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To seduce the enemy?s soldiers from their allegiance and encourage them to surrender is of special service, for an adversary is more hurt by desertion than by slaughter.

-- Flavius Vegetius Renatus
We Captured a Town7873 Reads  Printer-friendly page

POW On April 20, 1945 the Russians were firing artillery into and around the prison forced labor camp near Juderbog, Germany, where I was confined with a number of the privates and PFC’s. The attack including blowing down one of the fences of the compound. As a result, we decided to escape the prison encampment and work our way back to the American lines, which we accomplished in five days, walking cross-country across Germany.

Avoiding roads, and sleeping in barns, we had no difficulty as far as German troops were concerned, because they had virtually all moved to the Eastern Front and Americans were stopped at the Elbe River as a result of the Yalta agreement with Russia.

Reaching the Second Division, we spent the night with one of the Infantry companies. The men in the company were taking it easy because there was no enemy across the river and orders not to advance.

The next morning, celebrating our first freedom in months, we roamed the area and found an abandoned German fire engine, which a fellow former prisoner knew how to hot-wire. A dozen of us jumped on the fire engine, ready for a joy ride. One of our group had an M-1 which he had picked up.

Without realizing it, we crossed our own front line and entered a village which had not yet been occupied. Immediately, we began hearing German townspeople, who obviously had been waiting for troops to arrive, hollering, "Americans! Americans!" Almost immediately, white flags began to pour out of nearly every building in town.

So on April 26, 1945, twelve former POW's, riding atop a German fire engine, and armed with a single M-1, captured a town.

Note: by Pendleton Woods


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