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Stories To Tell Part 3: Cyril Jansing

Discussion in 'What Granddad did in the War' started by Smiley 2.0, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    S/Sgt. Cyril Jansing is the one who fought, according to the documents that he showed me, in the Ardennes, Germany and Central Europe. Before getting into conversation Mr. Jansing showed me a binder of all kinds of documents and mother things that he collected that are related to his service. Because he had disclosed to me that he has had some trouble remembering things, this binder helped him a lot in being able to remember different things and details during our conversation. Mr. Jansing's unit was G Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. "I was in the Army for 2 years." He told me. During his service Mr. Jansing was a BAR man. He told me that he was one of the shortest guys in his unit, and when he asked his commander, Captain Quesenberry (whom Mr. Jansing described as a very good officer), why they were picking the shortest guy to be a BAR man, Quesenberry jokingly replied that Mr. Jansing was the smallest target. They primarily made him the BAR man because he could see things that others don't due to an eye condition that I myself cannot remember how he described. He remembered how there was an incident in Europe where his unit came across a small field and at the end of this field was all this brush and trees. The officers were suspicious and he was asked what he saw because no one else could. Mr. Jansing was able to notice four Germans manning a machine gun ready to fire hiding among the brush and trees. "I was reliable because of my sight." Mr. Jansing said to me. As the BAR man he and other men would get a good laugh with replacements. When some of the men would tell the replacements that Cyril was the BAR man the replacements would get very confused. " 'You guys have a bartender in this unit?' They would ask us and we would have a good laugh about that." He said to me laughing. He remembered that it took time to get used to firing the BAR as it was hard to fire as it was a soft trigger and you had to be careful with your trigger finger As we continued to talk and look through his binder, he began remembering more details about his service. After a bridge was constructed for some tanks to cross a small river, when the tanks began crossing the Germans opened fire. He told me that the Germans were shooting high and they were shooting low as they were aiming for the head and feet. While on the side of the river where the Germans were and still under fire, Mr. Jansing was ordered to get to a position to start firing back. "I was running like hell to get the BAR there." He remembered. But every time that he would a bit, the Germans would fire at least 6 inches or closer to him as if they were playing some kind of game. When they were ordered to pull out of that position, he said that was the best thing he had heard in that moment. "The Germans had the home ground and had years to prepare." He had a good friend named Lou Feinberg who spoke good German, who was also used as a translator for German POWs. During an intense SS counterattack, Mr. Jansing remembered hearing the Germans shouting as they attacked. After the attack was repulsed, he asked Lou if he understood what the Germans were saying. According to Lou, the Germans had been shouting, "Kill those American bastards. Kill those Chicago gangsters." In his unit there were a lot of men from the South. One of these guys, whose name I cannot remember, while going through France, asked a Frenchman in French, "Parlez-vous fran├žais?" The Frenchman replied yes in French, and then the guy in his unit asked him, "Chevrolet coupe on a Jefferson Highway?" The Frenchman got confused not understanding that it was a joke. Me and Mr. Jansing had a good laugh about that. He told me a story about how on his birthday, they were staying in the residence of another Frenchman and while the other men in his unit had to share a bottle of what I think he said was cherry wine I believe, the man led Cyril out to his barn and opened a crate of hay. He sifted through it and pulled out a bottle of cherry wine (I believe that was the beverage that Cyril mentioned). Cyril asked the man if he was to share this with the men in his unit. The man having known it was Cyril's birthday, said that this was Cyril's own bottle. From what it sounds like, the French were good to him and his unit. As we continued sifting through the binder, he remembered the first time that he believed that he killed another man. There was a hillside that was hiding a German dugout that was causing a bit of trouble. He managed to maneuver his way up to this fortification. When he was able to peer inside shot rang out and bullets whizzed by his face. Instinctively he immediately began firing back inside the dugout. When he returned he was all shaken up. Captain Quesenberry asked Cyril if he got the Germans inside. When Cyril responded that he wasn't sure, Captain Quesenberry along with Cyril, ran back up to the dugout and using his Tommy gun fired 20 rounds inside. After, Captain Quesenberry said to Cyril that whoever is in there had to be dead. "He said I don't know if it was you or me who did it, but they're dead. He told me that one of the worst feelings he ever felt while in the Army was knowing that you killed another man. We continued through the binder and soon I came across the citation for his Bronze Star. He had shown me his medals and decorations that were in a shadow box hanging up on the wall. This is what was said in the citation:

    Citation:
    CYRIL, JANSING, Private First Class, Company G, 12th Infantry, for heroic achievement in connection with military operations against an enemy of the United States near Tiefenthal, Germany, 7 April 1945. When a patrol was fired on by an enemy machine gun, Private JANSING, automatic rifleman, volunteered with two other men to attempt to destroy the enemy weapon. Working his party to a position close to the enemy gun, he engaged the crew in a fierce fire fight. He saw one of the Germans about to fire on his comrades and instantly shot the weapon out of the German's hands. Charging forward, he captured the enemy soldier. The remainder of the gun crew surrendered immediately, enabling the patrol to continue. Private JANSING's quick thinking and courageous actions reflect credit upon himself and military service."
    BY COMMAND OF MAJOR GENERAL HAYS:
    FRANK C. CASTAGNETO
    Lieutenant Colonel, A.G.D.
    Adjutant General

    Discussing this patrol, he told me how when the Germans opened fire, one man who was up front, a sergeant was hit in the head but no one else was hit. That soldier would later die not long after. Mr. Jansing remembered how that man had promised him that he would get Mr. Jansing a Luger, but was killed before he could do so. Angry, Cyril wanted to kill the German who had killed the sergeant but was convinced by one of his buddies not to. "He told me 'You'll regret it.'" When a soldier raises his hands to surrender he is no longer a soldier. He is a prisoner of war he told me. When the Germans who were manning the machine gun surrendered, they immediately raised their hands. The man who was killed during this patrol also lived in Cincinnati like Mr. Jansing and didn't live too far from him. After the war, that man's mother wanted to speak with someone who was on that patrol with her son and since Cyril lived in Cincinnati he was assigned to speak with her. At her house he remembered being very nervous and was shaking as he talked with the man's mother. She noticed how nervous he was and told him that he didn't have to be nervous which helped calm him down a bit. "She said that she only had one question that she wanted me to be honest?" She asked him: "Did he suffer?" To which he gave the honest answer: "No." When the war ended, the men in his unit were gathered around outside and Captain Quesenberry said "Let's make some noise!" and all of the men fired their weapons in the air cheering. Then Captain Quesenberry got a truck that was filled with beer brought it to the men and said, "Now lets celebrate." Remembering this Mr. Jansing and I had a good laugh.
     
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  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Patron  

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    Read all of these, Dave. It's nice that you could talk to them about their service. The fact that there were binders to help the narrative along is a bonus. Looking forward to any pictures you might have.
     
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  3. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow Patron  

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    Nice job, Dave. It's so important to document the stories of these veterans.
     
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