TOTAL DEVASTATION

     During Combat , we saw massive destruction . Captured or passed through many towns and villages where only walls of homes and businesses stood . After we had crossed the Rhine at Oppenheim , near Ludwigshoffen and were making our way along the rubble strewn streets of Frankfurt , I told Marvin " look Marv , there's a FORD sign - broken, and laying amongst a pile of rubble . A short distance later, also among the building remains --- there was only one wall standing , I drew his attention to a very large red sign with bright gold letters : F. W. Woolworth Co.

     We also saw dead German soldiers , dead civilians in the towns , knocked out German Tanks , trucks , wagons , 88s and artillery pieces. Occassionally , we'd see an Army O.D. blanket covering a GI and his M1 and helmet. All of the scenes before could not prepare us for the scene we later encountered . A scene which I will attempt to describe , knowing beforehand that my efforts cannot transmit the feelings for the sight we came upon. Later , we were first into the Concentration Camp ( Gunskirchen Lager ), but that was different --- horrible ,yes . But not total destruction as this was .

     The Germans were in retreat . As Cavalry Recon , we were usually out front and made initail contact with the enemy . This particular day , the entire Thirteenth Armored Division had led the way and had come upon the rear of a large German Convoy.This Convoy consisted of Tanks , German Jeeps, Horse Drawn wagons , Anti-tank guns pulled by vehicles and also horses . I saw a horse-drawn wagon with a large RED CROSS on the side.   All the movie newsreels and newspapers at that time had extolled the German War Machine as Modern, the worlds newest and fastest ---- hence the term "BLITZKRIEG". The number of horses and horse-drawn equipment was a complete shock to us .

     The 13th Division Tanks had overtaken the convoy by surprise and our first sight was the remains of a German Tiger that had been hit from the rear and all of the ammo inside must have exploded .   It was a nice sunny day--- about eleven in the morning . The road was paved , black , asphalt . To the right was a wide , flat field . A shallow banked stream ran parallel to the road fifty yards off to our right . On the left there was a slightly inclined bank about 25 feet and then a fairly dense forest of pine or cedar trees . The still smouldering Tiger Tank was in the center so we had to go onto the roadside to pass . The majority of the German vehicles , armored cars, trucks , mobile guns , wagons , etc . had been shot up and pushed to the left (tree side ) by the division Tanks . Many horses and men had been killed in the center of the road . We drove over the remains, hearing our tires "squish" in the blood and flesh .

     Hey Marvin , look over there--- the upper half of a German in uniform----- But nothing was below the waistline . Look , there's one with no head . More with arms off , legs off , dead bodies all along as we slowly moved ahead . To our amazement , there was no one alive ---nor did we see any wounded and still alive . We concluded that the tankers must have shot anyone moving and all the wounded . As we progressed ,we were shocked to see two Sherman Tanks to our right , 15 feet apart. Flames and smoke coming out the turrent. We didn't stop to take a closer look as our Driver, Jim Mathis was trying to weave and miss the vehicles in and along the road . It was impossible to pass without driving over the flattened uniforms and the bodies inside . I had no idea that horses and men could be mashed to such a pulp.

     The horse drawn Red Cross wagon was turned over on the side , against the inclined bank . I never learned how many Tanks passed over this convoy of Germans and horses . I have been with the Tankers and felt the Massive size and weight of a Tank . I know what just one tank passing over a horse would do. Imagine forty or fifty tanks.

     Almost to the end of this destruction , Lt. Burns radioed for us to halt . His Armored Car was 35 yards behind . Sgt. Fisher and Cpl. Daniels drove up to our car in a jeep. Said Lt. Burns had gotten us some 10 in 1 rations . This was an extremely rare treat , as we usually "existed " on K rations. Lt, Burns and the rest of the Platoon came up and we gathered in the field.

     Several horses meandered in the field ----one with a large gap in the right flank . Many of the others still standing altouugh you coud see where they had been shot . While the others were getting the 10 in 1s' ready , I walked over and petted a black horse ( had a white forehead ) . When I went back to join the guys and eat , he followed me over to them.

     After eating , we mounted up and proceeded------ to capture other towns and villages ------ to liberate Gunskirchen Lager Concentration Camp --- Cross the Danube below Regensburg , At a place called Valhalla----Cross the Enns at Steyer ---On into Waidhoffen , Austria . The Easternmost point of advance --- during hostilities--- of any Allied Unit . Also to effect surrender of General Lothar Von Rendulic and his 800,000 troops ( 200,000 were captured by the Russians ).

Mason ( Mickey ) Hardin Dorsey

P. S. I regret I have not the articulate vocabulary to accurately portray the scene properly . Had we had Video Cameras at that time , one could see the horror and utter destruction --- first hand

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