|During the war Recon took about 200 prisoners. Some were
easy. Some were not. This is the story of two occasions where two German
soldiers were taken in each one, and one lived and one died.
In Recon, some of our missions were in front of our troops. Often we ran into roadblocks that stopped the infantry or tanks, or us if we were ahead of them. One such day Capt. Christensen and Sgt. Szychulski were traveling ahead of the troops and ran into a roadblock. Often the Germans put two separated posts on each side of the road and laid down longer logs across the roads between the posts. Then they filled and strengthened it as time and material was available. On this day Chris and Syl got there after the main German troops left but two German soldiers were left on guard. Surprised and as was often the case not knowing how many Americans were coming, the Germans surrendered. Still not finished, Chris and Syl decided to remove the roadblock. They took away the Germans' weapons and made them work removing the roadblock. Nearly through, a personnel mine hidden in the block went off and killed one of the germans. The block open, Syl and Chris took in two prisoners. One alive and one dead.
One afternoon at H&S headquarters, a jeep from a line company showed up with a Lt. and a driver Henry Holm. The officer went in and the Colonel directed him and I, Bob Pearl, to Recon a break in the road that was stopping the movement of a combat command. I was told by the Colonel to take a jeep so that the Lt. and his vehicle could return to his company and proceed with getting the road operable after the recon was completed. Sgt. Robert Spear was our driver of the recon vehicle and we were in support of the Lt. from our line company. Soon we stopped at combat command hqs and picked up a Lt. that joined our Lt. in his vehicle. We then proceeded to the bridge site about 10 miles from combat hqs. The combat troops had retreated to a better defensive position. The adjacent combat command was a few miles south of us but the firing was continual and could be heard fairly well. We turned the jeeps around near the site and parked about 50 yards from the site. The two Lt.'s and I went to the site and the drivers stayed with the jeeps. About the time the Lt.'s and I got to the site it was dusk and with the firing on the right, I was in a hurry to get the work done. On the left was a sign in german "ACTUNG MINENS" meaning attention mines. The two Lt.'s were talking about what was needed to repair a wide hole about six or eight feet deep. It finally came to a guess about the length of the hole so I took a hundred foot tape out of my pocket, handed it to our Lt., held the end, jumped into the hole, walked across the hole to the end of the tape and was still about 10 yds of the other side. I walked back out and rolled up the tape while the Lt.'s talked. It was now on the edge of darkness so I told the Lt.'s lets get the hell out of here. We turned and started back to the jeep and a gun went off at the jeeps. When we got there a German Captain was shot and on the ground and a German First Sgt. was standing in captivity saying "Good Captain". Then I believe Spear and I took over and put the dying man on the hood of our jeep and set the other German on the hood to hold him on. It was real dark then so all of us went back to Group Hqs. There Spear and I was told to get rid of the captives so we drove around to the prisoner site. This was in a fairly large building and I told Spear to take them in but he was bashful so I went in. Lo and behold the interpreter who was questioning the prisoners was a guy I had met earlier on another event. He was a tough interpreter questioning prisoners. Always carried a small bayonet, thinned and sharpened to keep the prisoners alert. He was hot and working with no time for friendship. I told him we had two prisoners, one live and one dead. He said we'll take the live one but not the dead one. So I took the live one in and then after a brief discussion Spear and I stood the dead captive up by the door and left.
End of another day of one live and one dead.