|Robert L. Krippner|
Sergeant Robert L. Krippner, Eau Claire, serving with the 78th Infantry Division, "across the Rhine," was one of those assigned to take over the home of Karl Wilhelm Mauser, a castle erected by the well-known German munitions and arms manufacturer.
|General's Clerk Hasn't Routine Office Position|
|The fact that you are a clerk in the commanding general's
office doesn't mean you sit at a desk with mere office routine all day—at least, when your division is fighting in Germany.
Technician Fourth Class Robert L. Krippner, son of Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Kreckow, Eau Claire, learned this recently. Sergeant Krippner is clerk in the office of Major General Edwin P. Parker, Jr., Commanding General of the 78th "Lightning Division."
Because of the Division Command Post was threatened, Sergeant Krippner, with other men in the General's office, was put on night guard duty.
In the dark, wee hours of the morning, he saw a suspicious-looking man wandering near his post. He ordered the man to halt and give the password. The man halted but, instead of the password, he jabbered something in German—bad business in these areas, which are infested with snipers.
Sergeant Krippner thought he really had something. He reported the man and called an interpreter. After thoroughly examining him, authorities were satisfied that the man was telling the truth, when he said he was a bona fide worker in a power plant used by the Allies.
|Give General Eye Witness Account of Aachen Attack|
|WITH THE 78TH INFANTRY DIVISION IN GERMANY—Sergeant Robert
L. Krippner, formerly of Eau Claire, can disprove the idea that a secretary to a
division commander never sees the front lines.
Sergeant Krippner, son of Mrs. M. Krippner of Lake Nebagamon, is secretary to Major General Edwin P. Parker, Jr., Commanding General of the Seventy-Eighth "Lightning Division," which stepped off on a new attack, south of Aachen, late in January.
With Private First Class Frank Sapko of Sabraton, West Virginia, a division headquarters driver, he was sent to observe the 310th infantry regiment's "kickoff." Lieutenant Byron H. Spielman of Minneapolis and Sergeant Krippner phoned back a play-by-play account to the general.
"Walking to our observation post, just before the attack, we passed through groups of our infantrymen," Sergeant Krippner related. "They all seemed tense but resigned. Not a single word was spoken. When they stepped off, they encountered very little opposition. They advanced over a hill, bypassed several pillboxes, and then returned to take them.
"Our supporting artillery was marvelous," he said, "although its detonations deafened them and must have terrified the Germans.
"You could hear it whistle overhead; then a huge flame with snow and dirt flying every which way—then a terrific crash.
"The Nazis, endangered by the shells, were the most panic-stricken individuals you ever laid your eyes on. They would scurry here and there, first in one direction, then another, and many would fall over each other in a confused scramble.
"Enemy pillboxes felt the crash of artillery and tank shells. Many Germans wriggled out of them with their hands in the air, before a single shot was fired," he noted.
"We don't know just what did happen but, in many cases, we saw American doughboys approach the installations and, a few minutes later, out would come the Nazis."