From the July 20, 1944 Edition of Stars and Stripes

A grim account of how a U.S. armored platoon wiped out a group of about 40 Germans who had captured six Americans and were feigning that they were the Yanks’ captives was released yesterday by ETOUSA Headquarters.


German soldiers surrender in Normandy to American soldiers.

Of the six Americans, four were killed and the other two wounded by their comrades’ fire—but all the Germans were killed except five who were captured and no casualties were suffered by the armored platoon or the infantry battalion it was fighting with.

Cpl. William Moreland, of Chicago, and Pvt. Carl Back, of Mansfield, Ohio, stationed at their tanks, which were deployed with the rest of their platoon to help defend a Normandy village, heard a group of marching men approaching. They crept up behind a hedgerow and saw the group of Germans, marching so that it appeared that the six Americans were escorting them. But Moreland and Back noticed that the Germans were armed and the Yanks were not, and that the Germans held the Americans’ weapons.

The two ran back to their tanks and with Pfc. Chester Smolinski, of Evanston, Ill., sounded the alarm and opened fire themselves with tommy-guns. The men in the tanks brought their machine guns into action.

The Germans answered with rifles, machine pistols and grenades, but the machine guns from the tanks soon cut them down—and the six Americans too.

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