Julius' medals and badges

Julius S. Hass’ Jr. parents are Julius Albert Hass Sr. And Mary Hass. Julius Jr. was born on May 17, 1924 in Arlington, Nebraska. He was baptised on October 19, 1924. Julius had two brothers, Howard, born in 1927 and LeRoy (the only one still alive), born in 1934. He also had one sister Darlene, born in 1928.

Backrow: Julius and Howard
Frontrow: Darlene and LeRoy
(Picture Courtesy of LeRoy Hass)

Julius was confirmed in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on May 15, 1938, by the Rev. G.W. Wolter. Julius was raised in Arlington and better known as “Junior”. He graduated from the Arlington schools. His father worked for the State of Nebraska Highway Dept. Julius’ brother, Howard, died in their housefire in the January 1942, when Howard was 15 years old. The incident happened one year prior to Julius’ entering of the Army, he was 17 at that time.

Julius' communion (Picture Courtesy of LeRoy Hass)

Julius’ brother LeRoy remembered Julius as a quiet and very serious and quite religious person. He said the country was just coming out of the Depression and everyone was trying to find work and keeping food on the table.

In May 1942 Julius graduated from Arlington high school. At the time Julius went into the Army he was employed at the Ordnance plant at Mead. He joined the Armed Forces in April 23, 1943.

Julius first went to a camp for processing, not known which one. New recruits, after reporting to their local draft boards in response to a Selective Service notification, or after volunteering, were usually given orders to report to the Army's reception center. The average reception center was often located inside a sprawling installation (included Camp Upton New York, Fort Dix, New Jersey and Fort Bragg, North Carolina). The recruit might be there four days or four weeks, depending on how long it took to process him and decide where to send him. The average stay was nine days. Recruits were evaluated mentally and physically so that they could be assigned to a particular branch of service, or even utterly rejected.

By the arrival, the recruits found themselves in a virtual sea of uniforms. They lined up in their civilian clothes, a single overnight bag at their feet, and listened alternately to the jeering of other soldiers and the barking of sergeants. They were tested for mental aptitude and physical condition, received a uniform, and got their first taste of the Army. Then, they were marched back to the train station with orders to report to places.

The first procedure was for the men to drop their trousers for an examination of the genitals. The purpose was to determine whether soldiers had contracted venereal disease, and it was repeated regularly, especially whenever a soldier reported to a new post. Next, the men were subjected to a lecture on sexual morality. The men were advised that sex would weaken them and make them easy prey for the enemy. Later in the war, the lecture was replaced by graphic films on the subject of sexually transmitted diseases.

Next, the recruit received his cloths and boots. As a followup to what the recruit heard at the induction office, he now had to listen to a reading of the complete articles, which covered military crimes. Also was some instruction given on military courtesy, as example how and when to salute, as well as some close-order drill, but not to the degree that both would be covered in basic training.

Then came the shots. The legendary injections that men referred to as “the hook”. Generally, these were the first of a series that would haunt a soldier throughout reception and basic, and they started with smallpox and typhoid inoculations. During this same period, the Army General Classification Test (AGCT) was given. A soldier who may have indicated a particular skill, like sharpshooting, would be given a special aptitude test in addition, but, by and large, the AGCT was the most important and was given to everyone. The classic version consisted of 150 multiple-choice questions that had to be completed in 40 minutes. There were three types of questions, embracing block counting, synonym matching, and simple arithmetic. “Liza had 15 books. She bought 2 more and gave 7 to her friends. How many did she have left?” The tests were machine-graded and the scores were used to place or classify the new soldier, which was the main function. A GI generally got his Army assignment on the basis of what he had done as a civilian. The 15-minute interview with the classification specialist (CS) was as important, sometimes, as an AGCT score. The CS recorded the inductee’s work history, education, and training, as well as the sports he played, his hobbies and his talents. These attributes were considered in the light of the Army’s needs, and the assignment was made. Probably Julius was assigned to the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP), because of his High School graduation and high AGCT score.

ASTP patch

The real purpose of reception centers (beyond classifying the recruit) was to begin the processes of adaptation and acceptance of the Army lifestyle. The Army liked their men young, since adaptation was easier for younger men. At least a third of the population lived in homes that lacked central heat and running water. The Army barracks offered both. The Army offered three square meals a day, shelter and clothing. For all intents and purposes, they were in the Army now and didn't ask questions. In a few short weeks, they would learned to follow orders.

After processing Julius went to University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland , for his Army Specialized Training Program. Selected enlisted men were to be assigned to various colleges and universities for academic instruction. If Julius had his basic traning before entering the ASTP is unknow, but likely.

During the Second World War the US Army ran the single biggest college education program in US history. Now mostly forgotten except by the men who were in it, the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) was, even for most of them, a short-lived “blip” in their service careers. Relatively few had the opportunity for more than one or two 3-month terms before the program was virtually terminated less than a year after it started. Julius was also in the ASTP Company “A”. Barracks. “J”, 2510 Service Unit (A.S.T), University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.

Julius Hass' letter to his kid brother LeRoy when Julius was in the ASTP
(Pictures Courtesy of LeRoy Hass)

The program-patterned after, but with improvements upon, WWI’s “Student Army Training Corps” was recommended soon after Pearl Harbor, during the anxious days when it was feared the war might outlast the available number of college trained men ultimately needed to provide the technical know-how to win it. ASTP eligibility was based on brains and previous education: basically, any high school graduate with an AGCT score of 110 (later 120) qualified, the same as for officer candidates. So you had to be pretty smart to join. At first it was intended to rely on voluntary applications of the kind used in recruiting officer candidates and aviation cadets. This not proving feasible, all eligible enlisted men were automatically passed through a testing and screening process (frequently altered), after which commanders designated those to be sent to college. Those eligible consisted of all enlisted men (with various exceptions, such as men in alerted units), who had completed basic training or part of it, who if under twenty-two had had a high school education or its equivalent, and who if over twenty-two had had at least one year of college (with certain other conditions), and who in any case had an AGCT score of 120. Unit commanders, suffering constant drains to other activities, showed a want of alacrity in designating men for ASTP. Although some older men could qualify, providing they already had some college credits, most  trainees were between 18 and 21 years old, Julius was 18-19 years when he was in the ASTP.

During its short existence, the program sent more than 200.000 soldiers to some 227 colleges to take highly sped-up courses in various branches of engineering, medicine, dentistry, personnel psychology, and 34 different foreign languages. Large arrivals of young ASTP-ers almost overnight changed many campuses into Army reservations.

The ASTP went into full operation on the campuses in the spring of 1943. The first college units were recruited, not from new inductees, but from men already in training. During 1943 about 100.000 students for the program were taken from the three major forces, and about 50.000 from new inductees. Probably Julius was one of those new inductees, as he entered the service on April 23, 1943.

“Soldiers first, students second”, as demanded by Colonel Beukema (West Pointer), who came down to the Pentagon to run the program. The ASTP-ers were under strict military discipline at all times; wore regulation uniforms; stood all normal formations; such as reveille; were subject to Saturday morning inspections; marched to classes and meals; had lights out at 10:30 PM; and generally behaved much as all other soldiers.

The standard work week was 59 hours of “supervised activity”, including a mininum of 24 hours of classroom and lab work, 24 hours of required study, 5 hours of military instruction, and 6 hours of physical instruction. Colonel Beukema told a Congressional investigating committee in January 1944 that ASTP studies were more rigorous than those at West Point or the Naval Academy.

Despite ASTP’s academic intensity, there was still time for many delightful campus social activities. The theme song for many campus commandos sung, to the tune of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”, soon became the familiar:

    Some Mothers have sons in the Army,
    Some Mothers have sons on the Sea,
    Take down your service flag, Mother,
    Your son's in the ASTP
    TS, TS, TS for the ASTP!

The stated need for 1944 was 52.404 men, distributed among types of specialized training as follows:

ASTP Program


Scientific & Mathematical



Total AGF Requirements

Percent of Total AGF Requirements

Advanced (4 yrs. College)






(2 yrs. College)



















These men were to be assigned, in proportions computed by the Army Ground Forces, to the various ground combat arms. Graduates of the Advanced ASTP (except engineers) were too specialized for exact assignment in the combat arms, and were less desired by the Army Ground Forces than were Basics (2-year college men). Later, in 1943, the Ground Forces called for 80% of Basics, hoping to obtain high-intelligence personnel for duty with troops as quickly possible.

Julius Hass and Eldon Raleigh from Oklahoma
(Picture Courtesy of LeRoy Hass)

Of these 52.404 ASTP graduates the Army Ground Forces proposed, in March 1943, that all the 16.103 4-year college men (Julius was one of them) and 13.421 of the 2-year college men be allowed to attend Officer Candidate Schools. The figures were based on the concept that 25% of officers should be college graduates, 25% should have two years of college and 50 % should be commissioned on grounds of performance in the field irrespective of education. The reduction of the Troop Basis in June 1943, reducing the anticipated requirements for officers, made it impossible to consider commissioning so many ASTP graduates, long before the ASTP itself came to a virtual end.

Members of the first group were assigned on induction, as were inductees generally, to replacement training centers and to troop units, on the principle that they would later have the opportunity to go to college through the screening process to which the whole Army was subject. Julius was probably also one of those first groups. Their subsequent selection for ASTP meant that replacement centers trained men who did not become replace meets and that units trained men whom they could not keep. Since every inductee with an AGCT of 120 might go to college sooner or later, it was wasteful to train them except in segregated groups. So Julius had prior to his ASTP his basic training, or at least a part of it. Army Ground Forces proposed in August 1943 that all men eligible for ASTP should be screened at reception centers and given basic training in special battalions, and that all ASTP quotas in the future should be filled from such special battalions only. The Army Specialized Training Division agreed, with amendments to assure that eligible individuals still in troop units should not lose the right to receive specialized training. In the autumn of 1943 progress was made toward concentrating the 1 selection of ASTP candidates in reception centers. The flow of such candidates into units was thereby checked and the integrity of tactical units and replacement training centers better preserved. The deliberate withholding of high intelligence inductees from normal units was a price, however, which Army Ground Forces would have preferred not to pay.

Members of the second and third groups, enlisted reservists and A-I2’S, were already earmarked for the ASTP when they entered upon active duty. They had to have basic training before proceeding to ASTP units in the colleges. The War Department ordered that their basic training be given by Army Ground Forces. Army Ground Forces drew up a modified Infantry Mobilization Training Program and arranged to segregate the candidates in special branch immaterial training battalions. In this way the waste of training them in regular units would be avoided. The War Department estimated that the enlisted reservists and A-I2'S earmarked for the ASTP would number 50.000 of whom 25.000 would begin basic training in June and 25.000 in July 1943. The Army Ground Forces provided facilities for 20.000 at Fort Benning and Camp Hood, available at this time because of the reduction in officer candidate quotas. Facilities for the remaining 30.000 were created at replacement training centers by stopping the production of 30.000 normal replacements.

With the invasion of Sicily in July 1943 a heavy demand for replacements set in. With Selective Service falling behind in the delivery of its quotas and with RTC quotas incorrectly adjusted to the actual rate of ground casualties, the replacement training centers could not meet the demand. Since the War Department now estimated that the remainder of the 50,000 ASTP trainees would become available in decreasing increments through January 1944. Shortages reappeared, training was interrupted, and readiness of units for combat was delayed. The number of infantrymen taken from divisions for replacement purposes, about 26.000 by January 1944, was comparable to the number of replacements who might have begun training in the summer of 1943 if replacement training facilities had not been reserved for ASTP trainees who failed to appear. The ASTP thus happened to contribute to the quantitative crisis which prevailed in the Infantry at the end of 1943. This crisis was soon to overwhelm the ASTP.

The Army Specialized Training Program, operating on a scale of 150,000 trainees, became especially vulnerable when personnel shortages threatened to impede military operations in late 1943. The ASTP served no need recognized as immediate by most elements in the Army. Once the need for more and better combat troops became critical it was one of the easiest items in the Troop Basis to sacrifice. On 5 November 1943 G-3 of the War Department proposed a reduction of the ASTP to 30.000 trainees, largely in medical and related subjects; 4/5 of the men in the ASTP would return to active service. About 35.000 others in certain advanced courses would continue their classwork. Julius was still in the ASTP in February 1944, but was probably a little while later assigned to an Infantry Division. Most ASTP-ers accepted their new assignments.

Most of the ousted ASTP-ers went into Infantry, Airborne, and Armored Divisions still in stateside training, but scheduled for shipment overseas before the end of 1944. About 35 divisions got an average of 1.500 men each. Other displaced ASTP-ers were assigned to other units in both combat and service forces.

If the ASTP-ers expected any special treatment in their new units, it didn’t materialize. Despite great credentials, extremely few gained the chance to attend OCS, and practically none got noncombat ratings until they reached combat zones, where heavy casualties created vacancies for them to fill. Unfortunately this never worked out for Julius.

The green ASTP-ers were given an extremely hard time by the oldline regulars who considered them a bunch of smartass College kids wanting to steal their stripes and obviously needing to be taught what the “real” Army was all about. The ASTP-ers made it worse for themselves by sticking together like glue. As one surprised company commander put it,
 “What kind of soldiers deal out bridge hands during their ten-minute training breaks?”

Once in combat, however, such prejudice generally disappeared. Most ASTP-ers, Jewish or otherwise, turned out to be first-rate soldiers. That's the consensus of military historians like Charles B. MacDonald and Harold P. Leinbaugh.

For the program itself, during its short life, ASTP was seen as somewhat controversial. Indeed, its lack of strong political support has been mentioned as among the reasons why the Army got away with curtailing the program so abruptly, without any public debate, and without a firestorm reaction from concerned parents.

Among other things, it was criticized by a few Congressman, as being the means by which sons of wealthy families could safely be kept out of harm’s way (an inane charge easily and quickly refuted by an angry Colonel Beukema). And there was at least one Congressional “probe” into what was soon proved the ridiculous indictment that some ASTP-ers were taught Communism as part of their Russian language courses.

ASTP has been praised, for example, for allowing so many young men to experience a college environment for the first time, and thereby encouraging many to seek degrees after the war, and for making it possible for participating colleges to try sped-up schedules and new instructional techniques.

The program has also been called a “social experiment” that helped to “democratize” American society by selecting its trainees based on their inherent ability rather than on their family’s socio-economic status.

After the war, four out of five surviving ASTP-ers retumed to college, and many subsequently became famous. In addition to diplomat Henry Kissinger, some of the better known include New York City Mayor Edward Koch, ex-Governor Arch Moore of West Virginia, the late Senator Frank Church, the late think-tanker Herman Kahn, TV newscaster Roger Mudd, sports commentator Heywood Hale Broun, author Gore Vidal, movie actor Mel Brooks, and Four-Star General James Harlinger, retired NORAD Commander-in-Chief. Julius would never had the chance to return to college and become famous.

Source Robert R. Palmer, Bell I. Wiley and William R. Keast, 
of the Historical Section Army Ground Forces

In March, 1944, 3.250 men from the ASTP joined the 102nd Infantry Division. Julius was also among them. The division itself was constituted as a Missouri/Arkansas Army Reserve unit on June 21, 1921, with it’s headquarters in St. Louis. The division existed on paper only until September 15, 1942. Major General John Anderson, from the 2nd Infantry Division assembled 15.000 men from throughout the United States at Camp Maxey in Northern Texas. Time was short, but training was thorough and tough. Recruits, all with sore arms and some with tags still on their new uniforms, streamed into Camp Maxey during October, November and December. On Texas plains where dust and mud abounded side by side, they learned soldiering from the bottom up. They learned to drill, to hike, to shoot, to hit the ground, to dig in, to bracket the enemy with big guns, to read maps, to build bridges and tank traps, to lay wire and mines. They learned to keep guns firing, men healthy, vehicles rolling, rations coming, radios transmitting, and water pure. Pistols, carbines, rifles, tommy-guns, BARs, machine guns, mortars, bazookas, 105s, 155s – they learned them all. They operated as squads, then as sections, and platoons and companies, then as battalions, regiments, and infantry-artillery combat teams. In June 1943, 1475 men were transferred to the 42nd Infantry Division at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma. In October 1943 the 102nd moved to Western Louisiana for advanced training. In December 1943 the 102nd moved to Camp Swift, Texas. Here Julius come to the Division and was assigned to F Company of the 407th Regiment. On January 20, 1944 Brigadier General Frank Keating assumed command of the Ozarks.

102nd Infantry Division ID (left) and 407th Infantry Regiment ID (right)

On June 24, 1944 they arrived at Fort Dix, NJ. From 1933-1941, Camp Dix was also a reception, training and discharge center for the Civilian Conservation Corps. On 8 March 1939, Camp Dix became Fort Dix as the installation became a permanent Army post. Fort Dix served as a reception and training center for men inducted under the draft of 1939. Ten divisions and many smaller units trained and staged here before entering the battlefields of World War II.

Fort Dix

While staged at Fort Dix the 405th and 406th Regiments were deployed to guard the property of the Philadelphia Transit Authority during a union strike. The entire city of Philadelphia had shut down; the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot included. The Quartermaster Depot was the main source of supplies for Patton’s Army in France at that time. The soldiers rode shotgun on buses and trains and guarded the rail yards, highways and bridges against attacks from both strikers and German sympathizers. There were sandbagged machine gun emplacements at major intersections, automatic weapons at water towers, municipal sites, transpotation centers, and shipyards.

Fort Dix

In June, 1944, Julius was home on furlough. That would be the last time he ever visited his family before being killed in action overseas.

On September 3, 1944, the Ozarks, nickname for the 102nd Infantry Division soldiers, were deployed to Camp Kilmer, NJ. Construction of Camp Kilmer was started in January 1942, and Camp Kilmer was officially opened in June of 1942. The post is located two miles east of New Brunswick, an industrial city of at the time 38.768 people, located 30 miles south of New York and 55 miles northeast of Philadelphia. During WWII, the camp was the main staging area for the principle ports on the Eastern Seaboard, more than 20 divisions staged through this post on their way to Europe.

Camp Kilmer poster

Finally, on September 12, 1944, they were trucked to the Staten Island base of the N.Y.P.O.E., where they boarded six transports, John Ericcson, Marine Wolf, Santa Paula, Sea Tiger, Bienville, and the Marina and rendezvoused with a convoy south of New York Harbor for the long, cramped trip to Cherbourg, France. The North Atlantic was a really rough in that time, with 45-foot waves. Nearly everyone was seasick, including some sailors. All the way across the Atlantic the smell at ship was that bad.

Click on picture for more information about the Book "Love Letters from the Marine Wolf"

Julius likewise suffered the cramped cruelties of a five-day train ride and underwent the excruciating worry of sweating out a detour around Paris, braved flying apples, darting children, disciplinary action for allowing helmet chin straps to hang unfastened, and other similar hazards of the open road. The 407th Regiment detrained October 27, 1944, to bivouac northeast of Brunsum, Holland (just a few miles from where I live today). Three days later, they were attached to the 29th Infantry Division, they relieved the 117th and 115th Infantry Regiments on a line from Hatterath through Teveren to Waurichen. 406th Regiment went to Hertzogenrath in Germany where, under control of the 30th Infantry Division, they replaced the 117th Infantry, defending a sector near Geilenkirchen.

By the end of October 1944, Allied armies had driven the Germans from France and from a portion of the low countries, had penetrated Germany itself at several points and were de- veloping a full scale attack against the Siegfried Line. This vaunted defense had already been pierced at Aachen by the First Army, but the front had subsequently stabilized. Plans were now afoot to punch the Siegfried Line at Geilenkirchen, 14 miles north of Aachen. The Ninth US Army was selected to do the job, the 102nd Infantry Division, so Julius too, was part of the Ninth US Army. The Germans having lost Aachen and having failed in launching a successful counteroffensive further north in the Meijel area, the German high command determined to sit the winter out, holding what was left by means of passive, stubborn defense. The consequent period of temporary stabilization was utilized by the Germans to complete a long desired substitution of infantry for armor in the line. When the Ozark Division was committed in the Ninth Army sector the enemy was found to be making local readjustments in troop dispositions, harassing the front with propaganda and artillery barrages and sending the US patrols now and then to capture prisoners for intelligence purposes. And the Germans were making the most of the opportunity to improve their ruptured positions, particularly to seal off the now exposed flank of the Wurm valley fortifications. Concrete emplacements were still being built. Extensive minefields were being laid. Supply and transportation lines were being reestablished. Forces were being reshuffled with SS troops interspersed here and there to stiffen morale. Artillery in large numbers and of large caliber were being brought up and disposed to meet the ever increasing threat of further Allied thrusts into Germany. Winter fogs and rain enabled the enemy to accomplish this reorganization and consolidation without fear of air observation or interference.

That part of the Siegfried Line which faced the Ozark Division consisted of the rear area pillboxes, with walls 8 to 10 feet thick, designed to withstand direct artillery fire and aerial bombardment. Several years of weatheringhad effectively camouflaged these forts, most of which were now grass grown and hidden by natural vegetation. Other pillboxes were built to look like outhouses, houses, barns, haystacks all of which harmonized with the natural landscape. Most of these structures contained only machine guns but a few housed anti-tank and other direct fire weapons. These strong points were further protected by belts of mines and wire, complicated mazes of trenches, foxholes and anti-tank ditches. Tanks, self propelled guns, and assault guns were dug in on reverse slopes in hull-down positions and hidden behind pillboxes.

Jutting out into the Ninth Army sector was an enemy salient fixed on the Geilenkirchen hub, a transportation and communications center with a population of 20.000. For some time Allies and Germans had been swapping punches in this sector but neither side was able to land a solid blow. Germans were just as determined to hold the town as the Allies were to take it. They were all set for a fight to the death.

The Ozarks initial mission was one of defense. Beginning on November 3, 1944, the Division sector extended from Kreuzrath through the little demolished dirty towns of Birgden, Hatterath, Gillrath, Teveren, Briel to Waurichen. Active defense measures included countless patrols to maintain relentless pressure along the entire front, combined with heavy artillery fire on enemy rear areas. Flanked by the 113th Cavalry Group on the left and 2nd Armored Division on the right, the Ozarks screened preparations for the attack on Geilenkirchen. The next two weeks saw considerable regrouping and shifting of lines as the Division sector was moved southeast.

The 102nd's road thru Germany

By the end of November, 1944, German resistance to the Allied drive north of Aachen focused on the road bridges at Linnich. Here the newly arrived 304th Volksgrenadier Division and 10th SS Panzer Division, their backs to the Roer, were desperately defending one of the three main crossings to the Cologne Plain.

By November 20, 1944, Apweiler and Gereonsweiler had been seized by the 406th Infantry after 2d Armored Division’s heavy slugging in the beet and grain fields around Immendorf. Colonel Hurless had expected to meet resistance in this area, but his doughboys were hardly prepared for the furious curtain of fire which greeted them from pillboxes, machine guns, tanks and German 88’s. Snipers lurked in every cellar, atop church steeples and on roofs. Bitter house-to-house fighting raged for hours. Topflight Panzer Grenadier and SS troops taking full advantage of community diggings, demolished buildings, anything that offered shelter, gave ground foot by foot. By evening of November 21, 1944, however, the high ground over-looking Merz Brook was in American hands. Only a single ridge remained before the Roer.

On November 24, 1944, the Division Command Post (CP) moved from Robroek, Holland to Ubach, Germany, where it remained in a schoolhouse cellar during the winter. A new realignment of sectors placed the troops on a defensive line from just south of Lindern to Ederen. This was to be the line of departure for the Roer battle, scheduled to jump off 29 November.

Morning broke cold and damp on November 29, 1944. Light rain and mist hung fitfully over the battlefield. Division objectives were the little towns of Welz, Linnich, Roerdorf and Flossdorf. 3rd Battalion (Julius was in 2nd Battalion), 407th Regiment attacked at 0630 on the extreme left of the regimental sector. Advancing against bunkers, heavy artillery and mortar fire, the 407th slugged through to its initial objective in less than two hours. Not to be overlooked in this action were their aggressive patrols, which during the night pushed the enemy off balance.

On November 30, 1944, were the river towns more difficult nuts to crack. Supplied by defiladed routes, dominating the muddy rolling fields to the west, they were truly fortresses. 405th Regiment, with its north flank exposed, nevertheless managed to push ahead against tremendous concentrations of artillery, mortar and automatic weapons fire. The battleground was honeycombed with emplacements (pillboxes, concrete shelters, L trenches, minefields) all tied together by a labyrinth of fire trenches. Seven enemy tanks appeared during the morning but were driven off by artillery fire. An unsupported infantry counterattack was also dispersed. Terrific skirmishes raged all day and after nightfall. Meanwhile the 1st Battalion of the 407th Infantry Regiment hunted snipers in Wetz while the 3rd Battalion inched slowly southward up the draw.

Julius and his 2nd Battalion had resumed its attack on Flossdorf supported by five tanks of Company C, 771st Tank Battalion, but a combination of mines, and direct 88ram fire from across the river, made armor support in this area virtually impossible. The battalion managed, however, to dig in around the outskirts of Flossdorf by following a rolling artillery barrage, skillfully laid down by the 927th and 252d Field Artillery (FA) Battalions. It was a beautiful example of artillery-infantry cooperation.

102nd's Roer Crossing
(click on picture to enlarge)

On December 1, 1944, at 1400 the 406th Infantry Regiment was committed. 1st and 2nd Battalions fighting for every foot, circled west of Welz and reached “Windy Corners”, screened by the 380th and 83rd FA Battalions’ rolling barrage. At 1700 the 3d Battalion followed, completing the encirclement of Linnich. The remainder of the night was spent in cleaning out by-passed installations under intense enemy artillery and mortar fire from east of the river. On December 2, 1944, during the night it became evident that the Germans had lost both the heart and initiative to sustain the contest much longer. Many troops had deserted. Others had retreated. True, the German supporting artillery had reorganized in the vicinity of Gevenich and Glimbach and were sending hundreds of rounds into the Ozarks newly won positions. But the SS troops had withdrawn and demolished all bridges leaving only Volksgrenadier and Luftwaffe units in the towns. Hence, 406th Infantry Regiment encountered little organized resistance when they mopped up Linnich during the morning.

The 407th Infantry Regiment smashed into Roerdorf and by 0830 the Germans were in full flight. Many drowned while trying to swim across the river. More fell from canister aimed with deadly accuracy by tanks of Company B, 771st Tank Battalion. Company C of 407th, A and B following, entered the town at 0800. By noon the last fanatic defenders had been accounted for. Some fled southward where they received a warm reception from Julius’ 2nd Battalion, 407th Infantry which was about to clean up Flossdorf.

Julius’ brother LeRoy remembers: “one story we heard was that they were trying to take out a pillbox and asked for volunteers. Another guy volunteerd and Julius shoved him back because he was married and had a family”. LeRoy doesn’t know if it is true, but as a kid he heard that story often. He also remembers that his brother Julius always carried a bible with him when he was in the Army.

There were few prisoners in this day’s fighting. The staggering Germans, pounded unmercifully by our artillery, either crossed the river or died. Furious skirmishes raged in Flossdorf until late afternoon. Companies G and I of the 407th had meanwhile eliminated the fanatical defenders in the emplacements at the head of the draw near Welz. By nightfall all objectives were firmly held. Never again was the Division to experience such severe artillery fire as was encountered in this operation. Roads and towns throughout the area were continuously shelled by guns of all caliber. Nor did the enemy hesitate to place artillery and mortar fire on towns which their own infantry was still defending.

So ended the first phase in the battle for the Roer. The enemy had been cleared from the west bank up to and including Linnich. 425 Prisoners had been counted, over 400 Germans dead were buried, 43 bunkers and pillboxes had been knocked out. 36 assault guns and tanks had fallen before Ozark guns and bazookas, and many personnel carriers were abandoned in the headlong flight across the river. A tremendous blow had been dealt the enemy in both strength and prestige. 340th Division was reeling from its losses. A vaunted SS outfit, the 10th SS Panzer Division, had fled ignominiously, seeking to escape the Ozarks mercilessly accurate artillery. 42nd German Airforce Battalion was virtually destroyed, never to rise again.

Many winter weeks were to pass before the second phase of the Roer battle ended in the reduction of the Brachelen salient. While the Division prepared further assaults against the West Wall, Nazis unleashed a do-or-die counteroffensive through the Ardennes in Belgium. Von Rundstedt opened his push on December 16, 1944, against a thinly held line in the First Army Sector. Three days later strong German forces were penetrating in full cry towards the Meuse river and Liege. This grave situation completely altered the entire aspect of the Ozarks’ problem. The 84th Division on their right, 2nd Armored on their left and 7th Armored in their rear, hastily moved south to assist in halting von Rundstedt’s drive. This left the 102nd Infantry Division defending the entire XIII Corps sector with a front extending from the Wurm river, just north of the village of Wurm, east and south to Barmen, a distance of nearly eight miles. Service and supply units, even company cooks, were to get the feel of frontline defense before the winter snows disappeared.

Secure behind the barrier of the Roer river the Germans frantically continued to improve his defenses on the hills from Korrenzig to Boslar. Civilians were herded out to help dig anti-tank ditches and foxholes. His thinly spread troops enjoyed “rest periods” of three or four days away from the river bottom, “rest periods” during which minefields were laid and wire strung under the watchful eye of the SS. To the north the 340th Volksgrenadier Division defended Brachelen, Hilfarth, and Randerath intent upon retaining at least a bridgehead west of the Roer. Although originally a slight threat, this Brachelen salient became more and more prominent in the Ozarks defense plans as von Rundstedt plunged through the Ardennes. It was not improbable that the Germans might make a similar sudden thrust southwest through the Wurm corridor in an attempt to retake Geilenkirchen and possibly link-up with their southern salient. Such tactics would imperil the entire Allied front in Germany. To the Ozarks then fell the task of guarding this seemingly quiet yet potentially explosive gateway.

German defenses map

In the bitter cold and snow the 327th Engineer Battalion laid thousands of mines. Doughboys dug hundreds of foxholes in rocklike, frozen soil. Road blocks were established where sentries were fated to spend many a sleepless night in bitter cold and driving snow. The 701st Tank Battalion and the 102nd Reconnaissance Troop moved back and forth on the roads watching for German parachutists who never arrived. Tanks grumbled back and forth between Lindern, Prummern and Gereonsweiler in order to make sure that the Germans realized there were large numbers of allied armored vehicles in this front. Dummy tanks were set up in logical areas to deceive German commanders. Division Artillery fired thousands of rounds, and succeeded in puzzling the enemy by means of “silent periods” several hours long during which not a single shot was fired.

The German 59th Infantry Division finally moved in between the Roer and Wurm rivers. This was a good outfit, perhaps one of the few remaining topnotch Wehrmacht Divisions at that time. Their Commanding General was Major General Poppe, sardonically named “Poppe, the Intrepid” by his men and officers because of a previous incident in his military career. At one time he had commanded a division in Grimea, a division which he abandoned in headlong personal flight during the evacuation of those islands, leaving his men to drown or swim.

Now General Poppe was nervous. He had strict orders to divert as many Allied troops as possible from the Ardennes area. Accordingly he made a show of strength. His patrols were more aggressive, under pain of death for missions unaccomplished. Flare after flare illum-inated No Man’s Land at night. German sentries were instructed to be more alert and to watch each other so that comrades would not desert. Propaganda was shelled over, broadcasts were beamed at frontline Ozarks. On Christmas Eve the Nazis broadcast Christmas carols. The Luftwaffe appeared in ever increasing numbers, dropping high explosive and anti-personnel bombs over rear areas. German artillery became more and more frantic. The Ozark casualties were light, however, for their troops lived and worked in concrete-and-steel basements which the Germans, with gloomy forethought had long ago built into their schools and houses. But every night even the deepest basement reverberated as buzz-bombs clattered overhead, bound for England.

The Germans were nervous, no doubt about it. Finally convinced that a major shift was under way. Poppe sent a battalion of engineers and fusiliers to establish a road block on the Lindern-Linnich road: Emerging from Brachelen at dawn December 30, 1944, this raid ran squarely into wire defenses erected a few hours earlier. There under the watchful eyes of our forward observers, and barely within small arms range of Company A, 406th Infantry Regiment, the force was decimated by Ozark division artillery. Out of an estimated 150 men, 67 were killed, 34 were taken prisoner, and the 59th spent the entire day evacuating their wounded.

Veteran Ed Souder (F Company, 405th Infantry Regiment, 102nd Inf. Div.) next to a Monument near Linnich to remember the fallen German and Allied Soldiers in the Battle for the Rurfront, 60 years after the end of WWII
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

Remember-plate for the Sacrefice of the Soldiers of the 102nd Infantry Division
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

The Luftwaffe opened 1945 with a flourish. New Year’s morning, clear and cloudless, saw FW 190s, Me 109s and JU 88s strafing the GI’s roads and bombing rear areas. No great damage was inflicted although, to the delight of the Ozark attached 94th Camouflage Battalion, several dummy anti-aircraft installations near Baesweiler were practically demolished. The 548th AAA AW Battalion actually enjoyed a field day. They knocked down five FW 190s and one JU 88. Good shooting for them who in three long months of watching and waiting seldom had a good shot at a German plane.

During the early weeks of January, 1945, the Germans continued to illuminate the Ozarks forward areas with a large assortment of flares of all colors and descriptions. One hundred flares were counted in a single night along a front of six miles. The variety of these pyrotechnics was equalled if not surpassed by his propaganda. Leaflets written in Russian, leaflets addressed to the 84th Division, leaflets designed to seduce British troops, were widely shelled over Allied front lines. By January 16, 1945, however, Poppe had either recovered his senses or replenished his stock of literature for messages fluttering into Roerdorf were addressed to the “Boys of the 102nd” and “To the poor Devils of the 102nd”. The Ozarks’ only gripe concerned the fact that there never were enough leaflets to go around. As souvenirs, demand far exceeded supply.

The big job in January was to eliminate the German salient at the Roer-Wurm confluence. This was a formidable piece of ground defended by a little stub of the old Siegfried Line. Plans were necessary. Plans were made. Snow suits were issued. Assault teams, specially trained in attacking fortified positions, were organized. British 43rd Division on their left planned to attack at the same time. The use of British attachments gave the Ozarks an opportunity to learn a little of the British Army language and get acquainted with “Tommies” of the Dragoon Guards Armoured Regiment, the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, the Lothian and Border Yeomanry. Everything was set for the attack at 0730 January 26, 1945. And then the Germans, growing increasingly faint-hearted under Ozark thunderous artillery, relentless patrolling, and devastating raids, withdrew, ‘to shorten their lines’.

During the night of 24-25 January great explosions rocked the river valley. Dawn revealed the Korrenzig bridge and many others in ruins. No German traffic could be seen in the bridgehead. Patrols found the towns abandoned. 1st Battalion, 405th Infantry Regiment, seizing Honsdorf and Flahstrass, discovered the pillboxes deserted but littered with booby-traps, timebombs and antipersonnel bombs. They pushed on through Randerath to Himmerich, rounding up 19 prisoners enroute. 3rd Battalion, 406th Infantry Regiment secured the Lindern sector. 2nd Battalion moved into Brachelen encountering nothing but cheval-de-frise obstacles and schu-mines in every street and door yard. 1st Battalion moved rapidly to Gut Rischmuhle where it linked with Troop C of the 17th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, attached to the Ozarks for this operation, Before noon January 26 all objectives were well in hand with nothing more than a scattering of artillery fire to impede the attack. During the afternoon a 406th patrol penetrated Hilfarth (at that moment further into Germany then any other allied unit in the history of World War II).

The New York TIMES had this to say:

(By The Associated Press.)

BRACHELEN, Germany, Jan. 26. – This badly battered old city, ten miles inside Germany, and six surrounding villages were in American hands tonight without an artillery shell being fired.

The last plug was knocked from the Siegfried Line in this sector at a cost up to noon of 9 casualties. A 100 Germans are prisoners and the rest have fled into the blue, tree-topped hills to the east along with the civilians.

Most of the casualties were wounded by the mine fields, as Brigade General Frank A. Keating’s 102d Infantry Division, whitecloaked against the snow, surged forward early this morning and overran 97 pillboxes. The division struck three regiments abreast against such light opposition that plans for an elaborate artillery barrage were canceled.

The 407th Infantry Regiment (Julius’ Regiment), commanded by Colonel James Reed of Fort Smith, Arkansas, ran into some machine-gun fire, but otherwise little fighting was necessary.

The Germans had blown the bridge across the Roer River to Korrenzig, 25 miles southwest of Dusseldorf, the night before last and the Ozark Division’s commander had sent patrols into Brachelen and a pillbox nest near there. When patrols reported meeting no resistance, the veteran 102nd Division jumped off several hours ahead of a scheduled attack, moving across the snow fields in moonlight in their white capes and trousers.

Major General Keating commended both men and officers “for their thorough preparation, spirit of enthusiasm, high morale, and outstanding professional qualifications displayed during the operation”.

The first two weeks of February brought disaster to the Nazis. Von Rundstedt withdrew from his Ardennes pocket, desperately switching Panzer Battlegroups this way and that in a futile effort to bring his operation to a neat conclusion. The Russians advanced spectacularly in the east. Along the Ozarks’ front, enemy lines were stretched dangerously thin. They had lost all semblance of initiative. They could only continue to labor on his defenses east of the Roer and wait for the allied attack which would sooner or later sweep him backwards to the Rhine. In this unhappy predicament, however, the Germans had two Allies, the weather, and the dams in the Hohe Venn highlands south of Duren at the headwaters of the Roer.

From foxholes to Division Command Post, weather was a major preoccupation. First came snow, then rain, more snow, fog. An early Spring sun thawed the surface frosts. Soils became quagmires, paving blocks disappeared under traffic. Melting snows swelled the narrow Roer. It spilled over muddy banks and the flow grew hourly more swift until it was impassable even to Ozark daring patrols. Many a boat was lost, many a valiant Ozark disappeared down the raging stream while attempting to contact the enemy.

Plans were afoot to cross the Roer. D-day was to be 10 February. By evening, February 9, 1944, all plans were suspended while GIs gaped at the raging river. Already over its banks from normal Spring runoff it had suddenly leaped four feet in as many hours. And it continued to rise one foot, two feet......ten feet, and there it paused. The key to this phenomenon lay, of course, in the dams. As First Army developed its attack south of Duren, and the Germans saw that capture of the headwaters was only hours away they had jammed open the floodgates. Efforts to control the flood were of no avail. Two weeks were to elapse before the stream subsided. On the other hand the enemy had now shot his bolt. If the flood was his best hope, it was also his last.

Dam near Rurdorf
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

One of the Blown up Dams near Rurdorf
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

On the February 21, 1945, Julius wrote a letter to his parents; his letter told them that he was well and happy, and for them not to worry, and that he was being send to the front in a few days. They received that letter in March 1945. Julius had been given a Presidential Unit Citation, as were all men who were in action between September 1944 and January 1945.

Chosen to spearhead Ninth Army’s drive to the historic Rhine, the Ozarks poised their strength on a narrow front between Linnich and Roerdorf. Every weapon, organic and attached, had been emplaced and sighted. Everything was closed up against the Roer, like a tightly coiled spring about to snap loose in fury. Artillery batteries were practically against its banks. Service elements and dumps were within striking distance of enemy artillery, often within range of his nebelwerfers. The division command post was in Linnich, barely 300 yards from the water’s edge. This was a crucial day. The course of the war would depend on the next few hours.

Initially 59th Infantry Division opposed our advance, flanked on the north and south by the 183rd and 363rd Volksgrenadier Divisions, respectively. The loessial soils of the rolling Cologne plain were drying after early Spring thaws. Clear skies spelled disaster to enemy rear areas now exposed to our hard-hitting air support. Buds were bursting on the chestnut trees and mayflowers timidly pushed forth their shoots into a war-wracked world. Laying on a fresh green slope a fellow might dream for a few moments, oblivious to the whine of small arms fire. But the clamor of battle cannot long be ignored. Next day Gevenich, Glimbach, Tetz, Boslar, Hompesch and Koffern all fell before the first furious assault. Hurried Germans were forced to commit another division in the defense of Erkelenz. 338th Infantry Division hurried to bolster the whipped 59th. The Ozarks swing northward to enfilade painstakingly prepared defenses caught the enemy completely by surprise. As was expected he proved incapable of mustering any sizeable reserve. Casual units and rear area units appeared. A few timid Volkssturm and several police organizations together with hastily impressed civilians emerged to defend their cities, only to be swept over and engulfed by the rampaging Ozarks. The enemy fought without hope of relief, spurred only by the realization that the fight for the Ruhr was the battle for Germany.

At 0245 February 23, 1944, the Ozark Division Artillery opened up with a thunderous barrage that was to continue for 45 minutes. After months of planning, waiting, and training the push to the Rhine had started. A s if wired in and controlled by a single switch, over 200 cannon, rockets, machine guns of all calibers, rifles, mortars and all the implements of war broke the deathlike silence of the night. The valley of the Roer was ablaze with the fire of exploding shells and tracers. One wondered how anything could live under the devastating impact. A paper could be read under the glare of artillery muzzle flashes and the brilliance of bursting shells. The din deafened troops scurried down the steep bank to waiting boats, among them Julius. Clouds of smoke and the aroma of burning powder drifted over the valley in ever increasing volume. The long expected offensive was actually under way. Stunned and surprised but nevertheless determined to fight back with all their power, the German forces began within ten minutes to reply with long range artillery and rocket fire. Apparently uncertain as to the exact crossing point the enemy appeared at first reluctant to use his precious supply of ammunition too lavishly against the unseen foe. But with the coming of the first light of day the fire steadily increased until it constituted a virtual hail of protesting steel which battered the support and reserve infantrymen and engineers at both the Rurdorf and Linnich crossing sites. The feint at Flossdorf drew its share of fire, too.

The main crossings in strength began promptly at 0330 hours. Leading battalions were the 1st of the 405th at Rurdorf, and the 1st and 2nd (Julius’ Battalion) of the 407th at Linnich. The first wave crossed entirely in assault boats manned by the 327th and 279th Engineer Combat Battalions. By 0420 hours the initial crossings at Rurdorf were completed. At Linnich where the going was not so hard the first wave crossed in sixteen minutes, clearing the east bank at 0346 hours.

German defenses map near the Roer River
(click on picture to enlarge)

The 1st Battalion of the 407th had the mission of seizing Gevenich. The battalion crossed, starting promptly at 0330 in two waves of two companies abreast, A and B leading followed by C and D. The second wave started across at 0339 immediately after the first hit the far shore. There were enough boats for both waves so that it was not necessary to ferry the boats from the first wave back, and they were left on the bank as the troops got out.

A little machine-gun fire downstream harassed the troops during the crossing and mortar fire fell in the river and along the banks, but casualties were light and not a single boat upset.

About 25 shell-shocked prisoners were quickly taken by the troops shortly after they landed. These prisoners were then pressed into service to guide the Americans through the German mine-fields which lay before Gevenich. Casualties from this particular threat were thus totally eliminated. The leading companies (A and B) moved silently into Gevenich and apparently, despite what should have been ample warning, came upon the Germans before the latter realized the Americans were in the neighborhood. By 0630 hours they had surrendered without a struggle, and 160 prisoners were taken. The town was found to contain no mines or booby traps, further proof that the defenders were completely surprised. En route to Gevenich Company C, following the assault companies, was pinned down briefly by machine-gun fire from across the Gevenich, Linnich road, but was able to advance without appreciable delay.

Four litter squads, one with each company, evacuated casualties as soon as they occurred. The battalion aid station was located near the bank on the Linnich side of the river, and because it was closer than any other in the area, it subsequently handled a disproportionately large share of casualties, including some from the other battalions and from the engineers. The battalion suffered about fifty casualties during the day, and more than 100 casualties were treated in the aid station before 1000 hours. Walking wounded from other units were sent back by vehicle to their own stations to help relieve the congestion.

The Roer at Linnich in 2005, 60 years after the War (Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

The 2nd Battalion of the 407th Regiment, on the left, inclusive Julius, attacked at 0930 hours, without armored support, from Glimbach toward Kofferen and Dingbuchoff with the intention of seizing the high terrain west of Kofferen. The Glimbach vicinity was defended with Artillery and anti-tank guns. Company F was soon pinned down by heavy fire coming from Korrenzig within the zone of the 84th Division and was forced to dig in after an advance of about five hundred yards. About midmorning Company C of the 701st Tank Battalion made its appearance and at 1315 the attack was continued. Company G, supported by the tanks, moved into Kofferen, followed by Company E. It then became necessary for Company F, which was Julius’ Company, in reserve, to be committed on the right to assist the battalion’s advance, while Company C, 701st Tank Battalion, neutralized the enemy’s artillery fire. Having accomplished this object, the tank company reorganized in Kofferen and moved against Dingbuchoff. Aided by its Provisional Assault Gun Platoon, it proceeded to storm the area, knocking out two towed antitank guns and capturing a hundred prisoners from one pillbox. In this action, two tanks were lost; but despite heavy enemy artillery fire, all the ground between Kofferen and Dingbuchoff was secured by 1600.

A single threat developed against this highly successful advance of the 407th Infantry Regiment when, at 1515, the enemy counterattacked Glimbach from the direction of Gevenich with tanks and infantry. Without antitank guns, tank destroyers, or tanks, which had not yet been able to cross the river, and carrying their heavy mortar and bazooka ammunition by hand, the 2nd Battalion held firmly and called for artillery fire support. Almost immediately the fire of eight battalions of artillery fell upon the attackers and dispersed tanks and men. Shortly thereafter, responding to a call from Division, P-47s appeared on the scene and completed the liquidation of the enemy forces in this area. Julius with the 2nd Battalion remained in Glimbach for the rest of the day without interference.

The 3rd Battalion of the 407th Infantry initially assisted the crossings of the assault waves with fire of all varieties. By 0815 this task was completed and they began to cross in assault boats. Fortunately, while this operation was in progress, the northern footbridge at Linnich was completed and most of the battalion was able to cross on foot. At 0915 they closed in Breitenbend as regimental reserve. Later in the day the 3rd Battalion moved north of Glimbach where they organized positions to tie in with 84th Division elements on the left.

Initially the German 59th Infantry Division, flanked on the north by the 183rd Volksgrenadier Division, and on the south by the 363rd Volksgrenadier Division, withstood the brunt of the Ozark attack. Preparatory fires had so stunned the defenders that they were unable to resist effectively when their MLR was breached by the leading elements. Before nightfall, however, a significant stiffening was noted in the enemy’s attitude, as seen in the Glimbach episode. Moreover, information obtained from prisoners of war indicated that the enemy was still capable of launching a determined counterattack with the coming of darkness. The Boslar corridor appeared to be particularly vulnerable. In view of this danger, and also to improve tactical control, the 3rd Battalion, 406th Infantry Regiment, was attached to the 405th Infantry Regiment at 2040 hours.

Me in Glimbach (Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

This wast the first phase in the Rhineland campaign. The bridgehead was now established. The way was paved for an advance to the Rhine. Unfortunately the victory was not gained without casualties; 74 men were killed, 493 wounded and 31 were reported missing in action. Pfc. Julius S. Hass was one of the men missing in action. Somewhere the day of February 24, 1945, at the beginning of the Rhineland Campaign on February 23-24, 1945, Julius died in the Vicinity of Glimbach, after 20 years of life and 5 months overseas. His brother LeRoy still has Julius’ tiny bible and graduation ring what Julius was believed to be wearing when he died.

Division information from the book: With the 102nd thru Germany

Glimbach, Germany 25 February 1945

At the time of Julius’ death he carried with him, one billfold, 1 cigarette case, which indicates he was a smoker, 16 souvenir coins, 2 medals (Inf. & Ex. Inf.), 2 money order receipts, 9 photographs, one ETO ribbon, 3 finger rings, 2 prayer books, one spoon and one German item.

Julius' Inventory Form (Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

LeRoy does remember the first telegram his parents received. It said Julius was missing in action and presumed dead. LeRoy said: “it was quite some time before they actually found he was death”. He had heard that his brother Julius possibly was killed while crossing a river. As the Roer crossing went pretty smooth and the documents in Julius file show he was KIA in the vicinity of Glimbach I guess Julius didn’t die while crossing, but later that day in combat.

On March 15, 1945, an article appeared in a local newspaper. It said that Saturday morning the War Department a confirmation had sent to Mr. And Mrs. Hass of their son’s death on February 24, 1945.

Newspaper cutting about Julius being KIA
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

The 407th Infantry Regiment was commanded by Colonel James C. Reed from September 22, 1944. From January 29, 1945 the Regiment was commanded by Colonel Philip R. Dwyer. The 102nd Infantry Division was 173 days in combat, Julius was among them for 121 days. The Division had 1.034 men killed, 3.522 wounded, 161 missing, 150 captured, 8.825 casualties (4.867 battle casualties and 3.958 non-battle casualties). The Division also took 147.358 Prisoners of War. They returned to New York P/E on March 11, 1946 and were inactivated at Camp Kilmer, NJ on March 12, 1946.

Newspaper cutting about Julius being KIA in Germany
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

Julius’ parents received information, in detail from the government, in connection with the death of Julius. The letter was from Julius’ Colonel. Colonel Philip R. Dwyer stated that Pfc. Hass was buried in The Netherlands and services were conducted by a Protestant Chaplian. Later Julius’ parents received a check for $12.29, as representing funds of their son.

Newspaper cutting about Julius being buried in The Netherlands
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

This is a letter Julius mother wrote for more information according her son's death:

Arlington, Nebraska
April 2, 1945

Dear Sir:

We got a letter from Philip R. Dwyer. Colonel Inf. Commanding. Who said we should write you for more information about our son Julius S. Hass. 37478998. 407 Inf. Killed in action. We would like to know further details of the location of his grave. And how he was killed. We would also like to know if his watch and Billfold were saved. As we sure would like to have those 2 things of his. And no one can hardly realize what it is to get a telegram like that, only those that have lost sons and men in this war. Hope to hear from you soon.

Mrs Mary Hass
Arlington Nebr.
Box 240

Letter Julius Mother wrote regarding the death of her son
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

This is a letter to Julius' father
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

A Memorial Service in Nebraska for Julius was held Sunday May 13, 1945, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, with Rev. Carl Hellmann. It was the same church were Julius was baptised and confirmed. The church and schoolhouse was filled with friends and relatives and members of the American Legion.

Newspaper cutting about Memorial Service for Julius
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

The pastor, Rev. Carl Hellmann, paid a fine tribute to Julius. The congregation sang: “How Blest Is My Soul”, “Asleep In Jesus”, “Holy Father, In Thy Mercy”, and the chior sang, directed by E.A. Leubke as organist, “Be Still My Soul”.

The Army and Navy commision “In Memorial” scroll was presented to the family and also Mister Weber, Commander of the local American Legion, presented the United States Flag. “Taps” was sounded at the end of the impressive service.

Newspaper cutting about Memorial Service for Julius
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

A letter to Pfc. Hass' mother
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

At the end of 1946 the family Thomasses from The Netherlands adopted Pfc. Julius S. Hass’ grave in remembrance for what the American liberators did for our country. LeRoy remembers: “We heard from them once or twice within about a year after my brother died, but there’s been no contact since then. The letters we received had to be translated, even as those we sent back to the Thomassen family”.

Disinterment and Final Burial Place letter and form (Pictures Courtesy of Rick Demas)

Pfc. Julius S. Hass was interred permanently with the permission of Julius Sr., Julius’ father, on November 28, 1947. Julius was burried in his uniform and in a mattress cover, the condition of the remains was described as: “crushed skill. Body complete.”

Disinterment Directive Form
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

Permanently Interred Letter to Julius Hass' father
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

Julius’ father kept worked for the State of Nebraska Highway Dept. till he was ran over by a truck in 1955 and died, 4 days after his first grandchild Carmen was born. Julius’ mother died when she was 99 years.

Julius' parents, Mary and Albert Hass
(Picture Courtesy of LeRoy Hass)

LeRoy began working for the railroad just after graduation from High School, in 1952, as a telegraph operator and depot agent. LeRoy married in 1969 a women named Carol. Together they had 6 children, 17 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. LeRoy retired in 1996 after 44 years.

Darlene, Mary and LeRoy Hass
(Picture Courtesy of LeRoy Hass)

Julius’ sister died in 1993 from cancer, so LeRoy is the only one still living of the family.

In 2001 Pfc. Hass’ grave has been adopted by me.

Rick next to Pfc. Julius S. Hass' grave (Pictures Courtesy of Rick Demas)

In 2001 a friend and I went with my brother’s school journey to the Military Cemetery in Margraten and heard that it was possible to adopt the graves. After the guide showed and told us some things about the cemetery we asked him the necessary person to contact to adopt a grave, he gave us the address. When we came home we directly took our ballpoints and started to write. A few days later we received the grave we applied for. We received the adoption certificate, some addresses to write and a note that we were to young to adopt a grave but for us he made an exception. I wrote a letter to the three addresses I received and got only from one address useful information after at least one year, the others said they could not give any information because there was a privacy law made in 1974, that made my request impossible. In the information I received were some handwritten letters from the parents and papers of the soldier’s Army file. With the received information I started an internet search in my Christmas vacation 2003. Most people could not help me. A few others started to help me in my search, I very appreciate the help of those people like David Steely the Division Manager and Maureen Jakubisyn a daughter of a 102nd Infantry Division Soldier, thanks to them I got a major breakthrough in my research. After that I volunteered for two more graves in 2004 and if possible from Airborne soldiers because I like their role in the war very much. Around Christmas 2004 I requested a fourth grave, that was the one of Afred Corgan. I officially adopted the grave in 2005.

Pfc. Julius S. Hass' grave
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

Roll of Honor
Company F, 407th Infantry,
102nd Infantry Division

(click on picture for the Roll of Honor)

Pfc. Julius S. Hass’ final resting place is, together with 8.301 Brothers in Arms, the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Plot G Row 10 Grave 3.

So, if anyone has information that may be of assistance to me, please contact me at rickmommers@msn.com

For more F Company stories:
S/Sergeant Forrest D. Hall