The following is not to be blamed on any one person but is
intended as a true account of the adventures of H & S Co. itself.
We feel that H & S Co. has been a living thing -- whether good
or bad -- and hope that the following may recall pleasant memories to
We boarded the USS Santa Maria on January 15th, 1945
A small merchant ship with
Navy escort guard. Later
joined a convoy from New York, made up of freighters, destroyers and one British Battle Wagon.
Running into a storm half-way across it was a common sight to see
someone hanging over the side and not forgetting ALLIO flat on his back
for three days. Before
we had a submarine alert, followed by depth charges.
We docked at Le Harve,
France, January 29th and saw our first sight of destruction.
We disembarked at 2300 and loaded onto open trailers that were
filled beyond capacity. Towns
we passed through were dark and quiet; the only sound was the sullen
drone of the truck motors, a dreary noise to accompany the cold and
falling snow. After four
hours the convoy of almost frozen men reached camp to find the tents
poorly erected and having drifted snow inside.
Soon we were asleep on the frozen ground in Camp Lucky Strike.
A mushroom bed of tents, was to be our home for the next two
months. A mudhole at first,
it soon became a dust bowl, still haven’t decided which was worse.
We had no more than dropped our duffle bags until we had to more
to another area. All of
which surprised no one, as the 606th has always moved often.
We bathed and washed clothes in our helmets and when changing wet
socks during the day, we would dry them next to our body beneath our
undershirt. Finally settling
down to the scramble for food and fuel (scarce items), we began the wait
for orders to move up. There
were passes to break the monotony. Rouen,
in pretty bad condition but still interesting, followed by Fecamp, a
quaint old French town on the Channel, hardly touched by the War and
affording a much better example of
as it used to be. Also, the
Monastary of the Benedictine Abby, where the famous brandy is made.
The supply section, more fortunate than the others, was able to
make trips to
Paris, Brussels, Rhems, Chernoug and Le Harve. The
middle of March, we got a break and moved thirty miles up the coast to
St. Aubin le Cauf, a little town just outside Dieppe. We were more comfortable
living in a Chateau and were adopted by the French in the town.
We remained there until April 8th, when our long
awaited orders came, we were going to
at last. We arrived in Gutersloh,
by motor convoy on April 10th and found the city of 40,000
had only recently surrendered. White
flags were hanging from every house and inhabitants seemed very quiet.
Our officers soon found the section of the city we were going to
live in and we settled in German homes, complete with bath. With sudden
orders for a platoon to return to Munchen-Gladbach, a truck piled high
with men and equipment, took off for a thirty day jaunt filled with the
complexities of German life and things.
Our mission was to take over a sign shop and camouflage factory.
First, we moved the sign shop to Gutersloh, and then we ran out of garlands, our production was so high in the
manufacturing of camouflage nets. Next,
the labor board wanted our three hundred men in exchange for women.
German women had the usual pains and aches, besides allergies,
itches, rashes, frozen fingers, etc.
Women can have the darndest things to contend with – just ask
our medics. All of these
were solved in their own particular way, not always found in a Field
Manual. Honest, we did work
and 3 ˝ million sq. feet of garnished nets, 300,000 sq. feet of
dyed burlap and 20,000 miles of road space prove it.
Suddenly a squad of carpenters were ordered to Braunschweig to
repair a home for Lt. General Simpson.
Midnight Charlie helped make their trip interesting.
Our mission in Gutersloh
was to take over a factory in the unbombed section and immediately begin
the garnishing of camouflage nets for the Ninth U. S. Army.
The factory had been producing wood parts for German airplanes.
The stock of materials was very complete and their machinery was
in good order. The owner of
the plant was informed of our intentions and cooperated very well with
our officers. We were
fortunate to have two very capable translators among our company to give
the Germans orders, their names will not be forgotten, Sgt. Bautner and
Tec.4 Kutiner. At first we used only men for this work, but soon we got
women as well, complete with all the problems previously mentioned.
They soon learned the work and produced more than the men.
Our orders for nets increased and we expanded, by taking over
another factory. Soon we had
700 women and 200 men working. Our
products increased and we began to make signs by the thousands plus
wooden boxes. We had an
office force headed by Officers but used German girls as clerks.
We had a finance department as we were required to pay the
workers. The peak of
production was reached in early May, then the war ended.
We were plenty happy about that.
Later in the month we were informed, that we were being relieved
by another Engineer outfit. We
were to move Southward to Korbach. That
was wonderful news because it meant we were going home.
Our stay in Korbach lasted about 12 days, at which time we turned
in all our equipment which had to be hauled to depots in
and France. We then started our trip
South out of Germany. That in itself was very
pleasant as it carried us through the
and across the
rivers. We passed
through such historic cities as Frankfort-on-the-Mainz and Trier. The second day of the trip
and passed through the Country and city of
and into France. The second night we stayed
at a transit camp in Soissons,
France. Next day we traveled
across the country through
and arrived at Camp Lucky Strike, near St.Valery to wait for a boat.
After processing was completed we headed for the boat and this
time we had a good ship, the USS Gen. Gordon.
“Chow” was excellent and living quarters were crowded as
usual, but the weather was nice until we hit the edge of a hurricane
which we finally rode out and then we tied up at
Newport News, Va, the United States of America.