WWII Vet Recalls The Night His Company Was Captured By The Germans And Why He Couldn't Surrender

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two or three in the morning, I guess it must have been - maybe a little later - we could hear this big motor, engine, whatever you want to call it. It was big, and we peeked outside, and you could barely make them out, but you could see all these soldiers coming into this area where we had the three houses with a huge tiger tank. And so the first thing they did was pull the tank up and surround the house, and the tank shot the bridge out right behind us. And the river was maybe - not a big river - it was probably 15, 20 feet across. So, they shot the bridge out, and then they just started yelling for everybody to come out. And some of them didn't come out, and so the tank just, just would turn its guns on whatever house they were yelling, come out of there, and give them a blast of two or three blasts, about two or three at a time. And they very quickly learned that they better come out in a hurry. So everybody is surrendering. but Clayton couldn't surrender. and I'm up there with all of this, my pocket full of souvenirs, German flags and an iron cross, and stuff like that, little automatics, and so I'm trying to find where all these souvenirs are stuck, they're all in my pockets everywhere, and I wanted to get rid of them, so I didn't get caught with any of them on my person, because we heard that if they caught you with German souvenirs, you were a dead guy. So by the time I got them all fished out, I reached down in front of me. I thought Mike was right in front of me, and he wasn't. It was pitch black in that house, and I couldn't see anything, and I whispered out, Mike. Mike. Nobody answered. So, then I came to this opening and took a step and fell about halfway down these stairs, and that I was down into the storage area, and the cows and pigs and stuff down there. So, I found these turnips and pulled them all back and dug a hole and climbed into the hole and then pulled the turnips in on top of me. Nobody came in there. I was in there, cranked up for, oh, I don't know, a couple three hours, I suppose. And then I heard an American voice, a couple of guys talking. I thought, oh, man, something has happened here. This is in the daylight by then. So, I got out and peeked around the corner, and there was a GI, and they had come, the Germans had just taken the whole batch of guys, and went back into town, marched them all back into town and left the houses empty. And I guess they figured because the bridge was out, they didn't have much to worry about anyway.