HELL's FOLLY, this is my story. There will be many old soldiers that will remember the incidents differently than I do. There will be many Military Historians that will disagree with me in accordance to OFFICIAL RECORDS (including the Government of the United States Archives). This is unfortunately what happens in any war. It is the nature of the beast . PART ONE The story begins in Camp Howze outside of Gainesville, Texas circa July 1944. Private Moody had just been Court-Martialed for Sleeping on Guard in a Mustard Gas Training Area adjacent to Camp Howze. Because it was so late in the day when Private Moody was released to the Provost Marshal, he was allowed to sleep in the troop area for that one night so the proper paper work could be processed early the next morning. Six months confinement at hard labor, forfeiture of 2/3rds of the soldier's monthly pay for six months and reduction to Private from Private First Class, were the exact words the President of the court droned. Little did I realize how much it would change my life and my outlook on life itself. In the Post Stockade, Moody schemed with his cellmate to escape to Canada but when the 103rd Infantry Division was alerted for the European Theatre, he was offered the option of freedom and combat or escape and being hunted for the rest of his life, he chose the former and was released the next day. Out of the Stockade, it was pack this, pack that, throw that away, you won't need it where we're going by his platoon sergeant, Sergeant Denny. We were soon headed to New York on a train where Moody played poker for four straight days and nights and won nearly seven thousand dollars. He went from a poverty stricken prisoner to a rich, free soldier. In New York he began to make errors in judgment mostly caused by money, a need for sex before going to Europe and just plain youthful stupidity regarding Army regulations ...... Further in the book... Acting Corporal Hell had many feelings that he had never intimated in our days back in Camp Howze, Texas. We were good friends but we never discussed the fact that he was German or what that might mean to him, or to me for that matter. When we started south toward Austria I thought the trip would be a lark, some fun times, maybe a German girl or two? But there was something different in Clarence Hell's mind. Dachau! To me Dachau meant nothing at that time. It was just a German word that I didn't understand. But to millions of Europeans and German immigrants in the United States it was synonyms for Death, Torture and Human Misery . The first night we tried to get an hour or two of sleep along side of the Autobahn hidden by some brush but it was miserable. The second day out we headed west. That, in itself meant nothing to me. It was the first day of May 1945, and Hell had directed the Jeep driver straight into Dachau, Germany. I was flabbergasted. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Hell had no authority to do this. He was in direct disobedience of orders. We rode around the compound for around 30 minutes finding nothing. No German Guards, no prisoners. It was as if the whole garrison had packed up and migrated somewhere? I was just breathing a sigh of relief when the Jeep driver Private Feinartz spotted prisoners in one of the outer compounds. Hell ordered Feinartz to stop. We dismounted the jeep and walked toward the gate. The situation was spooky and smelly. The inmates looked like Ghosts in striped pajamas. We were 50 feet away from them but they stunk to the high heavens and they started toward us. Unfortunately, Hell had already used his grease gun to shoot the chain off the wrought iron gate. We were about to be hugged and kissed by these, poor, pitiful, people... PART TWO Others have contributed to my story (Part II). Their words have been related, as I believe they would have wanted me to relate them to you. The integrity of their words and their problems incurred in the writing were the same as mine. (Part II of the book was retold, edited and written with permission).
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