WWII History has published historian Kevin M. Hymel’s latest article, an interview with World War II veteran Frank Cohn, in the Spring 2024 issue of the magazine. Frank is a German Jew who immigrated to the United States with his parents. He joined the U.S. Army and interrogated German prisoners of war in Belgium and Germany in the latter stages of the war in Europe.
Following is an excerpt of his article, “Vat Goes on Here?” which you can continue reading on Warfare History Network.
“Vat Goes on Here?”
By Kevin M. Hymel
On a Belgian hillside at the height of the Battle of the Bulge, an American lieutenant watched as a jeep carrying four men dressed in American uniforms stopped on the road in front of him. Two of the men dismounted and approached, neither showing any rank on their uniforms. A cold drizzle kept everything miserable.
“I’m Captain Remple, Military Intelligence,” one of the men informed the lieutenant. “Give me a briefing of the situation.” The lieutenant, suspicious of the strangers, looked them up and down.
“You know,” the lieutenant explained as his men gathered around the strangers, “we just got a word that Germans were coming this way in American uniforms, and you guys look just like them.” With that, he started a line of questioning: “What’s the fifth general order?” The captain didn’t know. “Who won the World Series?” again, the captain didn’t know. “Recite the Star Spangled Banner.” The captain started to speak the tune, but when he got to “by the dawn’s early…” He stopped. He could not remember the rest. The man next to the captain just stood there silently. Just then, a third man from the jeep came running up carrying his rifle and shouted “Vat goes on here?”
Travel with Historian Kevin Hymel
Kevin Hymel is the historian for the 80th Anniversary of D-Day: Patton’s 3rd Army Tour, which runs May 30 – June 14, 2024. The first part of the tour covers the planning and launch of the D-Day Invasion, Operation Overlord, and includes key sites in England and Normandy, including the Churchill War Rooms and Omaha and Utah Beaches. The second part of the tour follows Patton’s Third Army across France, to its relief of Bastogne and invasion of Germany. Along the way, you will learn about Patton, the man, the leader, and the general.
Kevin has published three books on Patton. He is renowned for his extensive research and captivating writing on the general, his leadership style, the military campaigns, and the broader historical context of the war. Kevin’s meticulous attention to detail and engaging storytelling will bring Patton to life and provide valuable insights into this pivotal period of history.
A highlight of this tour will be attending the official June 6 Commemorative ceremonies at the Normandy American Cemetery at Colville-sur-Mer, when we will honor and pay tribute to our fallen heroes.