Prussians & Doughboys, 1917-1918
Are Americans Well Disciplined?
Statement of Dr. Otto Schranzkmuller,
A former Prussian Municipal Official.
42nd Div. Summary of Interrogation #185
Dec. 12, 1919.
“The American army seems to me as fine a collection of individual physical specimens as I have ever seen,” the doctor declared in his excellent unidiomatic English. “But from the standpoint of military discipline it is a mob, pure and simple. The men appear slouchy; the officers do not stand out from the men in appearance as they do in any European army. All seem to allow themselves to be victimized in prices by the tradespeople of this, I am most unhappy to admit, vanquished country. They seem to have no conception of the fact that we are their enemies, and deep down in our hearts we hate each and every one of them.” The doctor asked a few questions in reference to the staff work of the American army. e recalled the German statement at the commencement of hostilities between the United States and Germany that the United States would find it impossible to procure six thousand efficient staff officers. He stated that he had heard that in the past few months the United States army had had to use a great proportion of French officers on its staffs in order to keep the services of supplies from an utter breakdown.
Translation of a Diary taken from a Hungarian Lieutenant of the 1st Austro-Hungarian Division.
Notes on the Western Front beginning August 20, 1918.
Headquarters First American Army
Prisoners Document #204
Oct. 8th – Till 2:30 in the morning I was on duty inspecting sentries when I was relieved, as the previous night I was on duty all night long. I was informed there is to be a great attack 5 o’clock in the morning. Of course, I have been told that before and nothing has happened, but I made my preparations and lay down to sleep for awhile. In five minutes I was up, or rather I jumped up, for like a volcano spitting its lava, the most hellish barrage started on us, inexpressable in its intensity, and a shell hit our dug-out squarely. The barrage moved up further within a half hour; and at the same time from another dug-out one of my platoon leaders ran to me and pointed to both sides of the hill where the French soldiers were already marching behind us in the valley. We jumping out from the trench with machine guns and hand grenades awaiting us, while at the same time from the mountain above us – like wild tigers, Americans and French jumped on us and swallowed us up. To resist – even to dream of it – was impossible. By 6:30 all of us were marching as prisoners. Really this was the most surprising, and in its extent, most marvelous attack I ever saw. All day long we were moved from one place to another until at 9:30 we arrived, soaked, in a large prison cage; within a wire fence we lay down in the mud. Later we received blankets from the Americans, which was very good of them.
Oct. 9th – Woke up in the morning at 5 o’clock. We received breakfast. Heavens, lovely white bread, a large piece which even in peace time is better than our cakes. Also meat and vegetables, conserve, and coffee that had some kick to it. Dinner, this priceless bread; a large piece, meat stew and coffee. Afternoon nothing to do. Supper, meat and vegetables as at breakfast, and that lovely white bread again. If this keeps up this way I shall even forget that I slept in such a condition. It is royal time the Americans give us.
The Iron Cross Business
Interrogation of Fianale Fappen of Neuenahr.
Summary of Intelligence, #260.
42nd Div. Feb. 25th, 1919.
Frau Fappen is the owner of an novelty shop in Neuenahr. Having been in the novelty business for years, she gives some interesting facts concerning her business. She cannot understand the general desire of the American soldier for the “Gott mit uns” belt buckles and the German Iron Crosses, as these seem to be the only souvenirs they care to buy. She states that she alone has old more Iron Crosses to American soldiers than the Kaiser ever awarded to his subjects.
The Americans as Adventurers.
Interrogation of Mrs. Aton Bursch – a shop-keeper in Echternach
3d Army Corps Summary of Intelligence, #11, Nov. 26, 1918
A German officer said to this woman that the Americans came over here only to see the world and for the sake of adventure.
A Schoolboy’s View
Third Army Summary of Intelligence, Dec. 8, 1918:
A twelve year old German boy who was asked the way immediately began a conversation. “You Americans are not really heart and soul in this war, are you? The French hate us because we took Alsace and Lorraine, but you only entered the war to make sure that England and France would be able to pay the money you lent them. For that reason we are glad that the country is being occupied by Americans instead of French and English. Row-boats were often used to deceive German U-boats, and when the latter came to render assistance concealed guns opened fire on the U-boats.” When asked where he had obtained all this information the child answered: “I learned it at school.”
Source: Candid Comment on The American Soldier of 1917-1918 and Kindred Topics by The Germans, General Headquarters, American Expeditionary Forces, Chaumont, France, 1919.
Image source: Untitled drawing of American soldiers in World War I by Herbert Andrew Paus, 1918. Library of Congress.http://www.forgottenwarstories.com/2014/03/01/prussians-doughboys-1917-1918/http://www.forgottenwarstories.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/1234567-1.jpghttp://www.forgottenwarstories.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/1234567-1-150x150.jpgWW1irony,world war IAre Americans Well Disciplined? Statement of Dr. Otto Schranzkmuller, A former Prussian Municipal Official. 42nd Div. Summary of Interrogation #185 Dec. 12, 1919. 'The American army seems to me as fine a collection of individual physical specimens as I have ever seen,' the doctor declared in his excellent unidiomatic English. 'But from the...stevenhardestySteven Hardestyforgottenwarstories@gmail.comAdministratorForgotten War Stories