I was a member of the 3rd Armored "Spearhead" Division.
The Division got its nickname because it was the spearhead of
the Allied Armies across the European Continent. The Division
was under the command of Major General Maurice Rose, who was
killed in action in Paderborn, Germany, while leading his men.
The Division spearheaded all the way from Villers Fossard and
St. Lo in France in June of 1944 to Dessau and the Elbe River
in Germany in April, 1945. The Division helped close the Falaize
Gap in France and the Ruhr Pocket in Germany. (It was not any
of General Patton's divisions or any part of his Third Army,
as has been mistakenly reported by some historians.)
The 3rd Armored Division was the first Allied unit to enter
Germany, the first to breach the Siegfried Line, and the first
to capture a German town (Roetgen). The Spearhead Division was
the pride of 7th Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Joseph L. "Lightning
Joe" Collins, and the U.S. First Army, at first under the
command of Lt. Gen. Omar N. Bradley, and later under Lt. Gen.
Courtney H. Hodges. I mention this, because nobody seems to know
that it was the U.S. First Army that spearheaded across Europe.
Nobody seems to ever have heard the names of Maurice Rose, or
Courtney H. Hodges. Everybody seems to think Gen. George Patton
and the Third Army won the war. It's time that people knew about
a heroic and creditable 3rd Armored Division, and about Gen.
Maurice Rose. I recommend reading Andy Rooney's book entitled
I was the division photographer of Division Headquarters,
Forward Echelon, during our participation in the Battle of the
Bulge, and also during the whole liberation of the European Continent.
My work was published in the two editions of the book entitled
Spearhead in the West, which is the history of the 3rd
Armored Division. One edition was printed in Germany in 1946
during our occupation there just after the war ended. The other
edition was an updated version in 1992. My work is also in the
book Death Traps by Belton Y. Cooper.
Going from the serious now to the lighter side, I'll tell
you something a little humorous as well as newsworthy and a personal
memory of the Bulge. Our division had a CP (Command Post) bivouac
at the insane asylum at Lierneux, Belgium, in January, 1945.
In refreshing my memory of an incident there, I remember walking
through a long dark and dank tunnel on the way to our kitchen
truck to get chow. And after chow, we had to walk back through
the tunnel. All through the tunnel were individual mental patients
scattered about who looked at us as if we were strange creatures
from the planet Mars. It gave us the feeling that they were in
great fear of us, and perhaps suspecting that we would torture
them. Our bivouac at the asylum at Lierneux was also the place
were Cpl George Stettinfeld and I had mixed a batch of home-made
ice cream that we made with snow in George's GI helmet. Lemon
flavored ice cream with the synthetic lemon powder (which we
called "sympathetic" lemon powder) from our K-rations.
After we ate it, George remembered that he had previously washed
his feet in that very same helmet.
I also remember a couple of other incidents in Hebronval,
Belgium. When our CP bivouacked there, it was very cold, cold,
cold. It must have been 30 degrees below zero. I had my fingers
frost-bitten while taking pictures because I couldn't operate
the cameras with gloves on. (Now, to this day, whenever the temperature
gets below 60 degrees, my fingers get numb.) I also had to carry
the cameras underneath my overcoat and combat jacket to keep
the camera shutters from freezing. There were not too many buildings
around where we could sleep without freezing to death. I found
one outbuilding. It was a small wooden barn about 10 feet square
and about 15 feet high. Actually, it was a cow shed. In this
very small cow shed was a stall with a bull in it. The bull was
NOT very happy either, with a stranger coming in there. So I
didn't stay in there too long. I decided to walk around the outside
of the shed to look for any other possible place to sleep for
When I got to the other side of the cow shed, I saw a closed
wooden door up about 10 feet off the ground. After piling up
a few things to stand on to reach the door, I opened the door
to have a look inside. It was the storage room for hay for the
bull in the stall below. I climbed in there and bedded down for
the night. It happened to be directly above the unpleasant bull.
I didn't think the bull got too much sleep that night, because
he knew I was present right up above him, and it made him nervous.
Of course, I was a little nervous too with him being about two
feet below me. I also kept worrying about how many rats or mice
would be crawling over me in that hay pile. But one good thing
came from that cold, cold night. The heat from the bull manure
(proper civilian name for it) kept rising up to where I was sleeping
and kept me as warm as toast, while it was 30 below zero outside.
And that's no bull.