Expert from a letter of First Lieutenant Stöhr to his father

"I have to say that I haven't lived through anything like the situations as in those days. I felt like being born again since I had already closed the books on my life. The days were November 18, 23, and 28, and I will never forget any of them even though men usually forget the bad things first. I vividly remember November 28, 1944. They had basically left me to command a Combat Group, which included my company and I had to command that one too, on the side if you want. This Combat Group Stöhr had to defend the town of Altdorf.

This town nearly claimed my life. It did cost me at least five years of my life as it is. Yes, this wretched Altdorf, barely five kilometers away from Jülich made me meet my fate on November 28, 1944 when the Americans managed to infiltrate the town in the morning of the 28th, before dawn. I retreated, with my flock of course, because there was no way back in. A damned little river, the Inde blocked the way because the bridge had been destroyed already. Thus I had to make my men dig in, the enemy coming at us from three sides, the river without a bridge in my back. No surprise that the enemy attacked. This pushed my soldiers off the hills immediately. Now the enemy sat on the hill and could look at us like we were small fry in a pan. Then he started a big funny hunt of the rabbits.

In this desperate situation I gave the order: "Retreat across the river!" Hell, that was quite a situation, a running retreat, then swimming through the river while already being exhausted. The river was only about 8 meters wide but the thick uniform, immediately soaking wet, pulled me down like tons of weights. Plus, I held machine gun and steel helmet in the hands and then there was the wild current that took me away. Yes, this creek almost took my life right there after the many shots fired at me beforehand had all missed. They had all missed but closely and I could hear them fly by my head. But then the miracle happened and I did get out of the water. A few days later everything was dried up and the crisis forgotten. I didn't even get a cold despite the sweaty body and the ice- cold water.

That was Altdorf, that was November 28. We have fought for every house and every tiny little road between Aachen, Eschweiler, and Jülich but it was all for naught. Now I am the oldest company CO in the regiment, me, such a young First Lieutenant.