und der Hund
(The Captain and the Dog)
By: William H. O'Donovan, Jr.
This is a story of a conversation that took place between my father, Bill O'Donovan, Sr., and his brother-in-law, Jerry Thompson, shortly after the end of WWII.
Jerry or "Red" Thompson had always impressed me because he enlisted into the U.S. Army as a private and worked his way up to a Lt. Colonel in the Signal Corps. My father, Bill O'Donovan, was a Captain and Commander of B Company, 273rd Infantry Regiment, 69th. Infantry Division.
Jerry and Bill became close friends after the end of WWII. One day, they were talking about their military exploits during the war. Jerry asked Bill if there were any times that he was really scared – barring the normal showering of German 88's! – during his time in Germany with the Fighting 69th. My father quickly smiled and thought of two occasions that came to mind.
Both occurred when he had gone to exercise his bladder. The first was at night when the company was in total blackout conditions and it was difficult to see your own hand in front of your face. They were on the front line, and my father had walked about a block and began his normal function of relief. Suddenly, after hearing a slight rustling noise, he felt a warm flow begin to trickle down the side of his trousers. Immediately, he thought that he had been stabbed by a German soldier and prepared himself for the excruciating pain that would most assuredly follow. As he reluctantly did a half turn, he saw a huge dog that was still urinating on him, with a leg raised high into the air, almost arrogantly awaiting the response of a returned salute.The second frightening experience was when he laid his Sub-Thompson Machine Gun against a tree and had just begun to relieve himself. Suddenly three German soldiers stepped from behind their cover while he stood literally in mid-stream. His first thought was to throw his hands up but suddenly realized how ridiculous this might appear, so he reached for his Thompson and yelled at them to drop their weapons. Two of the soldiers had MP-44's and the other had a Mauser Rifle. All three soldiers raised their hands and were taken prisoner by the lone Infantry Captain taking a pee. I don't believe that my father ever comprehended why none of the three German soldiers had chosen not to shoot him and decided to surrender instead.