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26 Nazi Officer Prisoners and Two Scared but Lucky Dogface SoldiersDr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
The next summer in Paris I met a soldier. “Are you Leveque from Headquarters Company?” “Yep.” “Do you remember a house in Germany with 26 officers?” “Yeah”. “I want to thank you; I got six watches from those guys.”
(MOLALLA, Ore.) - My short biography in Salem-news.com indicates that I and my Army buddy captured 26 Nazi Officers. I have had a few questions, mainly “how did this come about?”
I was a college graduate in Chemistry when I volunteered for the Army. I don’t know if I could have gone to the navy or Marines, because I lack the tip of my right index trigger finger. I tried to get into ROTC in College. Being an Officer is much better (?) than being a private! They wouldn’t accept me.
I had basic (Infantry) training at a Chemical Warfare base and was supposed to become a Gas Warfare Non-com in the Infantry. They had selected that Non-com the day before I reported to the Infantry. My Sgt. said he’d put me in the Intelligence section. I felt I was fairly intelligent...
"What will I be doing, Sgt.?" “You’ll be a battalion scout, point man and forward observer”. I knew what that meant... I had seen the movie Battle of Guadalcanal, which was the first real blood and guts movie of WWII. I knew my chances of getting home were close to zero.
After I did miraculously survive and got home, I read James Jones' excellent book, WWII and finally learned what it is to be an infantryman. He nailed it!
The Combat Soldier must make a compact with fate and himself that he is lost. Only then can he function as he ought to function, under fire. He knows and accepts before-hand that he is dead, although he still may be walking around for awhile. That soldier that you have walking around, with this awareness in him, is the final end-product of the Evolution of a Soldier.
I reluctantly accepted all this when I was told what I would be doing.
The incident came about some 6 weeks before the end of the war in Europe. My battalion was in two parts; one company in the valley on the main road into this town, and my Headquarters Company on a side road on top of the hill. I was with my Company Commander, Capt. Otterbein in the front. To the right front, about 50 yards away was a house, “Leveque, you and Brannon check out that house”. There was a rifle battle going on down below. So this was an armed fighting town.
Privates obey captains. There was a woods of foot-wide trees on the way to the house. We circled around to the right, rather than go in straight on. We leap-frogged tree to tree, and finally I got to the last tree. I stopped and looked for machine guns, bazookas, or rifles.
I didn’t see any, but it was still spooky. I could see a door around the left corner of the house. “Brannon, cover me... I’m running to the corner”. I stopped to listen, and couldn’t hear anything!
I ran past the door and there was a window close by. As I ran by I glanced in and could see German uniforms inside! My heart stopped. I expected to hear and feel gunshots through the wall. I heard footsteps of hobnail boots coming to the door, which opened, and a Nazi Captain appeared with my rifle muzzle under his chin. I didn’t see any pistol! “Wiefiel manner herin?” (how many men are inside?). He answered in English, 26! God almighty! I asked “haben sie waffen?” (have you any weapons?) “No,” he said. I didn’t believe a word of it but what to do next?
I motioned Brannon over; his face was as white as this paper! “Brannon, he says they have no weapons but I’ve got to take this dude to our Captain”. I didn’t think I’d see Brannon alive again. The Nazi Captain gave my Captain a Hitler stiff arm salute. I was going to bash his head in. My Captain asked, “What’s going on?” I said “there are 26 officers in that house”. He looked at me like he was going to court martial me for lying. “I’ll send 6 men over to guard them”. “Good,” I said.
There was another house about 50 yards away. I said “Brannon, let's check it out”. He replied “Leveque, we’ve used up all of our luck. I’m going back to the Company.”
I did go to the house. It was empty; I slept in a Nazi Major's bed for the first time in a month, after sleeping in wet foxholes.
The next summer in Paris, I met a soldier. “Are you Leveque from Headquarters Company?” “Yep.” “Do you remember a house in Germany with 26 officers?” “Yeah”. “I want to thank you; I got six watches from those guys.”
Whether I should have received a medal for this, I don’t know. Only Capt. Ottenbein knew about it. The next day, his right arm was shot off. He was sent home.
Dr. Phillip Leveque has degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and minors in physiology and biochemistry. He was a Professor of Pharmacology, employed by the University of London for 2 years, during which time he trained the first doctors in Tanzania. After training doctors, he became an Osteopathic Physician, as well as a Forensic Toxicologist.
Before any of that, Phil Leveque was a Combat Infantryman in the U.S. Army in WWII. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 60 years after the war, and specialized in treating Veterans with PTSD during his years as a doctor in Molalla, Oregon. Do you have a question, comment or story to share with Dr. Leveque?
Email him: ASK DR. LEVEQUE
More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole". Order the book by mail by following this link: DOGFACE SOLDIER OF WWII If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.
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