To the editor:
I read with interest and some nostalgia John Reichley's column on the ending of World War II in Europe on May 8, 1945. I am one of the few remaining World War II veterans living in Leavenworth.
I was a young 20-year-old 2nd Lieutenant in command of the First Platoon, Company A, 125th Armored Engineer Battalion, an organic unit of the 14th Armored Division, attached to General Patton's Third Army. We were deep in Bavaria on May 7 and that night I slept under a tank as light snow fell during the night. I awoke to the news that Germany had surrendered.
My platoon was attached to a company of the 42nd Tank Battalion. Early in the morning the battalion commander ordered patrols to be sent out to seek German prisoners. We had diverted thousands of surrendering German prisoners to the rear as we drove further into Bavaria the day before.
I, with my jeep driver Carpenter, was assigned to one of the patrols. As our small three-vehicle patrol, led by a medium tank, came over the crest of a small hill we spotted a King Tiger tank on the left side of the road with its turret slowly rotating toward our patrol. Carpenter did an instant 180 turn and the two of us retreated behind the crest of the hill. The King Tiger tank fired one round at the lead tank of our patrol. It was a solid shot and ricocheted off the tank's turret. The crew of the King Tiger then came out of the hatch with their hands in the air.
The war may have ended a bit earlier but for us it ended then.