Return to Hidden Stories

  Sometimes side by side, sometimes leap frogging or passing through each others lines, the 14th Armored Division and the 3rd Infantry Division fought their way northeast through the Main, Saale and Sinn River corridor. The area existed as a block marked by the Aschaffenburg - Wurzburg line in the southwest running to the Fulda - Meiningen line in the northeast. The area was to be cleared and secured prior to the last big push east - southeast through the heart of Germany. Many of the small cities and towns that post war US cavalry troopers knew as their immediate neighborhood were the sites of sharp but brief fights as German resistance was reduced to a series of small strong points and ambush positions. Lohr, Gemunden, Hammelberg ..... Aura, Mittelsinn, Bruckenau ... Wildflecken, Unsleben, Bad Neustadt .... each town remembered by US veterans as sites were fast moving Americans encountered German resistance. And then there was Bad Kissingen, as remembered by both the official 3rd ID historian and the soldiers who entered the town. They were ...

The First Americans

From "History of the Third Infantry Division" Donald G. Taggert 1947

"The advance of the 30th Infantry Regiment had been a succession of occupations and small fire fights for two days and the regiment gathered several hundred prisoners en route. ... Leaving Ober Thulba, Company L pushed directly east, with patrols out toward Bad Kissingen, a world famed watering place noted for its fine springs and numerous resort hotels, twenty -eight of which had been converted to German military hospitals, whose red-crossed roofs had saved the city from Allied bombing."
One of the patrols, led by 2Lt Emil T. Byke, moved along a road leading into the city and met an officer delegation .... "

Mr. Emil T. Byke from his 2 June 2003 letter to the web site:

"We were at a halt by a small village whose name I cannot recall when in the early afternoon (5 April 1945) one of my squad leaders reported two vehicles at the edge of a wooded area with German military personnel displaying a white flag. I went to verify the report and found three military men in a vehicle. I told my Platoon Sergeant to send a runner to the company CP to report what had happened while I approached the Germans. I was greeted by two German officers who, in broken English, asked if I would go with them to the town and meet their commander. We then rode for a few miles into the town (Bad Kissingen) where I was presented to the commander, a General Officer. Through his interpreter, he told me that he wished for a cease fire and wanted me to convey the message to the American forces. I immediately agreed but before we departed, one of the staff officers took me to a nearby hospital. Here, I was greeted by wounded GI’s who cried with joy at seeing me. Some of the boys hugged me and wanted to know if they were now going home. I told them that we were at the gates of the city, I was carrying the surrender message from the Germans and that I would return as fast as possible. At that moment, there were two big explosions and the German staff ran for cover thinking that an attack was underway. In reality, it was the sound of the German military blowing up the bridges on the Saale River. I was then escorted back to my unit where I met the battalion commander on the road and gave a full report. Even after all these years, I can recall that the US wounded I encountered in the hospital had been well cared for. The bedding, bandages and entire area was clean and orderly as any hospital you might imagine. After so much fighting, that made an impression on me."

Taggert continues:

"LTC Chaney, with CPT Carroll McFalls, Jr., 3rd battalion S-3 went to the city hall with the delegation and laid down the terms of surrender to a ranking German field officer who had been recuperating at one of the hospitals. ... LTC Chaney made it clear that the US would not accept an " open city " and that it would become a base for US soldiers. This was accepted and ... Colonel Lionel C. McGarr, Regimental Commander of the 30th Infantry was sent for. He arrived with additional staff officers from Division and ... the surrender of the city and 2825 German soldier - patients occurred. .... After the fall of Bad Kissingen, the 30th Infantry moved east and southeast and met considerable artillery and antitank fire from the vicinity of Hambach and Maibach, outer defensive points protecting Schweinfurt."

Carl Topie in an email message:
"As I can recall, there were numerous military hospitals in the town and we (Company K, 30th Regiment) marched right through the town. The wounded German soldiers glared at us as we went by the hospitals. I don’t remember much more."

Burdell Schweibert also assigned to Company K from his unpublished memoir:

"About the next big town we took was Bad Kissingen -- an open city because it had many hospitals. All we had to do was just walk in and take over. As we walked through the streets, (very clean for a change), all the German soldiers who were wounded or sick were looking out the windows giving us dirty looks. I especially remember one proud Kraut. I could have shot him. He was sitting in front of a large window with his hands folded, with medals all over his chest, and giving everybody a dirty look. He really thought he was somebody! We stayed in a very ritzy place that night."

Earl Carreau, from his letter to the web site:

"I do remember Bad Kissingen even though we were only there for a day or two. It stayed in my memory for a few reasons; the city was clean and surrendered without a fight; I accompanied the Regimental CP and Col McGarr as a signal section sergeant and took a photo of him in the town and because I then took one more photo and ran out of film for the rest of the war! My signal platoon had been attached to the 30th Regiment and then broken down into sections to support the existing signal men in the battalions. My section had a radio jeep and two ton trucks to deploy and retrieve wire for telephones. Depending on what the they wanted me to do, I could run wire to the battalions and the most forward company really fast and then tie everyone into a mobile switchboard. When not doing this, we guarded the CP and did other tasks as needed to include escorting German POW’s to the rear. The CP was set up in a beautiful hotel for a day or two just on the outskirts of town. There was no damage and we wiped our feet as we walked in. We ran wire and I took a photo of Col McGarr and the Artillery Planning Officer whose name I cannot recall but it might have been Major Victorson. They are in the hotel and talking on the phones I just set up! We slept on mattresses that night for the first time in weeks and then, as we left, I recall the next Army unit that followed us was trying to unsort all the German POW’s and figure out the wounded who needed attention and so on. The war in Germany was over about one month later."


I guess this is the next morning, in the yard in front of the hotel.  All of these German kids came over to look at us and I gave each one a piece of hard candy. I got my camera and they knew what to do ... grouped together and smiled. I took the picture and then was out of film until the war ended
about one month later. I wonder if any of these kids remember that day now?
--Earl Carreau


Earl passed on in December, but he was thrilled that people were interested in his WWII experiences and photos. He sked if we found any more in  his house, that they be sent on. This picture was marked, "Earl C. in Germany 1945".
--Carreau family


This picture was marked, "Me,
right after the war ended,
near Czech border, town off-limits".
--Carreau family


Return to Hidden Stories