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

436th FA Battalion

Discussion in 'Honor, Service and Valor' started by Slipdigit, Jun 19, 2008.

Tags:
  1. Billyjim

    Billyjim WWII Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    6
    "HOOT" VON SITZEWITZ:

    Early '60s, out on Long Island -- Huntington Station. Winter. A group of us ski enthusiasts had built a little rope tow on a little hill, to practice for races.

    Across the street lived a young fellow and his wife, very friendly, fast warm smiles. Considerable German accent.

    Hoot was his nickname for he fancied our Western cowboys. Actual name: Hubertus von Sitzewitz. Son of a Prussian, General von Sitzewitz. They had lived on the family villa for centuries, in Schlesen, or Silesia -- Prussia (the region my father came from, BTW).

    The Soviets had come through, and taken his father captive, and back to the East. Never heard from him again.

    Then the Soviets rounded up all the family and surrounding neighbors and packed them all into railroad boxcars. Then the train headed back East. Hoot knew they'd all end up dead, or in labor camps, and then dead.

    So, in the middle of the cold, dark night, the train racing at good speed -- Hoot slid open the car door --- AND JUMPED OUT.

    He survived. Little by little, advancing only at night, from deserted farm house to deserted farmhouse, he managed to finally arrive in Berlin, just as the war ended.

    There he met his future wife -- they were both surviving by picking at garbage bins to find scraps of food.

    I asked Hoot why he didn't have any children. "Bill,we both decided right then and there -- we couldn't bring up kids in the world we saw in front of us. No way!"

    Bill
     
  2. Billyjim

    Billyjim WWII Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    6
    MY FIRST WIFE WAS CZECH -- JANA

    In the late '50s I married Jana Peters, who, with father Zbislav ("Mike") and mother Vera -- had escaped from the Soviet occupation of Prague just as it closed its grip on that country in '48. They ended up in Harlingen, TX. Here's the story.

    A Russian general had commandeered their villa out in the country as the Soviets moved into Czechoslovakia. Where were the Yanks? They had been stopped at Pilsen, the very western border. Stopped not by military action, but by orders from Washington. It was early April -- still cold in that part of Europe. The general brought his men into the main living room of their villa and then told his troops, "Make a fire -- it's cold in here." The men looked for firewood. There was none. So the general told them to just take all the furniture around the room, break it up and build a bonfire in the middle of the living quarters. The Soviet soldiers were just farm boys, kids. When Jana's parents tried to persuade them from destroying the furniture they replied, "We Russians. We no think. We take orders." (Czechs speak Slavic -- so they could converse with the Russians.)

    As the Soviets tightened their grip on the nation, Mike saw the writing on the wall, planned an elaborate pre-dawn escape across the border to the American military station at the frontier with Germany. The only reason they weren't all shot dead is that the Soviet policeman on duty -- didn't want to complicate his life by having to fill out a report, etc. -- so he ran off in the other direction.

    Bill
     
  3. Billyjim

    Billyjim WWII Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    6
    SLIP

    It sure wasn't "the miracle at 40mph" even tho it should have -- I told you I am a slow learner :eek:. I remained a militant atheist (as do most Jewish intellectuals) until way into the late '70s. Converted to Christianity in May 1980. I told my fellow church members at the time: "Now I am a FULL Jew!" :).

    There was an old joke we used to tell back in mid-century of the 20th Century: "Vee grow too soon alt ... und too late schmart!" Ain't it the truth! :D.

    Bill
     
  4. Billyjim

    Billyjim WWII Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    6
    I GET THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A 'NISEI':

    It was the mid-'70s. I had just responded to a Ltrs-to-the-editor of the Contra Costa Times in East Bay San Francisco. The letter writer strongly objected to our dropping those two atom bombs on Japan -- claiming that civilians should never be the victims.

    I wrote that if it hadn't been for those two bombs I and a million other Yanks would have died in the Invasion of Japan (along with probably the same number of Japanese civilians).

    Well, I told this story to a good friend of mine, the same age as I, a Japanese-American -- a Nisei.

    Here was his response:

    "Bill, I've never told this to anyone here in the States. I'm not a Nisei. I was born and raised in Japan. I was drafted into Kamikaze training, as was almost all the other trainees in my outfit. Then they proceeded to make our life so miserable, so unbearable, that we would finally, gladly jump into the cockpit and fly off to our death. Training conditions were so bad that many of the guys died during training. Torture, impossible conditions."

    "Well, it finally came to the end of my training, and I was more than ready to fly off on my mission. You know why I didn't, and why I'm here talking to you today? 'Cause you dropped that first bomb. Our unit commander put everything on hold. When the second bomb dropped, the Kamikaze program closed down. That's why I'm here."

    BTW, this friend joined the American Army during the '50s.

    Bill
     
  5. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    24,982
    Likes Received:
    2,373
    Incredible. I a way your Nisei friend was saved thanks to the bomb. Also a good thing your wife made her escape in 1948, that was probably one of the latest opportunities from that part of the iron curtain. the Hoot story is also tragic. It must haven taken him a lot of courage to cross soviet occupied Gemrany during the war. Surviving instinct!
     
  6. Billyjim

    Billyjim WWII Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    6
    MY FIELD ARTILLERY "DOUBLE IMAGE":

    Back in 1980, after I converted to Christianity, a church member and I were making monthly Sunday visits to various inactive church members. One on our list was a pleasant fellow, a bachelor. Turns out he was exactly my age (born 4/22/26), was short like I, same first name, Willy ... and he was in the Field Artillery the same time I was.

    Except .. he had been in the Wehrmacht. Immigrated to the States after the war.

    I enjoyed practicing my German with him on our visits.

    Then one visit, out of the blue, he said, "You know, the Holocaust never happened. It's all a hoax."

    Thinking about my friend, George Stern, an ex-Czech and sole family survivor of Auschwitz (the rest of the family gone), and the little blue tattoo numbers on his left forearm .... I made that my last visit to Willy.

    Bill
     
  7. Billyjim

    Billyjim WWII Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    6
    THE VET WHO WOULD NEVER TALK ABOUT HIS TOUR:

    Back in the mid-80s, my second wife and I, and her family used to spend a couple weeks every summer at my father-in-law's cottage at Bone Lake, Wisconsin. Next cottage over lived close friends of the family, the Bielenbergs. Their dad's name was Art. Anyway Art was a WW2 vet, but would never mention "boo" about his experiences. We both enjoyed each other's company. He had a great sense of humor, always looking on the bright side of things.

    But he had advanced emphysema/COPD -- a life-long smoker.

    Finally, that summer when he came up to the Lake he was wearing an oxygen tank and nasal tubes, and was huffing and puffing between words. He and I knew he was close to the end.

    And then Art started talking about WW2 .. with some degree of intensity. He said he'd been a medic in the ETO. Saw lots of bad stuff. The sum and substance of his story was: a continous litany of various GI's whom he tried giving aid to, but they all died in his arms.

    Next week, down in St. Paul, we went to his funeral.

    Bill
     
  8. Billyjim

    Billyjim WWII Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    6
    TWO STORIES INVOLVING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS:

    First a little history.

    The King James version of the Scriptures includes the Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill!" Clear enough, no? Enough so that it was the backbone statement given by the CO's (Conscientious Objectors) in WW2 (and later wars).

    All well and good -- except that was NOT what was written in Hebrew in the Old Testament, or Greek in the New Testament.

    The Hebrew word for "kill" is "harag." What was written in the O.T. was "ratsach" -- the word for murder.

    And the Greek word for "kill" is "thuō." What was written in the original Greek was "phoneuō" -- the word for murder.

    So where and why did all this mistranslation come from? Ready for the scoop?

    Back in the 1600's, King James had become such an incompetent and scandalous leader that the people, en masse, were about to revolt ... in ARMED REVOLT.

    Now sometime prior to this the King had commissioned a large group of Hebrew and Greek literature scholars to re-write the Scriptures in English. They did so. James then reviewed their work and came up with an ingenious idea. It went something like this: "If I change the words of the Commandment from 'murder' to 'kill' that should put a damper on my subjects .. who may not be loyal to their King, but certainly would not transgress God's word." Thus was born the King James Version, and the rebellion quelled.
    --------------------------------------------------------
    FIRST STORY

    It was about 8 years ago, at a party. After dinner the conversation turned to politics. The hostess, a confirmed liberal, knew I was a WW2 vet. So this remark was obviously addressed to me: "We should never had gone to war after Pearl Harbor .. war is a sin against mankind."

    "Kathy, you mean I should have evaded the Draft?" "Yes, for sure, Bill."

    My response: "If so, Kathy, then you'd be speaking German, and I'd have ended in an Auschwitz."

    Her response? Dead silence.
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    SECOND STORY

    A doctor friend, is in his late '40s or early '50s .. which means he wasn't yet born during WW2. He's an ex-Pakistani who had immigrated and settled in Birmingham, Alabama. He too, is a devout Pacifist. Earlier this year, in an exchange of emails, after I had mentioned the above conversation with Kathy, he said, "You know, Bill, there was no need to go to war against Hitler ... he was too insignificant, a weak player, and would have simply disappeared over time -- he never was a threat to Europe or the rest of the world."

    My response? Absolutely none. Pointless.

    Bill
     
  9. Slipdigit

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

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,023
    Likes Received:
    1,905
    Location:
    Alabama
    That feeling of hopelessness, that despite your best efforts, it isn't enough. It's not a pleasant feeling. I'm guessing you've experienced it in your past profession, I know I have. One stands for me among others, but this thread is about you and your memories, so I'll hush.
     
  10. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    24,982
    Likes Received:
    2,373
    you have so many stories to tell! being a medic must have been one of the hardest jobs. Poor man, may he rest in peace :poppy:
     
  11. Billyjim

    Billyjim WWII Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    6
    I THINK THIS WILL BE MY NEXT-TO-LAST POST:

    I recently read, I think in Barry Zwicker's "Tower of Deception" - a detailed story supporting his claim that 9/11 was an 'inside job.' Barry is essentially a pacifist .. he believes it is possible for humans to finally live "in a world with no wars." Thus later in his book, he expanded his debate to take a look at WW2.

    Thus he stated (paraphrased): "Harry Truman didn't have to drop those two bombs on Japan in '45 ... Hirohito was ready to surrender before the bombing. He just didn't want to deal directly with the Yanks, but rather wanted to negotiate through the Soviets." [Bill: The Soviets had only recently declared war on Japan, and of course, would have LOVED to get a hand in occupying Japan post-war :eek:.]

    He stated further (again paraphrased): "And certainly, after dropping that first bomb, he didn't wait for Hirohito's response .. he just went and bombed a second time."

    Well, I was on that troop train, in the desert, on August 6, 1945, after that 1st bomb was dropped. We waited THREE days for Hirohito to surrender. What was he thinking for those 3 days after the first bomb -- that although approximately 100,000 of his citizens were fried in that Hiroshima inferno -- it was a mere nothing while he thought he could negotiate "a better deal" with the Soviets? Three days was three days more than any right-thinking human being needed to make the snap decision to call up Harry Truman and say, "OK, enough .. we quit."

    Bill
     
  12. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    24,982
    Likes Received:
    2,373
    You were right not to answer to such nonsense. You could have told him Hitler's aim was to get to India and that he would have swept over Pakistan too.....
     
  13. Billyjim

    Billyjim WWII Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    6
    SLIP

    Sounds like you're in the healthcare field. What's your racket -- doc? therapist? Technician?

    Bill
     
  14. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    24,982
    Likes Received:
    2,373
    Almost Bill, have a look at the funny little drawing behind his signature = :slipdigit:

    Easy guess :p
     
  15. Slipdigit

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

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,023
    Likes Received:
    1,905
    Location:
    Alabama
    I was a surgery nurse for 12 years, trauma for the first 4 years. Got out of it in 1998 into network admin. I am a vol FF on the side.
     
  16. Slipdigit

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

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,023
    Likes Received:
    1,905
    Location:
    Alabama
    Say it isn't so
    This is horse hockey from that author. Tojo was no longer the head of the Japanese government in Aug 1945. He had been removed after the fall of Saipan, over a year before and was not active in any aspect of government.
     
  17. Billyjim

    Billyjim WWII Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    6
    WAR AND PEACE

    This title is far from original .. been the subject of many a tome, since Tolstoy's epic 150 years ago. Time to re-visit it.

    I've done a lot of talkin' here -- sounds like I'm the classical jingoist -- warmonger -- loves to take jabs at those liberals who perpetually shoot down "the military/industrial complex" -- has it particularly in for anyone calling himself a Pacifist.

    Well, that's HALF the story. 'Cause that IS part of my agenda. But the other half of my agenda is considerably more tolerant of the left side of the aisle. So what gives here? One's EITHER a Liberal, or a Conservative, right? Well, as the saying used to go: "If you're not a liberal at 20 you have no heart, and if you're not a conservative at 40 you have no brain."
    Well, since I've been called "a perpetual teenager" -- and don't really deny it -- I'm probably a partial 'political schizophrenic' at any rate.

    Be that as it may, I would like to get serious here for a minute.

    This whole business of peace and war IS the crucial issue that mankind is facing ever more so, day by day.

    EXAMPLES:
    1. We fight in our marriages -- and more than 1/2 end up in divorce.
    2. We fight in Congress -- and the split ends us up with little progress.
    3. We fignt when it comes to election results -- each side claims criminal stuffing of the ballots.
    4. We fight in and out of the U.N.
    5. We fight 'small' wars going, seemingly forever, in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Mid-East, Asia.
    6. We fight small wars in our City Councils.
    7. We fight in our School Board meetings.
    8. I've run out of space, but not examples :rolleyes:.

    So what's going on with the human race? Well, at 82 I think I've finally figured it out. I call it "Convergence." I wrote an article on that subject during the days leading up to that non-event Y2K. Here's the essence of it:

    I subtitled it "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover". I outlined many, many trends. And all of these trends are trending worse, not better: inflation, cheapening of the dollar, healthcare system falling apart, climate is warming (or is it cooling now?), AIDS, school system falling apart, kids getting more illiterate with time, illegal immigration affecting our economic health, income going down, teenage rebellion, morality sagging, greed becoming rampant both on Main Street and Wall Street.

    Where and when will all these trends converge? Well, I'm extrapolating out to maybe four more years before we get into BIG doo-doo. That would bring us to the year 2012, give or take. (Dare I mention The Mayan Calendar predictions? Wow, Schenker's really going off the deep end now isn't he? :eek:)

    THEN what will happen? Will we end up in mass nuclear war ending civilization? Or will we all burst through the impasse and, again, take up, this time successfully, the cause of "the flower children" I ran into when I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in '66?

    Haven't figured out the details of what will happen yet .. hey, I only work here, the Guy Upstairs makes all the Big Decisions. But I do think we're in for something big down the road.

    So what to do in the meantime? Particulary if you're interested in WW2 history and adjunctive culture (like playing war games, and modeling tanks and aircraft, collecting memorabilia, discussing military strats, for example).

    I'll admit, after all, I don't really have the solid answers to those questions either. But here's a couple thoughts that float around in my cranium at present:

    1. I was too young to be in World War ONE. So I used to LOVE to play WW1 with my buddies when I was a youngster. I loved to build models of those biplanes, like the SPAD XIII, SE5a, Fokker DVII, Albatros DV, Brisfit, Nieuport 17. (Matter of fact I still do: I currently build and fly 'micro' radio control versions of them -- 13" wing span -- maybe I'll post a few pics of them later.)

    Never having lived WW1 it never has been real for me. Thus I can perpetuate a somewhat romantic attitude towards that period in history. At least to the point of exercising the proclivity of "the bigger the boys the bigger the toys" :D.

    2. I have no interest in digging into the details of WW2 battles. Why? WW2 was not a romantic time for me. Also why I have no desire to build models of Vought Corsairs, or B-17s, or P-51s.

    3. So Gentlemen (and Ladies) I salute you all -- for the fine spirit I meet in all these posts here. You're generous with your time, your ideas, and your brains, and your heart.

    GOD BLESS,

    Bill
     
  18. Billyjim

    Billyjim WWII Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    6
    CAN'T RESIST .. HAVE TO POST MY LATEST TOY, SPAD XIII, 13" WINGSPAN, FLEW IT THIS MORNING. YEAH, BOY!! :D.

    View attachment 2672

    Bill
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    24,982
    Likes Received:
    2,373
    It's getting philosophic now. You're making points Bill and I agree. War is not fun but it's sometimes necessary. In that case our aim is to survive and to pull the trigger than the other guy. Too bad his aim is exactly the same.
     
  20. Billyjim

    Billyjim WWII Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    6
    SKIP

    As Gen'l Patton said, "You don't want to be a hero and die for your country ... you want to make the poor basta*d on the other side become a hero and die for his country."

    Bill
     

Share This Page