HISTORY

606 ARMY ENGINEER CAMOUFLAGE BATTALION

COMPANY "A" HISTORY

This is a verbatim transcription of what is on the back of the map.
You may click here to go to the history for Company   "B"   "C"   "D"  or Headquarters & Service Co.
or the more serious history for the battalion as a whole.

     A long time ago in Colorado we went to Camp Hale, “highest army post in the U.S.”  We taught the 10th Division and we learned the arts of breathing, walking and goldbricking at 10,000 feet.  We never found out how to drink up there.

      We bivouacked in the snowdrifts for weeks on end.  Averting surprise inspections by the use of miles of booby-traps.

     We opened a school, and staffed it, for a week of instruction for the 89th Division.  The opening day every one of 6 instructors opened with the same joke.

     A Sgt. Of a line platoon became engaged to the daughter of a tavern owner.  The company moved in, tended bar, evicted drunks, other than our own, and did Saturday night K.P. for the proprietor for weeks.  M.P.s were always welcome and usually offered a free lunch.

     We flew the B-17s, and photographed our work area.  We went to Tennessee.  From Schhwiering’s Sea to Knipper’s Knob, we fought the battle of the Cumberland Valley.  We went to South Carolina.  Many of us left the company.  The outfit reformed, but not in the sense so highly praised by the Hays office.  We became friends with H.& S.  We became aware of three other lettered companies.  We had matured.  We didn’t like it.

     On the SS Santa Maria enroute to Le Havre we took our Mal de Mer, our boat drills, our dismal quarters and the depth bombs with the lightheartedness of a group of condemned murderers.

     We went by platoons to dig the mines and inspect the booby traps around St. Valery.  We moved to Manoir Du Val and set up house.  We occupied quarters occupied before us by a company of German Signal Corpsmen.

      We fed the mayor and his lady; and were invited to attend a boar hunt.  A. Sgt. attended armed with a tommy-gun.

      We exploded several 500 pound bombs, over worked the laying-hens of the community and fraternized gracefully with the mademoiselles, and alas! The madames, of Manoir Du Val and all its neighboring villages.

     The local tavern became ours.  The First platoon lived quietly by their hearthside, always well supplied with boar meat and calvados.  The Second platoon cultivated a forest ranger whose wine bins were well stocked, and whose hens provided nightly omelets.  The Fourth platoon, always a source of learning, culture and confusion, lived almost entirely within their ten foot fireplace.  Headquarters platoon was not so fortunate.  They dwelt with the officers and were constantly subjected to the uplifting conversation, highmindedness and purity of purpose of those gentlemen.

     We moved into Belgium, Holland, Germany.  In Belgium we stood close inspection by the liberated citizens of Charleroi.  Only 10 of them at a time could get into the latrine.

      We crossed the Rhine and moved up to Bielefeld.  The first and third platoons were ordered up to Oschersleben.  The C.O. took them into Hannover the night after it had fallen.  There were no lights, no signs.  Snipers, drunken rioters and bodies were all over the place.  We found a company of Infantry on patrol and perimeter guard.  They were glad of any increase in numbers and housed us.

      We preceded by daylight to Lehrte, and Advance XIII Corps.

      We were warned that our trip to XIX Corps at Oscherleben would take us through many uncleared woods and towns.

     We were scared.  We were scared stiff.  Eventually, however we devised a method of clearing the towns for our passage through.  By violently backfiring all of the vehicles in the convoy we frightened hell out of the civilians and completely cleared the streets.

     We arrived at Oschersleben, several kilos behind  Madgeburg, and were informed that we were the first to have crossed between corps so near the front.  We bivouacked outside of the town and exhausted, went to sleep.  That night Oschersleb was bombed. Bedcheck Charlie, enterprising Messerschmidt operator flew back and fourth above us causing tempers to flare and cigarettes to be hastily extinguished.  

     An unofficial tour to the front was made and all participants properly shaken up.  

     Much loot was obtained.  No fraternization occurred as there were no women within miles.

      The Second and Fourth platoons moved to within 67 miles of Berlin at Gardelegen.  The Gardelegen Atrocities were substantiated.  Tons of loot were obtained.  Contact was made unofficially with the Russians.  The Elbe was crossed and recrossed.  Pistols were obtained for every man in the company.

      Shortly after V-E day thhe outlying platoons returned to Bielefeld .  A small contingent of men and officers visited the Riviera , discovering the Alors Maritimes and a drink known as “Blood and Guts”.

     Ordered to Le Havre for embarkation we progressed evenly as far as Soissons where thousands of natives and expatriots again inspected our latrines, issued caustic Gallic comment, and haggled for trophies of the Third Reich.

     The rest, the trip home, the furloughs and the leaves, the long process of dissolution, is properly the history of the individual; how he got his points, his luck, and what he did with him memories.

 

 

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