood up, because he was helpless now against the tank's machine gun and was ready for whatever would come. The tank commander saluted him, grandpa saluted back - the tank buttoned up and drove off.

Later when I would ask for a 'war story' grandpa would say "What the hell - you writting a book?" And then tell me nothing. When going to show and tell in elementary school I asked him if he had a treasure from the war I could show the other kids - he said "The only thing I wanted out of that shitty deal is what I'm sitting on right now" - he passed away quite a few years ago. I do have his dogtags w/ a grenade pin on the chain, and his 2nd Armored Div (Hell on Wheels) well worn Zippo. WM
 

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I can certainly sympathize with your grandfather's position. About the only thing I wanted out of my war was - out of it, alive and (desirable but not required, though it worked out that way) in one piece....
 

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The Bulge ... I know the area rather well. It's only some 100 miles from were I live my life. Compassion and "Kameradschaft" saved your granddad's life. It's good that way, it is my believe that soldiers always know what the other side may suffer and those with their heart on the right place may give some slack. If I may believe some stories I heard from veterans (I have no reason at all to doubt their word) ... it happened rather often if one of the parties was "at the end of its rope".
I learned (from an old war dog ... my dad) that in fact there are no real enemies ... there are only opposite sides. The men are the same, their soul is the same and they know that they suffer the same fears and problems.
 

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That showed restraint by the German crew. I hope your grandpa continued to beat the snot out of his loader as soon as the German crew left. Thanks for posting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
He never mentioned the story again or what happened to his loader. He did say that the loader was not around again after that. Mabey he died from the beating - mabey taken to an aid station and evacuated later??? Bet he never explained that purple heart to the kiddies. WM
 

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Cool Story

Hello Pelletking. Thank you for sharing that story. History is always better when you here it first hand. A Great Uncle of mine was also there and had to be evacuated because of frostbite. It probably saved his life.
 

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I had two relatives who served in WWII. One of them was my great grandpa's youngest brother. Born in 1917, he served in the 8th regiment of 4th Infantry division. Saw action in Normandy, Cherbourg, Hurtgen, Bastogne and the occupation of Germany, discharged as Sgt. in 1946. He passed away in May of 1994 of heart attack and heart failure at the age of 77, only a few weeks before the 50th anniversary of D-day. He never shared any of his stories to any of my family, except a few things to my great grandfather. He had a silver and gold star, Europe service medal, riflemans badge, 8th patch, and some old letters, photos, late war german bakelite 98k bayo with scabbard and frog, a nazi flag, empty luger holster with the papers, and some reichmarks which my family found in a box in his stuff. One thing we could not find is the P08 Luger he brought back, from a surrendered german youth officer... and we still havent found it. We're not sure what he did with it after the war.:( I never got to meet him personally, being I was only 5 years old at the time he passed away. But my great grandfather told me some stories, before he passed away at the age 94 in 2005. I'll post in a separate thread if you want to hear some.

Best regards,
-zfox44
 

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Ran into a Bulge vet the other day when the family and Iw ent to the mall around noon on a snow day. 26th Division, nice guy. Said what ever Bulge vet I have ever seen/heard says. "Boy was it cold!"
 

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Grandpa stood up, because he was helpless now against the tank's machine gun and was ready for whatever would come. The tank commander saluted him, grandpa saluted back - the tank buttoned up and drove off.
And to think, if those Germans hadn't shown said compasion for your grandfather, and they didn't have to, you wouldn't be here right now.


Life sure is strange.
 

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I'll bet that the Germans in the tank thought he was a fellow soldier since his uniform was probably covered with snow and mud (or maybe he was wearing a white cloth sheet for snow camouflage as many American soldiers did) Since he had removed his helmet the Germans probably thought he was one of their own beating the hell out of the American that just tried to bazooka the tank. Just my theory, and an interesting story.
 

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Ran into a Bulge vet the other day when the family and Iw ent to the mall around noon on a snow day. 26th Division, nice guy. Said what ever Bulge vet I have ever seen/heard says. "Boy was it cold!"
That's what my father said.
 

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Just goes to show that both sides could show compassion and mercy as well as cruelty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
He said that alot of guys would see him shivering and freezing in a ice filled hole and say "You should be used to this, you're from Minnesota!!" He would say "Yeah, but we sleep INSIDE in the Winter!!" WM
 

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Your story brought back memories. My father was at the bulge. 6th armoured division. (armoured infrantry, not a tank crewman) He always said when they shot at German tanks, even with the Shermans, they went for the tracks or the bogey wheels as they were not effective against their armour except up close and on the back of the German tank. But like a lot of others, I heard more stories about the cold.
 

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Ran into a Bulge vet the other day when the family and Iw ent to the mall around noon on a snow day. 26th Division, nice guy. Said what ever Bulge vet I have ever seen/heard says. "Boy was it cold!"
My father's older first cousin survived the war with a few Bulge stories. He said he didn't eat for two days and then later when "hot grub" was supposed to finally come up to his unit, that by the time he arrived it was almost frozen.

On the issue of killing, Donald only once spoke of it to my father and then was coy but said something so interesting that I've not forgotten it. Donald said that he had shot some men, "and some men I didn't." I've often thought of that in the context of the common occurrence of soldiers either intentionally or subconsciously "aiming high" when they are engaging the enemy.
 

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Uncle (husband opf my mom's older sister) was in the 106th Inf Div (in the 424th Inf Regiment - the one that didn't go into the bag) for the Bulge. He never talked much about it except for the cold. He had problems with his feet whenever it got cold, part of the aftermath of cold injury (frost bite or trench-foot, maybe both) suffered during the battle.
 

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My father was at the Bulge, newly minted OCS 2nd Lt. 7th Armored Div., Infantry. That's his picture in my icon, taken later when he was prepping for Korea. He was shot in the leg at the Bulge, taken prisoner, and spent some time as a guest of the German army at a small prison camp in Belgium. Got liberated when Patton's tank army came through.

As an Allied officer, he said he was treated fairly, although I suspect he got slapped around some. He said the Germans didn't eat any better than the prisoners.

This is the spork he was issued in the prison camp:



He gave this to me about 10 years ago, before he died. He said a good POW always kept it in his pocket, because he didn't know when and where the next meal would be coming from.
 

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I've read that GIs actually liked that particular utensil, being handier than the separate spoon and fork that were issued to them. I'm pretty sure it is regular German issue for their mess kits.
 

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I've read that GIs actually liked that particular utensil, being handier than the separate spoon and fork that were issued to them. I'm pretty sure it is regular German issue for their mess kits.
Thanks, G, that's the first real info I've heard about this. It's aluminum, not exactly finely machined, is it?
 
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