In this continuing series, we are speaking to Mr. Greg Csencsitz, whose father, S.Sgt. Frank Csencsitz, served under Lt. Gen. George Patton in the Third Army 5th Infantry Division.
They marched from Normandy to Germany. The drive to crush the German Army started June 15, 1944, ending in Germany May 8, 1945.
We are reading from the original daily log of Battery B as written by Capt. L.L. Capron CAC.
They crossed into Germany in March 1945 after many combat actions. As soon as the allies cleared any area, thousands of German soldiers were now willing to surrender.
S.Sgt. Csencsitz rarely spoke of his combat experiences, but Greg recalls one of the few remarks he made about his unit’s experiences. One day, they cleared a college of German resistance. They found a number of civilian graves- civilians killed by German units.
The S.S. was an independent unit, which carried out atrocities on anyone suspected of disloyalty to the Third Reich. S.Sgt. Csencsitz’s unit marched the German prisoners they held through the cemetery.
The prisoners hesitated. They didn’t want to see what had been done. At a probe of a bayonet, they got to the point!
April 29-30, 1945:
“German plane strafes convoy, truck on fire.”
“Celebration of Hitler’s death by Capt. Capron, Lt. Neill and Nelson.”
“Information by radio all resistance in NW Germany, Denmark, Netherlands ceased.”
“Announcement by BBC that German high command has surrendered. V-E Day effective midnight.”
“Engaged German 190 flying NE, 1,500 ft.”
“Germans trying to evade advancing Russian army trying to get through our territory. The Germans are still operating- evidently don’t know or care war in Europe is over.”
“Amid cheers, handkerchiefs waving, we enter true Czechoslovakia (Bohemia) like old times going through France.”
“German prisoners (30) starting cleaning barracks, want two buildings for hospitals.”
“Patrols and road blocks to be established in this area.”
This is the last entry in the B Battery 5th Infantry log, which is almost 200 pages in length.
“Log entrusted to tender memories of B.B. No responsibility on my part for entries after 28 May. L.L. Capron Capt. CAC.”
The war was over! The commanding officer asked S.Sgt. Csencsitz if he wanted to re-enlist as a commissioned officer. Frank refused. He wanted to return to his home and family. He boarded the Costa Rica Victory in Southampton, England, Sept. 27, 1945, and arrived in the port of New York Oct. 5, 1945.
It was then to Fort Meade, Md., for an honorable discharge.
Service time: three years, one month, dispersement pay: $417.28; decoration: Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Normandy, Northern France Ardennes, Rhineland-Central Europe.
Platoon Sgt. supervised and coordinated activities of 72 men, 4-40 mm guns and 16-50 caliber water cooled and air cooled machine guns, supervised and checked gun positions, distributed rations, supervised handling of ammunition and was responsible for welfare of personnel.
S.Sgt. Csencsitz served in combat for 22 months until V-E Day. A soldier who faced each day with great courage and determination, he was one of America’s greatest generations.
In two weeks- civilian life.