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1945 Entries

January to March 1945

Two soldiers in snow 1940s

Bill Blass and Bob Tompkins From Robert Tomkins Collection, Ghost Army Archive.


Jan. 4. Thurs. Received first letters from Babe. Col. Fitz left 603rd today. Hooper takes over. Certificates of merit presented to several men today by Gen. Doran.

Jan 6. Sat. Verdun to Metz simulating 90th - Have two good stoves in 4th Platoon room. Warm and comfortable. Marking bumpers this morning, stenciling helmets, etc.

Jan. 7 Sun. Left Caserne Rouge 6:00 P.M. about 3 Mi to Mosel Caserne. Arrive across from main part of city. Stood guard. Pull out individually between 8 - 9 on route from Metz to Ukange to Dalstein to Friestroff to Metz. About 60 mi. Dalstein to Metz closed convoy. Led convoy all the way. Snowed heavily. Never been so cold (except G.M.) Arrived Mosel Caserne 12:00 Rumors are we stay here awhile. Continue to simulate 90X (B Co 358 I) until 90th is committed. What a hole. Get bluer every day. I want to go home to my wife and baby. To hell with this foolishness. Big attack imminent according to Schrader.

Jan. 9 Tues. Restricted to garrison. Painted out bumpers 2:00 P.M. Hiding some vehicles in garages in rear. Problem over, don't know when will leave.

Jan. 10 Wed. Leave Mosel Kaserne 11:30 arrive Briey about 1:30 - billeted in large apartment buildings. Officers living downtown. Unload everything. At 7:00 P.M. told we are to leave on problem at 12:00 midnight. Got Gray. Then orders change. Move out at 5:30 tomorrow morning.

Jan 11. Thurs. Move out at 5:28 via Longyon to Arlon. Had Willie relieve me when we stopped in field north of Arlon. So cold I thought I'd die. Snow 1 ft. deep. Got warm in farmhouse at 2:05. Move north about 30 km to heavy woods and paint bumpers - sew on patches - simulating 4th armored B Co. 1260 going into rest area. Drive 20 Km to village of Les Bulles. Billeted in farmhouses with farmers. Bill, Van and I in swell little room with stove and real snappy wall paper and electric lights. Very tired. Have had two meals in last 48 hours. Will write to Babe and Little Butch now and then bed. Bottle of ink is even frozen.

Jan. 12. Fri. Continue effects. Will be here tonite Thank God! Living like kings - that is to say we are warm.

Jan. 13 Sat. Leave Les Bulles 1:00 P.M. to woods. Remove patches and markings and then returned to Briey. arrived about 5:00 P.M. Snow now drifting 2-3 ft. deep in some places.
Problem over. What next?

Jan 19 Fri. Survey reconn. Gray & Tool 8th Port Au Mouson 35 wi. South of Briey. Had lunch with 84HQ and then went to Metz and spent an hour and a half eating doughnuts in R.C. and a beer in cafe. Saw two 2 Star Generals in R.C. Had flat tire on return.

Jan 23 Tues. Coal detail to just west of Sarrbrucken on border 65 mi. Miserable day. Froze - sore throat and ear ache on return. Got back after 8 o'clock - Got doctored up and went to bed. Feel better today. News looks good altho Russians seem to be slowinga bit but I think we are on our way very shortly.Jan. 27 Sat. Painted trucks all white !!!! (Coutence - Out of Granville 175 Co.) yesterday afternoon. Will leave either this afternoon or tomorrow on 95 Div. problem area. M[...] Metz.

Jan 28 Sun. Corporal of the guard B Co. takes over guard. Still await orders to move out on 95th problem. Everyone else will be gone tomorrow.

Jan. 30 Briey to Les Estanges simulating 95th Div. "B" Co. 378 Inf. C.P. [command post] in Major's house - 4th Platoon billeted in attic of farmhouse. Old lady downstairs is Nazi.

Jan. 31 Wed. Our Squadron moves into cafe. Have better set-up than anyone yet. Guard tonight.

Feb. 1 Thurs. Snow melting 406 [Combat Engineer Batallion, part of 23rd Headquarters Special Troops) and Heater moving up to front on another problem, Guard last night. Had wine and spent evening talking with Flauss family.

Feb. 2 Return to Briey.

Painting of village

Bob Tompkins Painting of Briey.  Courtesy Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University.

March 5 Mon. Leave Briey at 7:30 A.M. to Enney - extremely secret will have to wait until problem is over to enter details. I'd be shot on the spot if I were caught with this in my pocket as it is. Return same afternoon end spent two hours in RC. Problem called off.

March. 11 Briey to Ittersdorf, Germany. Simulating 80 Div. 318th 1, 3rd and 4th Platoon 905 FA. Went to town of Ittersdorf with old artillery position. Set up nets and flash stuff. Flashed 1:59 - 4:00 and 5:30 - 5:45 and 6:15. Put up dummies in the morning.

March 12 Artillery all around us living in town at road junction. Saarlatan several thousand yards in front of us. Went back to Ittersdorf after show this morning. Shells landed around last night by the way - hit the dirt a couple of times but they landed just over the rise about 200 yards in front of us. Retd to Art. area at 5 P.M. Learned Capt. Wells was killed by mortar fire this afternoon just up the road a ways. First fatality since we landed. Firing tonight. Have removed dummies. Leave at 6:30 tomorrow. Returning to Briey. Another problem pending.

March 13 Tues. Stood guard 12:00 - 1:45 last night. Heavy: artillery, Finished firing at Midnight. Came back to CP at 6:30 this morning. Left Ittersdorf at 10:30 arrived Briey 12:30. late this afternoon got report that 7 men in D Co. were hit by shells on the way beck including Capt. Rainer. S/Sgt in Signal Co. was killed this afternoon too. All happened on the same road we were on this morning. It was under enemy observation from opposite side of valley. Saw Tom Weir's jeep had hole right thru front panel and steering post. This has really been a hell of a blow to us all. We just thank God that ours wasn't up today. We were darn glad to get out of that hole. Reports are that we move out Friday to the north near Cologne. Maybe permanently. Just a little shaky tonight.

Mar. 16 Entire outfit moves to Sittard, Holland. Am remaining behind with 30 M.S. men. Will pick up Gray in Verdun Monday and leave for Sittard Tues. B. Co. hauling 170 some odd dummies - rumors are that we will destroy many.
March 20 Tues. Briey to Dulkens, Germany. 120 I of 30 X Bn of actual 30 X are attached to us. This evening we set up all our trailers and 2 1/2's [2 1/2 ton trucks] just N. of Bosheim. Lt. Gray and I put up all signs.

March 21 Put up signs all day - Tonight we put up all our own M-4's and 5's [dummy tanks]. Finished about 2:30 A.M. We also have AA attached to us and they put on a show tonite. Get up 5 A.M.

March 22 Checked items and then chow. Slept in farmhouse for 2 1/2 hours. Took it easy today. Will pull guard at CP in town tonight. Have more dummies up now than we've ever had before. Not permitted to speak to civilians. White flags on every door. Feeling very lonesome and homesick tonight. Got those wonderful photos today.

March 24 Sat. Last night removed signs and took down 15 items. Heard bombing and saw flashes in N.E. about 10:30. Jerries were roaming back and forth all night. Heard that Patton crossed the Rhine yesterday. Col. Schraeder just came in with report that we had started heavy bombing and artillery barrage last night in fake crossing - and British and Canadians crossed at Weislewith [Wesel is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany] hardly any opposition. Generals who viewed our stuff from air yesterday claimed a great deal of credit for this deceptive move goes to us. Jerry must have copped it all with his camera past couple of days. 83rd Corps really think we're hot stuff. Will take down items tonite end move to rear area. Who knows what's next on the bill.

March 25 Palm Sunday. Slept in town at CP (Dulken) last nite after taking down all items in record time. Moved into farmhouses in devastated area this morning. Supposed to leave for Briey Tuesday. Rumors have it that a lot of items are being given away. Sounds good. Received batch of mail this morning. Feel much better.

March 27 Tues. Leave Dulken 7:15 for Briey. Saw remnants of 21 Sherman tanks near Houfalaize. Battle must have been terrific. Forests of trees completely flat from artillery and machine gun fire. Arrive Briey 6 P.M.

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