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Thread: Stalag III-B Story

  1. #1
    Jim's Avatar
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    Stalag III-B Story

    Platoon sergeant James W. Collins was one of five thousand Americans in Stalag III-B, a prisoner-of-war camp near Frankfurt, in western Germany. Collins had been regarded as one of the fiercest fighters in his outfit when he was taken by surprise and captured by the Germans in Tunisia, North Africa, in the spring of 1943.
    Unlike most young American draftees, Collins had found the strict, often harsh discipline and regimentation of army life to be easy. The sergeant had grown up in the hills of rural Kentucky, one of thirteen children in a family that had to scramble almost constantly just to exist. For many months, the German colonel commanding the POW command had been frustrated. He could never figure out the crazy Americans and had regularly employed subtle and not-so-subtle tactics to cow the prisoners, to crush their spirits and pulverize their morale. But he had failed.

    Stalag III-B


    One reason the Americans morale had remained relatively high was that they had established a unique intelligence system that kept them informed on the progress of the war and also about schemes to be utilised against the POWs by the German commandant. The key component of the camps intelligence apparatus was an anti-Hitler guard, an elderly man who risked his life almost daily to pass along tidbits. Now, in October 1944, the mole told the Americans that Allied armies were pushing up against the western frontier of the Reich. He added that the German Army was preparing to do something peculiar to stem the Allied tide in the West. Sergeant Collins recalled much later: Our Kraut, as we called him with a degree of affection, informed us that German officers would soon enter our barracks and demand that we give them our uniforms. We stayed awake most of the night conjecturing about the means of such an extraordinary action. As was forecast, a Nazi officer entered Collinss barracks two days later and ordered the Americans to remove their uniforms and deposit them in a pile in the center of the floor. Non-commissioned officers stripes and any unit insignia were to be left intact. This clothing would be used for an American infantry unit that had just been captured and did not have uniforms, it was explained.
    What a crock, Collins whispered to a comrade. I guess our generals are sending our guys into battle these days stark naked! The German officer said that he would go to another barracks, then return in an hour to pick up the uniforms. When the German came back, the uniforms had been placed as ordered. But each POW had taken a razor and slashed his garments to ribbons. Red-faced with anger, the German stared at the stack of mutilated garments, then he spun around and barged out of the barracks. Collins and his comrades broke out in wide smiles and launched a blizzard of mock Nazi salutes and Heil, Hitler! calls. Only much later would the POWs learn that Adolf Hitler had ordered the collection of one thousand U.S. army uniforms from various camps in the Third Reich. These garments would play a key role in an ingenious scheme hatched by the Fhrer to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on the Western Front.

  2. #2
    worldwar is offline Sergeant
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    Stalag III-A

    Stalag III-A was a German World War II prisoner-of-war camp at Luckenwalde, Brandenburg, 52 kilometres (32 mi) south of Berlin. Mostly Used from 1939-1945.

    stalagHIIIA.jpg

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    My father, Harold Lloyd Reynolds, was also a prisoner at Stalag III-B

    He was also captured in Tunisia in the Spring of 1943. He was in an infantry division but I don't know which one. Could these 2 have possibly known each other or been captured together, or maybe were even in the same unit. I have been searching the internet to find more information about Stalag III-B but there isn't much out there. Any info would be appreciated

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    Kazimierz Fanciszek Migala

    My grand father was captures and held at Stalag IIIB on two separate occasions. He was part of the Polish army and captured somewhere around Lviv which is now in the Ukraine.

    I have his note book and some photos of him and other prisoners which I suspect are most Polish.

    Happy to share and receive any information from others on the forum.

  5. #5
    pearlharbor is offline Private
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    Pearl Harbor Attack WW2

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Platoon sergeant James W. Collins was one of five thousand Americans in Stalag III-B, a prisoner-of-war camp near Frankfurt, in western Germany. Collins had been regarded as one of the fiercest fighters in his outfit when he was taken by surprise and captured by the Germans in Tunisia, North Africa, in the spring of 1943.
    Unlike most young American draftees, Collins had found the strict, often harsh discipline and regimentation of army life to be easy. The sergeant had grown up in the hills of rural Kentucky, one of thirteen children in a family that had to scramble almost constantly just to exist. For many months, the German colonel commanding the POW command had been frustrated. He could never figure out the crazy Americans and had regularly employed subtle and not-so-subtle tactics to cow the prisoners, to crush their spirits and pulverize their morale. But he had failed.

    Stalag III-B


    One reason the Americans morale had remained relatively high was that they had established a unique intelligence system that kept them informed on the progress of the war and also about schemes to be utilised against the POWs by the German commandant. The key component of the camps intelligence apparatus was an anti-Hitler guard, an elderly man who risked his life almost daily to pass along tidbits. Now, in October 1944, the mole told the Americans that Allied armies were pushing up against the western frontier of the Reich. He added that the German Army was preparing to do something peculiar to stem the Allied tide in the West. Sergeant Collins recalled much later: Our Kraut, as we called him with a degree of affection, informed us that German officers would soon enter our barracks and demand that we give them our uniforms. We stayed awake most of the night conjecturing about the means of such an extraordinary action. As was forecast, a Nazi officer entered Collinss barracks two days later and ordered the Americans to remove their uniforms and deposit them in a pile in the center of the floor. Non-commissioned officers stripes and any unit insignia were to be left intact. This clothing would be used for an American infantry unit that had just been captured and did not have uniforms, it was explained.
    What a crock, Collins whispered to a comrade. I guess our generals are sending our guys into battle these days stark naked! The German officer said that he would go to another barracks, then return in an hour to pick up the uniforms. When the German came back, the uniforms had been placed as ordered. But each POW had taken a razor and slashed his garments to ribbons. Red-faced with anger, the German stared at the stack of mutilated garments, then he spun around and barged out of the barracks. Collins and his comrades broke out in wide smiles and launched a blizzard of mock Nazi salutes and Heil, Hitler! calls. Only much later would the POWs learn that Adolf Hitler had ordered the collection of one thousand U.S. army uniforms from various camps in the Third Reich. These garments would play a key role in an ingenious scheme hatched by the Fhrer to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on the Western Front.

    William R. Lefabvre, Sr., 92 longtime resident of Merrimack died Sunday Oct. 14, 2012 at St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, NH after a period of declining health.

    He was born in Manchester, NH on July 27, 1920 a son of the late William J. and Arlene (Brown) Lefabvre.

    Bill attended Straw elementary School, and graduated in 1940 from Manchester Central High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Aug. 30 1940.

    Mr. Lefabvre was one of only a few survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He was on the USS West Virginia BB48, which was sunk on that day. Three days later he was transferred to the U.S.S San Francisco CA38 for the duration of W.W. II. He was involved with 17 of the major battles of the Asiatic Pacific Theater. From his service during WWII, he was recipient of Presidential Unit Citation 1 Bronze Star, WWII Victory Medal, American Defense Medal with 1 Bronze Star, American Theatre Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Theatre Medal 17 Stars, Philippines Liberation Medal 1 Bronze Star, Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia clasp, Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal, and also was the Chairman of State of NH Pearl Harbor Survivor Assoc Chapter 1. Mr. Lefabvre also served in the Korean War on the USS Roan (DD853) and received the following metals, the Korean War and the China Service Medal.
    www.pearlharboroahu.org

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    pearlharbor is offline Private
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    Pearl Habor Attack | USS Arizona Memorial

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne Ashmore View Post
    He was also captured in Tunisia in the Spring of 1943. He was in an infantry division but I don't know which one. Could these 2 have possibly known each other or been captured together, or maybe were even in the same unit. I have been searching the internet to find more information about Stalag III-B but there isn't much out there. Any info would be appreciated

    William R. Lefabvre, Sr., 92 longtime resident of Merrimack died Sunday Oct. 14, 2012 at St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, NH after a period of declining health.

    He was born in Manchester, NH on July 27, 1920 a son of the late William J. and Arlene (Brown) Lefabvre.

    Bill attended Straw elementary School, and graduated in 1940 from Manchester Central High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Aug. 30 1940.

    Mr. Lefabvre was one of only a few survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He was on the USS West Virginia BB48, which was sunk on that day. Three days later he was transferred to the U.S.S San Francisco CA38 for the duration of W.W. II. He was involved with 17 of the major battles of the Asiatic Pacific Theater. From his service during WWII, he was recipient of Presidential Unit Citation 1 Bronze Star, WWII Victory Medal, American Defense Medal with 1 Bronze Star, American Theatre Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Theatre Medal 17 Stars, Philippines Liberation Medal 1 Bronze Star, Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia clasp, Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal, and also was the Chairman of State of NH Pearl Harbor Survivor Assoc Chapter 1. Mr. Lefabvre also served in the Korean War on the USS Roan (DD853) and received the following metals, the Korean War and the China Service Medal.

    www.pearlharboroahu.org

    http://www.pearlharboroahu.org


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