2ND LT HENRY GETTMAN
Platoon leader, 1st Plt, 99th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized), 99th Infantry Division, 1st Army, European Theater of Operations – WW II; Gerolzhofen, Germany – post VE Day
Henry Gettman, pictured at the camp in Gerolzhofen, Germany. Henry started out with 99th Recon as a section sergeant with 1st platoon, and later platoon sergeant with 1st platoon. After a battlefield commission to 2d lieutenant shortly before crossing the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen, he became the platoon leader of 1st platoon.
Attached is a photo of the officers of the 99th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized), 99th Infantry Division, taken at a former Nazi youth camp in Gerolzhofen, Germany, where the troop was billeted sometime shortly after the end of the war in Europe. The 99th Recon Troop was guarding a nearby POW camp at the time. This was the last place the troopers would be together before the troop was dissolved.
Pictured from left to right: Capt. Roy C. Lueders, troop commander; 1Lt. William K. Worley, troop executive officer; 1Lt. Robert H. Von Burg, platoon leader, 2nd platoon; 1Lt. Richard E. Staley, platoon leader, 3rd platoon; 2Lt. Lamkin, troop motor officer/troop liaison officer; 1Lt. Roser, troop communications officer; 2Lt. Henry Gettman, platoon leader, 1st platoon.
ROUTE OF MARCHES
250 MILES W
Nov. 6, 1944 — St. Jean Sart, Aubel, Belgium:
First robot bombs; plenty of mud; slept in orchard, snowy, moved into barns; Frame looking for mess kit at midnight; third platoon already in Elsenborn.
40 MILES W
Nov. 10, 1944 — Elsenborn, Belgium:
Robots flying really low; dug in for first time, baptized by fire. Third platoon had blazed the trail. Remember “The Hole”, the mortar squads Thanksgiving Day banquet, and Murphy shooting it out with Ninth Division “snowball kings”?
3 MILES N
Dec. 10, 1944 Kalterherberg, Germany:
Smiling doughs get relieved but quick. First PW’s taken — yes, the Bulge! Moved up to Hofen with three Silver Stars earned — Lieuts. Worley and Staley and Sgt. Yankovic, and a lot of combat experience. Also two Bronze Stars — Pfc Alexander (posthumously) and Pfc McCoy; seven Purple Hearts — Lieut. Von Burg, S/Sgt. Noval Casteel, Pfc Gier, Sgt. Yankovic, Cpl. Gates, Cpl. Wood, Pfc Smallwood; two Certificates of Merit — Sgt. Eickmeier and Cpl. Neal, and an enviable combat record.
6 MILES N
Dec. 24, 1944 to Jan. 29, 1945 — Hofen, Germany:
In a creamery; second platoon in an outpost for patrol work, 395th Infantry there too; lone machine gunner misses nobly on third platoon position; hedgerows in front of CP; plenty of duds and Jerry dead; four Purple Hearts — T/Sgt. Nelson, Pvt. Hawkins, Sgt. Wallace and Cpl. Savage.
14 MILES SW
Jan. 30, 1945 — Sourbrodt, Belgium:
Living in engineer dugouts; Recon in reserve.
19 MILES E
Feb. 19, 1945 — Honsfeld, Belgium:
Snow was melting uncovering the corpses of the Bulge; 15 GIs dug up during chow were Jerries had massacred them; Murphy meets his brother from the 106th Infantry Division.
11 MILES NW
Feb. 20, 1945 — Montenau, Belgium:
A little Belgian “town”; Church and all. Plenty of mud. The last of test firing for awhile; Mademoiselle’s follow convoy out of town toward Aubel.
25 MILES NW
Feb. 21, 1945 to March 1, 1945 — Aubel, Belgium:
Two weeks of reorganization. Motor stables, General’s inspection; passes to Verviers. Test fire all weapons. Murphy and Smallwood night fire their’s. Plenty cognac, beaucoup cost.
60 MILES E
March 1st, 1945 — Elsdorf, Germany:
Strafed and bombed that night; get chuck wagon; officers shoot horse that will not die; sheep in Chapel; smoldering ruins of bombed out farm; flares were dropped; the first action since the Ardennes.
7 MILES E
March 2nd, 1945 — Bucholz, Germany:
Moved up across the Erft Canal; at dusk tangled with a Mark VI tank and an 88. Second and Third platoons had outposts in fields; CP pulled back to school house; Anti-tank company moved on up on tank that night. Ack-ack boys dig in around us next day; we eat ack-ack’s hot chow and — shove off.
3 MILES E
March 3rd, 1945 — Neurath, Germany:
Stopped off at Gromershaven, capture PW’s in two farmhouses in running firefight with Captain Lueders in Lieut. Staley’s M-8 leading in behind Sgt. Godwin and Cpl. Avila in armored jeep; Fleig get’s a PW single handed; that night move into row of houses down a street where GI tanker got killed cleaning his weapon. Plenty of motor maintenance, playing cards and guard for the rest of Troop that night. Task Force Lueders moves out at 4am.
12 MILES E
March 4th, 1945 — Specht, Germany:
Task Force Lueders well baptized by fire, confirmed by 14 PW’s; seven Purple Hearts — Captain Lueders, S/Sgt. Steele, Cpl.’s Barry, Brunner, Whitney, Kopan, and Pfc Ancona. Having captured towns of Hoisten, Norf, Derikum on the road to Rhine River in a flat 50 minutes they pull back to take inventory in three farmhouses pinpointed by a blown bridge. Jerry dead from artillery in surrounding houses. Pigeon shooting begins and reforms Hitlerized fat landlady. Jerry movie machine with training films liberated. Sgt. Olson tries out as interpreter. Captain Lueders men have earned him the Bronze Star and get a brief rest.
3 MILES S
March 5 — 8, 1945 — Gubisrath, Germany:
Troop was behind walled in rich farm with garden; motor pool was in a field with slit trench; 395th Infantry Regiment given Presidential Citation in town; Captain Lueders given Bronze Star in courtyard; a little “fleiger comen bomb bomben mit artillery now and then”; what schnapps, what a parking problem, Stampfl turns over water trailer.
59 MILES S
March 9 — 11, 1945 — Stadt–Mechenheim, Germany:
A long march through Ninth Armored to a mill; Rockhill sees old outfit. Kitchen under a marquee; plenty of pigeon shooting if you got patience; farewell to chuck wagon; Sgt. Fulton, Cpl. Hollars, Stewart, Lewis and Pfc Grace blast garbage pit and latrine into three feet of water; a stream nearby; AAA outfit in plowed field just across the way; second platoon has a long last chicken feed from Headquarters coop. Sgt. Yankovic and Pfc Brenneman remove a stiff, sleep in his bed. Anything else? Ask the cooks about those shotguns.
16 MILES S
March 12 — 21, 1945 — Linz, Germany:
Pfc Jake Newman blown out of bed by bombs; Purple Heart field day (31) — 1/Sgt. Bryant, Pfc Murrah, Sgt. McGuire, Pfc Lyons, Pfc McKinney, Cpl. Burton, Pfc Bureau, Pfc Castronovo, Cpl. Pattee, Pfc Nick, Cpl. Schnelle, Sgt. Sirmons, Cpl. Starcher, Pfc Dutkofski, S/Sgt. Shoemaker, Cpl. Bennett, Cpl. Schloerb, S/Sgt. Lehmann, T/Sgt. Knowles, Cpl. Youngblood, Cpl. Stewart, S/Sgt. A. Brown, Sgt. H. Brown, Sgt. Wurzel, Cpl. Osterkamp, Cpl. Myford, Sgt. Eickmeier, Cpl. Torrence, Cpl. Ruhl, Cpl. Rankin, and Cpl. McKinsey. Burning cognac on the floor of winery; Yank and Santy de-liberate a DeGaulle officer.
3 MILES SE
March 22, 1945 — Steinhardt, Germany:
Moved up out of Linz past Jerry artillery outpost. Displaced infantry at H-hour midnight, took over outposts. T/Sgt. Nelson and Sgt. Cromer called for reserves having met rockbound resistance. Sgt. Eickmeier responded to call and his price of glory — red wine.
12 MILES SE
March 23, 1945 — Waldbreitbach, Germany:
Forded across the Weid River. Plenty of dead around in nearby fields; Church still burning; two corpses buried under its door. Pfc Hercha falls out of jeep. Pfc Guy and others disappear on secret mission. Beaucoup schnapps and jam. Recon ran the town keeping all civilians in town hall the first night. Egg hunt produced more corpses. Pfc Grace ate glass in jelly here. A serve yourself liberated bar on main street. Corporal Whitney has all civilians policing and sweeping the streets in town. First platoon reports coordinates of dead soldiers.
4 MILES SE
March 24, 1945 — Breischeid, Germany:
Moved up out of Waldbreitbach at night along Weid River through artillery fires and a moonlit Focke-Wolfe 110 crashed in a nearby field; displaced an anti-tank company; picked up a Hawaiian dough lost from his company; took up outposts in farm house window; encountered Jerry machine gun and burp gun fire. Pfc Grace infiltrating to B.A.R. almost gets shot by his own troop mates.
8 MILES E
March 25 — 26, 1945 — Kurtsheid, Germany:
Two night bivouac on a wooded hill, a little “geslappen” while Com Z passes us up. Pulled in after midnight, caught in traffic jam coming up steep hill just three hours out of Waldbreitbach. Two days later left with Sgt. Dempewolf, Pfc Harold Jones, Pfc Hogan, Pfc Dayton Lewis, Pfc Husted, all joined to Troop.
60 MILES E
March 27, 1945 — Langendernbach, Germany:
Billeted in dorf with 786th Tank Destroyer Battalion’s “D” Company; they shoot at three Jerry’s that night; S/Sgt. Casteel gets sick with “dustitis”. Italian PW’s enough to start a spaghetti house living in gasthaus. Jerry patron gives us wine. Rear moves up toward midnight.
32 MILES E
March 28, 1945 — Oberbiel, Germany:
Purple Hearts for Lieut. Staley, Pvt. M. Crawford and Pfc Floyd A. Clark; also Sgt. “Yank” Yankovic, Pfc Grant and Pfc Brenneman; 786th tank knocked out by SS while charging into Wetzlar. We rescue a Division G-3 Major pinned down in field by sniping; civiles with 22 caliber rifle’s are sniping (check with liaison plane); motor pool in apple orchard, tankers shoot a Kraut that night again; rear comes in after sundown; Lieut. Worley comes in from Paris. “Gas up” that night.
20 MILES NE
March 29, 1945 — Blasbach, Germany:
One night stand. Forty-four PW’s including two WAC’s taken; in other words, Flak men flicker out. Remember the motorcycles motor maintenance? Nix benzine, Mutt ‘n Jeff act: Capt. Lueders interrogates teeny weeny PW — peanut tube expert; Jerry officer takes it on the jaw from Pfc Paian on night patrol. Big gun burning, big blonde, Cpl. Pete Brunner milks a cow. Second platoon “took” hot baths with brandished pistols.
8 MILES NE
March 30, 1945 — Krofdorf, Germany:
Near the Division for first time since Linz; castle on a hill behind us; tankers in town; plenty of loot was POE’d. Supply and motor maintenance across the street from platoons, even street lights here. Officers meet at 3 AM before shoving off to lead Division to Rosenthal.
37 MILES NE
March 31 — April 4, 1945 — Rosenthal, Germany:
Easter Sunday. Armored jeep has an accident: “everybody gets a bath”. Lieut. Worley “sign on the door”. Supply washes galoshes with troop detail. Pfc Greubel joins troop.
25 MILES NW
April 4 — 6, 1945 — Berleburg, Germany:
Wagon in river under bridge; mess kit wash line along riverbank; kitchen set in up brewery; Krauts on hill turn out to be GI artillery with white flag; beaucoup frauleins, beaucoup rain.
3 MILES NW
April 6 — 10, 1945 — Wingeshausen, Germany:
Three farmhouses on a hill liberated; Cpl. Stampfl forces 30 Kraut’s into one barn; a little deer hunting on the side; vehicles are launched in river at foot of hill; Cpl. Neal ditches M-8 for fair; kitchen is over the hill and far away. Third platoon in Altenhunden get plenty of fire working with the 86th Division.
2 MILES NW
April 10 — 12, 1945 — Glierbruceke, Germany:
Fish hatchery vs. grenades. Traffic points are set up where bicycles are set down; swimming in the river by a dam; kitchen and headquarters platoon in artist’s house on hill, platoons along the highway; Cpl. Zarecky and Pfc Roudybush photographed for Fisher’s Almanac; beaucoup fishing — beaucoup fishing.
4 MILES NW
April 13, 1945 — Deutmecke, Germany:
M-8 armored car turns over with Executive Officer, Lieut. Worley; patrol goes up hill with caves in it; Pfc Akins shoots the women away from front door; Cpl. Maloney gets some English biscuits; Jerries loot own store under our billets; woman gets new baby and stays on.
4 MILES NW
April 14, 1945 — Altenhaffeln, Germany:
Cpl. Joe Golla gets and forgets a car. T/Sgt. Knowles gets a blowtorch. Every GI gets a “loot” at Jerry postal truck, mess trucks and motorcycles galore; Russki PW’s and what haven’t you? Running water too. We induct Aleck for the kitchen. Seventh Armored goes on through us; kitchen and motor maintenance tangled in barns. Beaucoup PW’s at least a Battalion marched by us enroute.
3 MILES NW
April 15, 1945 — Leveringhausen, Germany:
A little Kraut artillery now and then. Pfc Grace earns a hard-won Purple Heart. Pfc Akins puts in for baby undertaker — Cpl. Stampfl finished job as “volunteer graves registration service”. A knocked out tank in front yard; platoons are down road with infantry and incoming Jerry artillery.
1 MILE NW
April 16 — 18, 1945 — Ihmert, Germany:
Hail to the rear “fifty-four PW’s in one day”. Ask Sgt. “Doc” Olson or Pfc Grace about the brewery in town. Hail to Nero our “liberated” newcomer. Did they pin us down, but not Lieut. Worley, Cpl. Whitney and Lu, Stu ‘n Do — they raced the 88’s to town. Platoons leave here as prisoner guard detachment. End of the Ruhr Pocket.
318 MILES SE
April 19 — 21, 1945 — Tretzendorf, Germany:
Third Army men now. A little strafing to remember it by for the rear echelon on the eighteen hour ride to Bamberg; everybody hangs their wash around the mess kit line; where’s the bath list? Division nearby in next dorf; beaucoup motor stables.
68 MILES SE
April 22, 1945 — Schwand, Germany:
Who stole Mrs. Murphy’s cake? Supply slept in a Kraut uniform factory (sweet dreams for the S-4). Was that rain — and how? Were the outposts a good deal or ask the rabbits about Pfc Akins? Jerry soldier’s statue with potato masher in main square. We arrived in terrific hail storm — we left in a big huff, bivouac-bound.
April 23, 1945 — Guggenmuhle, Germany:
Who the hell like those woods anyway — you, first platooners?
14 MILES SE
April 24, 1945 — Sulzkirchen, Germany:
Gasthaus; Cpl. Whitney and Sgt. Minehart and company entertain at “eggs in your beer”; the stove was useful — remember guards? Liberated GI prisoners go by. We cut across autobahn and 14th Armored wreckage getting here.
15 MILES SE
April 25, 1945 — Schweigersdorf, Germany:
A little Chapel nearby; organized egg raids against trained Quartermaster troops; pistol cleaning; noisy geese in the puddles; Headquarters rear is further up front with ack-ack and artillery boys.
21 MILES E
April 26, 1945 — Tettenwang, Germany:
The good Padre slept upstairs; wine woke up in cellar and walked away; a little air raid and ack-ack by bed check “Charlie” for reveille. Pfc Akins and Pfc Murphy “maitres d’ hotel”; threatened strafing enroute that afternoon; Pvt. Monty Crawford captures a town for the 32nd Cavalry next morning at Apsdorf.
4 MILES E
April 27 — 29, 1945 — Arresting, Germany:
Blue farmhouse, 4.2 mortars in the road, artillery outpost in the church; ailing Jerry soldier sons in every house and just a bit before “The Blue Danube” scarcely in sight. We watch artillery battle against Jerries and Jerry trucks.
68 MILES SE
April 29, 1945 — Eschenloe, Germany:
Pfc Akins at the griddle; Sgt.’s Eickmeier and Minehart and a lone scared, wounded Jerry PW dig a machine gun in; “Frishe eire” und how! Just a little dorf but what a manure pile. First platoon shared guard on that machine gun outpost with headquarters. Now d’ya remember?
15 MILES E
April 30, 1945 — Pfettrach, Germany:
Burning Landshut just behind the hill. Beaucoup assortment of liberated satellites, and soldatten and Red Cross packages, schnapps, and jogend fraulein who sleep in barn. 200 SS in nearby woods. Nero beats Martin to the draw. Rear moves from farmhouse in field up to CP billets. Next day infantry and tankers bivouac around us that night, and jump off after SS after dawn. We leave on T.F. “Cummings”, on time.
15 MILES E
May 1, 1945 — Vilsbiburg, Germany:
Hit here in a snowstorm. Bridges blown ahead. Task Force Cummings enroute; gas men, tankers, TD’s and Recon billet in row of houses on main street amidst celebrating liberated PW’s. Pitch black night for headquarters’ guard. Pfc Akins at the griddle and guitar. Third platoon pulls “misery guard” on bridges while second goes over them at 2400 hours.
5 MILES W
May 2 — 10, 1945 — Rebensdorf, Germany:
V-E Day. Traffic points; Lil’ Abner gets his man, suh. Geisenhausen next door with showers, shows and Division installed. Big-time rodeo with Pfc Robert Casteel, Pfc Murphy, Cpl. Hollars, Cpl. Stewart, and Pfc Akins in barnyard. Movies in the barn. Manure and bees with your chow. Murphy gets spring fever — but bad. Headquarters walks to chow; everyone wades in the creek. THE LIGHTS GO ON AGAIN IN THE WESTERN WORLD.
191 MILES NW
May 10 — 24, 1945 — Repperndorf, Germany:
Traffic points, chicken school reopened; motor stables and GI classes; Sublett’s movies every night; Lt. Von Burg’s AO Beer Hall; Pvt. Monty Crawford pulls a hero act; who said fraternizing? Pfc D. Newman gets trigger happy with himself — no luck boys. Lieut. Staley’s birthday party; Lt. Roser’s Orientation and I&E classes; Barnhouse gets his gal with a gun.
20 MILES W
May 24, 1945 — Gerolzhofen, Germany:
“Sweating it out” — ETO or CBI? — M.P. work in stockades — Volleyball and Softball leagues — tossing horse shoes and griping — sweating it out for Paris passes — two on and one off — Platoons atten-hut! — Replacements remove!