Friday, November 11, 2011

An Armistice Day Tribute to my Grandfather, Pvt. Francis Allyn Newton, Part II

11:30 A.M. The nurse has just finished dressing my wounds. They are coming along fine. I ought to be able to hobble around in two or three weeks. I have so many little scratches that I can't begin to count them; must be at least twenty. The doctor picked out four or five little pieces of steel. The largest one was only about 1/4 of an inch square. The cuts look very much as if a trench mortar shell had broken just behind me for most of the wounds are on the back of the legs. I was almost positive that it was machine-gun bullets that hit me, and so many things flying about that one could not tell what hit them.

I consider myself very lucky for I have no permanent wounds. So many poor chaps have a leg or arm off. There are several in the ward as I'm in.

I heard the Division got help up near their objective and lost very heavily. We were out to break the Hindenburg line and did it although Fritz put up a very stubborn fight. He was very naughty with his machine guns and snipers. He had plenty of his best men and lots of ammo. We took a lot of prisoners but there were many more that we didn't take.

Here's one of Fritz's tricks. He fires his machine-gun until all ammunition is gone or he sees there is no chance to get away. Then when our men approach he throws his hands and cries, "Komerad." Perhaps he had killed as many as forty of our men with his gun. Do you suppose that a red-blooded soldier will listen to his pleas. No! He either gets shot or pricked with the point of a bayonet. The Australians and Americans take a very small percentage of the prisoners they might. But we have no comrades in the German army; and as the only good Dutchman is a dead one, we do the safest thing and put him out of his misery. There are a quite a number of prisoners taken though and they are receive good treatment. Some of us boys even give them bread, water and cigarettes, tho they really don't deserve it. But I suppose you can't really blame every individual soldier. Some of them can speak a little English and seem to be fairly descent chaps. When a bunch are taken prisoner they are compelled to carry our wounded to the rear. Sometimes an officer will object. What do they do to him then? They draw a pistol on him and if he still refuses he is shot. Every officer is reduced to a private the minute he is captured. But they get a hundred times better treatment than our men do in their hands. Very few Americans will ever be captured, for they will fight to the last rather than surrender. . . . [to be continued]

1 comment:

  1. This is so good. In Memory and Tribute to Pvt. Francis Allen Newton. Thank you again for sharing. I am truly enjoying! These are GREAT posts!!!