Saturday, April 3, 2021



Sgt. Brad Winkler had just the top of his head exposed above the hatch ring. He didn't want to have to rely on his vision slits, but he didn't want to expose too much of himself either. Snipers loved exposed tank commanders. His tank, "Boozer" was in the lead, 3rd Platoon was with the point element with the other tanks of Woodstock's platoon interspersed with the infantry.

3rd Platoon's lieutenant had been relieved of his command, now S/Sgt Bob Poole was running that outfit. Sometimes the new lieutenants thought that they knew more than they did, though things were quiet, there were still some diehards out there who wanted to kill Americans. Mostly SS, but the occasional band of paratroopers would put up a fight, most of the German Army types were content to surrender.

As Boozer rumbled down the small farming track, Winkler spotted some men coming out of a field to the right of the road waving at his tank. He pulled his field glasses out and studied them.

Bedraggled, no two men seemed to be wearing the same kit, some had helmets, some wore soft caps, and there were two varieties of those, some had no headgear at all. One man was holding a white rag on a stick, all had their hands in the air.

"Dilf, stop!" He ordered his driver, Cpl. Herman Dilfer. Boozer quickly came to a stop she was only traveling about 2 mph, Winkler didn't want to tire out his infantry support by rolling any faster than that. He looked to the rear, S/Sgt Poole already had his men deploying to either side of the road in a loose skirmish line.

When Winkler turned back to the front he told his gunner, Cpl. Jeb Nagel, "Jeb, keep an eye on that tree line, I don't want any surprises."

Shortly after he had said that, a line of tracers reached from the trees and passed through the surrendering Germans, tumbling over a number of them. Without a word, Winkler felt the turret slewing to engage the people firing. Nagel was on them in seconds, the coaxial machine gun firing, followed an instant later by a high explosive shell flying downrange to explode in the trees.

"HE up!" announced the loader, Pfc. Willis Hornsby. Without a word from Winkler, Nagel fired again.

Winkler looked to his right, Poole had a squad moving up to check out the tree line, it looked like they had suppressed or destroyed the enemy machine gun, but they kept the gun trained on that spot anyway.

After a few long minutes, the squad Poole had sent forward signaled the all clear. So Boozer began to advance again, two squads in support. Winkler was already on the radio reporting the encounter.

Pvt. Mathew Flores from 2nd Squad reported in to S/Sgt Poole, "Jefe¹, more of those SS bastards, two guys on the MG, we followed a blood trail back into the woods, the other guy didn't get very far, we found him dead. As near as we could tell, it was just the three guys."

"All right, thanks Matty, go back and tell Sgt. Russell to hold where they're at, we'll be moving as soon as I sort these Germans out, some of 'em are untouched, a few of 'em are wounded." Poole watched as Flores jogged back out to rejoin his squad. Doc Hood was working on the German wounded.

Poole had counted seventeen Germans, six of them were dead, two more had died of their wounds, four men were unscathed, one man had a slight flesh wound. Doc was trying to save two of the more badly wounded ones with the help of a German medic. He was about to have his radioman, Lou Hess, translate for the Kraut medic, but as he walked over to the two men, he could hear the German speaking English. It sounded odd because he spoke with a British accent.

"Doc, what's the scoop?" Poole has worked for a small town newspaper before the war, he liked the jargon of the newsroom.

Hood sat back on his heels and looked up, "Lou, get on the horn, we need a truck to evacuate these wounded, don't tell 'em they're Krauts."

"What if they ask?" Hess wanted to know.

Hood looked at the wounded Germans, the oldest one couldn't have been more than eighteen. "If they ask, they're wounded kids." Then he looked at his platoon leader, "Well, it's the truth isn't it?"

Suddenly the German medic swore and sat down in the road, throwing a bloody wad of bandages onto the shoulder.

"Fritz?" Doc Hood looked at the man.

"I couldn't save him, he lost too much blood, the damage was just too severe. Dwayne, he was only seventeen. Just a boy." Poole guessed that the two medics had introduced themselves, at first he'd assumed Doc was calling the man 'Fritz' because that's what they typically called a German. One German was Fritz, collectively they were Fritzes.

A Dodge weapons carrier was coming down the road at speed, the guy driving braked hard, kicking up a lot of dust. The driver of the weapons carrier, a T/5,² protested as soon as he saw that the wounded he was supposed to pick up were German soldiers.

"Nobody said nothing about picking up no Krauts!"

S/Sgt Poole looked briefly at the driver, then turned and called over Pfc. Ronald Donovan. "Ron, ride back with this guy and keep an eye on the prisoners. I don't think they'll try anything, but..."

"Got it Sarge." He began to help the Germans onto the vehicle, the driver began to protest again.

Poole walked over to the man and leaned in close to his ear, whispering something. The man went pale then mumbled something and climbed back into his truck. Within minutes the truck was headed back to the battalion aid station.

"What did ya tell him Sarge?" Doc Hood asked.

"I told him that I'd give one of the Krauts his carbine and let them decide where he was going to go, and with who."

"Seemed to work."

"Yup, usually does.

Poole had his men wrap the dead Germans in their shelter quarters, they all had one, and line them up just off the road. With the exception of one sergeant, the Germans were all very young. He looked off at where the SS had been set up. No doubt the Army guys were supposed to open fire on the first Allied unit that came down the road, then the SS would open fire. He guessed that the SS also had orders to shoot anybody trying to surrender.

He was determined to do the same for any SS trying to surrender. Some might call it murder, Poole thought of it as 'field justice.' He certainly wouldn't lose sleep over it.

Nor would any man in 3rd Platoon after the events of the past two days.

¹ Boss, Spanish.
² Technician Fifth Class, equivalent to a corporal

Link to all of the Chant's fiction.


  1. For some the end of your world means you want the rest of the world to burn as well. Yet the less fanatics in it the better the world is.

  2. Rules of War.
    Surrender Protocol.
    War Crimes.

    As Nylon12 said, "Yet the less fanatics in it the better the world is." But it seems lately that fanaticism is on the upswing.

    How do we remove people from a cult, and how do we reverse the brainwashing?

    What happens when our cult of hard work, honor, and conservative values is destroyed?

    I've got a bunch to mull over today.

    1. Cults are full of unwitting sheep. Often they don't realize they are sheep.

    2. First thing you do is club them with the truth, repeatedly. Using a Clue x 4, or a clue-bat (figuratiely, mostly.)

      We are in the 'nothing will change unless deprogramming of the cultists occurs' stage.

      Which was why the 'Walk-Away' movement scared the Cult of the Leftists so much during the last election, and why so many Walk Away stories were disappeared from the interwebs and other social media.

      It happened because cultists saw what was being said and compared it to what was actually happening and the truth broke through the cognitive dissonance.

      The McCluskys, that rich, previously very leftist couple who stood in front of their house and held off the mob? They were deprogrammed by the truth. They spent their life defending the Cultists, being one of the Cult, believing the Cultist lies, until it just became too much.

      It's like Scientologists, who after spending at least a quarter million dollars to attain the highest level, finally learn the 'truth' about the alien bodies/souls trapped in volcanoes and sealed there by nuclear bombs dropped from space ships that looked like DC-8s. The previous stuff, varying levels of self-help mumbo jumbo and confessions and atonements (via cash, lots of cash) was getting increasingly weird, but the dead aliens in volcanoes is the tipping point for many former scientologists. Not the sexual abuse or physical abuse or separation from families or the shunning or the huge amounts of money spent, no, it's the dead aliens in volcanoes... And then the cultist starts noticing the sexual, physical and mental abuse, the shunning, the money spent on the books and seminars and level progressions and the shattered families and distant children and every scientologist looking to nark out other scientologists before they get narked out.

    3. When things crash and burn, the work culture should gain popularity. The question being - how many sponges will the workers be willing to feed and clothe during the period of insanity?
      Iron-fisted tyranny make look good to the wanna-be leaders, but there are so many ways for it to crash and burn. History can be your friend, if you pay attention. For some reason, I'm reminded of the difference between theory and practice.
      In the meantime, if you can at all help it, try to stay at least 3-4 days walking distance away from large metro areas.

    4. Beans - If you want to rant about politics, write a post. This isn't really the place for it. I agree but I'd like to keep the heavy duty political BS from this century elsewhere.

      I have spoken.

    5. Frank - Ditto. Though I must say you know the Left is convinced that Communism/Socialism works if the "right" people are in charge.

    6. Well, I did mean it in respect to the SS and other fanatics. How do you change their minds at this late date of the War, other than shooting them?

      The rest of the country could see the war was lost. Why couldn't the fanatics? Or did they just want to ride the whole horse down?

    7. I get that. Fanatics can never see reality, they only understand what they can perceive with their narrow minds.

  3. Sarge, I was reflecting on this personal anniversary when I read the first lines of your daily installment, and I got a bit of a shiver, to be honest. It was 76 years ago today that my dad rolled up on a German roadblock in his Sherman just north of the town of Lohr, east of Frankfurt on the Main river and a bit south of where your story is at the moment. He had celebrated his 34th birthday two days prior - yes, he was an April Fool. He was in command of his tank company and in the lead tank when the Krauts sprung an ambush, and his tank was hit by a Panzerfaust. The resistance was squashed pretty quickly, but was typical of some of the short but sharp engagements at this point in the wart. He and a couple of his other men survived, but he was badly wounded and never again could use his right leg in a normal manner, eventually losing it in the 1970's. He and I and my mother were all very lucky he survived - he was a great dad and husband, and I still miss him. So yeah, as you said the other day, the war was not over by a long shot. His armored division, the 14th AD, went on to liberate several POW/concentration camps in the area, earning the name The Liberators.

    1. The leading photo is of the 14th AD. One wonders...

    2. The Lord moves in mysterious ways...

    3. Wow, I hadn't checked the source on the pic - now I've really got a shiver! The source says it was at Oberhoffen, which might be one of two places - the most likely is Oberhoffen-sur-Moder in Alsace. The 14th was definitely involved there, it was right on their path into Germany. The other place, Oberhofen in Germany, is south of Ulm a bit and could be the location of the pic since the 14th AD moved east and southeast pretty quickly in the last month of the war. Thanks, Sarge!!

    4. I got a shiver up my spine when you said your Dad was 14th AD.

  4. Pretty fanatical that they would shoot their own people surrendering before they would train fire on the enemy that was being surrendered to. Kill 'em all (SS) works for me.

    1. It happened, both in Europe and in the Pacific.

  5. I wonder how many of the Volksturm and the Heer turned their weapons upon the SS and the Fallsm...jaegers, before the fanatics could turn their guns on the Volks and the Heer?

    And how many surrendering troops conveyed information as to SS whereabouts and proposed ambushes?

    Surely it must have felt like some form of Gotterdamerung in the west, with the constant aerial bombardment since 1945, and the destruction of railyards and bridges and city centers and industrial areas. Ragnarok personified.

    Now, on the East, the gates of Muspelheim and Nilfheim were opened and now the giants and dark elves of the East are pouring westwardly, so, yeah, total Gotterdamerung and Ragnarok, but that's one that's always on the horizon, until it isn't. But the East didn't get aerially pounded like the West did.

    I also wonder about the US troops. Have they heard much info about Iwo and Saipan? Both huge killing fields, both hellish in their ways. How many troops in Europe, seeing the Nazis fall apart in front of them, hear the horror stories and pray the Nazis last long enough to not have them go to the Pacific?

    What a horror show that would be, face all the horrors of Western Europe, from D-Day or Anzio to counter-assault after counter-assault to concentration and work camps to children and grandpas shooting at you to whole villages, towns and cities wiped off the face of the map from above, passing through one hellish place after another, and then have the possibility of being rotated to the fetid swamps and steamy islands of the Pacific. Wonder how many contemplated a career-ending injury before possibly taking that boat ride?

    Man, morose thoughts today.

    Which makes sense, on this anniversary of Him being dead.

    1. The Pacific wasn't far from the minds of those fighting in Europe.

      The pending invasion of Japan weighed heavily on the minds of those already in the Pacific.

    2. The second line, yes it did. Was still a topic of combat vets and civilians caught in the crossfire of the Pacific in the early 70's. Not a single one was unhappy with the A-bombs being dropped.

      My dad spent a lot of time rubber-necking around Japan on leave, and saw a lot of the preps the Japanese had ready for us. He was the type of guy that everyone would talk to, and it worked well for him in both Korea and Japan, as the locals would open up and talk to him.

    3. I'm reading the third book in Toll's Pacific War trilogy, just read the part where the second bomb fell on Nagasaki. Interestingly enough, the Japanese at the time understood that the American air crews were just doing their jobs. They were beginning to disbelieve everything their government told them.

      Skepticism is a healthy thing.

    4. We could use a LOT more skepticism in the public at large today, instead of swallowing the approved stories hook, line and sinker...

    5. Too many people believe what the MSM are feeding us.

  6. When your "side" is as willing to kill you as they are to kill the enemy, the end is nigh, whether or not it is realized.

    The vignette with the German Medic is wonderful. One wonders - on all sides - how many medical personnel just asked "Why?" or were willing to care for all comers.

    Once, in my rather mis-spent youth, I had the privilege - and I consider it such - of listening to an unrepentant Hungarian Stalinist. He was completely and utterly convinced of his belief that Stalin was misunderstood and the horrors associated with him were performed by others. It was an interesting view into how a fanatic can believe in the fact of all evidence.

    (Also, interestingly enough, a chain smoker. As he finished one, he lit another. I think we counted - in 1.5 hours he smoked a pack of cigarettes).

    1. Stalin, misunderstood? After what happened to Hungary in '56? I know the old bastard died three years before that, but his people did the dirty deed. Amazing. You'd think a Hungarian would know better.

      Fanatics, no reasoning with 'em.

    2. Yeah... You'd think. No reasoning with True Believers though. Reasoning is getting very futile.
      Sorta like the "But, Sir" rule I used to have; to keep some junior officer from driving off a cliff ( figuratively - mostly) but after the third "But Sir" - let him drive off the cliff. By himself.
      Boat Guy

    3. Speaking of Hungarians...two words; George. Soros.
      Boat Guy

    4. BG #1 - "No reasoning with True Believers..." and therein lies the problem. Reasoning falls on deaf ears and all they can do is shout.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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