1st RECON TROOP (MECHANIZED CAVALRY)


George Koch tells his story

PRE WWII YEARS

BEFORE JOINING 1ST RECON I WAS BORN IN 1919. MY PARENTS WERE GERMAN PEOPLE THAT IMMIGRATED TO THE UNITED STATES FROM AUSTRIA/HUNGARY IN 1910, THEY HAD JUST BEEN MARRIED 6 MONTHS AND WERE 22 YEARS OLD. THEY WERE VERY PROUD TO BECOME AMERICANS AND FROM MY EARLIEST DAYS THEY INSTILLED IN ME A DEEP REVERENCE IN GOD AND THANKFULNESS THAT I WAS BORN IN THE USA. THANKS TO THEIR COURAGE IN LEAVING THEIR FAMILY AND NATIVE LAND I WAS FREE TO JOIN OUR ARMY AND NOT BE A MEMBER OF HITLER�S CANNON FODDER. UNFORTUNATELY I LOST THEM AT AN EARLY AGE AND WAS ENTERED IN A SCHOOL FOR FATHERLESS BOYS IN PHILADELPHIA, PA. AT GIRARD COLLEGE, THE SCHOOL FOUNDED BY A STEPHEN GIRARD, I RECEIVED AN EXCELLENT EDUCATION AND GRADUATED FROM THE HIGH SCHOOL AT AGE 17. THERE WERE 1800 BOYS FROM AGE 6 TO 18 IN THE SCHOOL. WE HAD A CADET BATTALION OF APPROXIMATELY 400 BOYS PLUS A COMPLETE BAND. I HAD HIGH HOPES OF GETTING INTO WEST POINT BY GOING THROUGH THE REGULAR ARMY AND PASSED THE MENTAL EXAMS. HOWEVER, WITH THE GREAT DEPRESSION IN FULL SWING THERE WERE MANY OTHERS WITH THE SAME IDEA. AS A RESULT THEY KEPT REDUCING THE APPLICANTS BY MEANS OF ADDITIONAL PHYSICAL EXAMS. ON THE 3RD PHYSICAL THESE HOPES WERE DASHED WHEN IT WAS DECIDED THAT I HAD 20/30 IN ONE EYE WITHOUT GLASSES AND AT THAT TIME IT HAD TO BE 20/20 WITHOUT GLASSES WITH NO WAIVERS POSSSIBLE.

THE SCHOOL INSTILLED IN ME A STRONG PATRIOTIC SENSE WHICH I STILL HAVE DEEPLY IMBEDDED IN ME. IN MY SENIOR YEAR I WAS A CADET CAPTAIN AND HAD ONE OF THE FOUR COMPANIES WHICH CONSISTED OF ABOUT 80 BOYS IN EACH COMPANY. AFTER I GRADUATED IN JUNE 1937 I BECAME INTERESTED IN JOINING THE 103 CAVALRY REGIMENT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA NATIONAL GUARD. SINCE I WAS ONLY 17 YEARS OF AGE I HAD TO OBTAIN THE APPROVAL OF MY UNCLE WHO HAD BEEN APPOINTED AS MY GUARDIAN. IN THE GUARD I LEARNED TO RIDE AND HANDLE A RIFLE, I ALSO HAD MY FIRST EXPERIENCE OF LIVING OUTDOORS ON MANOEUVRES FOR TWO WEEKS. IN AUGUST 1938 I ENLISTED IN TROOP A, 1ST SQUADRON, 3RD CAVALRY WHICH AT THAT TIME WAS STATIONED AT FORT ETHAN ALLEN, VERMONT. AFTER THE ONE YEAR WAITING PERIOD I APPLIED FOR WEST POINT AND IT WAS HERE THAT I FOUND AFTER PASSING THE MENTAL EXAMS AND TWO PHYSICALS THAT I WAS DISQUALIFIED DUE TO 20/30 IN ONE EYE AFTER THE 3RD PHYSICAL. WE HAD GOOD LEADERSHIP AND I RECEIVED EXCELLENT TRAINING WHICH WAS TO BE INSTRUMENTAL IN LATER HELPING ME TO SURVIVE.

AFTER TWO YEARS OUR SQUADRON WAS TRANSFERRED TO FORT MYER, VIRGINIA TO BE WITH THE REST OF THE REGIMENT. I CONSIDERED IT AN HONOR TO SERVE TWO TOURS OF DUTY AS SERGEANT OF THE GUARD AT THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER. EACH TOUR WAS FOR ONE MONTH. WE HAD A CAPTAIN RICE AS OUR COMMANDING OFFICER AT THIS TIME. HE WAS A FORWARD LOOKING OFFICER AND HAD ALL OF THE NCO�S TRAINED TO RIDE A MOTORCYCLE SINCE IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT IN THE EVENT OF WAR WE WOULD BE MECHANIZED. HE ALSO TOOK THE SENIOR NONCOMS UP IN A BLIMP TO GIVE US AN IDEA OF TERRAIN AND OBJECTS AS THEY LOOKED FROM THE AIR. THIS WAS TO BE OF INVALUABLE HELP LATER. MY ENLISTMENT EXPIRED IN AUGUST 1941. I HAD A TEMPORARY JOB IN A DEFENSE PLANT SINCE I COULD SEE THAT IT WOULDN�T BE LONG BEFORE WE WERE INVOLVED IN A WAR AND REENLISTED IMMEDIATELY AFTER PEARL HARBOR; WAS OFFERED MY OLD RANK IN THE 3RD CAV, BUT DECLINED AS I WAS NOT INTERESTED IN BEING A "PALACE GUARD" IN WASH, D.C. I WAS ASSIGNED TO THE AIR CORPS AND EXPECTED BE PART OF A FLIGHT CREW AS I WAS EXPERT IN BOTH LIGHT AND 50 CALIBER MACHINE GUNS. WOE IS ME!

THEY MADE ME A STAFF SGT, IN THE MP DETACHMENT AT SPENCE FIELD, MOULTRIE, GA. THE ONLY GOOD PART OF MY STAY THERE WAS THAT I OCCASIONALLY GOT TO FLY AS A PASSENGER IF ONE OF THE INSTRUCTORS HAD ROOM AND I COULD GET A PARACHUTE. HERE AGAIN THE KNOWLEDGE I GAINED IN OBSERVATION FROM THE AIR CAME IN HANDY LATER ON. HOWEVER, I WASN�T HAPPY PICKING UP MEN EVERY NIGHT WHO WERE UNDER THE WEATHER DUE TO THE MOONSHINE(IT WAS A DRY COUNTY). SINCE I KNEW HOW TO RIDE A MOTORCYCLE FROM THE 3RD CAV DAYS MY C.O. ALSO HAD ME OUT CHECKING TO SEE THAT THE CADETS OBEYED THE SPEED LIMIT IN GOING TO AND FROM TOWN.. THEY TRIED TO EQUATE GROUND SPEED WITH AIR SPEED. A CONVOY PASSING THROUGH STOPPED FOR A 10 MINUTE BREAK; BY A QUIRK OF FATE IT WAS THE 1ST RECON WITH SOME GUYS I KNEW FROM THE 3RD CAV. THEY WERE ON THE WAY TO FORT BENNING FROM BLANDING. I ASKED MY C.O. FOR PERMISSION TO SEE THE RECON CO AT BENNING. HE WAS A KINDLY OLDER RESERVE MAJOR WHO HAD SERVED IN WWI. HE TOLD ME TO TAKE THE STAFF CAR, A BRAND NEW CHEVROLET SEDAN TO BREAK IT IN! FOUND THE RECON IN THE WOODS. 1ST SGT STAPLES KNEW ME AND TOOK ME TO SEE CAPTAIN ADAMS. CAPTAIN ADAMS SAID HE WOULD BE HAPPY TO HAVE ME BUT THAT HIS NCO SLOTS WERE ALL FILLED AT THE MOMENT. I WAS WILLING TO START OVER AND EARN A SLOT WHEN ONE BECAME OPEN. HE PUT A REQUEST THROUGH CHANNELS FOR MY TRANSFER THE EXEC OFFICER AT THE FIELD CALLED ME IN, SHOWED ME THE REQUEST SIGNED BY GEN ALLEN, ALSO TOLD ME I WAS SLATED FOR OCS IF I WANTED TO GO. IT WOULD HAVE MEANT THAT I WOULD BE RIDING A DESK IN SOME ADMINISTRATIVE CAPACITY IN THE AIR CORPS. I RESPECTFULLY DECLINED AND WITH THE COLONEL�S BLESSING I LEFT THE NEXT DAY TO JOIN THE TROOP AT INDIANTOWN GAP.

1ST RECON TROOP, 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION - FROM INDIANTOWN GAP TO ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, ALGERIA, TUNISIA AND SICILY.

SGT leaning on hood in front of jeep is George Koch. The one opposite sitting on the ground is Gesag Negohosian. Lupo is standing by the wheel. In the back Henry D'Orto is the bareheaded cook. Ray Fregeau is standing with hands on hips and Duke Duframe is the one with hands in pocket. The others are unidentified.

I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PROUD OF MY SERVICE RECORD - ESPECIALLY MY TOUR OF DUTY WITH THE 1ST RECON, A FINE GROUP OF SOLDIERS - UNFORTUNATELY I SHOULD HAVE KEPT SOME SORT OF RECORD OF THE MEN WHO SERVED WITH ME ON VARIOUS MISSIONS INSTEAD OF HAVING TO RELY ON MY MEMORY. AT INDIANTOWN I WAS PUT IN THE SUPPLY ROOM WITH SGT JOE NADEAU AND WE ALWAYS HAD A GOOD RELATIONSHIP. HERE WE RECEIVED NEW CLOTHING AND OTHER EQUIPMENT. THEN ONE FINE DAY WE WERE ALL LOADED ON TROOP TRAINS WITH STRICT ORDERS TO KEEP THE BLINDS ON THE WINDOWS DOWN AND THERE WERE MPS IN EACH CAR TO ENFORCE THE ORDERS. THEY TOOK US TO THE PIER IN NEW YORK WHERE THE QUEEN MARY WAS BERTHED AND TWO DAYS LATER WE SAILED FOR ENGLAND. THIS WAS LATE JULY. ON A BRIGHT SUNNY SUNDAY WE SAILED DOWN THE RIVER AND OUT TO SEA. IT SEEMED THAT ALL OF NEW YORK WAS THERE TO WAVE GOODBY. - SO MUCH FOR SECRECY! AXIS SALLY ANNOUNCED OVER THE RADIO THAT THE GERMAN SUBS WERE WAITING FOR US AND THE THE NEXT DAY ANNOUNCED THAT THE QUEEN MARY HAD BEEN SUNK WITH THE ENTIRE 1ST DIVISION ON BOARD. THE BRITISH CREW SEEMED TO ENJOY HER BROADCASTS AND WE LISTENED TO THEM ALSO SINCE SHE OFTEN PLAYED GOOD OLD AMERICAN SONGS.

BEFORE LEAVING INDIANTOWN EDGAR WOOD AND I BECAME GOOD FRIENDS AND WENT INTO HARRISBURG TOGETHER. IN ENGLAND HE WAS THE SCOUT CAR DRIVER FOR CAPT ADAMS AND WAS A CORPORAL AND I BECAME THE HEADQUARTERS SGT. I IRONICALLY HAD BEEN PROMOTED TO SERGEANT AND REPLACED MY FRIEND, BILL FREI WHO I KNEW FROM THE 3RD CAVALRY. THE UNIT MOVED FROM THE CLYDE RIVER IN GLASGOW WHEN THEY LANDED AND WERE IN TIDWORTH BARRACKS NEAR SALISBERY. THEN THE MOVE FROM TIDWORTH BARRACKS TO SCOTLAND WAS VERY TIRING FOR THE BIKERS SINCE OUR PACE WAS ONLY ABOUT 25 MPH. I RELIEVED CHARLIE PARKER EVERY SO OFTEN. WE CAMPED AT THE ESTATE OF THEE DUKE OF INVERARY WHICH WAS ON LOCH FYNE. HERE THAT CATCH ALL PHRASE WAS INVOKED AND I WAS TOLD THAT "IN ADDITION TO MY OTHER DUTIES" I WAS THE PIONEER & DEMOLITION SGT AND WAS GIVEN A MANUAL, JACK HAMMER, FUSES, TNT AND DETONATOR. I WAS TOLD TO TRAIN MY MEN SO THAT THEY WOULD BE READY WHEN WE MOVED ON. I TOOK THIS LITERALLY AND WE FOUND A SMALL AREA NEAR AN OLD SHED. I THINK CORP JOE SCAMPINI WAS WITH ME AT THE TIME. THERE WAS A LARGE LIMESTONE ROCK ABOUT FOUR FEET IN DIAMETER. WE DECIDED THAT WE WERE GOING TO CUT IT IN HALF WITH OUR NEW TOY - THE JACKHAMMER. WE PROCEEDED AND PROMPTLY HAD THE FIRST DRILL STUCK IN THE ROCK AND COULDN�T RETRIEVE IT. UNDAUNTED, WE TOOK OUT ANOTHER DRILL AND TRIED TO ANGLE IT TO SPLIT THE ROCK AND GET BACK THE FIRST DRILL. NOW WE HAD TWO STUCK. WE CONSULTED THE MANUAL AND CALLED UP OUR GOOD OLD AMERICAN KNOW HOW TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM. SIMPLE REALLY - SPLIT THE ROCK WITH TNT. SIMPLE -2 STICKS SHOULD DO IT. AND SO "FIRE IN THE HOLE", ETC BY THE BOOK. ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE BUT THERE WAS NO DAMAGE TO THE ROCK AND THE DRILLS WERE STILL STUCK. THE BRITISH OFFICERS AND MPS DESCENDED ON US AND WANTED TO KNOW WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WAS GOING ON. I SHOULD GO BACK AND SEE If THE DRILLS ARE STILL THERE - AT ANY RATE WE FOUND OUT HOW TO SET OFF TNT.

IN OCTOBER 1942 WE WERE LOADED ON SHIPS FOR THE INVASION OF NORTH AFRICA. A LOT OF THE TROOP WAS ON THE WARWICK CASTLE, THE VEHICLES WERE ON A FREIGHTER-DeLILLIAN-, MOST OF THE HEADQUARTERS PLATOON WAS ON THE DUCHESS OF BEDFORD (THE DRUNKEN DUCHESS), I WAS IN CHARGE OF OUR GROUP. WE WERE IN THE LOWEST COMPARTMENT OVER THE PROPELLER SHAFT AND IN NO TIME WE WERE ALL SEASICK. THE CREW WAS EATING AND SAVING OUR FOOD AND WERE GIVING US LEFT OVER BRITISH WWI RATIONS - OXTAIL SOUP, MUTTON, FISH WITH HEADS ON AND EYES STARING AT YOU. THE CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP WAS INCENSED THAT HIS ELEGANT SHIP (VINTAGE ABOUT 1880- PREVIOUSLY A COAL BURNER) WOULD BE BLAMED FOR OUR CONDITION. I TOLD CAPTAIN ADAMS ABOUT THE FOOD. HE WENT WITH ME, I HAD A COOK PUT A DAB OF MUTTON ON MY MESS KIT, GOT IT 2 FEET FROM HIS NOSE, HE BARELY MADE IT TO THE SHIP�S RAIL IN TIME. HE WAS RIGHT BACK WITH THE INFANTRY COLONEL WHO WAS IN CHARGE OF THE TROOPS. THE COLONEL TOOK AN INFANTRYMAN WITH HIM, INSPECTED THE HOLD AND WITH "A LITTLE HELP" HAD A LOCKED STORAGE COMPARTMENT OPENED. FOR THE LAST THREE OR FOUR DAYS WE SUDDENLY HAD APPLES AND OTHER "CIVILIZED" FOOD TO EAT INCLUDING A REPLACEMENT FOR THE 3 DAY RATION SUPPLY FOR ON SHORE WHICH WE HAD ALL PREVIOUSLY CONSUMED. FINALLY CAME THE EARLY MORNING OF NOVEMBER 8TH, OFF THE BEACH AT ARZEW, WE CLIMBED DOWN THE NETTING INTO THE LANDING CRAFT AND THEY LOWERED CHARLIE PARKER�S BIKE TO US. THEY OPENED THE RAMP AND WE COULD HAVE STEPPED OUT IN A FOOT OF WATER BUT THE CREW WAS AFRAID OF BEING STUCK. THEY PULLED UP THE RAMP AND BACKED OFF, LET IT DOWN AGAIN, AND WE WALKED OFF IN WATER UP TO OUR NECKS. CHARLIE TRIED TO RIDE HIS BIKE OFF - IT WAS LIKE A SUBMARINE, HAD TO LIFT HIM AND SOME OF THE OTHER SMALL MEN AS WELL AS HIS BIKE TO GET THEM ASHORE WITH US.

CAPTAIN ADAMS WAS AT THE ASSEMBLY AREA BUT NOT TOO MANY OF THE MEN. IN A SHORT TIME THE CAPTAIN�S SCOUT CAR, MY JEEP AND ANOTHER JEEP SHOWED UP. THE CAPTAIN GAVE ORDERS TO ANOTHER OFFICER TO ORGANIZE THE REMAINDER OF THE TROOP AND HOW THEY WERE TO BE DEPLOYED. OUR HUGE CONVOY OF THREE VEHICLES AND A BIKE STARTED OFF TO SEE WHAT WE COULD SEE. OUR RADIOS WERE NOT OF MUCH HELP AND WE HAD TO USE CHARLIE PARKER AND HIS BIKE TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THE TROOP. ON THE MAIN ROAD TOWARD LEGRANDE IN THE GENERAL AREA THAT THE 16TH INF WAS TO OPERATE IN. IT WAS RELATIVELY QUIET EXCEPT FOR OCCASIONAL SNIPER FIRE. CAPT ADAMS HAD A MAP BUT I HAD TO FLY BY THE SEAT OF MY PANTS. THE 18TH INF WAS BEING HELD UP AT ST. CLOUD AND WE GOT ORDERS VIA A BIKE RIDER TO CHECK THE WEST SIDE WHERE ONE OF THE BATTALIONS OF THE 18TH WAS STARTING TO FLANK THE TOWN. WHEN WE GOT NEAR TO IT WE SAW THAT THE FRENCH WERE USING THE CHURCH STEEPLE AS AN OP AND FOR SNIPER FIRE ON THE INFANTRY IN FRONT OF THEM. I WAS ABLE TO GET A FEW ROUNDS OF THE 50 CAL MG OFF AT THE STEEPLE AND HEARD THE BELLS RINGING - I DON�T KNOW IF THAT STOPPED THE SNIPER FIRE OR If SOME INFANTRYMEN HAD HAD THE SAME TARGET. WE CONTINUED TO FLANK THE TOWN TOWARD THE HILLS WHERE THE FRENCH ARTILLERY WAS IN PLACE. WE STOPPED TO ASSESS THE SITUATION AND THEN WE ALL HAD A GOOD LAUGH. FROM THE ARTILLERY AREA AN OLD ARMORED CAR OF WWI VINTAGE(IT LOOKED LIKE SOMETHING YOU WOULD SEE IN A COMIC STRIP), BIG ENOUGH FOR TWO PEOPLE WITH WHAT LOOKED TO BE A 30 CALIBER GUN ON THE FRONT WAS COMING DOWN THE ROAD TOWARD THE TOWN. IT WAS A PRETTY GOOD DISTANCE BUT THE CAPTAIN TOLD ME TO SEE IF I COULD REACH IT WITH OUR 50. I GUESS I DID BECAUSE WE SAW THE DIRT KICK UP AROUND IT AND THEY TURNED AROUND AND HEADED BACK INTO THE HILL. THE INFANTRY BATTALION WAS UP TO US AND WE WENT BACK TO THE ROAD LEADING TO HASSI BOU NIf. THE FRENCH ARTILLERY OPENED UP ON THE PLACE WHERE WE HAD BEEN WITH OUR MACHINE GUNS JUST AS WE WERE LEAVING. WE NOW HAD ANOTHER SCOUT CAR. IT WAS NIGHT TIME AND I WAS TOLD TO CHECK ON A SIDE ROAD PARALLEL TO THE MAIN ROAD TOWARD ORAN THAT THE CAPTAIN WAS ON AND GET BACK TO HIM. THE ROAD WAS CLEAR UNTIL WE CAME TO A CROSSROAD WHERE FOR THE FIRST TIME WE HAD TO "HEIGH HO SILVER" TO GET THROUGH AS WE CAME UP TO AN INFANTRY UNIT. WHEN WE CONTINUED WE RAN INTO AN ENEMY UNIT AND RETURNED TO REPORT ITS POSITION TO THE INFANTRY COMMANDER. THEY WEREN�T TOO HAPPY TO HAVE OUR VEHICLE MOTORS RUNNING SO WE RETURNED AM) REPORTED TO THE C.O. WHEN WE CAME TO ANOTHER CROSSROAD, THE CO TWO OTHER MEN AND I WENT AHEAD ON FOOT TO CHECK OUT A FARM HOUSE THERE. LUCKILY THE VEHICLES WERE SHUT OFF AS WE HEARD FRENCH SOLDIERS TALKING IN THE YARD. WE LOBBED A COUPLE OF GRENADES OVER THE HEDGES TO COVER US AND HIGHTAILED IT BACK AND HUNKERED DOWN FOR THE NIGHT, TRIED TO GET A LITTLE SLEEP,.BUT THE FRENCH WERENT VERY COOPERATIVE AND KEPT UP A STEADY BARRAGE OF 75�S FOR TWO OR THREE HOURS. TWO THINGS WORKED IN OUR FAVOR. THEIR BARRAGE WAS ABOUT 50 YARDS TO OUR LEFT AND THEIR SHELLS DIDN�T SEEM TO BE HIGH EXPLOSIVE TYPES - THANK GOD. I GUESS THEY THOUGHT THEY HAD TAKEN CARE OF US. IN THE EARLY HOURS A COMPANY OF THE 16TH MOVED UP TO THE CROSSROAD. WHEN IT WAS LIGHT WE STARTED FORWARD WITH MY JEEP IN THE LEAD AND THE CAPTAIN BEHIND ME IN A SCOUT CAR. WHEN WE WENT OVER TH CREST OF A SMALL KNOLL FRENCH MACHINE GUN FIRE WAS HITTING THE SCOUT CAR AND AROUND THE JEEP. THE SCOUT CAR BACKED BACK BEHIND THE KNOLL. WE BAILED OUT, PUSHED OUR JEEP IN THE DITCH AND LUGGED OUR 50 CAL UP TO THE CROSSROAD. THE INFANTRY WAS PINNED DOWN IN THE FIELD IN FRONT OF US. AN INFANTRY OFFICER YELLED FOR ME TO HIT THE TWO FARMHOUSES - ONE ON EACH SIDE OF THE ROAD AHEAD OF THEM. I FIRED INTO THE WINDOWS AND OTHER OPENINGS IN BOTH HOUSES. THE 50 CAL SILENCED THE HOSTILE FIRE AND THE INFANTRY MOVED OUT. (THIS, I BELIEVE, IS THE INCIDENT CAPT ADAMS REFERS TO IN HIS LETTER). OUR VEHICLES PULLED UP TO THE FARMHOUSE ON THE RIGHT AND WE HAD ORDERS TO WAIT THERE.

GENERAL ALLEN CAME UP AND WAS USING THE FARMHOUSE FOR A TEMPORARY HEADQUARTERS. IN A SHORT TIME WE HAD THE HONOR OF LEADING HIM INTO THE CITY OF ORAN FOR THE SURRENDER. I HAD BEEN CARRYING OUR AMERICAN FLAG INSIDE MY SHIRT AND I PUT IT ON OUR RADIO ANTENNA AND IN WE WENT. WE SILENCED SOME SNIPER FIRE IN THE CITY SQUARE WHILE THE GENERAL AND SOME OTHER OFFICERS INCLUDING CAPT ADAMS WERE INSIDE THE CITY HALL. THE TROOP THEN SETTLED IN AT STE BARBE-DU-TELAT. WE ESCORTED GENERAL ALLEN ALONG THE COAST OF THE MED THEN A SHORT DISTANCE SOUTH TO OUJDA, MORROCCO WHERE HE MET WITH A GENERAL OF THE FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION. WE RETURNED TO OUR AREA AT STE BARBE WITHOUT INCIDENT. I WAS A SGT IN THE FIRST PLATOON AND WITHIN A FEW DAYS WITH LIEUTENANT SKOGSBERG IN COMMAND WE WERE SENT TO SIDI-BEL-ABBES TO CHECK OUT THE FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION. FORTUNATELY THEY DIDN�T GIVE US ANY TROUBLE BUT IT WASN�T TOO COMFORTABLE A FEELING AT THE FORT SINCE WE WERE OUT NUMBERED AND WE WERE LED TO BELIEVE THAT SOME GERMAN ADVISORS WERE PART OF THE GARRISON. OUR MEN WERE VERY MUCH ON THE ALERT. ON THE WAY BACK TO THE TROOP WE DISCOVERED A HOT MINERAL SPRING SPA IN THE MOUNTAINS AND PAUL ALLOWED US ALL THE LUXURY OF A WONDERFUL HOT BATH FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE WE HAD LEFT SCOTLAND. THE NEWS OF OUR FIND GOT BACK TO DIVISION ANT) THEN TO CORPS WITH RESULT THAT IT WAS DECLARED OFF LIMITS FOR US. FOLLOWING THE ABOVE SOME OF US ATTENDED A DEMONSTRATION OF MINES, ETC. ANT) IT WAS HERE WHERE CORP ROBERT PALMER WAS INJURED (THE INCIDENT IS DETAILED IN ONE OF THE ATTACHED DOCUMENTS) ON CHRISTMAS EVE MY SECTION FOUND A STUNTED TREE NEARBY. WE CUT IT DOWN AND BROUGHT IT INTO CAMP. WE DECORATED IT WITH MACHINE GUN BANDOLIERS, GRENADES, MESS KITS AND OTHER BITS AND PIECES FROM OUR PERSONAL BELONGINGS. AS WE SAT AROUND IT WE SANG CAROLS AND ENDED WITH THE TRADITIONAL "SILENT NIGHT". IT WAS A BEAUTIfUL CLEAR NIGHT AND THE STARS WERE SO BRIGHT IT SEEMED LIKE YOU COULD REACH UP AND TOUCH THEM.


George Koch tells his story - Pg 2

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This page was last updated on 5 Feb 2017