Safer in Combat
By E. P. Haynie, Jr.
Co. B, 273rd Infantry Regiment

We had just taken a small town on the banks of one of the little rivers that we crossed on our journey across Germany.  One of my Officers asked for a volunteer to drive a German camouflaged car loaded with passengers to a point several miles away.  I volunteered, not knowing of the strange happenings that I would encounter on the trip.  My passengers included the Burgomeister of the town and 3 German Officers of high rank.  All were seriously wounded. As I started on my journey, I became aware of the dangers I could face, even friendly fire from Americans I would pass on the way.  I drove carefully, frantically waving my hand out the window at soldiers I met.  After a few miles, 2 69th Div. medics stopped me.  They had the body of one of our Lts.  He had been killed a couple of days earlier and they wanted me to take his body to where ever I was going.  So, they put the stretcher on the hood of the car and tied it down.  I had trouble seeing where I was going over the sheet.  When I looked out the window the sheet waved and the smell was hard to endure.  After many miles ( I have no idea how many), I came to a road block.  I learned it was manned by our Headquarters Co.  They took control of my cargo, including the car. and left me to shift for myself. About that time a Lieutenant (I learned later  it was Lt. Robertson, who was credited with meeting the Russians at the Elbe), ordered me to help in the search for a German Captain, who was reported to be in the area. He has been seen riding in on a motorcycle the night before.  Maybe 10 or 12 other soldiers took part in the search.  Luckily, or, maybe  unluckily, I spotted the Captain first.  I saw movement in a bunch of bushes and pointed my rifle in that direction and ordered him to come out with his hands. up.  After what seemed like an eternity, he came out with his pistol raised in the air.  I told him to throw down his weapon and he did so.  Almost immediately,  the rest of the search outfit was around. me.  Lt. Robertson had ;me to search the German.  While I was doing so Lt. Robertson suddenly fired his weapon between me and the German Captain, scaring me nearly to death.  The German's blue eyes never moved,   I can't remember now how I went back to my Company, which had now moved on, but I do remember how happy I was to be back in combat where I was a little safer.