Home Front – Big Timber, Montana

Welcome to Big Timber

These two articles are from The Big Timber Pioneer newspaper, Thursday, August 30, 1945

Prisoners Hanged

Ft. Leavenworth Prison Cemetery; By Gorsedwa, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/

Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Aug. 25 – The Army Saturday hanged 7 German prisoners-of-war in the Fort Leavenworth disciplinary barracks for the murder of a fellow prisoner whom they had accused of being a traitor to the Reich.

All 7 went to the gallows after receiving last rites of the Roman Catholic Church.  They were executed for killing Werner Dreschler at the Papago Park, Arizona prisoner of war camp, March 13, 1944.

The hangings took less than three hours.  The executions brought to 14 the total number of Nazi POW’s executed at Ft. Leavenworth during the last few weeks.

The 7 went to the gallows without showing any signs of emotion.  They had signed statements admitting their guilt.  Their defense was that they had read in German newspapers that they should put to death any German who was a traitor.  At their trial they said Dreschler had admitted giving information of military value to their captures.

*****          *****          *****

Sgt. Nat Clark was on Pioneer Mining Mission

313th Wing B-29 Base, Tinian – One of the 6th Bomb Group fliers who participated in the pioneer mining mission to northern Korean waters on 11 July was SSgt. Nathaniel B. Clark, son of Mr. & Mrs. J.F. Clark, Big Timber, MT. it was revealed here today with the lifting of censorship rules.  He is a left blister gunner and by war’s end had flown 29 combat missions in the war against Japan.

On the longest mission of the war, to deny the use of the eastern Korean ports to the already partially blockaded Japanese, Sgt. Clark explained that the crews were briefed to fly 3,500 statute miles to their mine fields just south of Russia, and back to Iwo Jima where they would have to land for fuel.  Then it was still 725 miles back to the Tinian base.

The flight was planned to take 16½ hours which in itself was not out of the ordinary, but the length of time the full mine load would be carried was a record 10 hours and 35 minutes.

Loading an aerial mine layer

The job called for hair-splitting navigation, Midas-like use of the available gas, penetration of weather about which little is known and finally a precision radar mine-laying run over a port whose defenses and very contours were not too well known.

“We sweated that one out from our briefing one morning until we landed back on Tinian almost 24 hours later.” Sgt. Clark recalled.

radar mine

One crew was forced to return to Okinawa because of engine trouble, but the other 5 on the pioneer flight landed within a few minutes of the briefed time.  One landed at the exact briefed time.  The closest call on gas was reported by the crew which landed with only 24 gallons left, scarcely enough to circle the field.

Click on images to enlarge.


Military Humor –









Farewell Salutes – 

Herman Brown – Virginia Beach, VA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 385/76th Division/ 3rd Army

Lester Burks – Willis, TX; US Army, Co. B/513/17th Airborne Division

Pedro ‘Pete’ Contreras – Breckenridge, OK; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Lt.Col. (Ret. 30 y.)

Paul Jarret – Phoenix, AZ; US Army, WWII, ETO, Medical Corps, Bronze Star / US Air Force

John ‘Nick’ Kindred – Scarsdale, NY; US Navy, Lt.

James Lemmons – Portland, TN; US Army; Korea, HQ/187th RCT

Charles McCarry – Plainfield, MA; CIA, Cold War, undercover agent

Howard Rein Jr. – Philadelphia, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Morton Siegel – Rye, NY; US Navy, WWII

Eldon Weehler – Loup City, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII / US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, Lt. Col. (Ret. 30 y.)

About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on March 18, 2019, in Home Front, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 107 Comments.

  1. Enjoyed reading that post of snippets personalities and incidents of the war years gp.
    Wonder if those seven Germans would have faced the death penalty in this day and age, let alone by hanging. Wonder when the punishment of Hanging was finally removed from the American Defence list of accepted Punishments ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Until 1961–the last military execution to date–hanging was the sole and official method. Later the military introduced the electric chair, which was never used. Currently, lethal injection is the only method. Pvt. Eddie Slovik was executed by firing squad in 1945 for desertion.
      Thanks for all your interest, Ian!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your like of my post, “Tribulation Conflict;” your kindness is greatly appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How you be, GP?
    Just stopping in with some (((HUGS))) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Fort Leavenworth story is quite interesting. First, I find it quite peculiar that all 7 soldier were sentenced to death by hanging. I wonder if all were equally culpable or if there was a ring leader. Second, the US didn’t blink in dispensing justice! They all admitted their guilt and a judgement was rendered. Third, the fact that the article mentions that they didn’t show any emotion is haunting. Did they sincerely believe that they were following their conscience? If so I wonder how well or ill informed was their conscience. Finally, although what they did was clearly wrong, I’m glad that they received the last rites…hopefully showing/implying repentance for what they did…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hitler’s rise to power and indoctrination of male children was comparable to brain washing, plus there is always a dedication to duty involved. I am not a student of the ETO, but of what I have read and seen in documentaries, that would be the logical course of action for a traitor during wartime and the US dispensing justice. Nowadays we might put them in jail or supermax, I suppose, might even let them go home to live and free to start another war like we did with gitmo prisoners..

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am sorry, GP! Had a short delay. Something like a rural asymmetric war. 😉 Wonderful information. Thank you for all the very informative information, i never read before. Have a nice Friday! Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I learn something new every time I stop by

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wat een speciale verhalen weer.Dingen waar ikme helemaal niet bewusr van was

    Liked by 1 person

  8. These stories coming to light really does fill in those gaps of the basic history books and shows. Indoctrination really works, and I guess Soviet Union and Kampuchea are two stark reminders it can crop up anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Remarkable stories about past conflicts.
    Followed by ‘humour in uniform’ which, in itself, is a good enough reason to visit your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. As my father-in-law noted, running out of gas while flying wasn’t much fun. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a terrible tragedy – most of the WWII combatants were drafted. There was no reason to be loyal to a dictator.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Amazing how some POW still obeyed orders while in captivity. Giving info to their enemy reminds me of someone in Hanoi.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Both interesting articles, GP. Incredible how German POWs so far from home still kept up their belief in that ‘final victory’.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Americans have never been very good or efficient when it come to executions.
    I notice that the execution of those 7 Germans was completed in under 3 hours.

    Had they have asked Albert Pierrepoint to come over and officiate he would have despatched the lot in under 3 minutes,

    I kid you not GP, He holds the record. from time of going into the condemned cell, to the drop and immediate death, was 7 seconds, true 7 seconds.

    His rope, that he used many times did not have a noose as such, but an eye through which the rope ran.He actually executed over 200 Germans in Europe after the war for their war crimes

    Pierrepoints history is well worth reading GP, and those that he executed.


    Liked by 1 person

  15. I love th story of the mining run. Thanks for including the details on how that contraption works. I am always amazed at the missions these guys accepted. That one had to be scary.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. When stationed at FE Warren AFB (formerly Fort DA Russell) in Cheyenne , Wyoming in the 70s, I was detailed to ‘redress’ the headstones of six Nazi POW’s that were buried outside the walls of the base cemetery. As the story goes, they died of ‘natural causes from injuries recieved during combat and capture.’ Wishing now that I’d tried to learn more about these men.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. At least one German POW in England was tried by a kangaroo court and then executed….a fate which ultimately befell those who had murdered him, except it was a properly constructed court martial. The SS in a camp to the north west of London also had a James Bond type plan to have a mass break out and then be armed by U-boats arriving in Suffolk and Essex. There was some kind of contact between the two…the prisoners and the German Navy but it all came to nothing.
    Overall, hard core Nazis were crazy people who would kill anybody they saw as betraying the Reich, whether civilians, fellow soldiers or fellow POWs.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for the insight, this is good reading. I love what I see on this site.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Very interesting about the German POWs. There was a POW camp up in the San Luis Valley, and back in the 90s, one of the men who had been held there returned to see the place. There isn’t a lot left (the site is now occupied by a produce company). The Center area is a big producer of potatoes, something he knew something about. Since he could work the machinery, he was able to work and made some money doing so (not much, but when the war was over he had enough money to start a business in Germany). I recall reading in the interview that the first time he ever tasted whiskey was in a store owned by one of my relatives.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. So much valuable information to be knowledgeable about. Thank you for keeping us aware.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I’m glad we swear an oath to the Consitution and not an individual. Way too scary to owe fidelity fo a person (except to the US Marine Corps or your spouse.)

    Liked by 3 people

  22. You are a never-ending fount of all things WWII in the Pacific. Another great post. Do you ever take your show on the road and talk to libraries or other groups?

    Liked by 2 people

  23. I can’t see the aerial minefield having a high degree of success (can’t find data on actual use). It seems too complicated a strategy for it to reliably. I read where Aerial mines were used (for a bit) against land and naval targets.

    . . . which makes that whole mission (objective and execution) read a bit weird, at least as described. I mean, the mission was (apparently) to mine waters but the system described in the drawing is for an aerial minefield. Interesting reading nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Love that call in the air stirke. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Amazing stories, GP. The mining run was a miracle of planning. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Amazing skills of those airmen!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. What an interesting way to bring down enemy planes.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. That was terrible about the POWs—both that they murdered someone and that they were all executed. Sometimes the viciousness of human beings is so depressing.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I’ve “come in on fumes” a time or two, but never in such harrowing circumstances. The level of precision required — and achieved — is amazing, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. 24 gallons! That IS flying by the seat of your pants!

    Liked by 2 people

  31. So the German P.O.W.’s still obeyed the Reich when they were held in safe captivity

    Liked by 4 people

  32. I appreciate you linking up, Ian.


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