Helena

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Helena - the and S. and M. Interesting Tale of First...
the and S. and M. Interesting Tale of First Special Service Force Tells About Trip To Farmhouse Held by Krauts utes every gun in Ab's section An interesting tale of the! famed first special service force, better known to the Germans as the "Devils in Baggy Pants" was written lor Yank magazine by its staff correspondent, Sgt. James O'Neill. A copy of the article was received received here by Mrs. Alice Chaffeur, Chaffeur, 21 North Benton, from her husband, Lt. John J. Chaffeur. Lieutenant Chaffeur was promoted promoted from sergeant to lieutenant at ceremonies held "in the field" on Jan. 20. He is now serving with the 474th infantry somewhere somewhere in Germany. Lieutenant and Mrs. Chaffeur have a small son, John. E x c e r p t s from Sergeant O'Neill's story about the force, which was activated and trained at Fort William Henry Harrison, follow: ". . . The fort of Catillon sits Is Visiting in and met Flood attended were Mrs. B. at secretary, obligation was parlors the in Mrs. San and Harbor the and by leaf a over of surgical baby theii are on atop a mountain in the maritime Alps, just above a small village by the same name. The fort had to be taken before the force could push up the Corniche road and the narrow valley ahead. In the center ot the valley stood an old solidly built farmhouse. From this house the Germans had controlling firepower and anything anything that tried to edge through the valley's thin lip received a going over from kraut machine guns and heavy mortars . . . "First Sgt. Johu J. Chaffeur of Helena, Mont, called 15 men into the C.P. On the table in front of him stood a pail of black gooey stuff and beside it a stack of funny stickers. On each sticker sticker was stamped a red arrow. Inside the arrow, lettered in white, were the words USA- Canada; below the red arrow and printed in German was this inscription: inscription: 'Das dicke ende kommt noch' which, translated literally, means 'Your number's coming up nest.' "The men automatically fell into a single line, dipped their hands into the pail, and began to spread the goo on their faces . . . worked over the spot where the grenade had fallen. Then there was a moment of silence, a cough, another- burst i'rom McCrank's BAR, and silence again. "In the meantime Chaffeur's section had reached the back of the house. The top kick, with Sgt. John Pinchink of Jersey City covering him with a bar, kicked open the back door and caught four Germans coming down 'the back stairs. -He hit the first one in the stomach and the other three were coining so fast they fell over the fallen kraut. Chaffeur Chaffeur kept firing his Johnny gun (Johnson automatic rifle) into the whirling mass of arms and legs until it stopped moving. "Then he moved into a room off the stairs. Chaffeur, with Sgt. c William "Bugger" Guilders, caught two German radiomen trying to jump through the window. window. Three Germans leaped out of a second story window and started to run straight for Pin- chink. They were almost on top of him before he pushed down on his BAR. "The BAR was the last gun to fire. There was a silence Chaffeur called to his men. and The patrol moved auickly and hit for the mountain. "When a German patrol came down from the fort, they found 24 corpses farmhouse. in and around the On each corpse they noticed a funny looking sticker. When a Jerry prisoner was captured captured three days later, a newly printed kraut S-2 report was found in his pocket. It read: " 'You are fighting an elite Canadian-American force. They are treacherous, unmerciful and clever. You cannot afford to relax The first soldier or Miss Clare Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Milo recently returned from San aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Francisco, she was employed by information " J.L is another show,' said the top kick. 'Johnny Abs will take one section and I'll handle the other. We're going for that Jerry farmhouse.' They were not going through the lip of the valley valley the top kick explained, but up the side of the mountain and across it. Then dropping down behind the German line they would hit the farmhouse. If they were lucky, they would come out the same way. Under no circumstances circumstances were they to shoot at an outer security. Their job was to infiltrate behind the outposts and hit the farmhouse. "The briefing was over . . Operations Begin "The patrol crept down the side of the mountain. When it arrived arrived at the base of the mountain, mountain, it broke into sections. Pvt. James McCiank, Edmonton, Canada, Canada, was out in front of one section, section, working toward the -front of the farmhouse. Chaffeur, the point of his section, was moving towards the back of it. "A door opened and a flash of light broke the darkness. Mc- Crank and Chaffeur both saw it. Both froze. There was the sound of hobnailed boots crunching on the graveled path. For a moment moment dim forms were silhouetted in the darkness. Then the door closed and the light disappeared. The hobnailed crunch turned into into a watery squish as 10 Germans, Germans, in patrol file, moved off the path onto the wet grass. Suddenly Suddenly Sgt. Ben Alvestad of Gig Harbor, Wash., tossed a phosphorus phosphorus grenade. It broke right m the center of the krauts, and for a second they were caught in the gray haze. First Private McCrank's BAR opened up. Behind Behind _McCrank, Sergeant Abs of Los Angeles moved in with a tom- my gun, and then for two min- Main street, formerly occupied by Lt. and Mis. Russell Johnson. Mrs. Shiiley Blasingame and daughter a i c now making their home in the Morrison apartments on Pacific street. Mr. George Pidgeon is visiting his son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. R. T. Bradley, in San Francisco for a few days. Mr. and Mis. Charles Casne left Sunday for Butte after spending group of soldiers capturing one of these men will he given a 10- day fuilough'." Describes Battle Sergeant O'Neil gave a vivid description of the battle of Mt. La Defensa, known as the "Million "Million Dollar hill" or Hill 960, first of the Mago mountain chain, a series of mountains that lead into Cassino. Excerpts from his description description follow: ". . . Sergeant Chaffeur was a platoon sergeant on Mt. La Defensa: Defensa: 'We were all eager beavers beavers and it sure was a helluva beginning beginning for us. We were green. When we hit the first hedge above the cliff some mortars came in. The blast scared us and we froze. Then they really began to work us over. We crouched there and guys began going down on all sides of me.' . . . ". . . Sgt. Patrick Renwick of Chicago, 111., was a litter bearer during the Mt. La Defensa action: 'We went up with" litters and food and name down with casualties. casualties. As the casualties got heavier heavier everybody in the force got madder. We're not a big outfit and everybody knows nearly everybody everybody else. A medical captain and I were carrying down one kid when a German sniper hit a litter bearer in front of us. The sniper had been knocking off a few litter bearers each trip. This doc got mad. He told me to lay the kid down and he started off after the sniper. He took right off through the brush straight for the Jerry. Then he must have remembered he was a medic. He came back and picked up his end of the litter and started sobbing: sobbing: 'Filthy bastards. Filthy bastards'!" City of Gusville The Yank correspondent explained explained that on Feb. 2 the force was assigned a large section of the Mussolini canal to defend. Besides keeping the Germans away from the canal and patrolling patrolling an aggressive enemy line, the force provided some of the most famous legends of the beachhead, including the story of the town of Gusville. Sergeant O'Neill's story of the town follows' ". . . Gusville was a small, bombed-out town on the enemy side of the Musso canal, deep into no man's land. One battalion battalion attacked this town early in the history of the beachhead and kept it, despite vicious counterattacks, counterattacks, up to the day of the break-through. "The town was named after Maj. Gus Heilman, then a first looey who had led the attack. "The boys elected their own city council, appointed Heilman mayor, has an honorary police force, and even established a village bar. The bar's stock was replenished by forceful patrols to some near-by German-held wine cellars. Gusville had a stable of fqur horses, a herd of cattle, three pigs, a potato patch, a porcelain bathtub and a shower. All of the town's furnishings, outside outside of the potato patch, were secured on 'aggressive patrols' which the force made nightly. The town was a good springboard for large scale patrol operations and Mayor Heilman levied taxes on the other force battalions. "The most famous character in Gusville was First Lt. George 'The Moustache' Kracevac from Virginia City, Va. 'The Moustache,' Moustache,' a tall, gangly character with a huge red soup strainer was not a member of the holding Gusville but he was ovei there so often the citizens ap- a pointed him city manager. Kra- cevac took his job seriously. He' began to go out on solo pati pick up things. The first sub-' stantial pickup Kracevae brought back to Gusville was the herd cattle. "Whenever the foice ·wanted to find the vheieabouts of the Ger-' man gun positions, the rail | go out for Kracevac. .'The Moustache' Moustache' would get his umbiella bicycle and ride up and down Tank lane, diawing Geim?n fire The 'Moustache' also led some of the toughest night patrols. was wounded three times and last one sent him out of com-! bat. Ends Boot Training Big Timbei--Keith Huseby, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Huseby, is here visiting his patents, 1 from San Diego, Calif , where has just finished his boot tram-| ing. Saloon Sold Fla'xville--Prosper Martin announces announces the sale of his saloon here to Tom Conboy. Lloyd will manage it. TRIED

Clipped from
  1. The Independent Record,
  2. 08 Apr 1945, Sun,
  3. Page 11

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