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William Howell    14 May 2011 17:06 | North Carolina
This is the story as told by my uncle Cpl. Kyle L. Mabe of the 394th Anti-Tank Co. he gave to the local newspaper when he came home from the war.

Cpl. Kyle L. Mabe of Furches NC calmly twirled a medal he had "captured" from a German brigadier general as he related his experiences of a five months internment in a German prison camp.
The Alleghany county corporal, son of Mr. and Mrs. O. L. Mabe, was liberated from the Germans by the twelfth division of the First army and returned to his home a few weeks ago, after five months of harrowing experiences with the “master-men” of Germany.
The lack of food and clothing as well as the sight of German atrocities fell his lot of along with all other prisoners of war, following his capture in the battle of Hurtgen Forrest in Belgium on December 17 as the Allies began the breakthrough of the Siegfried line, he stated. All those who could walk were taken prisoner, but those who had been wounded were disposed of, he said as he told of a buddy who had been wounded in the foot. “They shot him eight times through the head”
Their quarters, a former German military barn, which had been used to shelter horses, was badly crowded with 900 prisoners in the building which was 100x500 feet. In the morning they were given a cup of black coffee made from burned barley, for dinner a half cup of soup which was nothing but boiled potatoes in water and for supper one loaf of bread for every seven men and three baked potatoes.
“When I was liberated,” Cpl. Mabe recalled, “I wore the same uniform in which I was captured.” During the time he went without shaving for 60 days. When the Germans had captured him, they had taken clothing from some of the men, who marched for three days in only their long underwear in weather that was 20 below zero. Other soldiers who had been wearing two pair of pants because of the extreme cold, divided clothing with them, he said. The Germans asked for volunteers for work in the village among the non-commissioned men, Cpl. Mabe related and when none came forward, proceeded to cut off the meager rations until they secured enough men. Figuring that he would fare well outside the prison, Cpl. Mabe was sent to work for a German woman whose husband was an SS trooper on the western front. Conditions were much better there, he related, for he got a little more food and did not have to work too hard. The prisoners were free to go about the village with a sentry there to guard them at all times. They were bedded in a barracks in the village and each person who had some prisoner working for them furnished a bed for that man.
In the house where he was forced to work, there was a 20-year old Russian girl whose family had been murdered by the Germans at Stalingrad. When Cpl. Mabe left, he recalled, the German woman cried as if he were her own son. During the time he worked there she had only one letter from her husband and that had been written four months before.
Once the corporal and two other men escaped for 19 days when they knocked a guard over the head and fled with only a riffle for protection. When they were picked up at the end of 19 days they were heavily armed-with German arms-he stated. When a small handful of Americans attempted to liberate the prisoners believing there to be only 200 officers in the camp and finding 1500 officers and enlisted men, the Germans began a 30 day march that kept them just back of the German lines. The American armies were gaining so fast on the Germans the prisoners were left with only the guards in the small village. Many of the guards seeking to escape donned civilian clothes, “But,” remarked Cpl. Mabe, “You can bet that none of them got away.”
“I’ve seen too much blood” the young Alleghany soldier solemnly declared. “I’m even ashamed to tell it, but I’ve walked in blood up to my ankles-an in an open field.”
During the time he was interned in the German prison, Cpl. Mabe received no mail at all. He remarked that he was quite surprised when he returned home to find that his mother had received all the form letters and cards, the Germans had permitted him to write.
The picture of health now Cpl. Mabe lost 120 pounds during the five months of his interment. He weighed 220 pounds when he was captured and 100 pounds when he was liberated. Sadly to say my uncle pasted away on April 21, 1995

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