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WWII, letters, World War 2, Army, Munich, Rosenheim
World War, 1939-1945; United States--Army
Davis writes about travelling to Munich and Rosenheim with Brady, The Major, and Captain Debro to look into civilian jobs, but the person they needed to see was not there.
Sgt, Robert Davis, 18107121
G237, CoF, 3rd MGR
c/o PM. N.Y.
Mrs. R.L. Davis
Today we went to Munich and Rosenheim. The object was to examine prospects for civilian jobs, but as it turned out the right man to see was not there. It seems the right man to see is never there. Brady and I took one car, the stream-lived Adler of Capt. Debro, and the Major and Captain Debro drove down in the Major’s sleek, long, black Mercedez. In spite of the ice on the autobahn, the Major (who drove and lead the way) kept up a hefty 60 to 90 miles per hour; the upper limit of which is dangerous because of both ice and MP’s, and mainly for the latter. After hovering apprehensively a mile or two behind him we all roared into Munich in good time. At the edge of Munich the Major stopped the car, seated himself in the back seat, his chauffer alighted from the back seat and took the wheel.
Military Government of Bavaria is a huge headquarters. Already the job is indescribably complicated, as intricate and huge as the mammoth building which house it. if Frankfort is a “little Pentagon,” then DMGB (Office of Mil. Goo. For Bavaria) is a “little little Pentagon.” A labyrinth of halls, odd corridors and extensions, with numerous elevators (none of which ), and the ghostly and final embodiment of the situation where the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, or even what its own subordinate fingers are doing. In short, to allow myself the clarification of a cliché, a mess.
As I said, the man to see was not there. The man whom we saw about the man to see informed us of his absence and pointed out to us the man not to see. The man not to see was, of course, a 2nd Lt., and one who looked as if he had gone sour on the world. We didn’t see him.
After a mediocre lunch in the Enlisted Men’s Mess (in OMGB, in fact everywhere in the army except with Major Norins, an Enlisted Man is treated like an Enlisted Man, in other words, like dirt) the Major and Debro having returned to Ingolstadt, Brody and I left Munich for Rosenheim. The business of the trips was of short duration with the Military Government Rosenheim, G-235. We picked up in addition 60 bottles of Cognac from a cheese factory (It is an artificial Cognac made from a by product of cheese infg. 2t doesn’t taste bad, and anyhow, what alcohol could be healthier than one derived from milk?) and came back.
The Rosenheim-Ingolstadt trip is beautiful. Rosenheim lies at the base of the Bavarian-Austrian alps, and gigantically behind it stretches this breath-taking mountain- backdrop. Today, however, the usual hazy fogginess prevailed, and scenery was out. Of course it is cold in the mountains, but I had no idea it would be so cold as to render our auto-heater inoperative. It was, and my teeth chattered, or would have chattered at any given time had I said the word.
Returning thru’ Munich we detoured to a hospital on the out skirts to see Bob Brady. Last week he caught a cold in his face, and one half of his face muscles are paralyzed. It takes about a week to go away, and in the meantime he is fretting in the hospital because there’s nothing to do but sit.
A typical Brady, who isn’t happy unless he’s busy. And so home from Munich.
On this final stretch from Munich to Ingolstadt our chauffer opened his heart to us. I had earlier suspected from his thick, deliberate accent that he was Sudeten, and he was. (You’d be surprised how tricky you son is at spotting accents. Quite a fascinating little game.) He has enjoyed, or more appropriately remarked, suffered, a remarkable life in the last 4 yrs. From 42-43 he was on the Russian Front. From the futile siege of Leningrad to the disastrous collapse of the 6th army at Stalingrad. He was one of the few 6th army men who escaped from the enclosure at the latter, due, as he explained it, to a flat-tire on the truck taking him to the front. At any rate he was packed home for recuperation. His entire stay in the army has been in foreign units as an attached man, which has probably given him his present easy modus vinevidi with Americans. In Russia he served with the SS Division Viking, a conglomeration of Northern, Baltic peoples; with the crack Spanish SS Blue Legion; with different Italian units. The Spaniards and the Italians were chronically unhappy in Russia, where the winter temperature was always deeply minus; “they’d just huddle around the fires, not worth a damn,” he opined. Then apropos, he remarked farther that our Negroes must be awfully uncomfortable in the German cold. “I’ve see lots of them lately. They very uncomfortable and seems to turn an ashy gray color.” Seated beside him, and ashy gray from cold myself, I told him that the niggers weren’t the only ones who didn’t like the climate.
Anyhow, to continue, in ’43 he was assigned in Serbia. And, as luck would have it, with a dissident Cossack Division! “Oh, were they wild!” They completely terrorized the Balkan populations; stealing, plundering, , killing at will. Knowing the Russians, I believe him. Said there were 30 Germans in two divisions of the wild bastards. When the armistice was signed, on May 8, it was announced that all German soldiers who made the border by midnite would be let thru’. They raced like mad, but were “detained” at the border. Really a clever position ruse to get scattered units rounded up. In the P.W. cage a Partisan Officer of Tito’s talked to them, offered them their freedom if they would fight for the Partisans against the Chetnike and remaining SS Troops, or it they would join the crusade against the English and capitalism. 30 out of 600 joined. A few days later he and three other escaped, and made it into British occupied Austria. They finally wound up in an American P.W. cage, and he was discharged. “Prima under the Americans,” he said. “Much better than working for Russians in Siberia.”
P.S. Got your Reader’s Digest today mother. Thanks.
Things that happened today:
- DONAU KURIER newspaper came out with an edition which said “Tuesday, 25 Jan ’46.” (MY PERSONAL Editor’s Note: Today, the 25th of January 1946, is Friday.) Runte said the damn paper was always three days behind.
- A local woman came in and wanted to get back ration tickets given her store for clothes bought in June. The MP’s stole the ration tickets as “evidence” against us in the GRUNDL case, never gave them back. Major Norins told the woman to “ask for a pass to the U.S., “where she could contact the M.P., since redeployed.
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