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February 21, 2014
Oroville Mercury
March 21, 1946
Terrors of Luckenwalde Camp

Told By Couris In Club Talk
By Naomi Cazier
World peace will be impossible to attain without some equalization of the standard of living for all peoples, in the opinion of Tom Couris, former army sergeant and prisoner of the Germans for six months in the notorious Luckenwalde camp. Speaker at a meeting of the local Soroptimist club Tuesday at Oroville Inn, Couris said, “We have so much more than any other country. War always starts when one country wants some of that ‘so much’ that another country has.” Couris said that he believed the women of the world could be instrumental in bringing about a more nearly equal distribution of the world’s wealth, resources and means in order to prevent further wars. “When the women of the world stop trading in their sons for Purple Hearts and other military decorations,” he declared, “then we shall have an end to wars.”

Describes Battle Reaction
Couris took his audience with him behind the lines of war from his first combat panic to the exaltation of his liberation. Moving into France and preparing to go into action, Couris said the men were nervous from the continuous sound of heavy enemy artillery fire. “We had all dug foxholes,” he related, “but I decided to spend one last night in my new-style tent, the kind with a flap at either end. At about 4 a.m. the Germans opened up with their heavy guns. I dived for my foxhole so fast that I didn’t even stop to un-flap the tent. Tent and all went into the foxhole. We moved up in France I thought the whole German army was shooting at me,” he said. “I knew they were out to get me. I looked around there were thousands of others in the same boat. It sure helped. Misery does love company. Later you get a fatalistic attitude, think you’re lucky. Then you get to wondering. You see new replacements after battle and you know your luck can’t last forever. Sure as you get to wondering, you get it. “On Nov. 11, Gen. Patton said we would be in Berlin in two weeks. I was there but he was a shade later.” A squadron leader of a machine gun outfit, Couris was out in front with a spearhead unit at the time of his capture. Foggy weather had kept the American air force from coming out to protect them. A German panzer division did come out, however. Couris’ outfit was out of ammunition, the men were forced to surrender when a German officer gave them ten minutes to quit or be overrun by tanks. Having lost all of its officers, the outfit was surrendered by a technical sergeant.

See First Russians
“Com, Com, Com," the German officer kept saying,” Couris related “’Youse is mine. For youse the war iss over.’ What he should have said was, “For you the war has just begun.’” “We were marched to a half-way station, where we saw our first Russian prisoners heavily guarded inside the prison fences. We were forced to undress outside in the snow so that the Germans could be sure we concealed no weapons. Then we were taken inside. I laid down on some straw. That was my first contact with lice. Later I became very well acquainted with them.”
(to be continued)

Oroville Mercury Register
Soviets Aid Communists In Manchuria

by Walter Logan
Chungking – (UP) Government quarters charged today that “tens of thousands” of Communist troops are streaming into Manchuria Communist deadlock over Manchuria again failed. Government reports from Changchun charged that despite Soviet promises to turn over Manchurian cities to the nationalists the Russians at many points were giving aid to Communist forces. A strong protest was made to the Russian command, it was reported, against the action of Russians tanks in destroying barbed-wire barricades that the nationalists had erected as protection against Communist attacks. Chinese nationalist forces were ordered not to fire at the Soviet tanks but government commanders reported increasing concern at the influx of Communist forces which were said to be preparing for a large-scale offensive against the Peiping-Mukden railroad. Gen. Tung Yen-Pong, the nationalist commander, said that negotiations for use of the railroads to transport nationalist troops were continuing with the Russians at Harbin. Frequent clashes on the outskirts of Harbin were reported with 15,000 Communist troops said to be in the vicinity.

Stu’s Notes:
At this point in the War our Army Air Force was shooting up all the trains they found. Tom’s train with the Ammo was very lucky not to get blown up. At the same time Tom was riding that train, my friend, who I met back in 2004, Bill Dunbar was flying above him in his P47, just looking for German trains, planes, etc. Bill and I did a channel 4 news segment that year at my house about the Memorial. To think I had a P47 Fighter Pilot in my house made my day. I saw Bill at Raley’s just a few weeks ago; his ‘67 Mustang needed a jump. Made my day, Bill shot down 2 German Fighter Planes and in so doing saved another man Lt. R. J. Fox. You can read about him on our website. Thank you Daryl. The Cold War with Russia and China is getting a fast start. To think we helped both those countries tremendously in WWII.