National Geographic : 1945 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine RHINE RODEOo U. S. Army Signal ('orps, Official Yanks Will Be Yanks, Though Shells Are Bursting a Few Miles Away Staff Sergeants James R. Dowden of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and Raymond Duncan, of Benton, Illinois, U. S. First Army infantrymen, furnish laughs for their buddies by staging an impromptu rodeo in borrowed clothes. Across the Rhine the Battle of Germany goes on. treat a lady with royal blood in her veins. There was much to interest the Ninth Divi sion soldiers around Ziilpich, especially the legends of a medieval William of Ulich, arch foe of the archbishops of Cologne, who owned the town. Citizens love to tell of the time William returned from the wars to find his wife had been unfaithful. He stripped her naked, smeared her body with honey, and sus pended her out of a tower window in a wire cage. Bees stung her to death. William would have been a valuable ad dition to one of Hitler's torture gangs, who have recently performed in his old field. Stars and Stripes over Ehrenbreitstein Of interest to United States readers is the present condition of the Mosel Valley between Trier and Koblenz, and of Koblenz itself, the stately little city at the junction of the Rhine and Mosel. It was the headquarters of our Army of Occupation after the last war. Thou sands of soldiers spent the winter and spring of 1918-19 there. For four years the American flag flew from Ehrenbreitstein, the massive old fortress where the two rivers join. Now the very same flag flies there again. This region was in the zone of the Third Army. It was the scene of violent fighting. Cities like Berncastel-Cues and Wittlich, to gether with scores of villages, are mostly rubble heaps left behind by the armored divi sions. As for Koblenz itself, little more is left than of Cologne and Bonn. All the way down the Mosel the desolation extends. The picture is much the same as that of the country swept over by the First Army. Only such ruined castles as Veldenz and the towering pile which overlooks Bern castel remain the same. The people who seemed kindly and hos pitable once, whose women actually wept when the Americans marched away, are stunned and sullen now. They have had for the first time a dose of the devastation which their own country has inflicted so unscrupulously on others in the past. Their roads are littered with the pa thetic, rain-soaked rubbish of defeat. Along them march proudly, with flags flying high and dragging the few poor possessions they have been able to salvage in carts behind them, the hosts of the liberated Poles and French and Russians-masters now where they lately were slaves.