Letter to Carl F. Main dated Jan. 15, 1992


Lloyd W. Leibnitz

Hallock, Minnesota


Dear Carl,

I can’t give you much information, as my memory is very poor. I was a member of the Minnesota National Guard, we were mobilized in Feb. 1941. Went to California as Battery E 701 Anti—aircraft Battalion, on December 7th we were sent to Oakland and set up our Anti—aircraft there. I got my T-4 rating as motor mechanic and radar operator. By 1944 most of the battalion had been sent on cadre and had been replaced by limited servicemen, the rest of us were put in the infantry. All of us that was left were NCO’s. I think it was in August we were sent to Camp Maxey for 6 weeks of infantry training. We were then sent to Fort Mead to wait for shipment overseas. We arrived in Europe in October, went to a replacement camp at Compregne. After a week or two we went by train to Liege, we were there about one week. Then we went to Heerlen, Holland for 3 days of combat training and information. From here my memory is poor, and the rest is by guess. Sometime in November we went to Eschweiler. That night I went with a few men that were taking water and rations to two farm houses, one on each side of the road where they had foxholes. I and another guy left there on replacements. The foxholes were on a side hill, with the Germans across the valley. We received a few mortar rounds, but that was all. The next I remember is that we were to make an attack with the British on our left. We were about to go when the Bagpipers started to play and the British tanks started to go. It made the damnedest noise, everyone was mad because they thought it would draw a lot of artillery fire. I think we wound up in the town of Wurm. Maybe it was a few weeks later. I joined Company B when three or four of us were taken to a basement where Captain Estes was, and I was assigned to Co. B. Shortly after that the company was lined up to make an attack across a field with pillboxes on the other side. All of the company had on white coveralls, except us two replacements. One guy, I think was Little Joe, said we sure can tell the replacements. Maybe you would remember this and would know what time I joined the company. We did not receive much resistance, but I did see a few fall, But none of our squad. One of the guys shot a German by a pillbox, the medics took him back to the jeep. They said he was sure glad to see a doctor. We also took some prisoners.


When they came out of the pillboxes they did not have much clothes on. They were sent back like that in a truck, and when they got to the rear they were awfully dam cold. The officers caught hell for that.

I remember February 12th real well, as that was my Birthday. Our squad was sent out to load trucks with old bricks to fill holes in the road to the river. When we came back we knew something was wrong. Then that evening we moved from the house we were staying in, as it had been hit by a shell, we moved to a basement. A mess truck was behind some buildings across the street and we were to go one at a time with our mess kits and come back. When it was my turn, coming back a shell came in and I hit the ground, lost my food and got all wet and dirty. I went and laid down on some straw and put my overcoat over me, and tried to get warm and some sleep. Then about time I was getting a little warm and dry I was told it was my turn to stand guard. I hadn’t been out there very long when shells, tracers and bullets started glancing off the road in front of me. I quick jumped back in the basement. Took off my overcoat laid down and put my coat over me. Then someone said aren’t you going to stand guard. I said Hell no I’m not going to stand out there and get killed. It was quiet for awhile and someone said, with all that shelling going on, I don’t think there will be any patrol, guess we can all go to sleep. In the morning we were told to move out, until the water went down in the river. I was putting on my pack when someone pulled a pin on a grenade and dropped it in a well pipe behind me. I hit the ground and got wet again, I picked up my gun and said if I knew who did that, I’d shoot him. As you can see I didn’t have a very good Birthday.

Feb. 23rd I remember Massaro getting hit, also we had a new replacement. Just as we started to go down to the river, while waiting for a boat to come back, he was hit in the arm by a piece of shrapnel. I heard someone say it was bad enough to go back. He said gee I only lasted one hour in combat. The other man that got hit when Leonelli got hit was me. The water in the trench was too cold for me, I was laying outside of the trench trying to dig a hole big enough to hide in, but everytime I moved a machine gun would fire at me. A runner came and said 3rd platoon needed help right away. Our platoon leader was laying a few feet away from me. He said where is your squad, I said, right here in the trench. He said, we might as well get killed helping someone else, as getting killed laying here. I stood up and yelled at you when I got hit, it felt like a sledge hammer hit me on the tailbone. I fell into the trench, and my head went under water. I couldn’t move my legs, but pushed hard against the wall and got my head up. Then Billie Presley helped me sitting up and got my sulfa pills out and gave me water from my canteen to drink. Then he went to look for a place to put me. He came back and asked one of the guys to help him drag me out of the hole. The other guy ran back but Billie stayed and called a medic, he didn’t want to come, but he finally did come. He looked at the wound and put a pad on it. I heard him tell Billie he shouldn’t give me those pills. When the medic left Billie asked if there was anything he could do, I said I would like to have a cigarette, there was a dead guy laying next to me, so he looked and found some cigarettes and matches on


him, took one and lit it for me. Then he laid the pack and matches on the edge of the hole. A shell came close and I must have flinched Because Billie said don’t worry, it would have to come right into the hole to hit you. He asked if he could do anything else, I said I was awfully cold. So Billie said this guy won’t need his coat, so he took it and put it over me. Took my bayonet on my rifle and stuck it in the ground by the hole. Billie left and I laid there for several hours in bad pain. Then I heard footsteps and yelled, and he came. He said it was good that I yelled, as he would not have seen me. He said he would be back in just a bit.

He came back with four Germans and a litter and carried me to the river and across on a foot bridge and put me on a jeep with a platform on it with three others on it. There was an aid station on top, and I was given a shot for the pain and taken to a field hospital where I had surgery. After I had recovered a little I heard someone Hollar Lloyd this is Big Joe, can you hear me. I said yes, he told me that the captain was hit in the arm. I think Big Joe was hit the same time that you were hit.

Carl you asked who was wrong in the squad, the only one I knew was Billie Presley, he was in our squad. He was quite a guy, Captain Estes said he is the best man in combat, but the poorest back of the line. In the book with the 102nd Infantry division through Germany on Page 72, it tells how he won the silver medal, by rushing a machine gun position and neutralized the position. If you like, let me know and I can tell you a little more about him. I also was in a town where a bomb hit the front of a building where a movie was showing. When the people came running out in the street, the plane came back and strafed them. Our squad was in a basement room with a small window facing the road. There was a gun position just across the road. We were watching out of the window when a bomb hit it, the concussion pushed us across the room. I wonder if this was the place you were talking about.

I spent nine months in the hospital. My pelvis bone was broken and one side of my anal canal was shot out. I had five operations before I was okay. I also forgot to tell you that Big Joe told me he shot the guy that hit me. He was in haystack out in front. Thank you for sending me the material. I really liked the account you wrote about the Roer river crossing. I often wondered what happened to the squad after I got shot, When did you join the squad? Sorry I couldn’t help you more.


                          Thank you very much

                          Lloyd W. Leibnitz

                          Hallock, Mn

P.S. It was 32 degrees below zero this morning

      Note: Letterhead printing and page numbers added, courtesy of Carl F. Main.



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