This is the World War II diary of Army Chaplain Frank M. Arnold II, my uncle. I have published four earlier sets of excerpts. Uncle Frank used ellipses a lot. I am not using every entry here, but if I use an entry, I use it all. The ellipses are just his writing, possibly indicating multiple times that he wrote in the same day. My notes and translations (using Google) are in italics. CCB is Combat Command B, Uncle Frank’s primary unit.
2/20 Went to Dudelange and Dippach. At D. (sic!) spent quite a while straightening out an undisciplined adolescent who was trying to divorce his wife – whom he said he still loved – to marry an Army nurse whom he hadn’t seen for 3 mos.
2/21 Had services for 46-B and CCB at Bettembourg. Went to see Cohen for a while Went to 37th to finish up with previous day’s business… Prepared to move quickly, and then find out it is not until tomorrow.
2/22 Left Bettembourg to the tune of tears… Stopped en route and fired Carbine, P-38 and 45. Did surprisingly well with each. Arrived at ruins of Reisdorf. Went over to Wallendorf, Germany. Beat Sgt. Morris in a game of chess.
2/23 Many casualties coming in from 10th and 53rd. Visited CCB in Germany, and watched a beautiful 105 barrage and some P47s at work. Villages here are completely destroyed.
2/24 Moved to Koerperich in Germany. Saw many destroyed pillboxes, etc… Quite a few casualties again.
3/1 Rode around. Jerry counter attacked pretty hard this morning, and got seven of our tanks and quite a few doughboys. We knocked it out. Had BS class for 126-B and drove back black out on as slippery and muddy a road as ever I expect to see – on bad hills all the way. C’est la guerre! (It’s war!)
3/6 Moved again – into a hot spot. Many prisoners arriving… Took 32 pistol from Kraut civilian.
3/7 Travelled quite a bit. Shades of olden times – heard m.g. and small arms fire on all sides and in front and behind. Gen’l. Dagar to take over 11th A.D. Col. Abrams (later Army commander in Vietnam and eventual Army Chief of Staff) gets CCB. We took a regular haul of prisoners today.
3/8 Reached Rhine. 11th A.D. passed thru us!!! We are at Ochtendung.
3/9 Moving back to take bridge over Moselle… Took to fields in a hurry when Luftwaffe appeared… 1 plane who tried to strafe us. Simultaneously 4 P47s appeared and Jerry quickly went down in smoke and flame. Many casualties from 51st.
3/16 Travelled to Kreuznach. Took Luger from dead German officer motorcyclist. We all had warm time with Luftwaffe for awhile.
3/21 Beauboup Luftwaffe today and last few days. We are just a few kilometers from Worms… Saw some first class m.g. warfare yesterday…
3/24 Interesting experience in Worms… Crossed Rhine at Oppenheim under roof of flak and 50 cal. Many planes… Int. exper. With Kraut motorcycle… Took two prisoners… Drove until 0430.
3/25 Up at 0530. Couple of 88s came pretty close on the road. Today is Palm Sunday. Shelled a few times. Arrived Main River vicinity of Gr. Ostheim.
3/26 Wakened at 0300. Krauts counter attacking with tanks and infantry and beaucoup Luftwaffe. We shot down big Stuka flying at tree top level. Inspected ruined Panther tank factory. Liberated Russian, etc. slaves who were eating our garbage. They have been getting one meal per day (sometimes) and 1 ½ marks per day – less fines. Got a 25 automatic carried by Kraut nurses and doctors.
3/27 Moved at 1030, after cancelling 1000 service (my 19th in two weeks).
3/28 Moved again – near Giessen. Very great destruction and many dead and prisoners. Our Psych. warfare team killed by our own 47s… Took a number of 16 year old kids.
3/29 Kid with soprano voice wounded in leg and arm – crying… old timer next to him, holding his head and trying to console him… Storks on roofs of houses getting to be a common sight now… Comm. serv. at Lauterbach.
3/30 Had Good Friday service at gorgeous church in Lauterbach. Left at 1630 for Hersfeld. Stopped short of Asbach by small arms, bazookas and A.T. fire.
4/1 Off again “early in the morning.” What an Easter this promises to be! But we have a really important mission. Got stopped with a bang. Lost seven tanks.
4/2 Beaucoup FW 190s worked us over this morning. We got several of them. One of them was plenty close!! Our 16th Field Hospital is captured intact. We are cut off from the rear completely. No word yet of Baum. Got 21 German planes.
4/3 Moved to Mettebach. Got some pretty close mortar fire… saw a few good dog fights. Lt. Wolfe got shot down by a ME 109.
4/4 Lots of Luftwaffe left apparently. Had wild time during church service, with fire coming and going in abundance… Gotha surrendered and we pushed on.
4/5 Church at Muehlburg well attended. Talked to pastor.
4/6 Moved back to Gotha for a couple of days – we hope. Saw “ne plus ultra” in church at Wachmer.
4/7 Service at Olympic For’d. Visited Nazi extermination camp at Ohrdruf (a subcamp of the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp) near Gotha. Features were; classification of prisoners, “hospital”, corpse barn, pyres and ditches and oil, dead in courtyard…
4/8 Two good services. Got “goofed up” on three others. Had lovely church at Wechmer. Got peeved – talked to Emmet and Chief of Staff. Saw dog fight in which 2 P47s shot down an ME109… pilot bailed out, and chute didn’t open… got paid…
4/10 Capt. Baum got back last night. One other man made it too. Not a very good %… Sent beaucoup silk hosiery home.
4/11 Took off early. Went slowly and got only a few kilometers past Weimar. Released 125,000 French prisoners (Buchenwald).
4/12 Got to vicinity of Jena, but held up by blown bridges. Met Chaplain Reilly (Pont Scorff). (As described in my second and third posts from his diary, Uncle Frank won the Silver Star for his heroism at Pont Scorff.)
4/14 Cut down 2 min. old corpse from tree in cemetery.
4/18 Moved back to Schmoeln. Rumor is strong that our part of the war is over.
4/22 Three fine church services. H.S. (Holy Spirit) was very evident.
4/23 Lazed around. We are going back to XII Corps.
4/24 Travelled 112 miles, arriving vic. Bayreuth. Third Army captured ammo. dump (Wiedenberg) containing 75,000 gas shells.
4/27 Held memorial service for CCB KIA (killed in action). Went to Bayreuth, birthplace of Wagner. His old home and piano are still there.
4/29 four services. Twelve men for’d at invitation.
5/1 Talked to those who came for’s Sunday.
5/2 Moved 156 miles, SW of Regan. Passed thru much snow on the mountains. It snowed most all day.
5/3 Visited units. Had dinner with Col. Cohen and Mr. Ziemer. Visited old monastery from 8th cent. And talked with Germ. Maj. Gen’l and his aide – a Col. Chapel had 9 altars and over 200 frescoes.
5/4 Acc. to R.C. (Roman Catholic) Abbot who was recently released from Dachau, and who, while there, was the room mate of M. Niemoeller, M.N. is (was?) the “personal prisoner of Adolph Hitler (Martin Niemöller is best known for the quotation: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”) … Found 20 tons of Lewisite shells on Danube barge… Two services and two communions.
5/5 Cancelled 1000 service bec. of 1030 move. Didn’t move. Petulant R.R.I. isn’t coming to church any more. He’s mad at God because I give public invitations.
5/6 Taking off for Prague! Turned the calendar back to Brittany days: “Nazda!” etc. etc. Flowers, kisses, etc… Met pastor of Bohemian National Ch – a most effervescent fellow whose ears wiggled, who pumped my arm like a pump handle – and who is most likeable. He also smells of garlic. But so do all the Czechs.
5/7 Don’t know how long we’ll be here. The war in Europe is over. Announcement to be made later. We are at Hopzdovice.
5/8 V-E Day! Had three large services. In one of them the Czechs presented us with flowers, and sang their national anthem amid many tears – 1st time in seven years.
5/9 Service at Div. Hq with JJB
5/10 Drove to XII Corps to wee “Robbie” — who is in London… Saw Russians…
This was Uncle Frank’s last entry for nearly four months until Sept. 9, 1945:
Left Lanshut 0700. Freising, Nurnberg, Wurzburg, Aschaffensburg…three flats…bivouaced in open field, in rain. I expected to hear artillery as soon as I lay down on the ground…
9/10 Left o330. Worms, Kaiserslautern, Saarbrucken, Metz, bivouaced in fine place. One flat …
9/11 Verdun. Chalons. “Miami” c. 1800 Thousands of pryamidal tents and small wall jobs. Looks like we’ll be here perhaps ten days…
9/21 No word yet.
9/22 More of same.
9/29 Left at 1230
The diary ends with this note typed by Uncle Frank at some later date:
And thus inelegantly and dully the diary peters out. I obviously lost interest in it with V-E Day. Made no entries at all concerning garrison life and Landshut. (Could have made some most interesting ones, too.) The trouble was that during the war I didn’t have time to write when things were most interesting. And after they had happened I some times didn’t much care to write them down… So it goes. I’ll keep a more detailed journal in World War III.
Chaplain Frank M. Arnold II died in 1965, an Air Force chaplain stationed in Hawaii. He had a heart attack while in Thailand. Fortunately, he never kept that detailed World War III journal. But I’m thankful to him for this World War II journal and for his son, Frank Yunk-Arnold, for sharing the diary with me and letting me publish excerpts and to my sister Carol for providing the photos of Uncle Frank from our mother’s family photos.
2015 update from Uncle Frank’s oldest daughter, Louise Eddington: “He got HOME. I believe it was November of 1945. I remember very clearly Mom and I riding with Grandpa and Grandma Arnold out to the army fort north of Chicago where he was to arrive. I remember it was raining very hard that day. And of course he was a stranger to me as he left for the Army very shorty after I was born.”