World War II
By Doug Benson
During my twenty-one
months with the 94th Division, I frequently wrote to my parents. Unbeknownst
to me they squirreled away each and every letter and so advised me when
I returned home. When my mother died in 1975, I recovered the boxes but
didn't read them until recently.
Benson lives at 201 Arlington
Avenue, Jamestown, NY 14701.
Our quality of life was improved
in November with the issuance of rubber arctics and sleeping bags in December.
En route to Germany we stopped
at a rest camp with tents and electricity --- true luxuries.
January 29, 1945. Shoepacs
replaced combat boots. Greatly reduced trench foot.
March 5, 1945. After crossing
the Saar River, two of us were pulled out of the line from Company B. One
fellow was sent back to the States to become a member of the Class of 1949
at West Point. I was given a three-day pass to Paris.
March 15, 1945. Company
B captured one of the few German villages at night -- Gusenberg as reported
on the BBC.
March 17, 1945. In
the rush of the Rhine River our Company Commander and I were investigation
a barn when we found pigs feasting on two dead German soldiers. The
animals were dispatched.
"Axis Sally" in her propaganda
broadcasts labeled us "Roosevelt's Butchers" or "Maloney's Maulers."
April 1, 1945. In transit
from Ludwigshaffen to Kefeld our jeep went through Belgium on Easter Sunday.
Wen passing through small villages the natives were most generous with
their Easter eggs, candy and flowers.
May 8, 1945. Our platoon
was occupying the Hotel Metzgerie in Wulfrath outside of Dusseldorf as
During 8 months of combat,
Company B had many officers including five company commanders.
June 21, 1945. I left
Czechoslovakia by jeep while the Division moved by 40 & 8 boxcars.
When my Company arrived we moved into a schoolhouse in Sedlice. I learned
that many village names ended in ice -- Sucice, Strakonice, Horazdovice,
In late June three of our
buck were busted for picking cherries.
Czech families raised may
geese, partially to pay a national tax of four geese annually.
Our rations of Cokes was
two per day; beer sold for 2 and a half cents per pint while a haircut
was 6 cents.
A gasoline shortage in July
cut down on a number of activities.
July 16, 1945. General
Patton reviewed the Division. Our helmets had been lacquered black
for the occasion. He claimed we didn't brag enough about our wartime
exploits and successes.
In late July we left Sedice
and replaced the 26th Division. Our company moved fifty miles in
open rail cars for ten hours. Located four miles southwest of Budweis
opposite Russian troops.
Many Russian soldiers were
looting nearby farms so we had to provide security for the Czechs.
August 1, 1945. Commenced
taking wood burning trains to Krumlov in the evenings.
August 8, 1945. Bob
Hope and his entourage performed for the Division at Vimperk. It
took us five flat tires and 14 and a half hours to get there and back,
but it was worth it.
Got my first pass to Pilsen
when a Division detachment marched in a V-J parade.
In one of the educational
programs we had initiated, Col. Hodges (our Battalion Commander) was teaching
August 23, 1945. Company
B medals and citations were awarded including four Silver Stars, eight
Bronze Stars and twenty-eight Purple Hearts.
September 27, 1945. One-day pass to Russian occupied Prague
where we lunched at the Hotel Paris and later partied at the Barrendorf Club
on a hill high above the city.
Took train on another three-day
pass to Paris via Budweis, Passau, Reganberg, Nurnburg, Augserg, Ulm, Stuttgart,
Karlsruhe, Strasborg and Chalon.
October 12, 1945. Started
a three-day pass to Corps rest area in Marienbad, Czechoslovakia. Only
time I played golf in E.T.O. -- can't believe an 89!
October 22, 1945. Division
put on a demonstration for the Czech War College where I explained the
300 radio operation.
October 26, 1945. Czech
currency was revalued. We were tightly monitored on the pay we received
versus the amount we sent home. Army was endeavoring to control black
October 31, 1945. Company
moved to Oberplan, Czech., located northeast of Passau, Germany. Our platoon
located in a schoolhouse with showers!
November 5,1945. Due
to higher point men returning home I was the last remaining member of our
original company from Camp McCain.
November 12, 1945. Sent to Third Army Headquarters in
Bad Tolz, Germany to represent the 301st
at a basketball referees school.
November 26, 1945.
Transferred from the 94th after twenty-one months. Prior to leaving
Krumlov the Czechs paraded and awarded us medals. After a four-day
train ride, assigned to Co. B 317th regiment 80th Division near Frankfurt.
Our route included Budweis, Pilsen, Schwandorf, Amberg, Nurnberg, Bamberg,
Wurzberg to Aschaffenberg.
December 17, 1945. Moved to camp Herbert Tareyton at Le
Havre, France via Thionville and Amiens
One of my tent mates was
Happy Chandler's nephew.
For some reason the French
government paid us $17 each.
December 31, 1945. Boarded the Colby Victory for the U.S.A.
Discharged at Fort Dix, New