Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"We weren't soldiers." The surrender of the Elster Column.

I found this photo on Pinterest captioned: "German POW in France, 1945", and it reminded me of the following passage from Code Name Pauline:

"On September 10, 1944, a column of 18,000 Germans who had been trying to return to Germany surrendered to one man, an American from the US Army, in the town of Issoudun. At the time the American press thrived on the story, but they didn't tell the full story. They forgot to mention the column had been harassed by all the Maquis in the sector. The 18,000 German soldiers didn't surrender as easily as that, for no reason, to one American! In addition, the Americans authorized the Germans to cross the region all the way to Orleans with their weapons. The resisters were furious. Always the same old story: armies prefer to deal with armies, and the Resistance wasn't an army...

"Major Clutton did everything he could to try and stop this business, but it was impossible. Moreover, when the Germans got to the other side of the Loire, the Americans welcomed them with oranges, chocolate, the whole works. But that's an old story, you know, soldiers welcoming other soldiers. We weren't soldiers.

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