Saturday, March 28, 2015

Friday, March 27, 2015

Following the 10th Armored (22): The Race to the Rhine

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.

12 March - 16 March 1945
As mentioned last post, after their work in late February and early March the 10th Armored Division Tigers took a well-deserved rest. Centered in the ancient and once beautiful city of Trier they had the opportunity to see the ancient Roman remains. That came to an end on the 16th when they were sent to be part of the race to the Rhine. As Nichols reports it, the area between the Saar and Rhine Rivers was the Palatinate, Germany's only remaining sizable holdings west of the Rhine. In that region were the two powerful enemy armies of about 100,000 men. To get to the Rhine, Nichols says,
the tigers were to be called upon to deal with an endless series of enemy pillboxes, barbed wire, anti-tank ditches, dragons' teeth, roadblocks and, toughest of all, well-trained German troops.
16 March 1945
CC A led the attack, followed about half an hour later by CC B. By dark that night they had made about a 20 km spearhead. Their objective was St. Wendel.

17 March - 18 March
Both combat commands struck out in a coordinated attack utilizing searchlights to light up the battleground. It was slow going but by dusk on 18 March they were on the outskirts of the objective.

19 March - 20 March
The Germans were driven out of St. Wendel and two of the Task Forces never even stopped. They raced another 20 miles east. By  the 20th it was fast becoming a rout. Next stop would be Kaiserlautern, a major industrial city of about 100,000. To get there, they raced down part of the famed autobahn. They were racing the 80th Infantry Division. The Tigers were there first, but credit was given to the 80th who had done the "dirty work" of mopping up.

After racing through Kaiserlautern CC A continued east toward the Rhine; CC B headed south some 20 miles to sever enemy escape routes.

21 March - 22 March
CC B moved steadily toward its objectives and captured the town of Landau on the 22nd.

23 March
From Nichols:
Forty-eight hours after the capture of Landau, the giant trap set by the Tenth was closed. Against light resistance they streaked out of Landau to set up radio contact with the Fifth French Armored Division. Contact was then made with the Seventh Army…. All during the Tenth’s lightning drive across the Palatinate, the missions of the Division were constantly being changed and each succeeding objective took the Tigers further south. Within gunshot of the Rhine, we found ourselves completely out of the United States Third Army boundary and in the Seventh Army Area.

It is rumored at the time that General Patch of the Sixth Armored Division had wired Patton: Congratulations on completely surrounding the entire United States Seventh Army.” The Tigers were then assigned to the Seventh Army! They were not to return to the Third Army again until the occupation of Southern Bavaria three months later. They were given a brief four-day respite to wait the call to roll across the Rhine. Later in the month, they would spearhead the Seventh Army’s drive all the way to the Bavarian and Austrian Alps.

Lent Picture A Day (38): Meditate

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Introverted Packer Fans- Be Warned

It happens every time.

Whenever I wear my Packer hat anywhere outside of the Upper Midwest, someone will come up to me and start talking. Usually starting with

"Go Pack! Go!"
So- as a warning to any introverts- don't expect to be unnoticed when wearing any Packer gear away from home territory. (It's actually fun!)

What I do when I am away is wear my Twins hat when I want to be introverted! Nobody but other Twins fans comment. Even then, it's kind of an introverted little nod.

Lent Picture A Day (37): Seek

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Too Easily Distracted...

... But that's part of the fun!

We have been snowbirds for the past 7 weeks, but alas, the trip is over. The realities of March in Minnesota (talk about March Madness!) have settled in. It has been one of the finest winters for us. Doing nothing, reading, sleeping late and/or taking naps, producing 16 videos and taking a gazillion pictures. Ah, the life.

If it hadn't been for the daily Lenten posts, I would have been far behind in my daily discipline of my blogging. While I may not be officially diagnosed with ADD, I certainly show all the symptoms. (Look- a parasailer. My, maybe I should go walk on the... Wait a minute, I need to get the shells... Oh- it's time for Better Call Saul...)

I realize that this is one of the advantages of partial retirement and I will agree that if I were 100% retired back home, I would probably eventually go a little (more) bonkers. But then again...

The biggest problem was that I last any of the standard discipline I had worked so "hard" at developing last fall. The work on my writings has taken a back seat to many of those parenthetical things above. I have gone to the library at least once a week and did some writing, I played in a local community band and I had a great experience at a recovery convention. I remember reading somewhere (wait for it- here comes my justification) that there are times when you need to take a vacation from your writing when there is something you need to work through. I know that has been part of what is happening.

As I have been researching and writing on my Dad's 10th Armored/80th Medical history from these months at the end of World War 2, I have also been coming to some new insights on my Dad, his family and how it all has impacted me. As one of those introspective (not introverted), intuitive, feeling types, these are important times for me. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to experience and introspect on these things recently. As I settle back into my daily routines at home, they will do me well.

But the distractions will still get in the way- which for me is good.

Lent Picture A Day (36): Truth

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Can You Feel It?

The time is 5:46 pm, Central time.
Spring has arrived.

Earlier this week we spent some time at Weeks Bay, AL, Reserve looking for signs of spring.

They were everywhere.

Here they are in a video. Keep the faith... spring is on its way.

Lent Picture A Day (31): Place

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Following the 10th Armored (21): More Quick and Efficient Work

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.

Originally, the battle plan for the 10th was limited to the Saar-Moselle Triangle. They were so efficient and quick, however that they went on to capture Trier. But again, thanks to their work at capturing the Romer Bridge the 10th’s combat was extended, driving to Wittlich, about 25 miles north of Trier.

8 March 1945
After crossing the bridge, they were now within six miles of their objective.

10 March 1945
Tiger combat units sealed off the eastern approach to Wittlich and TF Cherry’s tanks fought their way into the city. They then barreled an additional 10 miles to capture a bridge at Bullay, but were thwarted as the Germans had already destroyed the bridge. They did encounter and defeat a 50 vehicle enemy convoy near the Mosel River.

12 March 1945
The mission was ended. TF Cherry rejoined the remainder of the Division at Trier. These swift battle movements are what had previously earned the Tigers the name “Ghost Division.”

In this period the Tigers sealed off a 44-mile pocket on the west bank of the Moselle, now with its name changed to the Mosel.


10 March - 11 March 1945
While TF Cherry was on its way to Wittlich, Combat Command B where my Dad’s medical company was assigned, and the Reserve Command stayed closer to Trier. They drove the Germans across the Kyle River, a Mosel tributary, three miles north of Trier at Ehrang and headed toward Schweich.

When TF Chamberlain entered the city on March 10, all was quiet. The Germans had declared that Schweich was now an “open city.” The German message, according to Nichols, was that the town was “undefended and sheltered 3,000 wounded Germans.” It was a trick. Instead they found a powerful array of artillery, mined streets and just two German casualties.

Shortly after the TF seized the city the Germans “rained a steady stream of shells into the ‘open city’ resulting in heavy Tiger casualties." Then, after two days of fighting, the Germans were circled and neutralized. The TF returned to Trier on March 11.

In eight days, four task forces had spearheaded some forty miles over terrain completely unfavorable to armored operations. By March 12 were all back in Trier, Germany’s oldest city.

12 March – 16 March 1945
The reunited Tenth was given a much-earned four-day rest in Trier. They did sightseeing of the ancient Roman ruins and prepared for what would come next- the Race to the Rhine.

Lent Picture A Day (29): Believe

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lent Picture A Day (28): Endure

St. Patrick's Day

A celebration of St. Patrick for St. Patrick's Day.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lent Picture A Day (25): Search

Hey, Kids- Do You Know What Time It Is?

Well, this post is scheduled to post at 9:27 CDT. If you have any nerd-genes in your makeup, you already know what that means.

It's a once in a lifetime- or at least once in a century moment.

At the moment of posting it is

3/14/15 9:27


Did you miss it already? That's why I'm scheduling this to post on time. That way I can be sure it gets here at the right time.

Actually, in some parts of the world (probably many) this is a waste of their time reading it. When you post the date as day/month/year, there will never be a Pi Day since there are only 12 months. There is no 3/14/15. Or for that matter, 31/4/15 is also a non-existent day.

I know,

now I am being irrational.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Native Dancers in Alabama

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized Native Tribe in Alabama. Last weekend their dancers performed at a local art gathering and I made a point to be there. It was fun to see the young people and their amazing dedication to their ethnic heritage and bringing it to the rest of us. I took some video (of course) and edited it into a 3 1/2 minute summary. I am impressed by the regalia (not costumes!) and their energy. Enjoy.

Lent Picture A Day (23): Stop!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Can I Start a Trend?

I posted this from another Facebook user this morning.

My explanation that went with it was:

OK- I'm hoping to start a trend among Liberals like myself. It is time to reclaim patriotism from a one-sided view of the USA! I'm very proud to be an American, the son of a WW II Vet.

Just because my politics isn't right-wing does not mean I don't like this country!!

Just because my theology isn't based on fundamentalism doesn't mean I'm not a true American.

Just because I don't agree with Ayn Rand does not make me a socialist.

So I do share this post, proudly, as a Liberal!

So let me go further since this is my blog and I have the space.

Just because I call for the outcast and the poor to be taken care of by a just society, does not mean I am not patriotic.

Just because I continue to be afraid of an endemic racism in our greater society, does not mean I think we have failed as a nation.

Just because I do not blindly follow whatever leader is in power AND which you or others agree with does not make me a traitor.

Just because I believe that a two party system calls for differences- patriotic differences- does not make me any less proud to be an American.

I could rant on this one for a long time. I am offended by those who question my patriotism because I do not agree with right-wing politics, right-wing greed, or right-wing religion. As a citizen who has voted in every national election since I was of legal age, I still believe our nation is doing the best we can at any given moment to live up to our national ideals.

Yet we must remain steadfast in those ideals and not let them be co-opted by the wealthy who are now buying our elections or the voices of paranoia crying in their own wilderness or the politicians of either/both side who are simply looking to further ideology as opposed to American ideals.

Sure we have our faults. The United States is made of human beings- and none is perfect.

My goal, then, by posting the above picture is to hopefully start a small trend. May those of us who are liberal be proud in our citizenship. Let's take the flag pins and flag pictures back from the right-wing. Let's be willing to admit that the National Anthem still stirs us (and I wish the fans could sing it at sporting events, not celebrities!)

Let's find all these right-wing co-opted symbols and bring them back to stand for ALL Americans!

Rant - far from over.

Lent Picture A Day (22): Wise

Tuesday, March 10, 2015