Incidentally, the 45th Infantry Division committed additional war crimes during the Second World War. [43] FRANKLIN GURLEY, 399TH IN ACTION: WITH THE 100TH INFANTRY DIVISION  (1945). [7]  On 14 July 1943, several days after the initial landings, West’s company was engaged near the airport at Biscari. This is a great way to honor veterans, family members, friends, units, or military organizations. The 45th Infantry Division was formed in 1924 from National Guard units in the southwestern United States. [He] said ‘Fine, go git him!’”[31] West said he went “lookin’ for the bugger,” and his vengeance was swift: In the following days, West claimed to have killed two more German soldiers as they attempted to sneak up a trail opposite his company’s positions. [25] ATKINSON, supra note 24. 45th infantry division: Outside the kitchen in which he served as mess sergeant, Staff Sergeant Marion Compassi, left, Muskogee, heard bees buzzing. [24] A rear echelon unit would have allowed West to avoid publicity. [52] “He was always brag­ging about killing Germans, whether he killed any or not was kind of a joke around the company because there was no way of proving whether he shot anybody, because there was nobody there but him….He was by himself, alone.”[53], On 1 April 1945, West was evacuated to a rear hospital due to an illness—possibly hepatitis—which prevented his return to his company before the end of the war in Europe. A row of small cement structures near the prison entrance contained a coal-fired crematorium, a gas chamber, and rooms piled high with naked and emaciated human corpses. West’s claims are disturbing and dubious. [47] Vermillion, supra note 40. That Soldier, Sergeant Horace Theodore West, was a thirty-five year-old Oklahoma native with thinning gray hair and skin “tanned the color of smoked ham.” During the interview, West told Vermillion (the UPI reporter) that his beloved Springfield rifle, equipped with a telescopic sight, was named after his wife Mabel. A fascinating element of West’s story is how many of the sources refer to his earlier service with the 45th Infantry Division and his combat experiences in Sicily, but fail to adequately explain why West left the 45th Infantry Division and why he was assigned to the 100th Infantry Division almost eigh­teen months later. It may only serve as an example of the imperfect application of military justice in the American Army during World War II; however, it also illustrates, in the words of War Department officials, the “savagery that is war.”[61]. Quickly he ordered Private First Class Phullip Meyers, right, Williamsport, PA, to make a hive. . However, Bradley ignored Patton and pressed for charges to be brought against both Compton and West. [46] United Press Int’l, supra note 1. [33]  CENTURY SENTINEL, supra note 6 at 4. [57] Id. . Reenacting Historical. The proximity of the US Army gave hope to the prisoners in the camp and to anti-Nazis outside it. [50] GURLEY, supra note 43. [2]  Id. The 45th Infantry was one of the first units into Dachau, where they helped liberate tens of thousands of prisoners. As the 45th Infantry Division completed its drive on Munich, the unit was ordered to liberate the Dachau concentration camp. The scene near the entrance to the confinement area numbed my senses. Casualty figures for the 45th Infantry Division, European theater of operations: The 45th Infantry Division gained its nickname, "Thunderbird" division, from the gold thunderbird. The 45th Infantry Division was reassigned to VI Corps on New Year's day. [50] Furthermore, according to Roy Sees—who served with West in L Company, 399th Infantry—there were no witnesses to many of his “kills”: With regard to the claim that West was responsible for the deaths of 150 German soldiers, Sees was not convinced. [36]  On another day, West was credited with the dispatch of fourteen German soldiers and a possible wounding or killing of six more while sniping and acting as a forward ob­server for his company’s mortars. Also, it is possible that West referred to the replacement only as “The Kid” because neither he, nor anyone else in the company, knew the Soldier’s name. History, 2010) and the Drexel University School of Law (J.D. Find topics of interest and explore encyclopedia content related to those topics, Find articles, photos, maps, films, and more listed alphabetically, Recommended resources and topics if you have limited time to teach about the Holocaust, Explore the ID Cards to learn more about personal experiences during the Holocaust. [22] Id. West’s story after his parole is not one of redemption. Operation Teardrop: Eight of the surviving, captured crewmen from the sunk German submarine U … [1] United Press Int’l, Wagoner Fighter Has 130 Notches On Garand Rifle, RECORD-DEMOCRAT (Mar. [15] He was found guilty of the murder of thirty-seven POWs and sentenced to life. TTY: 202.488.0406, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC, Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center. Nevertheless, the Army officials in charge of this camp advised us that there were 50 of these cars in this 1 train and that at least 100 of these civilians had been jammed into each car . Robert Vermillion, Missus Never Misses, Mabel Takes Care of the Sergeant, STARS & STRIPES (London), Mar. Both incidents deeply troubled Bradley, who reported them to Seventh Army Commander Lieutenant General George S. [23], Previous scholarship traced West’s service to his parole and subsequent hon­orable discharge, but it skipped an entire chapter of his story. [61] Borch, supra note 7, at 5. [23] Id. [49]  The 399th Infantry Regiment history contains a photograph of West with the caption, “Legend says West killed 150 Germans. It quickly advanced through western France, reaching the German border by the end of the year. And, in the process, West was elevated from murderer to cause célèbre. It had left Buchenwald four weeks earlier on April 7 filled with more than 5,000 prisoners. In the Dachau camp itself, an international committee composed of representatives of the various nationalities imprisoned there was established to organize resistance. [20] Id. . On 19 October 1920, the Oklahoma State militia was organized as the 45th Infantry Division of the Oklahoma Army National Guard, and manned with troops from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Source: George Ducan's, Massacres and Atrocities of World War II. Immediately after Dachau's liberation, US Army authorities and other Allied representatives began treating the sick prisoners, implementing health and sanitary measures to curb the typhus epidemic, and bringing in tons of food to feed the starving prisoners. work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. In the town of Dachau, German opponents of the regime, including a few escaped concentration camp prisoners, took over the town hall, but the local SS put down the small rebellion and executed those among the insurgents whom they caught. Dead, emaciated bodies book, Love Company, 399TH Infantry Regiment, MORNING report ( 24. Certificate of Discharge, Sergeant Horace West was far from inconspicuous, emaciated.! 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