Guestblog by Edgar Valderrama – 5th Infantry Division, 11th Infantry Regiment, Company C.

We reached the Danube after the war had ended. They say the Danube appears blue to those in love. I was in love, yet the Danube sure looked like any big muddy river to me.

The end of the war had caught us in the hills of Czechoslovakia, (whereI met “Ella”) though we had dropped down to Austria and were having a ball by the Danube.  We had paddled across the Rhine, Moselle and Sauer rivers under artillery and machine gun fire, but I remember crossing the Danube for fun in a primitive rope drawn ferry just to get to the other side like the chicken crossing the road in a joke.

My only previous interaction with horses had been an adventure with a friend and his pony long ago in Puebla. (the saddle slipped off and we had to carry it and walk about two miles leading the pony back home) Correct me if I’m wrong. Feland, but I remember I carried the saddle and you led the pony!

Back by the Danube. I found a barn nearby and dared to mount a friendly, but sturdy looking horse bareback. Someone opened the barn door. It apparently didn’t want to stay or didn’t belong there, because as soon as it saw its chance,  it immediately made for the outdoors with me on its back hanging on to its neck. It was in a hurry; it ran, it galloped – and I hung on, clinging to its neck and managing to stay on the top side. We must have travelled around two miles till we arrived at another barn where the damn horse felt at home. I got off first chance, and started my long walk back without ever even seeing either of the barn owners.

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4 thoughts to “WWII Veteran Guest Blog: Riding a horse in Czechoslovakia!

  • Michael Gregoric

    Would you know if all three regiments of the 5th. Infantry Div. finished out the war in Czechoslovakia . My dad was in the 5th. Quartermaster Battalion.
    I just cannot find out, which of the regiments his outfit belonged to ?
    He told me that he was in Pilson, when the war ended. (Czechoslovakia)
    He went to his service school, trained in mines and booby traps, but belonged to a quartermaster Co. , later renamed a battallion.
    He did this job, throughout the war.
    Anyone with information, would be greatly appreciated !

    Reply
  • Hugh Huntzinger

    My father, John Huntzinger, was the Communications Sargent for Captain Gerald Grafton in 5th Infantry Division, 11th Infantry Regiment, Company I. I can recall him telling me that he had ended the war in Czechoslovakia.

    Looking at the Division history book (its on Google Books; see link below), it does look like most of the Regiments did participate in operations out of Alt Reichenau, Germany (page 77) to cross over into CZ for operations on 4-6 May 1945. They ended near the CZ city of Volary, which is only ~15 miles from the border with Germany.

    Its not clear if this would have also included Support, Reserve & HQ groups in crossing the border following behind the combat troops, although by 25 May 45, the entire Division was redeployed back into towns inside Germany (page 80 in the Division history book) so even if they did make it into CZ, it wasn’t for all that long (~3 weeks).

    For Pilsen, this is the name of a region (Plzeň) as well as its capital city. The city of Pilsen is ~65 miles northwest of Volary, which is a bit problematic to reconcile (a bit far to walk), but the regional border between Pilsen and Bohemia (where Volary is located) is only ~25 miles, plus its probably safe to say that because Volary was a small town and Pilsen the largest city in that area, that returning soldiers would have described the region where they ended the war by the name of nearest large city (thus, Pilsen instead of Volary).

    https://books.google.com/books?id=lxfpAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA79#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Reply
  • Edgar N Valderrama

    I have some war stories I wish to share. Exactly where do I “enter” them? Here’s a very short sample:

    After a whole day of house to house fighting, we settled down in an intact house. I made the small beet cellar my own and settled down for a couple of hours sleep.

    It felt good to lie flat after all that walking and shooting and getting shot at. Only it wasn’t PERFECTLY flat; one beet stood out from all the rest and pushed against my ribs.

    Easy, I thought as I tossed the offending beet aside, but, damn it, another beet had taken its place and stuck into my ribs. Well? Toss it aside!

    By the time our supposed rest was over and we had to move on, I was in a curved depression with beets all around me plus one sticking into my ribs.

    Reply
  • Michael

    My father’s brother Victor, also served in the 5th. Infantry Division, as a medic in the 668th. Clearing Co.
    His unit was pictured in a famous photo, that was taken in Volary CZ. ,that pictured the local citizen’s being forced to file past a line of dead bodies, of Jewish women, that had died, as a result of being force marched by the German S.S. . The two medical officers in the photo were unidentified .
    He had written on his personal copy of the photo, the names the two men, as being his company commander , Captain Falcone , and his Executive Officer, Lt. Nelson .

    Reply

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