Hello All :
Mr. Anderson Stated :
Exactly. Perhaps you should let Mr. Ward know that.
All right, Mr. Anderson, since you have such a supercilious attitude about this matter, I will give you some additional information.
I am a baby boomer, born in the 1950s. In the early 1960s, growing up in California, I had a close friend. We built plastic models,
went hiking together, were both in Cub Scouts, in short, we hung out. He was Jewish, I was not, but, in California, this didn't matter.
We were friends. Then, when it came time to move from grade school to middle school, because we lived about two miles apart,
we ended up going to two different middle schools, and thus we drifted apart for a few years. Arriving in High School, one of the
first people I met in the hallways was my old friend, and we immediately renewed our friendship.
Now, I should provide some further background: This was the late 1960s, and the early 1970s. Anti war feeling, especially in
California, and especially in my generation, was extremely high. At that time, the men of the WW2 generation were NOT seen as
being of the ' Greatest Generation ', instead, they were the men who had atom bombed Japan, and all that this implied. It was NOT
a time that WW2 veterans tended to sit around talking about their war experiences with my generation. It just did not happen. The
tenor of the times was against it.
But, on one occasion, I visited my friend at his home, and his mother told me that he and his father were out on their back patio
working. I went into the back yard, and found them cleaning a number of auto parts using coffee cans filled with mineral spirits
and rags. I offered to lend a hand, and they cheerfully accepted my help. While we were wiping the parts, which were new, and
covered with a heavy, grease-like protective coating, my friend's father made the comment, " Goddam Cosmoline ! I thought after
I got out of the Army I would never see this shit again ! "
My friend and I laughed, and I asked what this ' cosmoline ' was used for in the Army. He responded that it was used " to protect
everything from M1 Rifles to Sherman Tanks ! " He then went on to describe how he and his fellow soldiers were constantly cleaning
it off of new equipment, and in doing so, always ended up smelling like gasoline, with dirty hands and greasy uniforms.
I asked him where he served in the Army, and he responded that " I was with Patton's Third Army in France, and then in Germany.
My division fought in the Bulge, and then we went across the Rhine, and were fighting up to the last day. " I asked him a few more
questions, and he seemed a little surprised, but not unhappy, that someone was interested. He stated that he was in the Infantry,
and that he had enlisted right out of high school in 1944, and his unit had arrived in England in September of 1944, and a month
later had gotten to France. He talked about the Battle of the Bulge, which I knew something about, and he stated that his division
was to the north of the Bulge, and had a part in halting the Germans and preventing the breakout, and then had been re-assigned
later to the Third Army, which he described as ' Patton's Army '.
He described how, after the crossing of the Rhine, the fighing was " pretty rough in places. A lot of Germans didn't want to give
up. Wouldn't surrender. Especially if they were SS. " He looked at the two of us, and asked, " You guys ever hear about Malmedy ? "
My friend said " No ", and his father said, " During the fighting in the Bulge, the Krauts, SS Stormtroopers, took a bunch of our guys prisoners. Then they executed 'em all. Machine gunned 'em. When we found out, we pretty much stopped taking prisoners who didn't
give up right away. And when we captured any SS troops, we split 'em off from the rest, took them to some place quiet, and let 'em
I whispered, " Wow ! " And he nodded, and said, " Yeah. It was a tough war. Lot's of stuff happened that you didn't talk about
when you got home..... One time, we found a bunch of them who had taken the SS markings off their uniforms. See, the SS
troops had special all-black insignia on their uniforms. These guys had cut it off. But we made them roll up their sleeves, and they
all had SS Tatoos on their arms.... So we gave them
the business too.... Some of 'em were down on their knees, beggin' us not
to shoot 'em - a couple even pissed in their pants they were so scared.... We didn't give a shit.... They were SS, and we killed
At that point, his wife opened up the screen door that faced the patio we were on, and asked us if we wanted some Iced Tea ? My
friend's father just shook his head, and told her that we were almost done, and that when we were finished, we would wash up and
then come in. She closed the door and went away, and my friend's father leaned over to us, and said, " I never talked about that
stuff with anybody before. " He turned to my friend, and said, " Don't tell any of this to your Mom or your sister. "
My friend nodded, and it became a secret we kept until yesterday. My friend's father did in the 90s, and my friend passed away
from complications with diabetes about five years ago. So, I am the last living person who heard his confession of killing
Now, Mr. Anderson, you can take this story for what it is worth. I looked into the face of a man while he was telling us that he
and his fellow soldiers had committed cold blooded murder during wartime. If you choose not to believe his story, that's not
my problem. Mr. Anderson, you, like many people who study WW2 rely on official records and documents. What a lot of people
like you never truly grasp is that, in wartime, a hell of a lot of shit goes on that NEVER gets into the official records.
It's better that way. It allows people like you to sleep well at night.
Paul R. Ward