Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

30th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop (Mech) Timeline

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by Slipdigit, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    28 March 1945

    AAR:

    "At 100 the one section of the 3rd Platoon maintaining liaison with the 507th Parachute Bn [I think he meant 507th PIR] was relieved of mission. Platoon assembled near Gartrop Germany."

    Journal:

    "At 1100 the Platoons were assembled. the C.P. is now in Hunxe (332388). 1st Platoon is at Buhl. The 2nd and 3rd Platoons are at Gartrop."
     
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    29 March 1945 to 31 March 1945

    AAR:

    "No change."
     
  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    1 April 1945

    AAR:

    "At 0330 Troop left Hunxe Germany (3238 A37 Duisburg) and arrived Drensteunfurt Germany (050555 P2 Munster). Roadblocks were established northeast of and south of Drensteunfurt. One prisoner was captured south of Drensteunfurt at 1300. At 2200 all roadblocks were called in and Troop was assembled for new mission. This mission was to lead the task force of the 119th Infantry Regiment to contact the 2nd Armored Division. Mission completed and Troop was recalled to Drensteunfurt."
     
  4. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    2 April 1945

    AAR:

    At 1000 Troop left Drensteunfurt and joined 117th Infantry Regiment column and proceeded to 555605 (Detmold). Troop now attached to the 117th Infantry. At 1200 Troop established roadblock at point 649643 (Detmold) and ordered a patrol from that block to point 688678 contacting 1st Bn of the 117th Infantry. Another patrol was sent south of the roadblock to point 637585 to contact 3rd Bn 117th Infantry. One prisoner was captured at 653645 at 1600. At 1620 six more prisoners were captured in the same area. At 1615 three prisoners were captured at 644627.".

    Nothing in the Journal that differs except that it mentions "Trains at 551616."
     
  5. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    3 April 1945

    AAR:

    "Roadblock mission and patrol mission of 2 April 1945 continued. At 1400 3rd Platoon moved to 535675 and 573735 with orders to reconnoiter to the north and northeast and to patrol that area, At 1640 a patrol encountered an enemy roadblock and small arms fire at 555768. Ten prisoners of war were captured at 658641 and three prisoners were captured at 649644 (Detmold).

    Journal:

    At 1500 the troop C.P. moved to 645679 the paltoons are on the same mission as the 2nd of April. The 1st and 2nd platoon [sic] continued their patrols hourly through the night. the third platoon is patrolling area between B-649843 and the third Bn 117th Inf. the 2nd platoon is patroling the area between B-649643 and the 1st Bn. 117th Inf. At 1400 the third platoon was given mission of moving to area north of the Autoban [sic] between B-525675 and 573735 and reconnoitering to the north and north east. at 1640 an enemy roadblock was encountered at 555768, it was covered by by small arms fire. This was by-passed. At 1500 Trains moved to B634686. 10 prisoners were taken at 658641. Two prisoners were taken at 649644."
     
  6. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    4 April 1945

    AAR:

    "At 0015 Troop received mission of sending road patrols from 685684 to 627718 to 5911726 (Detmold). Another patrol was sent to contact 125th Cavalry roadblock at point 587740 and to patrol from there north to the 2nd Bn 117th Infantry and to maintain and keep active continuous patrols in area 518712, 540752, 573752 and bounded on the southeast by the Autobahn. A mission was also received to move out at daylight and reconnoiter all roads in the area bounded by 703695, 718723, 671752, 620769. and 613733. These missions were all completed by 1700 at which time the platoons were given orders to await new missions. at 1300 two truck loads of ammunition were captured at 702725. At 0100 seven prisoners were captured; at 0830 twenty-one prisoners were captured; at 0900 five prisoners captured; at 100 fourteen captured, at 1400 ten captured and 130 eleven were captured."

    The Journal added nothing additional.
     
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    5 April 1945

    AAR:

    "Troop engaged in reconnaissance mission. At 660700 (Detmold) 1st Platoon encountered small arms fire, engaged the enemy at captured 60 prisoners. This are was rechecked and 8 more prisoners were taken. 1st Platoon then assigned mission of contacting the 84th Div in Schotmar. At 1300 1st Platoon encountered dug-in enemy at 695853, engaged them and captured 90 prisoners and two vehicles. At 1400 1st Platoon over-run [sic] 10 150 mm guns at 683853 and destroyed them, pushed onto Schotmar but found no friendly troops there. 84th Div was contacted 2 1/2 Kilometers northwest of Schotmar. 1st Platoon continued checking and patrolling their area to the northwest, capturing 27 more prisoners. the 2nd Platoon in patrolling its area between 705715, 733840 and 788820 captured 16 prisoners. The 3rd Platoon, in establishing contact between 2nd Bn 117th Infantry and 333 Infantry [84th ID] at Bielefeld, encountered small arms fire in the vicinity of 573770 (Detmold), engaged the enemy and captured 4 prisoners. 3rd Platoon proceeded up main highway between 2nd Bn 117th Infantry and 84th Division and encountered enemy at 568789. A German officer surrendered his entire command of 280 men to 3rd Platoon."

    The Journal said about the same thing but added:

    "A German officer at B-568789 surrendered his entire garrison of 280 men to the platoon. Troop C.P. located 770800, Horstaar. 506 prisoners were taken during the day."

    1Lt James H. Borg, 1Lt Chester H. Prentice, T/4 Lee (Leo) R. Tyner, Jr., and Cpl. Mark Walthers awarded the Bronze Star medal.
     
  8. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    6 April 1945

    AAR:

    "Troop assigned mission of zone reconnaissance to the east. Platoon moved out at 0630. 1st Platoon had area north of road between 804815, 950825, 940865 and 077865, to the Division's left boundry [sic]. 2nd Platoon south of the road to the 117th Infantrys [sic] right boundry [sic]. Roadblocks were established and patrols run between roadblocks. 3rd Platoon outposted town of Lemgo and sent a patrol north to contact the 84th Division. At 1600 1st Platoon was sent to contact the 5th Armored Division. 2nd and 3rd Platoons crossed the Wesser Riber [sic] and assembled in vicinity of Afferd Germany. Total prisoners captured during day was 36."

    Journal was mostly a rewording of the AAR.
     
  9. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    7 April 1945

    AAR:

    "At 0600 1st Platoon reconnoitered area bounded by 935893, 942866, 300865 and 015923 (Detmold) to locate and destroy and enemy artillery gun which was firing on our supply route. No gun was located but 4 prisoners were captured. Platoon continued to patrol that area. 2nd Platoon captured 14 prisoners at 0700 at 137869 (Detmold). At 0700 3rd Platoon assigned mission of reconnoitering area northeast of Hameln [sic] Germany. Are checked and 40 prisoners captured. 3rd Platoon then circled north to enter the town if Fischbeck from the rear, where Germans were reported. At 090973, enemy small arms and bazooka fire was encountered. The leading M-8 vehicle was mired in mud and the last M-8 was knocked out by bazooka fire, making it impossible for the other vehicles to either advance or withdraw. After firing most of their ammunition the men dismounted to fight their way out. During this action one man was lightly wounded and five men were missing. Platoon returned dismounted to 1st Bn 117th Infantry, Capturing 5 prisoners of war enroute."

    The Journal is repeat of the AAR, but with this final sentence. "The platoon returned to the 1st Bn 117th Inf to get aid to retake their vehicles but because of darkness they were unable to do so."

    Cpl. Donald R. Gill, T/4 William A. Hines, Jr. & PFC Nicholas Mucci were captured. All three earned the Purple Heart.

    PFC Charles S. Banfield, PFC Esterino A. Benso, t/4 William A. Hines, Pvt. Gerald M. Jacquot, Sgt. Allen D. Maxwell, PFC Nicholas Mucci, & Pvt. Elisha V. Smith earned the Silver Star.

    SSgt. Robert E. Bashir, PFC Albert Cirioni, T/5 Patrick J. Gibbons, Cpl, Donald R. Gill, T/5 Wallace A. Klang, T/4 LaMont R. Mair, PFC Edwin T. McMinds, PFC Delmar F. Menn, PFC Maland Nowland, PFC Joseph P. Paradis, T/5 Keith W. Pierce, 1Lt Chester H. Prentice, T/5 Marvin W. Redick, and SSgt. Joseph L. Robertson all earned a Bronze Star for Valor.

    Counting heads, it appears that nearly the entire platoon earned a medal for valor.
     
  10. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    8 April 1945

    AAR:

    "At 0515 2nd Platoon joined a task force of the 117th Infantry to return and reduce the town of Fischbeck and retake the vehicles lost on the day before. During this drive the towns of Fischbeck, Hofingen and Unxen were taken and all but two vehicles were reclaimed. This mission was completed at 0930. The 1st Platoon was flank security on the task force and then proceeded to Munder Germany. In this town they captured a German military hospital with 1200 patients and a garrison of 49 soldiers. The guards were taken prisoner and the hospital reported. 22 prisoners had been captured enroute to Munder. Platoon, the only Allied force in Munder, remained there until 1815 when it was sent to reconnoiter the roads and woods southwest of Edlagsen. Platoon was recalled to Great Berkel at 1700. At 1530 the 2nd Platoon went to Lemgo, leading a task force of the 117th Infantry to clean-up woods northeast of that town. 11 prisoners were captured."

    T/5 James I. Mitchell was awarded the Bronze Star medal. As of this date, this soldier is still living in the Midwest. I have been in contact with his son. He changed his name after the war to honor his step-father.
     
    KodiakBeer likes this.
  11. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    5,884
    Likes Received:
    1,388
    Location:
    The Arid Zone
    Thanks for keeping this going. It's fascinating to follow one small units progress through the war.
     
  12. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    Thanks. I have not had time to make maps like I wanted to, but will attach them later as I get the time.
     
  13. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    9 April 1945

    AAR:

    "1st Platoon continued mission of reconnoitering roads and woods southwest of Eldagsen, capturing 6 prisoners. Mission completed at 1600 and platoon moved to Hortensen, Germany. 2nd Platoon still with task force of 117th Infantry. 3rd Platoon in reserve."

    Journal:

    "The 1st Platoon given mission at 0630 to reconnoiter woods southwest of Eldagasen. The 2nd Platoon continued on reconnaissance mission with task force 117th northeast of Lemgo. the 3rd Platoon sill in Great Berkel reorganizing. At 1500 the Troop C.P. moved to Hamlin. 42 prisoners were captured during the days operation."

    PFC Arthur D. Albertson was awarded the Bronze Star medal.
     
  14. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    10 April 1945

    AAR:

    "Troop attached to 125th Cavalry Squadron. At 0500 1st Platoon preceeded [sic] the Command element of teh 125th Cavalry to Bettmar Germany, arriving at 1430. At 1530 13 prisoners were taken at Bettmar. 2nd and 3rd Platoon and Troop Headquarters arrived in Bettmar at 1900. Troop assembled awaiting new mission."
     
  15. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    11 April 1945

    AAR:

    "Platoons assigned reconnaissance mission and moved from Bettmar to Grassel Germany. Mission was cancelled by headquarters and platoons returned to Bettmar."
     
  16. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    12 April 1945

    AAR:

    "1st Platoon attached to 117th Infantry. At daylight the platoon was given mission of reconnoitering area to the left of the 117th Infantry. Platoon located and captured one tiger [sic] tank and enemy airfield containing 7 fighter planes and 1 bomber. 20 prisoners were captured in this area. 1st Platoon then went to Braunschweig and was givne the mission of leading a task force of the 117th Infantry to the east. Good progress was made until the force reached Siestedt. Enemy was dug-in and appeared to want to surrender. Two 1/4 ton vehicles [jeep] and two M8 vehicles were leading the task force. Enemy suddenly opened up with machine-gun, rifle and panzerfaust fire on the vehicles. Two M-8's and one 1/4 ton were knocked out. Tanks were called up and with their support, the enemy was routed. This action resulted in 3 EM killed and 4 EM and 1 officer wounded. The loss of vehicles and casualties sustained necessitated calling tanks up to take over the spearhead of the task force. The remainder of 1st Platoon was then ordered to join the Command section of the 117th, serving as liaison.
    2nd Platoon, 3rd Platoon and Command section of the Troop were attached to teh 120th Infantry leading another task force. This task force started just southeast of Braunschweig with mission of pushing forward to the Elbe River. At Mareinthal, four anti-aircraft guns were captured without a fight. In the woods four miles east of Marienthal, 20 enemy trucks, loaded with supplies, were captured. ON the edge of a forrest [sic] about two miles east of Behnsdorf Germany enemy small arms fire was encountered. On order, a barrage of fire from every gun was laid on the enemy killing most of them and routing the remainder. The task force then proceeded to Weiglitz on the banks of the Wesser-Elbe Canal, arriving at 2300. Bridge sites across this canal were reconoitered and all sites were found to be intact by covered by enemy fire. The task force held for the night at this point."

    Killed in action this date were:

    PFC Willebaldo Nila
    T/5 Harold G. Works, buried Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands
    Sgt. Dominic S. Vincenzo.- Died of Wounds received.

    These three men were the last combat deaths for the 30th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop (Mech)

    I do not have the names of the men who were wounded.

    Silver Stars:
    PFC Willebaldo Nila
    Sgt. Dominic S. Vincenzo
    Sgt. William C. Slappey

    Bronze Star:
    Pvt. Foster D. Chapman
    PFC Kenneth Allen
    T/5 Michael J. Lundy
    T/5 William L. Parsley
    Sgt. Paul C. Rogers
    Cpl, Raymond R. Wyant

    T/5 Harold Works was close friend of Marion Sanford and he took Works' death hard. It is mentioned in the book and the story about Works' foretelling of his death while still in Normandy. Mr. Sanford visited the grave of Harold Works in September, 2015 and was able to offer a final salute to his friend.

    View attachment 22370
     

    Attached Files:

  17. Natman

    Natman Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    204
    Location:
    Western Colorado
    PFC Willebaldo Nila is buried in the Cavalry Cemetery, Los Angles, CA.

    Sgt. Dominic S. Vincenzo is buried in the Cavalry Cemetery, Cleveland, OH.

    [​IMG]
     
    Slipdigit likes this.
  18. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,010
    Likes Received:
    1,895
    Location:
    Alabama
    Natman,

    What is the source for PFC Nila's burial location? I've looked for it and cannot find it.
     
  19. Natman

    Natman Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    204
    Location:
    Western Colorado
    I found him on Ancestry and they have his headstone application.
     

    Attached Files:

    Slipdigit likes this.
  20. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    5,884
    Likes Received:
    1,388
    Location:
    The Arid Zone
    Because of the date, I'll toss this Frank Towers account in even though it was a different units of the 30th. What's left out of most accounts of the episode (including this one) is that there were a number of Finnish soldiers (prisoners) on this train. Finland had severed ties with Germany and a number of Finns were tossed into Bergen Belsen. They were in better shape than most of the other prisoners and a group escaped the train, found some Old Hickory GI's and either led them or showed them where the train was.


    [SIZE=16pt]The Death Train at Farsleben, Germany [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=16pt]13 April 1945[/SIZE]
    The 30th Infantry Division had just liberated Brunswick, and our next objective was Magdeburg on the western bank of the Elbe River. Unknown to us at this time, the Elbe River had been designated as the “political boundary” between the Allied and Russian Armies.
    In between Brunswick and Magdeburg was the city of Hillersleben, where there was a large German Luftwaffe airbase with many 2 story barracks buildings, for the Nazi German personnel, who had recently been evicted by the 30th Infantry Division during the capturing of Hillersleben.
    At this point, a small task force, led by the 743rd Tank Battalion, with infantrymen of the 119th Regiment was mounted on these tanks. As they were forging ahead towards Magdeburg, they entered the small town of Farsleben, about 10 km west of Magdeburg, with the mission of clearing out all of the German soldiers who may be waiting there for us, and may have set up an ambush.
    Upon entering and capturing the village, no German soldiers were found who may have been intent on setting up an ambush when we appeared. However, the lead elements of the 743rd Recon discovered a long freight train on the railroad track, which had been guarded by several Nazi guards. The engine was standing ready with a full head of steam and awaiting orders as to where to go. The guards and the train crew fled the area as soon as they realized that they were well outnumbered, although they were rounded up in a short time.
    As the train was sitting idly by, while the train crew was awaiting orders and making a decision as to where to go, many of the occupants of some of the passenger cars had dismounted and were relaxing on the ground near the train.
    This train which contained about 2,500 Jews, had a few days previously left the Bergen-Belsen death camp. Men, women and children, were all loaded into a few available railway cars, some passenger and some freight, but mostly the typical antiquated freight cars, termed as “40 and 8” a WWI terminology. This signified that these cars would accommodate 40 men or 8 horses.
    They were crammed into all available space and the freight cars were packed with about 60 – 70 of the Jewish Holocaust victims, with standing room only for most of them, so that they were packed in like sardines.
    Why those people had not been exterminated earlier, we never did learn. However, the Nazis were attempting to move them out of Bergen-Belsen so that the advancing Allied Army would not see the condition of this mass of frail humanity, if it could be called that. They had been moved eastward from the Camp, to the Elbe River, where they were informed that it would not be advisable to proceed further because of the rapidly advancing Russian Army. The train then reversed direction and proceeded to Farsleben, where they were then told that they were heading into the advancing American Army. Consequently, the train halted at Farsleben and was awaiting further orders as to where to go next. The engineers had then received their orders, to drive the train to, and onto the bridge over the Elbe River, and either blow it up, or just drive it off the end of the damaged bridge, with all of the cars of the train crashing into the river, and killing or drowning all of the occupants. The engineers were having some second thoughts about this action, as they too would be hurtling themselves to death also This is the point at which they were discovered, just shortly after the leading elements of the 743rd Tank Battalion arrived on the scene.
    Some of these prisoners had dismounted from the passenger cars and were milling about near the train and relaxing, as best they could, under the watchful eyes of their Nazi guards. Those in the freight cars were still locked in the cars when discovered.
    The men of the 743rd Tank Battalion and the 119th Regiment, who discovered this train, could not believe what they were seeing, nor what they had upon their hands at this moment. Upon speaking to some of those victims, a few of whom could speak a little English, they began to learn what they had uncovered.
    They immediately unlocked all of the freight cars and allowed these pathetic victims to be released and dismount from the cars and enjoy their first taste of Freedom. Many were hesitant at first because they had been advised by their Nazi guards that “if and when they ever became prisoners of the Americans, they would be executed immediately.” Little did they know what to expect at the hands of these savage Americans??
    Being packed in these antiquated freight cars for a long undetermined time, with only a once a day dispensing of rations, consisting of a thin and cold potato soup, it was surprising that more of them were not dead.
    They were packed in there so tightly that they did not have room to sit or lay down, so they just had to stand upright until they collapsed and crumpled to the floor because of exhaustion. They had no sanitary facilities except a single bucket in one corner of the car, which most could not even reach as the sudden necessity arose. The consequence was that most, in having to relieve themselves, just urinated and had bowel movements, and just let it run down their legs! Such a stench!!
    Such humiliation for these people to have to endure!
    Needless to say, the stench from the cars was almost unbearable, and many of our men had to rush away and vomit.
    We had heard of the cruel treatment which the Nazis had been handing out to Jews and political opponents of the Nazi regime, whom they had enslaved, but we thought that it was propaganda and slightly exaggerated. As we went along, it became more apparent that this barbaric savagery was actually true. The stories of German inhumanity were being corroborated before our own eyes. The condition of these people had deteriorated to the lowest level imaginable.
    During this European war, I was a 1st Lieutenant and was a Liaison Officer between the 30th Infantry Division Hq. and the 120th Regimental Hq During this time I was closely associated with a 1st Lt. Floyd Mitchell, (now deceased), who was the Liaison Officer from the 743rd Tank Battalion. We became very close friends during the war, exchanging many stories and assisting in our duties along the way. It was through Floyd that I had the experience of visiting the site of this tragic scene at Farsleben.
    After the initial discovery and capture of Farsleben, the 743rd Tank Battalion had to move on towards Magdeburg and assist in the reduction of this city as quickly as possible. At this point, the custody of guarding this very sad group of humanity fell to the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion.
    First of importance was getting food, water and medical assistance to these victims. Our 105th Medical Battalion was called upon to survey this group and give immediate attention to those most in need. The 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Dettmer immediately contacted the Burgomaster of Farsleben, and without any hesitation, ordered the Burgomaster to order his citizens to gather up all of the food, clothing, soap and sanitary supplies, to help the situation that these victims found themselves in. Secondly, they were ordered to offer them any housing facilities that were available, particularly for the elderly and those families with children
    The German people caused these victims to be in the situation in which they were found, so therefore it was felt that it was their responsibility to rectify what they had done to them over the past five years.
    At first they rebelled at these orders, but upon the threat of execution of the Burgomaster, and with a pistol held to his head, the citizens of Farsleben complied and went about the task which they had been ordered to do.
    At this time the Burgomaster began to cooperate, and told his citizens to take some of these Jews into their homes and give them some comfort, which they did, very grudgingly. This was the first taste of “Home” for many of them after some months or years of inhuman incarceration.
    Since my duties as a Liaison Officer were at a minimum at this point, I was placed in charge of procuring sufficient vehicles on which these 2,500 Jewish victims could be loaded, and to relocate them to Hillersleben, about 10 km distant.
    It must be noted here that in most cases, it was not possible to drive directly from “point A to point B” which may in fact be only 5 – 10 km. With bridges on all main roads either bombed or deliberately blown up by the retreating German army, it required navigating over many secondary and unimproved farm roads to find a suitable route to get from “point A to point B”, which in some cases was 25 – 30 km.
    Having driven over these roads for the previous few days, I was relatively familiar with these deviations, and was thus chosen for this job.
    After loading up these Jewish victims on our trucks and navigating the convoy over a devious route, we arrived at the designated site in Hillersleben, where their custody was turned over to the American Military Government for further processing.
    Initially, they were deloused! Their bodies and clothing were totally infested with lice, so they were heavily dusted with DDT, stripped of their clothing, which was burned, given a shower, then re-supplied with adequate clothing, which had been furnished by the people of Farsleben.
    Settled in to their new surroundings, here they were given appropriate medical care according to their needs, and fed with adequate but rationed food,+ they were eventually processed for repatriation to their homelands.
    However, most of these Jews were from Poland, Russia and other Eastern block countries, so with the total destruction of their homes, loss of families and the serious prospects of coming under the jurisdiction of the Russians, most were fearful about their future. Most chose the option of remaining in Germany, or the possibility of being repatriated to some other Western European countries. Eventually, many were finally repatriated to Israel, South American countries, for which many had passports, England, Canada and to the United States of America.
    At this point, I reverted back to my original duties through the next month and the end of the war, and pursued our duties of Occupation in this devastated land, and finally returning to the United States in August of 1945.
    In the next 60+ years, not much thought was given to these victims, as we thought that they were now in good hands, and would be starting out on a new life somewhere in the future. We had our own problems. We were soon alerted to be shipped to the Pacific to help in the finalizing of that phase of the war in the Pacific Theater, and bringing the end of WWII to a close.
    Then it was “Home to take up our lives where we had left off 4 – 5 years earlier”.
    From then on, we had little time to worry about these Jewish victims of the Holocaust. We were busy finding jobs and raising our families.









    Fast Forward 62 years:
    Through a quirk of fate, I received an e-mail message from a friend, indicating that I should look at the attached Website. Out of curiosity, I opened the Website, and I was astonished at what I was about to see! ( http://hfcsd.org/ww2/ )
    This Website was entitled: “The World War !! Living History Project” with a subtitled article: “A Train Near Magdeburg”! Sounded familiar.
    It seems that a teacher, Matt Rozell, in Hudson Falls High School, near Albany, NY, had organized a project on the Holocaust, and this segment was a part of the project. The story that was told by two former members of the 743rd Tank Battalion, just dovetailed into my recollections of this account.
    Also, attached to this Website were several e-mail messages from survivors of this tragic event, but one in particular caught m y eye – it was a message from a daughter of a survivor. This one really intrigued me because this girl’s mother, Jean, (nee: Gusia Weinstock), who was a 15 year old girl, along with her parents, had been survivors of this “Death Train from Bergen-Belsen”. She and her parents were among those that I had convoyed to Hillersleben!! They soon relocated to Liege, then to Brussels in Belgium, for a few years. Then they emigrated to the U.S.A., settling in Brooklyn, NY
    In about 1950, Jean married Sol Lazinger 6 months after they met, who was a 30th Division veteran!! This is what intrigued me.


    I contacted Lisette, the daughter, by e-mail, and then soon we were on the phone, she telling me briefly about the odyssey of her parents. Next, I called her parents, Jean & Sol Lazinger, and we had a very nice and informative conversation with each of us giving our versions of the “Death Train” episode in April 1945.
    Sol had been in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 30thInfantry Division as a replacement in August 1944. He was seriously injured near Essen, Germany in October 1944 during the Rhineland Campaign. He never returned to the 30th and was sent back to the U.S.A. and discharged, and was never aware of our 30th Infantry Division Veterans organization until this time.
    Now at this point, Matt Rozell has been in contact with several Holocaust survivors, and has interviewed each one, and getting some real in depth stories from them. He had organized a Reunion of these Holocaust survivors and their liberators that he had been able to contact, this past September, and perhaps another will be scheduled some time in the near future..
    It seems quite ironic, that after 60+ years, that I should come in contact with this Holocaust survivor, that I had assisted in giving a new start in life in 1945….
    Plus, another Holocaust survivor from Magdeburg, Germany, Ernest Kan, who had been incarcerated as a Slave Laborer in the Polte Ammunition Factory, at Magdeburg.
    How many more of these survivors are there out there who were liberated by the 30th Infantry Division and attached units??? Perhaps we will never know.
    I am now working with Matt Rozell to try to organize another Reunion this next March, in order to bring these survivors, their liberators and even more victims that may be found in the next few months, together for another Reunion. We are all getting to be of an age where time is running out for us, so time is of essence.



    Frank W. Towers © 2008
    30th Inf. Div. Veterans of WWII



    Another account by Wilson Rice

    30th Division Medical Detachment
    Diary & Log​
    (105th Medical Battalion)​
    By​
    T/4 Wilson Rice​
    April 13, 1945​
    At Letzlingen, Germany, we pulled off of the road to wait. Here Major Lowell, Major Huff and Tommy met us. They had gone back to Brunswick to see about getting the soldiers of ours out of the German hospitals, and to see some other hospitals. Col. Treherne also met us there. While we were parked here the Forward CP came along. I went out to one of the trucks to talk to some of the fellows from Hq. co. They had a German on the truck and he was most unhappy. He was one of the few who ran before he was captured, and before he was caught, he tore off all of his markings and insignia off of his uniform. Nasty little Nazi. They couldn’t find a place to get rid of him, so Paul Huff and I put him on the hood of our jeep and took him into town to the PW cage. On our way back, we passed another walking down the road, but we were in a hurry. He was smiling and just as happy about the whole thing. We just merely pointed the direction, and everybody went merrily on their way about their business.

    When Major Lowell, Major Huff and Cardwell left this area, I went with them. Col. Treherne and Meyers were in front of us. Soon we caught up with the Forward CP convoy as they were stopped along side of the road. We looked out across the field and we saw deer grazing. It was a small herd, but through the binoculars, one could see them very clearly. Farther on down the road, when the convoy was halted again, Major Marsh from the Military Government, drove up to Col. Treherne’s jeep. He told him about a train of civilians that were prisoners of the Germans. Our jeep pulled out from the convoy and went to Farsleben, Germany, where the train was located.

    Also in this town was the CP of the 823rd T.D. Bn., and we stopped there to pick up Capt. Baranov, the 823rd Bn. Surgeon. He took us down there, and it was something that you’ve read about, but couldn’t believe. They were people that looked of being very refined and cultured. It is said that among the people, was the French Consul to Germany. Some great minds were among these people. There were two doctors that were members of the train, and they were caring for the people the best they could without any equipment. Capt. Baranov’s men came up with a few drugs bandages, etc. to use until they could get more. It was about the same as nothing, but it was to go to the women and children first. About 75% of the members of this train were Jews so the drugs etc., were given to the two doctors and the Rabbi for distribution. Major Lowell and Major Huff told them to get all of the contagious and seriously sick to be segregated into cars by themselves. These cars that they were traveling in were box cars. Sanitation was terrible and the people had been traveling in them for eight days and nights, without food or water. Most of the sickness was due to malnutrition. There were only two typhus cases.

    As all of the business was being transacted, a beautiful little girl, about eight years of age, came up to my side. She was very sweet and her complexion was very clear. I looked at her, smiled and patted her on the head, and she smiled back. As Tommy and I were standing there, I soon felt a little hand slip through my arm. As I looked around, a big lump came in my throat.

    As we were leaving, a man came up to our jeep. He was one of the American citizens and was from Detroit, Mich. He was taken Prisoner two years ago in Warsaw, and his family is still now in Detroit. He was a sick man, but there was nothing we could do for him, as we were not prepared for such things. Military Government is taking care of things as fast as they can. This is what I mean when I say that warfare such as this, was not planned for by the Army. Things are going too fast. This man told us about the 33 American citizens. He went on to say that he knew our circumstances, knew we had to take care of the troops first, knew that everything possible will be done for them as fast as possible, and went on to say, “We know how busy you guys are, what you will do for us, maybe one week maybe two weeks, but even if nothing else is done, there is one thing we truly and dearly thank you for, and that is for our Liberty” There was a break in this man’s voice, and I knew how he felt. There was a lump in my throat.

    We went on to Wolmirstedt after giving the people what cigarettes and “K” Rations that we had, and found the Clearing Station. It was set up in a Nazi finance office records building. Where the enlisted men of our office are sleeping, is in the living room of the head of the Nazi organization’s quarters. He was truly Nazi and had beautiful things.

    Casualties to date: Division------24,650
    Civilian 947
    Enemy 2,076
    Other Units 3,579
    31,252
     
    Slipdigit and Ruud like this.

Share This Page