War Memories of William (Bill) Druckenmiller, Ohio

When we went overseas, I was Captain of the Regimental Anti Tank Unit.  Lt. Robert Peters was a platoon leader. During the battle at Mortain-the German's first attempted breakthrough, I took a machine gun bullet throught the thigh.  Fortunately it missed the thigh bone, which enabled me to get back to Regimental Headquarters; ending up in a hospital in England. The following is the After Action Report of this incident:

I rejoined the 30th, now billeted in Germany, a day before Thanksgiving.  Another officer had taken command of the Anti Tank Company.  I was assigned to command, on a temporary basis Company K, 117th Regiment.  Upon return of the K Company commander, I took command of Company I-also of short duration.

Next assignment was commander of Company L.  This company had the dubious reputation of never reaching their assigned objectives.  I was introduced to the assembled men, who had been herded into a large storage building by the Regimental Commander who had arrived with his staff.  The men were ordered to stand at attention while the Colonel berated them, intimating they represented poor specimens of soldiers.  I had knowledge of the fact that the officer commanding them was lazy and inefficient.   Following the departure of the the Regimental commanders, I said to the men, "At ease, smoke if you wish.  You look like real soldiers to me and together we will be the best damn company in the regiment."

Back to Lieutenant Robert Peters; Bob did not always "follow the book."  In the later stages of the conflict I remember one incident which illustrated Bob's performance.  The assembled battalion was planning an attack on a small town, reputed to hold a strong German garrison.  Before the unit was ready to move, a jeep traveling at high speed came to a sliding stop and out jumped an office.  Saluting the colonel he said, " Sir, I just made a reconnaissance of that town, there isn't a German in sight."  That officer was Lt. Robert Peters.

Ubach, Germany; Oct. 44, 3rd Battalion, 117th, involved in house to house fighting.  Germans made a powerful counterattack. One Co. K Platoon was overrun-regained ground and was awarded a Certificate of Merit.  3rd Battalion drove through Ubach and on to Alsdorf, a large industrial town.

Hamelin, Germany "The Pied Piper";  Company L was the first unit to enter this town.  After clearing out a few diehards, some of the remaining inhabitants stated "They were running around squealing on each other"-reference to collaborators.

Brunswick, Germany;  We entered around midnight.  The street was paved and wide.  I requested my executive officers to locate a suitable house to serve as our company headquarters, large enough to accommodate the entire personnel.  It took about an hour to find a residence that would serve our requirements.  It was a huge three story house with a full basement-a beautiful house inside and out.  The owners had been asked to leave.  We occupied this residence for the night and next day.  On the first floor was a large room enclosed by large glass doors which were locked.  I could see a display of a full line of surgical instruments.  When the owner was invited to return he expressed surprise that there was no evidence of damage.  He indicated he expected the room to be in shambles and the equipment stolen or destroyed.  He was most gracious to find the room as he had left it.  The only thing the men did was to help themselves to some ham and sleep on the beds.

Mr. Druckenmiller newpaper interview by Kimra Traynor Herb: