Torgau is a small German town (population in peacetime was 14 000), but he had his own place in history for a long time until last week. It was the scene of the victory of Frederick majestically over Austria in 1760, and a region where the Austrian and Russian troops against Frederick the following year. Last week, history repeated itself in Torgau.
Early last week, the city was almost empty. Marshal Konev's artillery shelling it over the Elbe. Only a few Germans, very stunned to worry about what happened, found in piles of garbage and leftovers were hunting for cigarette butts between the cobblestones. Others joined to panic the masses seeking westward toward the front of the band with the United States.
Two infantry and one tank division U.S. First Army braked along the narrow river Mulde, western tributary of the Elbe. At one point during the day two patrol 70 of the third regiment of the 69th Division went to the direction of surrendering German soldier and liberated Allied prisoners directly to the rear, went beyond the officially prescribed radius they act and was in Torgau. This patrol consisted of four Yankees in the off-road vehicle: Second Lieutenant William Robertson — malehankih, good officer from Los Angeles, and three fighter.
* Mercurochrome and ink
Russia on the other side of the Elbe — 50 members of the Eighth Guards Division Marshal Konev — released colored flares, conditional symbol for friendly forces. At Robertson was not flares. He took a sheet out of the house, broke into the pharmacy, found mercurochrome and blue ink, made a solid figure of South American flag and waved it from the tower of a medieval castle. The Russian, who previously had been deceived by the Germans, waving the flags of the United States, several anti-tank missiles fired.
Robertson then ventured on a very bold step. He and his men went out confidently into the open on bridge blown up by the Germans, over twisted pillars of which were laid unbalanced bridges across the river. Russia decided that only the Americans would do such a thing. Although the team Robertson with caution crept through the joists, two Russian officers came from the eastern region. In the center, just a few feet above the fast-flowing water, people Eisenhower and Stalin met people. Robertson slammed Russia's leg, and cried: "Hallow, tovarish! Put it here! "
Feast and toast
The Russian took four Yankees in his camp on the eastern shore, where they met a satisfied grin, he paid tribute honors, patting shoulders, treated to wine and German schnapps, stunningly fed. Robertson has made arrangements with the commander of sending delegations across the river to meet with South American authorities. Colonel Charles M. Adams, commander 273rd, welcomed the delegation at the headquarters of his own regiment, and then at 2:00 am they went to the Russian camp with a platoon fighter 10 SUVs. When they arrived at 6:00, there were even more smiles, the impact of military greetings, pats on the back, celebrations and toasts.
Later commander The 69th Division, squat, festive, Major General Emil F. Reinhardt, crossed the Elbe River in one of several small high-speed boats, captured by the German pier. The next day the commander of the 5th Corps, Major General Clarence Huebner came and gave honor riddled with Russian flag, passed a long way from Stalingrad. By this time the square crowded South American fighters and there were echoing fraternization. And the soldiers of the U.S. Army, and South American senior officers learned that the Russian propose a toast to the most enthusiastic in the world, and they also — the power of consumers. The supplies of vodka seemed endless.
"My dear, be quiet, please"
Big meeting, so long awaited, finally come true. Moscow has made the greatest salute 24 volleys of 324 guns, Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman issued a resounding statement. The correspondent of "Time" by William Walton, who arrived in Torgau, soon after the first meeting, said of halting speech, the lieutenant of the Red Army, which arose among the merry hubbub, said:
"My dear, be quiet, please. Who is the happiest day of our lives, as well as in Stalingrad was the most unfortunate when we thought there was nothing more we can do for our country, not counting how to die. And now, dear, we have the most exciting days of our lives. I hope you will forgive me for what I am not on the right British language, but we are very happy here so toast. Long live the Roosevelt! "Comrade whispered the name of Harry Truman, he looked at him blankly eyes and continued:" Long live the Roosevelt, Long live Stalin! Long live our two majestic army! "
* Mercurochrome — proprietary antiseptic, common in the United States, is used for treatment of wounds — approx. per.