On April 28, the day before liberation, a train bearing about 40 or so railway cars arrived at the camp. The scene near the entrance to the confinement area numbed my senses. . It had left Buchenwald four weeks earlier on April 7 filled with more than 5,000 prisoners. JOHN M. KHOURY, LOVE COMPANY (2003). History of the 45th Infantry Division: Home page Table of contents. As the 45th Infantry Division completed its drive on Munich, the unit was ordered to liberate the Dachau concentration camp. [21] Borch, supra note 7, at 5. . A fascinating element of West’s story is how many of the sources refer to his earlier service with the 45th Infantry Division and his combat experiences in Sicily, but fail to adequately explain why West left the 45th Infantry Division and why he was assigned to the 100th Infantry Division almost eigh­teen months later. [29] Id. [14], West was tried first. The division was formed and federally recognized as a National Guard unit on 3 August 1923 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. [28] Id. [40] Robert Vermillion, They Started it, Says Oklahoma Sniper With 130 Nazis to Credit, LINCOLN J. [49] While West was assigned to the company headquarters as a cook, for most of the previous year he had been detached from the company on special duty—including as the acting Provost Sergeant in charge of the division stockade at Fort Devens. Nonetheless, West quickly made a name for himself in his new unit as a sniper. [27] West was the one who nicknamed the young Soldier “The Kid.” CENTURY SENTINEL, supra note 6. 1, 1945. [12]  Patton initially dismissed the accounts and told Bradley that the incidents would “make a stink in the press." [56] There is no indication that he received any official reprimand, or otherwise ran afoul of the military justice system, after his parole in November 1944. [35] Id. [43] FRANKLIN GURLEY, 399TH IN ACTION: WITH THE 100TH INFANTRY DIVISION  (1945). [11] Id. [10] Id. [40]  A report of West’s ex­ploits also appeared in the London edition of The Stars and Stripes.[41]. View the list of all donors. In two incidents on July 14, 1943, American soldiers of the 45th Infantry Division summarily executed German and Italian prisoners of war. On the afternoon of July 14, 1943, near the Biscari airport in Sicily, Captain John T. Compton, a company commander serving in the U.S. Army’s 45th Infantry Division, ordered his men to execute 36 prisoners of war (POWs). He then borrowed a Thompson sub-machine gun from his company’s first sergeant, and told him he was going to kill the “sons of bitches.”[8]  He instructed his comrades to “turn around if you don’t want to see it.”[9]  West murdered the disarmed POWs at close range, then reloaded and began firing single shots into the hearts of the POWs still moving. The 45th Infantry Division As Allied troops moved across Europe in a series of offensives against Nazi Germany, they found tens of thousands of concentration camp prisoners in deplorable conditions.e Malnutrition and disease were rampant, and corpses lay unburied. The Biscari Massacre . U.S. troops of the 45th Infantry Division killed about 75 unarmed prisoners, mostly Italian. [37], West’s reputation grew apace with his body count. His brother sought information from the War Department on details of his brother’s confinement. The 45th Infantry Division was recognized as a liberating unit by the US Army's Center of Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1985. Main telephone: 202.488.0400 [24] Instead, he progressed through the Army Ground Forces replace­ment system, joined an infantry division fighting in France, and unexpectedly found himself appearing in his unit’s newspaper, the Army’s newspaper—titled The Stars and Stripes—and newspapers across America.[25]. The battles took place between June 26th, 1952 and March 26th, 1953 on and around Hill 266 in Western Korea near the North-South border. [31] Id. [32] CENTURY SENTINEL, supra note 6, at 1, 4. When the 45th Division first formed its members wore a red square patch on their left shoulder, inside the patch was a yellow swastika, worne for good Luck. Id. work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. After marching the POWs a mile, West halted the group and selected eight or nine to report to the regimental intelligence officer. Only three hours earlier, Sergeant (SGT) Horace T. West, also serving in the 180th, committed a similar war crime when he murdered thirty-seven Italian and German POWs by shooting them with a Thompson Since all the many bodies were in various stages of decomposition, the stench of death was overpowering. Find topics of interest and explore encyclopedia content related to those topics, Find articles, photos, maps, films, and more listed alphabetically, Recommended resources and topics if you have limited time to teach about the Holocaust, Explore the ID Cards to learn more about personal experiences during the Holocaust. [45] Id. The soldiers reacted in shock and disbelief to the evidence of Nazi atrocities. Only three hours earlier, Sergeant Horace T. West, also serving in same division, committed a similar war crime when he murdered 37 Italian and German POWs by shooting them. [18] Id. [36]  On another day, West was credited with the dispatch of fourteen German soldiers and a possible wounding or killing of six more while sniping and acting as a forward ob­server for his company’s mortars. It may only serve as an example of the imperfect application of military justice in the American Army during World War II; however, it also illustrates, in the words of War Department officials, the “savagery that is war.”[61]. The engagements’ location would alternatively come to be known as “Old Baldy Hill” and “Suicide Hill” by others. The Biscari massacre was a war crime committed by members of the United States Army during World War II. History, 2010) and the Drexel University School of Law (J.D. His intent was to interview a sniper—from Wagoner, Oklahoma, in L Company, 399th Infantry Regiment—who was credited with killing more than 130 German troops. After his parole, the Army did not assign West to a rear echelon unit. [57] Id. [58] 100TH DIVISION ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER, supra note 54. According to Tyson, West was already with L Company and actively engaged in sniping when the replacement arrived in late January 1945, and in Tyson’s opinion, the replacement’s death was likely attributable to it. [13] Patton told Bradley to advise the officer responsible for the shooting to say either that the dead men were snip­ers, or they were shot during an escape attempt; regardless, nothing could be done about it. [61] Borch, supra note 7, at 5. The 45th Infantry Division was an infantry division of the British Army, formed just prior to the start of the Second World War.In March 1939, after the re-emergence of Germany as a significant military power and its occupation of Czechoslovakia, the British Army increased the number of divisions in the Territorial Army (TA) by duplicating existing units. The local townspeople were brought in to give the dead prisoners a proper burial. [36] Id. 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