Skip to main content

1945 Entries

April to July 1945

Two men crouched in a dugout fortification

Bill Blass and Bob Tompkins in a German dugout. Robert Tompkins Collection, Ghost Army Legacy Project Archive

Apr. 12 Thurs. Leave Briey 8:45 for Witlick Germany via Luxembourg and Trier. Arrive Whitlick about 2:00 87 mi. Briey still base camp. Have job of policing Displaced Persons Camp. Sleep in schoolhouse tonight. Move into two houses across the street tomorrow. May be here a month or wore until they hear from Washington. Have five posts, one morning patrol. On 24 - off 24. 4 Russian girls clean barracks and 2 boys do K.P.

Apr. 13 Fri. Our second anniversary and not a very happy one either. I pray that next year will be different. Stood guard last night. K.P. until 4:30 today. Have heard report of Roosevelt's death. Still a bit skeptical, but it seems to be true. God, what a mess!!! 4th Platoon begins patrol duty tomorrow at noon. Supposed to be 6,000 Russians and Poles in camp. They've been having a lot of trouble with the n_____s. Most of these people came from Coblenz area- have only been free for two weeks. Steal sheep, raid German homes, throw stones at the Heinies and you can't blame them, poor bastards. They wonder why we don't shoot the Germans. I wonder myself.

Apr. 14 Went on raid on Russian barracks about 10 P.M. last night. Recovered 2 truckloads
of clothes. Herded everyone into the building then M.P.'s searched the rooms. I guarded latrine exit. What confusion.

Apr. 15 Sun. Rode in on German's milk wagon as guard against Russian bandits 7:00 this A.M. Russians and Poles stealing everything they can get their hands on and I don't blame them. Resented having to guard a Goddam Heinie. Some Russians are hiding in hills with weapons and raid German homes at night. If we were smart we'd turn our backs. German stopped to look at his watch in street today and a big Russian came by and took it right out of his hand. It's really a joke. They steal bikes right out from under the rider.

Apr. 18 Butch is 4 months old today. Bless his heart!! Last night Six Russians went into a nearby village to buy flour from Heinies. They rang town siren and whole populace came out and murdered two of them and pitchforked the others. There's going to be hell to pay now.

Apr. 19 On guard last night at camp gates. 1st and 2nd platoons went on raid in village where Russians were killed. Russians went first and when crowd came out with pitchforks, Jeeps with 50's closed in. Russians choked hell out of Heinies and Tony [Young] let loose with 50's to stop Heinies from running away. A Russian hopped a German who was coming at Beef [Charles Boulliane] with pitchfork. Six of them were arrested.

Apr. 24 [Lt.] Gray, Harf [Ray Harford], Belcher and I go on reconnaisance for kitchen equipment to Kochen. Beautiful trip - Scenery magnificent.

Apr. 26 Thurs. Rain on Russians - wermacht sympathizers who were raiding town. Senat killed two and one was wounded. Messy business. It's one hell of a problem. You don't know what to think. LeHive and I went out this evening to bunt a couple of Russians who were supposed to have kidnapped 8 children. No luck. Parked the jeep on hill overlooking countryside, and discussed what a wonderful golf course this battlefield would make.

Apr. 27 Fri. Go out to local estate to sleep overnight to act as protection from raiding Russians. Four of us, Van, Paul, Masey and I. Woman spoke good English. 4 or 5 babies in the house. One 3 1/2 months old. God, it made me homesick. Family Seemed to be old Germans, but two sons were killed in Luftwaffe. It made me cringe to think we were actually protecting then. I thought of Dick right away. [Dick Field graduated with us from Bronxville High School and was shot down and killed over Germany.] Suddenly called back. Leave for Trier tomorrow at 2:30 with Tony. Will stay there at Castle [high on a hill overlooking Trier and the Moselle River] and Company will go down Sunday.

Apr. 28 Sat. Hear that Himmler has offered unconditional surrender to States and Britain, but not Russia. It looks like it's all over. At least within the next week anyway. Wittlick to Trier and sleeping in castle. Marvelous news. All sorts of rumors. Lt. Gray said today we'd be home by July 4th. Others say Northern Germany. Being with 15th A of Occupation isn't so good. Getting Eisenhower jackets. Have to wear ties now. Things are very composed and no one seems to know where we turn next.

May 2 Wed. Hitler dead! Have transferred 2300 DP's into [prisoner of war] Camp. Should have 5700 by end of week. Running back and forth all day. Rumors have it we leave for Briey Sunday. Rumors very strong for return to States. I think I'm really getting s bit punchy from driving that damn jeep constantly. I guess it must be "jeep fatigue".

MAY 7, 1945. It's a beautiful world tonight naturally. It's been a long hard road and we thank God it's over. Let's hope it won't be many weeks before we leave for Utopia and our loved ones, and God bless the guys that are finishing it off on the other side of this messed up world. Got a keg of beer, a bottle of wine from some Heinies, and I drove into town with some of the guys and we raided an empty wine cellar. However, we eventually had champagne, wine and beer. Hear we may leave within six weeks- sooner the better. Heaven and all that goes with it awaits my arrival.

May 8 6:01 P.M. Cease firing. Tuesday official. Signed 2:41 A.M. May 7 Monday by German General Jodl, Lt. Ge. Smith, Sonietz - Ivan Susloparaff - French F. Senes in Rheims, France.

May 18th Butch 5 months old today- Friday.

May 19. Got word to be ready to leave Tues. 22nd. Be ready to leave Europe by June 7th.

May 20 Sunday. Luxembourg- all day pass- came back in terrific thunderstorm.

May 21 Mon. Left our palace on the hill Trier at 12:30 P.M. for Oberstein - East 51 miles. Arrived Oberstein about 3:00 about seven miles outside. Oberstein way up in hills in wide open field. Has been raining all day. We're supposed to be here until the 7th of June awaiting orders from post commander. Will crate equipment, have inspection, etc. Two more stars supposed to be official, giving me 78 points, still not enough. On, God, will I be glad to see that bout. Yipe!!!!!!!!!..

May 27 Sun. Oberstein to Mainz on Rhine sightseeing trip. Mainz in ruins. Saw largest army engineer bridge in world. Went north along river through wonderful picturesque villages. Took 4 snaps. Saw huge P.W. Camp just west of Mainz.

June 5 Tues. Oberstein, Trier, with Switzer. Will greets me on return that I've been recommended for Sgt. What a surprise.

June 6 Wed. What a holiday. Go to Frankfort with Gray, Van, Mo, Welentz, Taffae and Goozy.

June 9 Sat. Official order out. Now Sgt. Tompkins. Will save it to surprise Babe. Have taken over 2nd Squadron. Gunther, Thompson, Belcher and Martin. Switzer now jeep driver. Quit 9973 miles, 27 short of an even 10,000 [mileage on jeep since landing in Normandy].

June 14 Thurs. Start trip to LaHarve from Oberstein. Staying in transient camp at Montmedy France 120 miles tonight. Go on tomorrow to vicinity of Rheims and third day LeHarve and then WOW!!!!!!

June 15 Montmedy - Soisson - go on pass after pitching tents took in movie at Red Cross.

June 16 Sat. Soisson to Twenty Grand Camp. Huge camp - turning everything in here. About 35 miles from Le Havre. If we complete our P O M [program objective memorandum] in time, will be on the boat Monday or Tuesday. Otherwise we wait possibly two weeks for another convoy. God, let's go.

June 20 Wed. Sightseeing town of Rouen. Beautiful cathedrals, considerable damage.

June 21 Thurs. Alerted to leave. All set to go at midnight.

June 22 Fri. Have chow at 1:00 A.M. wait for trucks which arrive about 3:15. Pull into LaHavre about 5:30 A.M. City completely flat. Largest and most devastated city I've seen yet. Trucks drive out on concrete piers. Wait about an hour and a half while preparations are made. Up gang plank about 7:30 A. M. The last European soil has passed under my feet, Thank God. Sleep all day. Have first meal at noon on ship (Not bad at all because the Navy runs things here) Name of ship "Leonard O.H. Ernst" Supposed to sail tomorrow the 23rd. Rumor is that we land at Norfolk, but are naturally a bit disappointed.
June 23 Sat. This is it! Raise anchor at 7:25 P.M. and get under way. Will arrive July lst. or 2nd Norfolk. Au Revoir France.

June 26 A little woozy first few days. Today we were called by a Swedish freighter to come and remove one of her officers for an emergency operation. Met in the afternoon and sent small power boat to Swedish vessel to pick up patient. Took us about 60 miles off our course. They asked for blood donors and I volunteered, but they had already picked their men.

June 28th 1736 miles to go.

June 29 1327 miles to go. Perfect weather past two days.

July 2 Happy Birthday honey! U.S.A. Virginia Beach dead ahead 06:45 AM. Ft. Story 7:45- Drop anchor off Newport News 10:10 dock 10:30 Debark 11:45 Board train to Camp Patrick Henry.

July 3 Processed. Leave Camp Patrick Henry about 6:00 P.M. for Ft. Dix

July 4 Arrived at Dix. about 10:00 A.M. Processed.

July 5 Called Babe. Receive furlough papers about 5:30 P.M. after waiting in rain for about four hours. Nardiello's drive us to New York. Arrive Blass's apartment about 7:00 P.M. Wellllllll - you know the rest!!!!!!!!!!!! (It was the most wonderful moment in my life.)

Please Support Our Ongoing Efforts

The soldiers of The Ghost Army used inflatable tanks, sound effects, and imagination to fool the Germans on the battlefields of Europe. The Ghost Army Legacy Project is ensuring that these men and their accomplishments are never forgotten.

Give via credit card by clicking the yellow “Donate” button.

Or, send a check to:

Ghost Army Legacy Project
1305 S. Michigan Ave. #1104
Chicago, IL 60605

All donations are tax-deductible!