„Pretty German girls smiled at us.“
Tuesday, April 10, 1945 - Bensheim, Heidelberg - Pancake breakfast and morning duty. POW's doing much work now in C.P. Went on a duty run to Heidelberg - south on the Neckar River. Mountains and strip crops on the way on our left. Lots of farmer families walking the fields. Through Heppenheim and a large factory and a stop at Quartermaster. Next is Laudenbach with narrow, cobblestone streets. On through Weinsheim (more of a city). It had factories, wide streets, well-landscaped homes, boulevards, hotels and restaurants. There was a large depot with freight and passenger yards, street cars, large U.S. rail engines and camouflaged German engines. There was lots of business going on. Through Grossersachen and noticed small shacks out in the farm fields. At Kriescheim began a street car line all the way into Heidelberg. A very large gravel works near Bobensheim and finally the wide, cobblestone streets of Heidelberg. The city was well-preserved (by and for the Air Corps). Large church towers, businesses, parks, and the University. Apartment buildings are huge, and again, hotels and restaurants. The city is in a valley of the beautiful Neckar River, with hills above. Pretty German girls smiled at us. Completed our mission and returned to Bensheim and midnight shift duty.
Friday, April 20, 1945 - Bensheim - Heilbronn - All night guard duty (12 to 6 a.m.) with another fellow down by the creek. We did have a fire going. We moved after chow. Besides being sleepy, it was the dirtiest ride so far. Took the same route past farms and orchards down to Heidelberg. Large locomotives at Weinheim. Through the east section of Heidelberg near the mountains. Lots of bikers and not much destruction. Large churches, apartment buildings and neat homes. We crossed the Neckar River on a pontoon bridge, while engineers construct a large wooden one next to it. Several of the old stone bridges with towers on the banks are destroyed. River has fishing boats and canoes. On the opposite side is the railway station with several passenger sheds. A tunnel disappears into the hills. Saw the famous Heidelberg Castle with its towers on the hills. The Heidelberg University is up there too. Green slopes and blossomed trees dot the river banks. The river is clear and shining. Heidelberg suburbs turn into hilly farm country once more. At the town of Neckar we left the river. Passed through quite a few towns while I dozed. Rich black dirt farms interspersed with green pastures. Many roads are tree-lined. Meckberg had factories and a water mill on the outskirts. Climbed gradually into the hills and looked back at green valleys, crisscrossed with railroad tracks and patches of evergreens. Mauer, a farm town in the forests with narrow streets. High tension lines at Hoffensheim (partially destroyed). Large town of Sensheim and smaller Heilbraun followed. It was fought for over a week by the 100th Division. Like Worms and Darmstadt, it is completely destroyed, including factories and railroads. Crossed Neckar River once more and looked back at Heilbroun ruins.
Aus: Pierce Evans, 103D Infantry Division Signal Company. Remembrances, Part 6