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October 30, 2011

World War II veteran recalls “pilots mistakenly bombing and strafing their own troops”

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:22 am

Curtis Peters, a 93-year-old American veteran of World War II, recently gave an interview to a newspaper reporter, which you can read here.  He told the usual stories about the atrocities that he witnessed when he was taken to see the Dachau concentration camp in May 1945.

This quote from his interview caught my attention:

The Army at the time was suffering heavy casualties from pilots mistakenly bombing and strafing their own troops.  Peters was put to work marking the army unit locations on maps to  pilot briefings.

The major I was working for said “These pilots killed a whole bunch more of our men than the enemy, and we’ve got to do something to stop the slaughter,” Peters said.  “I like to think I helped save a few of our guys.”

Peters arrived at Dachau too late to see the train with open gondola cars filled with bodies of prisoners that had been killed when American planes strafed the train. (One of the survivors of the train testified at the trial of the SS man in charge of the train that American planes had strafed the train.) He only saw the bodies of the prisoners who had died from typhus and were being taken by horse-drawn wagons to Leitenberg hill for burial.  Photos of these events are shown below.

Bodies of typhus victims were hauled out of Dachau camp in horse-drawn wagons

Bodies found on the "death train" at Dachau by the American liberators on April 29, 1945