The Tenth Mountain
by Kenneth A. MacDonald
The West Point
I enlisted in 1944. I was 26 years old, and had been practicing law for a year in Boston, following undergraduate work at Dartmouth and law school at Harvard.
The Tenth Mountain Infantry was a well-trained, fresh, and spirited Division. One had to volunteer for it, providing three letters of recommendation, and then endure a rigorous training at Camp Hale, Colorado, during the fall, winter, and spring of 1943-44. There were perhaps 14,000 men there, a large proportion being skiers, forest rangers, climbers, and guides. Perhaps 25% were college men or graduates, including many professional men: engineers, architects, writers, lawyers, doctors, musicians, historians.
We received extra rations and expensive cold-weather equipment. Conditioning was unusual: hours of calisthenics, bayonet drills, and close order drills, up in the mountains at 10,000 to 13,000 feet for most of every week (eventually 15 days at a stretch), carrying packs of over 100 pounds, much of the time on skis and entirely outdoors, in temperatures from zero down to 35 below.
Despite the rigorous entry requirements, a third of the men ended up dropping out. Perhaps five men froze to death; people frequently suffered absolute total exhaustion. But from all this, among those who made it, arose an exceptional pride, camaraderie, physical condition, and, not surprisingly, arrogance.
In June of 1944, the Tenth was sent from Camp Hale to Camp Swift at Austin, Texas, there to be converted from a light infantry division into a heavy infantry division, adding weapons companies and becoming more motorized. The five months there were used to acquaint us with the new weapons and organization and give us flat-land training, including gas drills, live-ammo exercises, night patrol work, aircraft identification, and water-conservation discipline, all done in intense heat and dust, continuing the heavy physical activity we'd known at Camp Hale.
I was a squad leader - a staff sergeant - in the Third Platoon of Company L, Third Battalion, 85th Infantry Regiment of the Tenth. Note: very roughly, there were as many as 14 men to a squad, 3 squads to a platoon, 6 platoons to a company, 4 companies to a battalion, 5 battalions to a regiment, and 3 regiments to a division; up to 15,000 men in all, more or less.
Our battalion left Camp Swift around December 23rd, heading east by train, not knowing where we were going. We arrived at Camp Patrick Henry, near Norfolk, Virginia, around the 28th. Rumors flew that we were going to Italy.
The West Point
The 85th Regiment boarded the West Point January 4th, 1945. As I watched her lines go ashore, I wondered what would happen between that moment and the next time I would see ship's lines let loose: on my return from Europe. We left Newport News with four destroyers, but almost immediately we dropped them and the West Point took off, the fastest ship then in the Merchant Marine. We were without escort until we approached Gibralter.
The crossing was quite calm. We slept in tiered bunks four high. We ate mess-style from kits and washed in steaming-hot cavalry cans. We went through chow lines, filled our mess-kits, and ate from small shelves, standing back-to-back with men eating from shelves behind us. All had life-jackets on, making it even more crowded. We wore life-jackets the entire time except when in our bunks. Each small compartment had eight bunks, with barely room for our duffle bags. Companionways were crowded with men going up or down from deck, and the small corridors below were packed. Improvised toilets were scattered throughout the ship.
Some men were seasick, having difficulty getting up to eat, and some GIs gambled the entire way. The only lights below were in stairwells and in the toilets: where light, card games went on all the time, night and day.
We had a couple of dramatic shipboard submarine drills and anti-aircraft firing exercises, but otherwise it was quiet. When we did get on deck, enlisted men were crowded into the fore or aft wells. The upper decks were uncrowded, peopled by officers from the ship's staterooms, often in the company of female Army nurses and U.S.O. girls. We weren't happy looking to the upper decks to watch the apparent joy of officers and women, perhaps snickering at us.
I got on deck early to see the coast of Africa. We went through Gibralter with an escort shortly after dawn. I have a memory of passing close to the Rock - but I think that is inaccurate, for I don't believe it's that close to the Straights.
Going across, we all figured we would have a couple of months of training in Italy, and a good chance that the war in Europe would be over. But shortly after passing Gibralter it was announced on the loudspeakers that the 86th Regiment of the Tenth had been in combat and sustained casualties. The 86th had preceded us from Camp Patrick Henry by about ten days.
Sometime on the voyage I told my six compartment mates that there was no way for us to fight infantry warfare in Europe or Japan without each of us getting hit. They all agreed that I was too pessimistic. Jim Barker, a nineteen-year-old Morman who had been with Company L from the beginning of training, said he would survive. He did not swear, drink, or smoke - he even refused Cokes. There could not be a more upright, straight, and pleasant person than he. Joe Miscovich was also in that compartment, as were Dick Blake, Charlie Wells, Harry Smith, and Norm Whitten.
Jim Barker, Joe Miscovich, and Dick Blake were killed on Mount Belvedere, Charlie Wells and Harry Smith and I were wounded. I have no recollection of what happened to Norm Whitten.
Nine days after leaving Camp Patrick Henry we landed in Naples - January 13th. The West Point berthed at the large government Marine Pier. (It still stands and is the central pier of the city's waterfront.) The previous year, the Empress of India had been bombed and sunk alongside it. All the warehouses on the pier were destroyed, and there were Bailey bridges across both the Empress and various gaps blown in the long pier. Thus we went ashore over bridges built over the top of the capsized and sunk ocean liner.
The Third Battalion assembled at the head of the pier; then, with gear and rifles, we marched perhaps three miles to the northern edge of the city. Bombed-out Naples and its poverty staggered us GI's fresh from the States. We walked along the dock road inside a ten-foot fence which separated the receiving and staging areas from the city; outside the fence was savaged Naples. We walked past block after block of bombed-out businesses, apartment buildings, hotels, and warehouses. Within buildings still standing and minus a wall, we could see people living under blankets and ponchos. At least once I saw, and others recall seeing, a 13- or 14-year-old boy, with his younger sister standing alongside him outside the fence, saying, "Suckee fuckee sister." GI's were aghast.
We thought we were en route to a camp and training center near Naples. Instead, reaching the north side of the city, the battalion boarded 5 LCIs. An LCI - Landing Craft Infantry - was about 125 to 150 feet long, with a central bridge and crew accomodations. The hold was outfitted with pipe bunks and toilets. In the stern below decks was a diesel engine-room. An LCI held one company, some 200 to 250 men, with no trucks or automotive equipment. That night, our LCI's sailed out past Ischia and Capri, then north past Sardinia, and the following day, way to the west, Corsica.
All the enlisted men of Company L bunked below, and officers were in the ship's officer quarters. The diesel fumes below were very bad. I made a place on the open stern and stayed on deck, avoiding the stench both from the fumes and the sick soldiers. I have no memory of any officer of Company L going below decks to see how their men were doing. Our officers then were Captain Gullickson and Lieutenants Kelly, Burkhardt, and Ferguson. Once I went to the officers' living area, and saw officers from Company L there eating on linen. Their food was the ship's provisions, while enlisted men ate C (from cans) or K (from cardboard packets) rations below. As a symbolic protest of that difference in treatment, I used my hands to scoop out some vegetables, potatoes and meat from the garbage which had been set out on deck near the officers' quarters.
We sailed for two nights. It was a beautiful trip (rarely equalled in later travels). From the water we watched high snow-capped mountains to the east, for hours. We sailed in clear blue water, with lots of phosphorus at night.
We left the LCI's and were trucked to a staging area, called a Replacement Depot - Repo Depot - between Pisa and Lucca. I saw the Leaning Tower as we passed through on our army trucks. We were close to Lucca and its great poplars, which Newc Eldredge said had been part of the Italian king's hunting grounds. The Repo Depot was flat and muddy. It was a waiting area, holding between 5,000 and 10,000 frightened men, frightened because it was swept by rumors of American casualties and disasters, including reports of a German sweep to the immediate north and west of us where they had in fact broken through the lines of the 92nd Infantry Division at the Serchio Valley. There was also talk of the Germans getting through to the Port of Leghorn.
We stayed four or five days, sleeping on the ground under shelter halves (two-component tents) set in formation, after receiving some added equipment, including blanket mummy-bags far inferior to our Camp Hale double down-bags. Our gas-masks were taken from us. There was a supply dump close by, an attraction for some men looking for blankets and extra jackets to supplement the poor specimens which had replaced our magnificent Camp Hale pile jackets and pile caps.
As illumination for reading at night, we put sand into a #10 can, added gasoline, tossed in a match, and read from the gas burning in the sand, which acted as a wick.
The second night there, Tech. Sergeant George Held rushed in and shouted, "Everybody up, saddle up, we're headed to the lines." This was his scary joke. We went nowhere, but some Company L men that night got away into Pisa, and one or two travelled by Army truck into Florence.
Repo depots were terrible places. Usually a repo depot was made up of thousands of men - replacements - who had just come out of basic training, or been recently transferred into the infantry, and sent overseas, and who then, as individuals, had to wait for orders to the front line to replace men in regular units who had been wounded or killed. These replacements, understandably, felt frightened and alone, beset by rumors, without the support arising from a year or more of training in an established infantry company. We in the 85th went through this depot as an intact regiment. Many of us had been together for 18 months, training, learning, and living together through the rigors of Camps Hale and Swift, and had become close friends. We had weathered deaths, injuries, and disabilities, outlasting the substantial number who had dropped out or been asked to leave because the training was so tough.
On the third day there, our officers took off for the front lines to learn where we were headed. Then they returned, and Company L left the depot the afternoon of January 19th, our fifth day in Italy. We boarded trucks for we knew not where.
In fact, we trucked from Pisa to Pescia, and that night proceeded into the hills to the northeast of Pescia. We travelled at good speed, following closely the truck ahead, with no lights except black-out slits a half-inch wide and 3 inches long. We were on dirt roads that went up and down very steep slopes. The reason for all the climbs and descents was that all bridges had been destroyed, and dozens of Bailey bridges laid at stream level, which meant endless detours from stream-bed to stream-bed.
When we arrived in Prunetta Terme just before dawn, there was snow on the ground. Lt. Burkhardt showed my squad one small room in a building, with not enough space for ten to twelve men to spread out on the floor. I refused the room as being inadequate. Lt. Burkhardt said if I didn't like the accomodations, our squad could sleep outdoors. I said we had slept in the snow all winter, and that we would do it again, and I took the squad outside to find a place to bed down.
We left the building, walking down the town's only street, and I knocked on a door. A woman answered and I said that we wanted the house - fortunately, I had done some Italian phrase-book study coming over on the West Point. She said that her mother lived there, and I said that she and her mother could move into one room. We took over the house, which had three floors. On the back lower side of it was an earth-floor kitchen with an open fire and a raised oven.
We stayed there about a week, and the kitchen became headquarters for the Third Platoon. The woman, Adrianna Ducsheschi, was Polish, and it turned out that Prunetta was a town made up entirely of Poles. Adrianna was a peasant, whose fiance had been killed in Ethiopia. She owned the house and owned or rented a small field a short way from town. She and I would go out there, dig potatoes, and collect chestnuts off the ground, from which she made a mix for baking. She got to know everybody billeted in her house. She spoke a few German words with Chuck Weiss, and some Italian with me. Thus I became the unofficial Company interpreter.
The Company L mess was set up in the back yard of the Prunetta Catholic church. Each of the men billeted in Adrianna's house, and various other soldiers too, got seconds in their mess-kits and brought the food to her house, and from there she fed some of the villagers. The church chow-line was off-limits to Italians, but children a short distance away begged for food from us while we were in line. One Company L man, who two years before was the first to have dog-sledded along the proposed route of the Alcan Highway, a land-surveyor and father of three, could not stand the children begging, had a breakdown, and left the Company.
Early on at Prunetta, I had a confrontation with the Third Battalion Commander, Colonel Shelor, for Company L men were eating K and C rations, while within our sight in the churchyard Battalion officers, including those from Company L, had butter, canned fruit, and real eggs at their separate mess. I protested the difference in treatment between officers and men, and the fact that no adequate living quarters were ready for my men at Prunetta, and I pointed out the differences in treatment between officers and men on the West Point and the LCI. My point was that officers had to take care of their men first, then attend to their own needs, not the other way around, and that what we had seen was no way to handle men about to go into combat.
On January 27th Company L moved out to Cutigliano. The Third Platoon left Adrianna about $50 in American money, several army raincoats, a couple of army blankets, and much food. She and we shed tears when we left her house.
We arrived in Cutigliano that night, relieving the Second Battalion of the 86th. Company headquarters was set up in the middle of town, with each platoon occupying a forward farmhouse on the outskirts, in a valley with steep slopes on all sides. We could hear firing, but we knew only that we were on the line. With daybreak we could see the town's very short single street and the few outlying houses we were occupying, and get a vague idea of the locations of I and K companies. (The Third Battalion consisted of rifle Companies I, K, and L, and heavy weapons Company M.)
The second night in Cutigliano a reinforced platoon of men from all three rifle companies went out to scout Monte La Sperra, with orders to seek out the enemy, make an attack, and bring back prisoners. This patrol resulted in the deaths of Charlie Wolcott of L Company and Sgt. Broderick of I Company, and the taking of John Salz of L Company as a prisoner of war. Of the 22-man patrol, at least two were killed, four wounded, and several taken prisoner. L Company lost 5. A sobering first day of combat.
Charlie Wolcott was about 20, a fine fine person, a gifted skier, a New Hampshire resident who had been with Company L for two years in a light weapons platoon. Sgt. Broderick was a handsome man, a big strapping person about 21, and very well-liked. (Upon capture, John Salz was threatened with death as a Jew, but escaped, and late in the War rejoined Company L.)
The next day a group of medics went to Monte La Sperra to try to recover the dead and wounded. They were fired on by Germans and never did recover the bodies. The rest of us had only one very slight contact from an attacking German patrol during our week at Cutigliano. We were edgy, there were Germans on the heights above us, we were new to combat night watches, and we were quite aware that a Company L man had died.
We heard rumors of an upcoming effort to attack the Germans who had killed and wounded the reinforced platoon members and then repulsed the medics. The rumor immediately became fact. There was to be a raid behind German lines by another reinforced patrol composed of members of I, K, and L Companies.
February 3rd, about ten men, including myself, were selected from L Company to join the raid, and that afternoon we were briefed on what was to happen: we were to climb that night to a height directly above Cutigliano, and attack towards Pianosinatico (to the north-west) at dawn. We were warned not to be frightened by the noise of our artillery opening up - never would we have heard such noise. We were to go into Pianosinatico, take some prisoners, and withdraw, accompanied by Partisans who knew the area. Our group, of almost company strength, was to be under the command of Captain Cooper of K Company, a prim and precise man who had been around the Battalion a long time.
We left Cutigliano about 9:00 p.m. and climbed a very steep slope all night, partly in snow, and with some rock scrambling, and reached the top before dawn. We could look directly back down into Cutigliano, and had a telephone connection with Colonel Shelor there, for some in the group had strung wire all the way up.
Mickey McGuire had the duty of carrying a bazooka (someone else carried the 5 or 6 shells for it), but couldn't handle it the whole way to the top, so I carried it part of the time, giving him my rifle in exchange.
When dawn came, about fifteen of us were lying in deep snow on the heights above Cutigliano. Complete silence. Not a shell, not a mortar round going out, nor the sound of a single rifle. We kept asking about our artillery. After a while, some of our people started firing into the valley beneath us to the north. For some reason, two or three of our patrol had new rifles which had not been zeroed-in, so, with no action, they started firing in an attempt to do so.
We waited on top a good hour and a half past sunrise, and still nothing happened. Guys were hollering after Captain Cooper to get something moving. We saw some people moving about at two farm buildings to our lower right. Mickey McGuire took aim with his bazooka and put a shell right onto a roof - no explosion, it just bounced off.
Still quiet. Suddenly, a German 88 came in. I have always recalled it as sounding like a railroad car turning over in the air as it came toward us. It landed 30 yards to our left on the ridge, and blew up. Two minutes later, the next one came in about 40 yards to our right: we had been "bracketed," and I yelled to Cooper to get us the hell out of there. He was talking to Shelor on the phone, so I yelled to the 10 people nearest me, "Let's get out of here, I'm leaving, Cooper or no Cooper."
Some of the others and I slid over the far north edge of the ridge, down in the snow on our stomachs. I was later told that the next 88 came in right on the patrol command post, but did not explode, though it knocked Cooper and several others down their side of the ridge.
We were rolling down the slope when a Partisan pointed out a couple of people near the farm house at which Mickey had fired the bazooka, saying to me, "Tedischi" (Germans). I fired my rifle at them, rolled back to take another shot, and saw that I had no front sight. The barrel had blown apart a good 2 1/2 inches, right down to the chamber. During our long wait it had filled with snow, which had frozen it, and the firing had blown it apart. I never felt the explosion. All during training we had had to clean rifles every day, no matter what other duty we had, because, we were told, a dirty or jammed barrel might do just what mine did, blow up - and kill the rifleman. Not so in my case.
We continued down to the houses. I arrived there to hear a sergeant tell another man, "I'll cover you," as the man advanced toward the buildings. The two men were from K Company, and in one of the houses was a squad of men from I Company! Not a German did I see. We all then said the hell with it, turned back and glissaded in the snow down the long sloping ridge towards Cutigliano, I with my useless rifle.
We learned from I Company men that one of them had lost a thumb in our "attack". We returned to Cutigliano disorganized, talking and laughing. Company L men came out to meet us and asked what had happened, for they'd heard lots of firing. I remember laughing with Ralph Hebel, and saying what a complete foul-up it had been: we hadn't seen a German, patrol members had shot one another, and we had received no fire support.
The next day, Company L was trucked back to Prunetta, arriving in the middle of the night. We had lost one man (whose name I can't now remember) from our squad, killed on the patrol where Charlie Wolcott died. Adrianna was very upset over his failure to return.
Once again the squad took over quarters in her house. I found a spot on the floor under the eaves in the attic. At one point, Adrianna came up the stairs saying, "Beve, beve," (Drink, drink) and gave me a raw egg to drink. I drank - it had a double yolk! There could have been no higher compliment from Adrianna than giving me a fresh egg. (Sid Simon reports waking from a deep slumber, around this time, to find Adrianna's mother stroking his face and crooning, "Bambino soldato," tears in her eyes.)
On returning to Prunetta I wanted the luxury of a barber shave, for I hadn't shaved in at least four days. So I went to the town's barber shop and was shaved by the town barber - with a dull razor and only luke-warm water. He hacked and hacked away at my growth, perhaps the most pain I had in the war.
We spent the next four or five days doing lots of marching, calisthenics, compass and map work, weapons firing, checking and inspecting equipment, getting supplied with C and K rations, and water-proofing our boots. We had USO movies and visits from Red Cross doughnut girls, including Deborah Bankhart from New Hampshire, who was later to marry a man from the 10th. A can-can movie was shown in the Catholic church. Villagers sneaked in to see it, the first movie they'd ever seen, and the village priest shooed them right back out again.
I did a lot of conditioning, walking at speed several miles along the road above the town, a couple of times.
My squad and I received an order from Captain Gullickson to clean up all the feces in the street and alleys. Outhouses were rare in Prunetta. GIs had latrines dug into the church-yard, but villagers for the most part used the streets. The primary reason for the clean-up was to protect the health of American soldiers.
Around February 15th we learned that the Third Battalion of the 85th had been assigned to lead the Tenth Mountain Division attack on Mt. Belvedere. It was rumored that Colonel Shelor was so put out by the Cutigliano fiasco, and so confident in the Third Battalion, that he volunteered to show its skills and strengths by having us lead the assault.
Major General George Hays, Division Commander, came and told us about the Division's assignment to take Belvedere and break the Gothic Line. He said that two American divisions had earlier attempted it and been driven off the mountain. The Third Battalion of the 85th was going to lead the assault directly up the mountain from the south, and Company L, in two (single-file) columns, was to lead the Battalion. Thus Company L was to lead the entire Division up Mt. Belvedere.
Captain Gullickson, our CO, told us the details for Company L. We were to cross the Line of Departure at 11:00 p.m. two nights later. Our only weapons were to be hand grenades and fixed bayonets. No bullets were to be in our rifle chambers and we were not to fire our rifles. The only way to identify a German was by rifle fire - if a rifle was fired, that would be a German.
The Line of Departure for Belvedere was close to Querciola, east of Rocca Corneta. The terrain had not been scouted. Leading one column, 75 yards out ahead, was to be Chuck Weiss; leading the second, parallel column, also 75 yards out, was to be Larry Kohler. Both Chuck and Larry spoke German.
Chuck was 18 or 19 years old, a refugee from Munich where his father had been in the heavy construction business. (Chuck would go all the way to Austria without injury, perhaps one of three or four in Company L who were not wounded.) Larry was a tall, thin, very pleasant young man, the son of an eminent Harvard art historian. They both were unusually sensitive and intelligent men, and fine, fine soldiers. The 85th regimental motto had by now become "Sempre Avanti", and Larry Kohler carved it into the stock of his carbine. As will be seen, Larry was killed on Hill 913 while on patrol at Pra del Bianco the first week of April, the same spot where I was hit less than a week later. (In August of 1945 I met a man at Lake Placid who had left the Division prior to our departure for Italy. In conversation he told me how "Jews couldn't fight." I told him about his former Company L compatriots Chuck Weiss and Larry Kohler. It was not until decades later that I learned that Larry was actually Lutheran.)
As for the proposed mission, these two were each to proceed forward and at the first German bunker, speaking German, say he was lost and ask permission to get through the lines, the idea being to alert the men in the column behind them to the location of the first German defenders.
Late in the afternoon on February 17th, Company L left Prunetta by truck, again a long wild ride in the dark on mountain roads. We disembarked and started walking on a small road, which presently turned into a trail through snow and mud. Scary, dark, and cold, all of us were fearful for what the next day would bring. Sometimes, en route, not 50 feet away in the dark a 120 mm cannon would go off with a roar and a flash. Some men were petrified and could hardly move ahead. It meant cajoling, comforting, pushing, swearing, anything to keep the column moving in the dark.
Before dawn we arrived at the assembly area. Everyone was ordered to dig a slit trench - more shallow and narrow than a foxhole - and make himself comfortable in it for that day. We were now directly to the south of Mt. Belvedere, and could look up its slopes.
"Powder Puff" is the only password I can remember from the war, the one used the night of the Belvedere attack. I think I remember, or perhaps it was told to me later, that the Germans dropped propaganda mortars into our area, with written messages telling us the time of departure for the attack that night, and giving the password, "Powder Puff".
Mt. Belvedere was not very high, 4,000 feet or so, but snow-covered. (In October of 1980, I had a clear view of Mt. Monadnock from Peterborough, New Hampshire, very suggestive of Belvedere in mass and scale, and similar too in its steep upper slopes.) It oversaw Highway 64, the Pistoia-Vergato-Bologna road, a main north-south route, and also controlled a view of a portion of the Bologna-to-Florence railroad. Mts. Belvedere, Gorgolesco, and Della Torraccia were the highest terrain in the Northern Apennines. North from these mountains the land sloped gradually down and away to the Po Valley. These three peaks were the base of the German Gothic Line established in the late summer of '44 after the Allied advance, and held out for more than four months before being taken by the Tenth.
At 11:00 p.m. we crossed the Line of Departure and went straight up the south slope, heading up towards a ridge to the east. I Company was circling further to the east and north of the peak and the First Batallion was even further east, between Belvedere and Mt. Gorgolesco. K Company was in reserve of L Company.
We started up the mountain with fixed bayonets, and we each carried bandoliers of armor-piercing M-1 ammo, six or eight hand grenades, and a fairly light pack with C or K rations and a blanket (though by this time, Elinor had mailed me a lightweight Appalachian Mountain Club bag, to replace the Army blanket mummy bag issued at the repo depot).
We had probably twelve searchlights at our backs, directed up the mountain to blind the defenders. They reflected off low clouds to throw some light onto the unscouted, so completely unfamiliar, terrain ahead.
Chuck Weiss was at the head of my column. I think that Sid Simon and Norm Whitten were lead scouts, followed by my squad, two other squads from the Third Platoon, and one other platoon behind. Larry Kohler was at the head of the other column.
We'd been moving about an hour when flares went off and heavy mortar fire came in, hitting in the column behind us. Harry Smith was hit in this column, either from a mine, a mortar, or possibly a machine gun, and paralyzed from the neck down. (He later recovered, eventually to become a Seattle longshoreman and extensive traveller and skier.)
(John Colliton was in this column also. He recalls the column being stopped by machine gun fire, flares, and heavy mortar fire. He remembers the brightness of the flares, the soldiers frozen into position. With the mortar fire, men spread in all directions, some prostrate on the ground, some trying to dig in but getting nowhere because the earth was frozen solid. He collected four or five men and asked them to wait in a slightly protected area under a small ridge while he went looking for others, but he was hit in the arm, legs, and shoulder by mortar fire.
He found himself lying in a nest of trip-wires attached to cans and to a tree. There were so many wires he didn't see how he could get out without setting off a mine. But he spotted a couple of strands of barbed wire slightly downhill from where he lay, so he got up, took a step and dove over them. On the ground he couldn't do anything about his wounds, he couldn't get his back-pack off to get at his sulfa-pack, and the water in his canteen was ice. He was found the next day and evacuated. When he returned to the Division at the end of the war, close to the Austrian border, he found the few Company L survivors spaced out, exhausted, practically zombies.)
The head of the column moved slowly up the ridge, and then stopped, and word came down that a machine gun was holding us up and that Joe Miscovich had been hit. I dropped off the ridge to my left and crawled up a small cul-de-sac or depression. I heard and felt a bullet pass by my head within - one inch? Six inches? I could feel its breaking air, and it seemed right next to my helmet.
I assumed the Germans had seen me. I crept forward, but nothing happened. I was astonished after about three minutes of further crawling to hear men talking. I had only an approximate idea of where they were. I pulled the pin on a grenade; this caused a pop (there is no flash), and then I threw the grenade into the area where I guessed the men were. I threw a second grenade. No word from where the men had seemed to be.
I crawled the few feet to the top of the ridge, saw Joe Miscovich's body, hollered to Lt. Kelly (a West Pointer) to get his silhouette off the skyline, and the column moved ahead.
After perhaps another half-hour we received some burp gun fire off to our left. The slope was quite steep, but we had some light from the searchlights. I crawled up under the area where the gun had been firing. Again, I didn't know its exact location. I threw two grenades in the direction of where I thought it was.
The column moved up again. It was just beginning to get light and we could see that we were very close to the summit. Before arriving at the base of the final steep rise, we crawled or crept by an abandoned American tank, on the uphill side of which we passed under a wire. There was about four inches of snow on the ground.
We had achieved the base of that last short but very steep incline when a machine gun started to fire on us from some distance to our left, down from the summit at about the same level as us. It was getting a little lighter and I was with Charlie Wells, Sid Simon and Dick Blake. A soldier came crawling toward us from the north side of the peak. I hollered "Powder" at him. He didn't answer and I told Charlie to "shoot the son of a bitch." Charlie did, and the now-wounded man hollered that he was from I Company. It was then that I saw the German machine gun, some 65 feet away to our left.
I now believe that the German machine gun crew was simply moving up the mountain ahead of L Company. Each time we came within grenade-throwing distance, the crew moved. I think this was the same gun which I had twice come close to earlier that night.
Company L caught endless artillery and mortar fire on this last steep slope. We had perhaps 35 men; we tried to dig into the frozen ground with no luck. The machine gun to the west was still firing.
We were only 100 feet or so from what appeared to be the top of the mountain, on a path running around the apparent base of the peak, and which intersected with another path which appeared to go straight up the south side to the summit, perhaps 75 feet higher than us. I stood, and started up, to get out of the mortar fire landing on the slope, and cut across the angle formed by the two paths rather than following along to the intersection. Dick Blake was standing at that junction when he got hit by a shell which blew off his legs, and he fell beside me.
I kept going straight up the path. About 35 feet up the slope, some 55 feet from the top, I ran across Sid Simon and found him with his pile jacket torn to pieces by a bullet or shrapnel. I did not know then that he had been hit, but could see he was frightened. I told him to lie down and to roll down the incline to get away from the machine gun fire, and he did that.
I was flat on the ground to avoid the machine gun, and started crawling upwards. By then I was perhaps 150 feet from the gun and 35 feet higher on the mountain than it was. I could see flashes from its barrel. I believed it was certain that this gunner would hit me, so I found a rock and put it between my head and him, seeking to protect my head from that certainty.
Just about then a body fell or crawled on top of me. I asked where he was from, meaning what company or platoon. He said he was from Texas. I shouted every swear word I knew at him, telling him to move up the mountain, or roll down the mountain, but to get off me, for both he and I were immobilized.
To his great credit he started up the mountain; he moved his knee up and forward; he crawled a couple of feet until his knees were about even with my head. Then he got hit and rolled down onto me once more. I literally heard his death rattle, and he died on top of me.
I was pinned down under this dead man when another stranger crawled up beside me on my left, and I heard his helmet get hit. I asked him where he got hit, and he told me, "Right through the head."
It made no sense for me to stay there. I backed a bit down the slope, out from under the dead man, removed my pack and my remaining grenades, and I stood up with only my rifle and bandoliers of ammunition and sprinted the remaining 50 feet and jumped over a German earthworks and fell on the flat next to a granite monument at the top.
I moved a little, and looked into the earthworks on the south edge of the summit, and there was Joe Dietz at the bottom. He said he had been shot through both legs.
It was just sunrise. We had five or six Army/Air Force P-47's dropping bombs around the mountain; seemingly hundreds of German mortars and artillery were coming in, but not one landed on the long and narrow summit platform. All hit on the slopes just below.
I crawled forward fifteen or twenty feet to a mound ahead and to the north of the granite monument, peeked over, and saw about ten men at the far end of the summit about 150 feet away. I believed them to be Company I men who had been assigned the duty of encircling the north side of Belvedere. But then I saw German potato-masher grenades being thrown out of the earthworks, lobbed off to the east and down over the edge, and so I knew that these were Germans, not I Company.
Then one of the Germans and I exchanged perhaps ten shots: his head and mine would intermittently rise and fall back, up again, fire, drop down, up again, and we would exchange shots. Neither of us hit the other. Once he and I fired at exactly the same time, and I thought that the kick of my rifle meant that I had been hit. Neither of us presented much of a target to the other, for neither of our heads, shoulders, or rifles got more than six inches off the ground.
There was a second and slightly higher mound further along the summit, another fifteen yards north. I got up and ran forward and slid into the south side of this mound. I looked down beside it, and there on the west side of the summit was another big German breastwork hole with Americans in it. The Germans were knocking dirt down onto them and onto me by firing rifles or machine guns at the top of the mound. In the hole were Captain Gullickson and, from I Company, Captain Butch Luther. Both captains had big radios with them. Also in the hole were Privates Robert Davis and Gary Mancuso, both of L Company.
I hollered and screamed at them to get off their asses and to get moving, and then ran back to the first mound, the one by the granite monument, crawled back to the south edge of the summit, and from there looked down over the edge of Mt. Belvedere.
During training, at Camps Hale and Swift, whenever I could get to the library in the Service Club, I would read in Infantry Journal details of combat on Guadalcanal, the Kwajaleins, Tarawa, North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, specifically in order to prepare for what might be ahead. Now, those readings helped me to retain my sanity, for there was hardly one L Company person alive - perhaps twenty dead bodies, including that of Jim Barker (my straight-arrow compartment-mate on the voyage over), dead in an upright position, in sort of a quarter-crouch, as though he had been trying to hit the ground.
Nobody was functioning in our area. Almost everyone had been killed or wounded. I returned to shooting at the men on the far side of Belvedere. The man who had been shooting at me was no longer there. A German soldier climbed a ladder out of the bunker at the other end of the summit and I shot him. (I later learned that the armor-piercing bullet which I had used went right through him, didn't hit his spinal cord, didn't tear his body to pieces. He was evacuated later that morning.)
Once again I got up and ran to the forward breastwork hole and asked why those guys weren't doing something. Somebody answered that they were all wounded or dead. As I looked into the hole, the Germans were still putting dirt into it and over me with rifle and machine gun fire. In the hole all hell had happened.
Captain Luther (all-American fullback at Nebraska, winner over Stanford at the '38 Rose Bowl) had stood up in that hole and pulled the pin on a grenade to throw down on the machine gun which had been firing at us. The gun was out of his range, but his anger at being pinned down while atop the mountain must have prompted him to try. He got a bullet right through the forehead and fell dead into the hole with the unthrown grenade, which then exploded, injuring all the others.
I ran back to the granite monument and again looked over the back side at the devastation of Company L, and saw some M Company men coming up the same slope, but slightly to the west of where L Company had ascended. Lt. Bill Collins was among them, and I hollered to him for some mortar fire on the far end of the summit, trying to give him some idea of the distance, for he was a good 65 feet below me. He and Peter Ersdale were setting up an 81 mm mortar when a shell came in, killing Peter and seriously injuring Bill.
By now it was around 8 a.m. Mortar fire was beginning to abate and relentless American air bombing of Germans was falling on adjoining Mt. Gorgolesco. The summit of Belvedere was quiet, and I said, "The hell with it." I got some medics to come look at Joe Dietz, and dropped back down onto the south slope where I'd come up. I got my pack out from under the man who had died on top of me, and looked at the body of the man who had been on my left and shot through the head. His eyes were still open.
I found two or three men of my squad, looked for others, went to where Joe Miscovich lay dead without a mark on his body. Joe was an iron miner in the Mesabi Range from Hibbing, Minnesota. Just about the strongest man I ever saw, and a superior person and soldier.
About thirty minutes later, I saw a Company L officer walking down Belvedere, .45 revolver in hand, with about eight Germans in front of him. I don't know who flushed the eight Germans off the north end of the mountain, probably the other L Company platoon that had worked around to the east and gone up the northeast slope.
Sid Simon, remembering the attack, recalls being pinned down close to the summit, and his close friend Gene Rosenberry saying, "A guy can get killed up here." He remembers working his way toward the top of Belvedere when there was a flash to his left and a bullet tore into his pile jacket, grazing his elbow. He thinks that he then got into a shell hole and went to sleep. He woke to find several bodies stacked up near him, including one with his eyes open. He remembers my being there, along with a lieutenant and some medics, and he recalls several German prisoners starting down the mountain, and my telling him he looked in bad shape and to get down the slope.
I remember someone cutting Sid's jacket open to put a wrapping on the elbow. When his jacket was taken off him, there was a grenade in the pocket, marked by where a bullet had bounced off it. Sid was the least wounded, so he assisted some others to the Battalion Aid Station, where he was treated and told to go down. On the way, he saw two badly wounded and yelling Germans. He believes these men had been shot while they were prisoners.
At this time, Sid Simon was nineteen years old, having just completed his freshman year at NYU. His parents were Russian. His grandfather had been dragooned into the Russian Army, but deserted, traveling instead with his family by cart out of Russia. Sid was evacuated for recovery to Montecattini, along with his torn pile jacket. There, as a wounded combat infantryman, he was quite a hero.
In mid-afternoon, the remnants of L Company, perhaps 65 of us, assembled just below and fifty feet east of the summit, and checked our losses. We assumed that we would go down the mountain, and that some unit would relieve us. Instead, we turned north, passing between Belvedere and Mt. Gorgolesco to the east, which had by then been taken by the First Battalion of the 85th.
During a pause, I was made platoon sergeant, and Ken Eggleston was transferred from M Company to L Company as its CO. Ralph Hebel came up the slope and was put in my charge pending court-martial charges, apparently for telling some of his men to turn around, in the face of General Hays' specific orders. It was strange for me to be in charge of Ralph. We handled it well, and travelled together in combat for about ten days. He was a Rutgers graduate, six foot three, an unusually gregarious, pleasant, and very humorous man. (He was never court-martialled. Ralph went all the way, and was president of the 85th Non-Com Club near the Austrian border.)
As we descended the top of Belvedere to swing north, we had a view of where we had been the night before, and could see where we had crawled through a mine field, though no mine went off, probably because of the frozen ground.
We were following the First Battalion of the 85th toward Mt. Della Torraccia. We found several of their bodies in the woods just north of Mt. Gorgolesco, including that of Roger Herrick, Dartmouth Class of '41, a friend of mine.
We were pursuing Germans so closely that there was still food on the tables in some of the underground bunkers we passed.
That night, Companies L and I, with very few men left and no replacements, set up defensive positions on the west slope of a ridge leading north. Company K was to our left, on Gorgolesco. The First Battalion was out front, trying to take Della Torraccia. Late in the night, the first American tanks arrived on the ridge.
The next day, February 21st, the Second Battalion of the 85th passed through the First and continued the attack, at heavy cost. We heard rumors of their difficulties. By February 24th, when it was relieved by the Third Battalion of the 86th, the Second Battalion of the 85th had been almost destroyed. Later that day, the Third captured Mt. Della Torraccia. The following day, Company L passed through the forward lines to a ridge running north from the mountain, and held that position three days. We sent out one patrol in that time.
Della Torraccia and its forward slope to the north was tough to view. Everywhere were abandoned rifles, mummy bags, clothes, boots, C and K rations and many dead. Among others, there were three German bodies about 45 feet apart. They had no helmets (German soldiers didn't like their steel helmets. I never saw a German soldier with a helmet). Each had been caught by our artillery. These bodies were in my platoon area, as were the bodies of Torge Tokle and Arthur Torkola of the 86th. Torge Tokle was the legendary American ski-jumper.
Torge and Arthur had been advancing along this north forward slope when they were hit by American artillery fire. Arthur had been carrying mortar or bazooka shells: his body was blown to pieces; it was simply a torso, with one leg attached by a tendon. Torge had a very deep gash across his back. The German and American bodies remained there for three days, and at various times during that period, curious soldiers came by to view the carnage.
By this point, Company L had some replacements, including Lt. Hawkins from Salt Lake City, six foot five, who became my platoon leader. Dug in at the top of the ridge were Ralph Hebel and myself, and Lt. Hawkins. Other soldiers were dug in a little ways down off the ridge, including a PFC Preston, the orderly for Lt. Hawkins. On the first two mornings there, Lt. Hawkins asked Preston to brew up some K rations for breakfast and carry them up the slope for him. The morning of the second day, I told Lt. Hawkins that Preston was a soldier, not a servant, and asked that Hawkins get his own breakfast.
For two days Blackie Morris, without authority and on his own, went further to the north and west and scavenged some German bodies. He returned boasting and showing money and valuables he had taken from dead Germans. On his second trip back to our lines, angered by his boasting, I picked up Arthur Torkola's scalp and jaw, took them to Blackie, and said if he was so anxious to get souvenirs from the dead he could have this scalp and jaw.
On the night of the third day there, Ken Eggleston ordered my platoon to get the German and American bodies down to the Battalion Aid Station. Before moving one of the German bodies, I found his billfold; in it was a picture of him and his girl or wife sitting at a dining table with two lit candles, beneath a big photo of Hitler. What an end for him! Dead, and I moving his body onto a shelter half to be carried away.
Before attempting to dispose of the American bodies, I asked Chuck Weiss to help. Then I asked Ed Dunn, Supply Sergeant for M Company, in a house way down the slope, for five shelter halves and a hay basket. He got them for us, and we loaded the three Germans and Torge Tokle onto shelter halves. My request for a hay basket was partly sick humor, because I needed to engage in such silliness to avoid a mental breakdown caused by what Chuck Weiss and I had to go through in picking up the scattered pieces of Arthur Torkola's body. We had always heard of "basket cases", and it was a fear all of us carried.
We put Torkola's body onto a shelter half. With an entrenching tool I cut through the tendon that attached his left leg to his body. Chuck and I picked up his arms and his other leg, all separated from his body. Other scattered parts we placed in the basket, and with help from the platoon we carried the basket and shelter halves down the slope to the Battalion Aid Station.
That same day, a German soldier was spotted coming towards us from the north, carrying a suitcase, dressed in an Army uniform, soft hat, and big overcoat; he walked in and surrendered.
During much of those three days Ralph Hebel and I shared a large foxhole on the east side of the forward slope of Della Torraccia, alternating on night watches. A delightful and funny man.
Later on the day we moved the bodies, Company L was relieved, and we dropped back over the ridge to a rest area looking down toward Gaggio Montano, out of range of German artillery. Because Lt. Hawkins drew the PX assignment, I asked platoon members to help me dig his slit trench. We built a monster of a trench - for he was very big - getting straw from a stone house and barn close by. When Lt. Hawkins finished the PX work (distributing to the company beer, doughnuts, candy bars, extra fruit bars and chocolate bars from K rations, and cereal and crackers from C rations) the trench was ready for him.
As a PX allotment, each officer received a bottle of hard liquor. Lt. Hawkins brought his bottle to the slit trench, the platoon gathered, and he twice passed the bottle around, he having the last swig each time. It was a moment of intense camaraderie. The lieutenant had been in Italy longer than we had, but he had been attending training schools and hadn't been in combat. His short duty on the north slope, our fixing his slit trench, and his taking on the PX detail on our one day of rest made for a quick closeness between the platoon and him. Before Company L moved to Mt. Terminale, "Hawk" was assigned to another non-combat duty, and we didn't see him again until April 12th.
On the night of March 1st, Company L relieved a Brazilian unit, I believe about two miles south of Mt. Terminale. We walked to the area, going in without communication with the Brazilians, so we couldn't tell whether we were directly on the front line or in reserve. When we relieved them, they moved a short distance to the rear, where they talked, smoked, and had a couple of small fires. Since we didn't know where the line was, we worried about a counterattack and exposure to German artillery or mortar fire because of the noise just behind us. But nothing happened.
I took over a sizeable foxhole from two Brazilians. In the dark, I believed there was a bush or two out there in front of me. After an hour or so, I believed those bushes to be Germans. I got set to fire my M-1, but then went back to the belief that they were bushes. Twice more during the night I went through the same process, convinced the bushes were Germans, got ready to fire, then reconsidered and didn't shoot. The next morning I could see that they were, in fact, two bushes.
On March 2nd, Company L again moved north and dug in new positions. After dark, we learned that we would be attacking the next morning. During the night, some replacements came up. Two who had been assigned to my platoon were killed by a tree-burst on their way in. One man came up with no rifle and another arrived with his rifle not zeroed-in.
My recollection is that Ernest Curtis came up that night. He and two others, in the course of one day, went from the Repo Depot to us on the line, arriving after dark to learn that there would be an attack first thing the next morning. What a situation for a replacement! In fact, we didn't move out until the second day after they arrived.
March 3rd, a regiment of the Tenth attacked Mt. Terminale, south of Castel d'Aiano, and on March 5th the Third Battalion of the 85th was ordered forward to the Division's left flank to hold Hill 920 against any counterattack. We arrived on the back side of Hill 920 following the taking of Terminale, and again found the battle area to be a horror. The area had been taken by C Company of the 85th and by one platoon of D Company, exposed to almost continuous German artillery fire. Again we saw innumerable shell holes, huge stocks of destroyed and abandoned American and German equipment, abandoned rifles, grenades, ammo, clothes, blankets, K and C rations, mortar shells, and shoes. And many dead Americans. I took from one of them his very large field glasses. He had been dead for at least a day, his body lying downhill, and his face a deep purple from the blood having drained to his head.
Our platoon lieutenant ordered us to dig in on the reverse slope of 920. At almost that exact time, Major General Hays happened by. I expressed to the general my objections to the lieutenant ordering us to dig in there. We were supposed to be there to resist a counterattack. If we dug in on the reverse slope, Germans could come over the summit of the hill above us and we would be dead ducks below them in our holes. General Hays agreed. He relieved our lieutenant on the spot, ordered us over the summit, and directed that we dig in on its forward slope.
Orders came shortly thereafter from Captain Ken Eggleston for the platoon to dig a two-man machine gun position on the west slope of Terminale in anticipation of an attack up a draw that very night. I have no idea where we found a case of beer, several big shovels, and two picks. About ten of us dug all afternoon. We knew the Germans were not over 300 yards away down the draw. We had air cover and our mortars could fire on them, so they couldn't fire on us during the day, but we knew we were going to catch it from the Germans that night. They could see us digging, and would be setting mortars or artillery onto our position.
In shifts, the Third Platoon dug a hole six feet deep by six feet wide. We fetched some tree blow-downs and built a roof, then covered it with two feet of dirt. We also made a small back entrance to the position. Never have I seen men work so hard and steadily - our lives depended on it. We finished just before dark, and assigned from among the platoon two-hour watches for the night - two men at a time to go into the position from their individual foxholes on top. We had no wire or other communication, so men were to show up at assigned times.
Private Anderson, a replacement, and I had the watch from 10 to 12 p.m. Up until that watch there had been a little German artillery but it was fairly quiet. Shortly into our watch there was a massive American artillery response from behind us, our American shells just clearing the Mt. Terminale crest, and crashing down into the draw below. Terminale now also came under heavy German artillery fire.
Private Anderson and I didn't get out of the bunker until dawn. For the balance of the night, and swelling at times into intense crescendos, he and I had shell after shell hit around us. We could feel the heat from some of the blasts, and we could hear the metal breaking away from the shells. Only once in a while did we man the machine gun and look down into the draw to check on any counterattack. We did not see any Germans, and were told the next day that American artillery had stopped the advance up the draw.
The artillery and mortar fire was so intense that Anderson and I buried our helmeted heads into a corner of the dugout. After a series of blasts we each would inquire of the other if he was still there, for it didn't seem that we could survive, given the closeness of the hits.
I had written a letter to Elinor on the afternoon of our PX day near Gaggio Montano. I believed it certain that I would be taken prisoner, and so while crouched in the corner I took the letter from my shirt pocket, tore it into very small pieces, and buried the pieces in the dirt in my corner of the dugout. No relief was able to get to us that night.
We came out in the morning. There were shell and mortar holes all around the position. We had left a metal box for machine gun ammo on the roof of the dugout; it was now riddled with shrapnel. The afternoon of digging, the platoon had dug into a slight protuberance out from the forward slope. There was a similar protuberance about 30 yards to our left. By morning it had disappeared - nothing but a huge hole. The Germans had zeroed in on the wrong nob of land, and now nothing was left of it.
We also noted that morning that what we had thought the afternoon before to be a German shelter was in reality a stock of some 75 88mm shells, stored not fifty feet away from where we had dug in.
Company L again went into reserve, at first for two days at Campidello, south of Lower Canolle. Around March 9th, we left Lower Canolle for a long truck ride back to Prunetta, and after two days there, we left for Montecatini Alto for four days of rest and recreation. This town had been Mussolini's summer residence, and was famous for its mineral water and warm health baths. Here also, Sid Simon rejoined us.
What a carnival at Montecatini: portable hot showers, booze for those who wanted it, USO entertainment, hotel rooms, lolling in the warm Roman Baths! One of our company, always a promoter, set up a prostitution opportunity. There, lined up in a hotel corridor, were many Company L members seeking the favors of two Italian women.
We returned to Prunetta for one more day, then boarded trucks for a night ride down to Highway 64, north about 30 miles to Vergato, then west almost to Castel d'Aiano on engineer-reconstructed roads. We were back very close to where we had defended Mt. Terminale two weeks previously. Although en route we had no idea where we were going, our destination was Mt. Della Spe.
Della Spe had been taken March 6th by the First Battalion of the 85th, which suffered four massive counterattacks, one involving three battalions of Germans. For two days the First Battalion was entirely cut off from Division Headquarters by counterattacks and mortar and artillery barrages. It was eleven days before relief arrived. Company B, under Bob St. Louis, lost over 50% of its men on this mountain. The Third Battalion of the 85th relieved the First about March 24th, and we remained there until April 14th. We had heard nothing about the isery. The weather was warm. We could look north to hills 903 and 913, south to Castel d'Aiano, and further south to the still snow-covered peaks we had come through. It is gorgeous Italian countryside; we could see for miles to the south, west, and north. When not digging holes, men sunbathed, wrote letters, read, played catch - always within leaping distance of their foxholes.
The front line from Della Spe south to Castel d'Aiano and north to Rocca di Roffeno was clearly marked. On our side (except when mortar fire came in) there was endless activity, with men moving around, sunbathing, etc. Towards the German lines (500 yards distant) I never saw human movement, except once in a while a farmer would cross the area between the lines. The reason for this contrast was that the Americans had three or four Piper Cub artillery spotters in the air at all times, so any German movement, or unmasked mortar fire, brought onto them instant American heavy mortar or British artillery counter-fire.
Control of Della Spe meant denial of all interior road transportation to the Germans in that sector, for they didn't have the trucks, bulldozers, and earth movers to build roads up untouched hilly slopes and away from a road net, and we controlled the road net. Thus, they had to regain Della Spe and prevent our moving north and west down its slopes to take the junction of highways just north of Castel d'Aiano.
Company L was told we would remain on the mountain until the next attack, then jump from Della Spe to take Hill 913. After that, we were told, it would be all downhill to the Po Valley. Meanwhile, we had limited patrolling activity into enemy lines below Della Spe and onto the lower slopes of Hills 903 and 913. One large patrol went out with Lt. Putnam.
Bill Putnam was a young gung-ho soldier who arrived at Company L while we were at Camp Swift as a transfer from the 87th. He was a Harvard student, whose father was mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts and one-time deputy head of the War Production Board.
His patrol included Bill Bemis and Larry Kohler. Larry, who had been with the Company since Camp Hale, and had led the attack up Belvedere and been hit there, had just returned from Division Headquarters. His first day back he volunteered for the Putnam patrol.
We knew they had got into a fire fight, we could hear it below us and see the mortar and artillery support given to it. We learned the next day that the fight had been within the Putnam patrol. They had gone out to explore the three houses that largely comprised the village of Pra del Bianco, leaving a replacement soldier with a Browning Automatic Rifle at the foot of the path leading up to it. When the patrol returned down the path, the B.A.R. man mistook them for Germans and killed four Company L men, including Bill and Larry. This was a terrible shock to the rest of our Company up the slope of Della Spe.
The next afternoon, Captain Eggleston phoned me and told me to find three men to join a party going out that night to regain the bodies of the men lost. He ordered that no replacements go because of the replacement problem the night before. We had very few non-replacements, for most L Company older men had been killed or wounded.
I selected three people, including John Roeder, who'd been with the Company since Camp Hale days. I broke down in telling him why he had to go. John was a quiet, very dignified person, son of a minister in Tacoma. He gave me his wallet in case he didn't come back.
The patrol went out, didn't recover the bodies, and three more men were killed, including John Roeder. I could look down the next morning from my foxhole on Della Spe, directly onto the houses at Pra del Bianco. I sobbed, knowing that I had selected John, and that his selection came of his being a Company L old-timer.
Because of the continued severity of combat in March and April, we had some SIW's - self-inflicted wounds - about three in the Company. One man in my platoon shot off his toe. Ken Eggleston and I recommended a court-martial for the man, a recent replacement who had three kids back home.
While awaiting the attack from Della Spe to Hill 913, as we had before other attacks, we discussed where we wanted to get hit, should that occur. The best wound, a "million-dollar" wound, was to get hit in the ass. It caused little damage, and it took months for the flesh to build back up. Men would discuss and speculate: did we want to lose an arm, a leg, be blind, get hit in the stomach? Each man by this time knew that if he stayed in combat he was going to get hit for certain.
I was awarded the Bronze Star on March 29th for events on Mt. Belvedere. It was presented to me April 1st by Major General Hays at a Third Battalion parade in a big field a short distance back from the front lines. Sgt. Al Simo of Company L also received a Bronze Star at this ceremony.
The same day, Ken Eggleston, Jack Maloney, Staff Sergeant Bob Perkins (Dartmouth '41), and a couple of others from Company L, including myself, were granted a week's leave to Rome. We trucked down the long valley from Castel d'Aiano to Vergato, then south to Pistoia, where we boarded a train.
Enlisted men in Rome stayed at the Foro d'Italia, built by Mussolini for international sports festivals. Bob Perkins and I checked into the Foro, ate some great food in the mess-hall, looked around, and then took a military bus into Rome. We were determined to get drunk, and went to a nightclub full of American Army aviators. A disaster. There was a poor band and some sort of chorus line. Many of the men were drunk, and some hollered for the chorus line women to take off their clothes. The band leader tried to provide music, but there was so much noise and cat-calling that he couldn't do much.
Some soldiers jumped up on the small stage and demanded that the women take off their clothes. Nobody interfered; the Italian performers were frightened and embarrassed. Then four soldiers brought a couple of bottles of liquor, sat in the middle of the stage, and commenced to play cards, saying they wouldn't move until some woman bared all. Many in the audience cheered the four soldiers.
Bob and I had about one drink, and left the place in anger. That was the end of my drinking until the train trip back north.
I spent the next five or six days as a sightseer of the Forum, the Colisseum, the Viaducts, the Wedding Cake - endless walking, with two days at the Vatican Museum and one day at St. Peter's, with a climb to its dome. On Palm Sunday I was blessed by the Pope in a large room in the Vatican with about 250 other GI's. An unbelievable week.
The next day we took the train north. Jack Maloney had stocked up on greens, vegetables, fruit - and Chianti. I got very very drunk and passed out in an officer's compartment. He was a kind man, for he could have turned me in for my conduct. He was not known to me. I eventually woke, and sobered up that afternoon in the baths at Montecatini Alto.
Passing through Montecatini Alto were elements of the 442nd Japanese-American Regiment. It had served endless combat time in Italy, contributing to its record as the most decorated American regiment in the war.
Also in Montecatini Ken Eggleston told me that in Rome he'd met an Indian Army officer friend of mine, Peter Glenn, Class of '41 at Dartmouth, who had fought in North Africa, become a prisoner-of-war, escaped, fought some more in southeastern Italy with the British, and was waiting for transport home. He told Ken that if he didn't find transportation back to the U.S., he would come to the front lines and visit Ken, Captain Ike Weed, and me.
The trip from Montecatini Alto back to Della Spe was an amazing experience. Almost as soon as we started into the mountains from the Vergato area, and for at least 15 miles along the way, we passed stacked supplies and equipment in quantities we could observe but not comprehend. For mile after mile, six feet high on both sides of the road, two or three layers deep, were wooden boxes containing K and C rations, wire, ammo, medical supplies, and spare parts. We passed field after field chock-full of men living under their shelter halves, engineers, signal corps, truck companies, armored infantry, and tank units. We saw fields full of jeeps, army trucks, bulldozers, and earth movers. Other fields had tanks, weapons carriers, self-propelled anti-tank guns, Piper Cubs, artillery pieces, ambulances, and hospital tents. Also stacked along the road were thousands of GI-cans of gasoline and water.
We got off our truck on the back slope of Della Spe and stopped into Company L headquarters, then I went out to my old foxhole. It was literally the most advanced American-held point.
I told my platoon that we might not make it, but that the war in Italy was over, for some elements in the mass behind us were sure to get through German lines and prevail. There was no way to stop all that power.
I did not regard the Americans as super soldiers. We were pragmatic, imaginative, humorous, and brave, but we never had to prove our soldiering abilities, because with such numbers, a replacement system, excellent equipment, adequate food, good communications, and loads of back-up, we in time would wear down those opposing us. The Germans opposite us had no air cover, any use of artillery put them at great risk, they lived in holes for weeks, were short of food and supplies, and were at the end of five years of increasing hell, devastation, and insanity. They were facing death from our new and proud Division, which could replace men and equipment seemingly for ever. The Germans were worn out. As early as March 6th we encountered German enlisted men who reported their officers running to the rear, leaving their men alone to fight us.
Front line riflemen had a limited regard for soldiers in the rear. Even Company Headquarters was somewhat to the rear, and removed. Battalion, Regimental, and Division Headquarters each were further, or much further, to the rear. Supply Depots, the Army Air Force, and Repo Depots of course were miles and miles away. The U.S. was seemingly on another planet.
Ernie Pyle wrote during the war that an army is like a snake, with the infantry occupying that part of the snake from the eyes forward. And even in an infantry division there are three to four men in support of each rifleman. (In all the years since the War, except for meetings with Tenth people, I can count on my fingers the men I've known who fired a rifle in combat, or who came under small arms or mortar fire.)
The rifleman's M.O.S. (Manual of Service) number, 745, was a well-known number in the Army, and 745's were expendable. The front line infantryman was called the "Queen of Battle", and, given the problems we faced, we had to be smart, innovative people.
On April 11th, Company L was briefed about an attack scheduled for the following day. Orders came from Field Marshall Alexander, Lt. General Mark Clark, Major General Hays, Colonel Barlow, and Colonel Shelor: this was to be the assault to end the war in Italy.
We were to cross the Line of Departure at the Castel d'Aiano - Iussi road, 500 yards down the steep forward slope of Della Spe, below my (by now) very deep foxhole. I had a bad time sleeping, and had loose bowels. At about eleven p.m. a runner came in and said the battle was off for a day. I slept like a baby until morning.
Each man in the Company was given a military map showing the location of the German machine guns, mine fields, mortars, bunkers, lines of fire, and troop locations that lay before us, most of the information having come from Air observation. (For years, I kept my copy of this map, which had my blood on parts of it. Recently, I've somehow managed to lose it.)
On April 12th occurred a most unusual phenomenon. Della Spe had not a tree left on it, so it was possible to see four or five miles back down the valley towards Vergato, and the endless activity surrounding supplies and personnel previously described - all serviced by men out of range of German mortars and artillery. Some time after noon, I was sitting outside my foxhole looking back down the hill, when, way down the valley, there was a sudden cessation of activity. Movement just seemed to stop, a pall of quiet slowly passing up the valley like a wave. Endless energy, and then stillness. Shortly, I had a call from Ken Eggleston: "Mac. Roosevelt's dead. The old man is gone."
I shouted the news to the men in foxholes around me. Most of the men in Company L had never known any president other than Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was the leader, the embodiment of the nation. Now he was gone. With a great uncertainty from the loss of Roosevelt, these young men faced the big operation for Hill 913. What would happen now that he was no more? What was to be their future? It was a sober, gloomy, introspective day.
Two other things happened April 12th. A Third Platoon member found me and said there was an Indian Army officer, swagger stick and all, in the Platoon Area to see me. It was Peter Glenn. He and I and some of the platoon had a great visit, then he left to find Ike Weed over in the Second Battalion, saying he planned to make the attack with Ike, "for the experience." (In fact, he did make the attack, and was not injured, though I never again heard from him afterwards. Ike was for many years an instructor at Dartmouth, and is an internationally known wood craftsman and furniture builder.)
The afternoon of the 12th I was offered a battlefield commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. I asked if it meant taking over a platoon in some outfit to the rear, for training and eventual combat. I was told, no - I would be given a platoon in another battalion of the 85th, and would participate in the next day's attack. I declined. The most expendable person in combat is a 2nd lieutenant, and even more expendable if he is new to the platoon. Who in a platoon of strangers would care or help when I was wounded? I said I wanted to stay with my platoon and my company friends, I to support them, and they to support me. A wise decision, as will be seen.
On the night of April 12th the attack was postponed again, until the 14th at 9:45 a.m., because of cloudiness, which precluded air cover.
My eldest son Doug was born April 17th, so during this week of the 12th, in addition to everything else, I was sweating out Elinor and an about-to-be-born baby, parallel to what might be going to happen to me. On our Company telephone line, Doug was known as Eggemogin, for we were not yet certain of a name, and that of Eggemogin Reach in Maine seemed appropriate.
I knew that I was going to get hit on 913.
I Company was to be first to cross the Line of Departure, close to Castel d'Aiano and west of Della Spe, and head to the top of Hill 883. Company L, First and Third Platoons abreast, was to cross the Line at the base of Della Spe. In the first fifteen minutes, the Third Platoon was to capture the buildings at Pra del Bianco, then we were to pick up tank support and take Hill 913 in the first 45 minutes of the attack. The 87th Regiment was to take the east slope of 913.
The Germans came out of their holes and slaughtered us, though the Tenth prevailed and broke the line at Hills 883, 906, and 913.
From 8:30 to 9:35 a.m. of the 14th, from Della Spe down to the Line of Departure, we witnessed continuous intense fire: British and American artillery, Air Force bombing, Company M mortars, supporting tank and anti-tank fire, all poured onto the slopes of the three hills. The smoke rose perhaps 200 feet high, so the hills in the background could not be seen. The entire area was blanketed by smoke and fire. Right then we changed our views about some of those rear area people: the Army Air Corps and the Artillery - we loved them!
Company L came down off Della Spe, our two platoons in single columns. These two platoons and those of I Company were at the head of that lengthy valley of troops behind us.
One Third Platoon man was carrying 75 feet of prima cord. He slipped and hurt himself, so I took the roll of cord and put it around my neck. The plan was to toss the prima cord across a mine field, ignite it, and hope that it would blow the mines under it. Prima cord is so active that it can be set off by concussion. This was the stuff that Lt. Putnam had wrapped a couple of times around a 4-inch tree to cut it in half.
Before we reached the Line of Departure, while we were still some distance up the slope of Della Spe, all artillery and support firing stopped. We watched Company I to our left start up Hill 883, a devastating sight. We couldn't see any Germans, but we saw Company I decimated. Man after man was hit, and many of the rest of the Company hit the ground and didn't move as we watched mortars rip into them. (Senator Dole, a member of I Company, was hit that morning.)
Seeing that, I said the hell with the prima cord, and threw it off to the side.
There at the Line of Departure in a culvert under the road Blackie Morris (the hunter of souvenirs at Della Torraccia) was hiding, disinclined to advance. Several American soldiers were huddled on the Della Spe side of the road, not crossing it.
The Third Platoon crossed the Line of Departure and headed for a path going straight up Hill 913 a little to the left of our designated sector. At this point endless mortar fire started coming in.
The path had an eight-foot hedgerow to the right, and I climbed up and looked through the top of it to the field that lay between us and the three Pra del Bianco houses, and saw two Company L headquarters men carrying 300 radios (always a preferred target) get shot. Already, many dead men from Company L were in this field.
I got back down into the relative safety of the path to find almost everybody there frozen to the ground. We had taken a couple of hits close to the hedgerow. Many of these men were replacements - their helmet fronts were hard against the ground. I went to four or five and asked if they were dead. All were alive. There were probably 10 to 12 men lying prone on the path.
I told the men that they had to get out of that path or die, for the Germans would have prepared fire lanes for it, and everybody would get hit. I got together five men and said we had to cross the field to get at the houses on the far side, the houses where Larry Kohler had been killed. I crawled up over the hedgerow and started to creep and crawl across the field with three or four men following me.
We were crawling about fifteen feet downhill from a second hedgerow that went across the field, perpendicular to the other.
Below us in the field were a few L Company people, including Jack Maloney and Captain Eggleston, who was crawling towards us. He was carrying a walkie-talkie, which was now our only communication, for all the people with 300 radios on their backs had been shot by then. Crawling at right angles to Ken, I said, "What a hell of a thing, to be crawling across the enemy front." He agreed.
As many as five of us made it over to within about 35 yards of the three houses, and I had crawled up alongside a log when I saw what I thought were two American soldiers on a sort of stone porch on the south side of the house. I said to Private Fleming behind me, "The houses are occupied by Americans," and stood up to walk over there.
I erred. Most combat injuries come from errors. I never should have stood. I should have kept on the ground and continued crawling to the houses to check them out. I thought that men from the 87th had entered the houses, for the houses were on the border between our assigned routes.
The two "Americans" had carbines on shoulder slings. These were not Americans. They must have been Germans in uniforms taken from the Americans who had died on the patrol that had investigated the houses. Perhaps they had Larry Kohler's carbine and uniform.
I was knocked to the ground. My right hand went to my head and it showed blood. My helmet had been knocked off and I couldn't move my left arm. Private Fleming behind me appeared dead, as did the two men behind him.
I didn't know what hit us, perhaps a grenade from the hedgerow beside us, along which we'd been crawling, or a mine tripped by somebody, or a mortar or artillery shell. (At the tent hospital after my operation that night, next to my bed were what looked like two ball bearings which had been removed from me, leading me to believe that I had been hit by a mine.)
I looked around the field below me, down to the Line of Departure, and I saw nobody was moving. No sign of Ken Eggleston. I watched Stewart Drum and Gene Rosenberry try to work their way through the hedgerow fifteen feet from me, and each was shot and killed, their legs still on my side of the hedgerow.
My helmet was on the ground about four feet away. I took my pack off with my right arm, and then removed my two bandoliers of ammo, and the big binoculars which I had taken from the dead captain. I couldn't hold my rifle because my left arm wouldn't work. I crawled to my helmet, and saw that it had a hole punched through it and through the helmet liner. I put it on, fitting the punched-in part of the helmet into the hole in my head.
I remembered a very large shell crater from when I was crawling across the field, for some reason noting that I had seen only one other shell hole like it, in the field where we had had the PX break above Gaggio Montano. I did not know if I could move that far, yet I knew that I had to get to it for protection. It was perhaps 15 yards back of me.
I was crawling to it when Ernest Curtis, Charlie Wells, and Ferguson, our medic, came upon me. Ernest said, "Sergeant, you're all shot up, but you're going to live." Very important words.
They ripped off my shirt and said that I'd been hit in the back, the shoulder, and the head. They gave me water from my canteen, then opened my bag of sulfa powder, and dumped it onto my left shoulder. Just at this moment a shell came in and I was hit again, a glancing hit on my right leg. It was a piece of hot shrapnel, but fortunately it merely went through my fatigues and burned my leg without breaking the skin.
I told Ernest, Charlie, and Ferguson that the Germans would be shooting at any group, and for them to get the hell out of there. I continued crawling and found the shell hole and wrapped myself around in its excavation. Now it was I who had abandoned equipment, and was lying among the dead and wounded, as I had previously seen on Belvedere, Torraccia, Hill 920, and, earlier this day, observing I Company.
For a long stretch, it was completely quiet except for an occasional rifle shot. Then came a barrage of seemingly hundreds of mortars, all over the area. I realized that my shellhole was under a tree, and I feared a tree-burst, but there was no place to go.
My head was hurting because my helmet was up against the side of the shell hole, pushing into my head wound. I had no pain in my arm or shoulder. In fact, I had had no sense of being hit when I was hit, simply finding myself on the ground, with no helmet, unable to hold my rifle, and seeing the blood on my hand from my head.
My best guess is that by then it was a little before noon.
The battle plan had been for the Third Platoon to take the three houses at Pra del Bianco. Tanks were then to have come down the road from Castel d'Aiano and up onto the field to give fire support to us, attempt to get through the hedgerow, and follow us up the hill. I never saw or heard a single tank.
For a while, every time I moved or tried to adjust my body, bullets would hit the top of the hole on the uphill side, spraying me with dirt.
I had a GI watch, so while I stayed in the shell hole I started timing the intervals between German mortar barrages. I could see no movement of any Company L men. The advance seemed to have stopped on my side of the hedgerow. It was quiet except for the mortar fire. There was no sign of life at the farm houses.
On into the afternoon, I knew I had to get out of there or die. I could see no progress up the hill past the hedgerow, and I knew there would be a German counterattack that night, and that Germans coming across me in the dark, wounded and on the ground, would shoot me. Or even if there was no counterattack, I would be exposed to American artillery fire holding off the Germans.
At some point, I judge around 2:30 or 3 p.m., I sat up. No firing came onto me. I looked up to the hedgerow above me, and there standing upright, over to the right and on the far side of the hedgerow, was Bob Perkins.
It stayed quiet and I waited another fifteen or twenty minutes, then stood up, wearing no shirt, but with my helmet on and holding my left arm, and ran straight back down that (mined) field to the Line of Departure.
On the German side of the Line was Newc Eldredge. He had been hit in the eye and it was bandaged. I asked if he was coming with me, for I was headed to the Battalion Aid Station on Della Spe. He said "No", but as I crossed the road he changed his mind and said "Yes". He had trouble with one leg, so I helped him to stand. Using my eyes and his arms, we bushwacked up the steep slope of Della Spe to the Aid Station.
Since the Aid Station was right next to the M Company Command Post, and since Company L had been entirely out of radio contact, we gave information at the CP, including where we thought the front line was, before entering the Aid Station.
Here, they patched me up some more and I talked with Father Gordon. An identification tag was put on me which said "Z.I." which meant I was going to the Zone of the Interior, and that for now the war for me was over. With that knowledge, I went into shock - heavy trembling, chills, and a distinct feeling of nausea.
Also in the Aid Station was Private Roth, a fine L Company replacement with a slight wound. He had had a bad fright that morning. The medics gave him sedatives and told him to report back to the Company. He did, and was killed later that night on 913.
Lt. Hawkins was also hit that morning, a bullet going through one cheek and out the other, touching neither tooth nor jaw. I later saw him at the 45th General Hospital in Naples bearing mild facial scars.
I was put on a stretcher with my helmet, and loaded onto a jeep frame along with Newc Eldredge and another L Company man, then driven by an L Company Headquarters person (whom I knew, but can no longer recall) down the west side of Della Spe, out onto the Castel d'Aiano road - which was still under fire - and then to a tent hospital back down the valley towards Vergato.
I was operated on that night, but beforehand I wrote a postcard to Elinor telling her that I had been hit and that I was OK. (It was a good thing I did. She received it on her release from the hospital with Doug, a few days in advance of a quite frighteningly vague official notification.)
I think I stayed in the tent hospital one day. I was then trucked to a hospital in Florence where I stayed another day or so, then was put onto a hospital train (I remember passing the bombed-out Florence rail yards) which took me to Naples where I was assigned to the 45th General Hospital. I was ambulatory the entire time. I walked to the jeep and into the tent hospital, and walked around on the train, but from then until my arrival in Miami, I was always carried on or off the train or plane by stretcher and then once aboard the vehicle, was up and walking again.
At 45th General I saw Harry Smith and Ernest Curtis. Harry was badly injured and largely paralyzed. I visited him quite often and walked and had coffee with Ernest. I also had some good conversations with a Lt. Col. Medical Officer. Just before I left, with no solicitation from me, he said he had treated many many soldiers, and that the members of the Tenth were uniformly a great, great bunch of men.
With the war over in Italy, the 45th had to be dismantled and sent to the Pacific, so they had to get the patients out of there, either back to their units or back to the United States. By a freak, I had a small infection in the wound on my left shoulder, and it was decided that I should return to the U.S. Literally, when I arrived in Miami, a band-aid was put on the remains of the wound.
Upon arrival in Florida I phoned home and also phoned Dorothy Curtis, Ernest's wife, to tell her he was OK. I remained at the Coral Gables Hotel for about four days, did some sightseeing in Miami Beach (watched alligator-wrestling), then flew by DC-3 to Camp Devens, and by that night (probably May 12th) was in Cambridge with my family.
I saw Bob Perkins when he was in the hospital at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts. He told me that right after I had seen him in the hedgerow, he was fired upon, so he jumped into a hole which turned out to be booby-trapped. The resulting explosion badly injured both legs and put him out of the war.
Jack Maloney was hit in that same field shortly after crossing the Line of Departure, shattering his right leg. He was in the middle of the field with the Company radio operators, and with Sgt. Bill Impey, who told him he had spotted the sniper who had just shot him, and that he was going to get him. Bill fired, Jack asked him if he'd had any luck, turned, and found Bill dead.
Jake Nunnemacker, Captain of the '41 Dartmouth Ski Team, was killed at one of the houses we had tried to take out. Jake spoke German, and hollered to the people in the house to surrender. One German asked him to come and discuss it, and Jake was shot down on his approach.
Private Fleming, who was with me when I was hit, and Fryznowski, from whom I borrowed the prima cord, were also both killed in this battle.
Compared to some divisions, the Tenth was short on combat days, and not exposed to great losses. Nevertheless, it lost 1,000 men killed and close to 5,000 wounded over three and a half months, including about thirty-five days of large-scale battle, all in the course of the Italian Campaign north of Florence. From Mt. Belvedere to Hill 913 was about ten miles. It took us from February 20th to April 14th to gain that distance in the hilly and mountainous terrain.
I have no idea what happened to Company L that night. (The official 85th history, frustratingly, has a consistent tendency to contradict what I know to be true.) During my time in the hospitals I thought constantly of what had happened during that day, and what must have happened that night in German counterattacks. I have carried a persistent guilt about not being on the line that night and the following day.
Recalling all this, some 50 years later, reinforces a determination to understand this one thing: War is the supreme human tragedy, the grossest admission of humankind's inability to bring reason, history, intelligence - any sane process - to the resolution of core tensions. To proceed not by killing and maiming, but by negotiation, persuasion, and accomodation. We must all of us be driven by the certainty that one day war will mean the obliteration of everybody, infantrymen and those to the rear, all persons, of all ages, and of all nationalities.
4. Jim Barker, Joe Miscovich, Dick Blake, Charlie Wells, Harry Smith, Norm Whitten
5. Gullickson, Kelly, Burkhardt, Ferguson, Newc Eldredge
6. George Held, Burkhardt
7. Adrianna Ducsheschi, Chuck Weiss, Shelor
8. Adrianna, Charlie Wolcott, Broderick, John Salz
9. Cooper, Shelor, Mickey McGuire
10. Cooper, Mickey, Ralph Hebel, Charlie Wolcott, Adrianna, Sid Simon
11. Deborah Bankhart, Gullickson, Shelor, Hays
12. Chuck Weiss, Larry Kohler
13. Elinor, Chuck Weiss, Sid Simon, Norm Whitten, Larry Kohler
14. Harry Smith, John Colliton, Joe Miscovich, Kelly
15.Charlie Wells, Sid Simon, Dick Blake
16. Joe Dietz
17. Gullickson, Butch Luther, Robert Davis, Gary Mancuso, Jim Barker
18. Luther, Bill Collins, Peter Ersdale, Joe Dietz, Joe Miscovich, Sid Simon, Gene Rosenberry
19. Sid Simon, Ken Eggleston, Ralph Hebel, Hays
20. Roger Herrick, Torge Tokle, Arthur Torkola, Hawkins, Ralph Hebel, Preston
21. Hawkins, Preston, Blackie Morris, Arthur Torkola, Ken Eggleston, Chuck Weiss, Ed Dunn, Torge Tokle, Ralph Hebel
23. Ernest Curtis, Hays, Ken Eggleston
24. Anderson, Elinor
25. Sid Simon, Bob St. Louis
26. Peter Zimmer, Charlie Tyre, George Held, Al Simo, Frank Mitcowski, Virgil Idel, Putnam
27. Bill Putnam, Bill Bemis, Larry Kohler, Eggleston, John Roeder
28. Ken Eggleston, Hays, Al Simo, Jack Maloney, Bob Perkins
29. Jack Maloney, Ken Eggleston, Peter Glenn, Ike Weed
30. Ernie Pyle, Alexander, Mark Clark, Hays, Barlow, Shelor
31. Ken Eggleston, FDR, Peter Glenn, Ike Weed
32. Doug, Elinor
33. Putnam, Dole, Blackie Morris, Larry Kohler
34. Jack Maloney, Ken Eggleston, Fleming, Larry Kohler, Stewart Drum, Gene Rosenberry
35. Ernest Curtis, Charlie Wells, Ferguson
36. Bob Perkins, Newc Eldredge
37. Father Gordon, Roth, Hawkins, Newc Eldredge, Elinor, Doug, Harry Smith, Ernest Curtis
38. Dorothy Curtis, Bob Perkins, Jack Maloney, Bill Impey, Jake Nunnemacker, Fleming, Fryznowski
return to top