I enclose a copy of pages 60 and 61 of your May 2005 issue, which may contain an error. It states that the picture is of “soldiers of the 225th Infantry Regiment.” the correct identification is the 255th Infantry Regiment, of the 63rd (“Blood and Fire”) division. I was a scout-observer in the Combat Intelligence squad of the 2nd Battalion of the 255th.
After capturing Heideberge and crossing the Neckar River on April 1 (Easter Sunday) 1945, we pursued the German army retreating toward Bavaria, but making many rear-guard stands. Waldenburg sits atop a high butte, and is ringed with a medieval high stone wall; the top half of the hillsides was heavily forested with pine trees, and the lower half was wide open. An SS unit, estimated at 550 in number, chose to make a stand there; its height gave them excellent visibility in all directions.
Our efforts at infantry assault were met by withering small-arms fire; our guys could not reach the wooded top areas. We therefore pulled back, and brought up several batteries of 4.2-inch mortars, which fired a lengthy barrage of WP (white phosphorus incendiary) shells, until the entire town was ablaze. As the flames died down we moved in easily, captured the few surviving enemy, and resumed the pursuit toward the Danube.
Shortly thereafter the Stars and Stripes published a photo substantially similar to yours, properly identifying the 255th.
Thanks for listening.
Ralph K. Smith
Locust Valley, New York
I especially enjoyed your Iwo Jima and Okinawa 60th Anniversary Collectors Edition. Since I went to the Pacific theater late in 1944 and ended up flying over the Missouri on September 2, it covers most of the action I saw as a Navy combat aircrew gunner.
However, I would like to make a correction in Gerald Astor’s article about the sinking of the Yamato. He mentions that the Japanese Battleship was spotted by “Marine twin engine flying boats” (page 14) and that “pilots of the two Marine flying boats” rescued Lt. J.G. Delaney (page 78). An “r” was left off in both instances. These were PBM Martin Mariner flying boats (either from my squadron or a sister squadron based at Okinawa). One was piloted by Lieutenant J.G. Richard Simms.
Eastchester, New York
Thank you for pointing out this information. We regret the error.
I was impressed with the article by Colonel Thomas R. Cagley’s article on generals that lost their lives in WWII. The article was interesting and covered a subject I have been only vaugely aware of in my reading of WWII history. However, in the fifth paragraph Colonel Cagley mentions the numbers of German generals executed by Hitler and the number of generals killed in action—his figures are off. According to the book Opfergang der Generale by Josef Folttmann and Hans Moller-Witten, first published in 1952, 223 German army generals were killed in action during the war with only 20 being executed by Hitler. Most of those excecuted by Hitler were in connection with the July 20, 1944 plot on his life. This book also details German flag officers from all services—Army, Navy, Airforce, Waffen SS, and Police—who were killed in action, committed suicide, or died in hospitals or captivity.
James H. Stevenson
Pinehurst, North Carolina
I address my immediate comments to your article in the July 2005 issue of WWII History. The article is titled “Tragic Dress Rehearsal” and is written by Australian Richard Rule. Mr. Rule is very good at keeping within the confines of Operation Jubilee an its benefit to Operation Overlord but he fails to make any meaningful mention of the previously cancelled Operation Rutter, Lord Mountbatten, and how they affected the outcome of Jubilee. In my opinion this affect is quite pertinent to Mr. Rule’s commentary. As you may know, it was Lord Mountbatten and his unauthorized rejuvenation of Rutter (albeit without anywhere near the air/sea support assets) on July 11, 1942 that led to Jubilee. It’s lack of authorization can be directly attributed to the overall failure of the raid in terms of those killed, wounded, and captured. Assets that were planned for the larger Operation Rutter such as warships bigger than destroyers, the use of RAF Bomber Command “heavies,” and most importantly, the Inter-Service Security Board and the Joint Intelligence Committee were not in place. Rutter was planned for July, and almost five weeks separate it from August 12, 1942. Aside from no security plan for the troops that were briefed on Rutter, no new intelligence was provided to Mountbatten and his staff at Combined Operations. That which they had was horribly faulty in the make-up and location of German forces in and around Dieppe. I feel this piece could have benefitted from putting this raid into context by speaking on Rutter first. Nonetheless, a fine article by Mr. Rule. In closing, I wish to say that you publish a fine magazine and your topics and authors are as interesting to read as can be. Keep up the good work.
I am 13-years-old and I just read your article in Volume 4, No. 3. The article “Shocked Beyond Imagination” was very interesting. Seeing how the USMC was planning to lay siege to Peleliu and watching their strategy crumble to dust was hard to stop reading. The thing that was most shocking was the picture of the marine who had his entire left side bloody and skinned from battle. I know many 13-year-olds aren’t interested in history, but I like to read WW II History because it covers a lot of parts of WW II that aren’t mentioned in many books or websites that I’ve seen.
We’re glad you liked our story on the Battle of Peleliu. We agree that the painting by Tom Lea, based on what he saw when he landed with the Marines, is shocking. We felt that this painting, though disturbing, truly captured the horror of the landing. While we try to avoid running unnecessarily grotesque images, we don’t want to avoid acknowledging the often grim reality of human conflict.
At the edge of the Hurtigen Forest in a small German military cemetery is a rather unusual marker. This monument was placed there on the 50th anniversary of the battle, donated by the 22nd Infantry Society, in honor of a German officer who died trying to help a wounded American soldier.
In January 1945 I was assigned to the 7th Artillery Battalion. My battery headquarters was at that time about two miles from the village of Hurtigen.
George W. Boving