Original U.S. WWII 106th Infantry Division St. Vith Battle of the Bulge POW Named Uniform Grouping with Interview
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This story will make the hair on the back of you neck stand up. Technician Robert E. McVoy (ASN 32 857 418) was born on 20 April 1922 and joined the Army on 29 April 1943. He was assigned to the 106th Infantry Division. While out on reconnaissance in the small village of St. With during the Battle of the Bulge on December 17th, 1944 he was captured by a German Panzer unit. This is his story, in his own words, which were also recorded in 2015 by the New York State Military Museum and posted on YouTube as seen below:
Kari Ingersoll, a reporter with the Observer-Dispatch sat down with McVoy where he recounted his experience in his own words.
On Dec. 17, 1944, the first day of the Battle of the Bulge, two friends and I were put on Reconnaissance Patrol to find out what the Germans were doing. Due to the bad weather of snow and fog, reconnaissance planes could not do this -- it had to be done on foot. While we were in the village of Saint Vith, German tanks began to come up the street, blowing up house by house. When they came to the house we were in, we ran out and were captured before they blew up the house. I was captured by the Panzer Tank Outfit. That is where I first met Herb Linke. For a number of nights we were marched back into Germany. If you dropped on the march you were shot. I started to drop, but I felt someone grab my hand and say, "You can make it Bob." It was my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. He was with me all throughout my time as a prisoner. We spent our nights in the German pill boxes underground. The American Air Force were bombing these pill boxes. It sounded like rubber balls bouncing on the roof We ate bread made out of sawdust and raw horse meat that had already turned black. We had no heat, the barracks had only a stone floor to sleep on, no bunks. We were issued one blanket and the toilet was a 15-gallon bucket that was overflowed must of the time. A British POW doctor said we would all be dead within a week. We had heard that the Yanks had crossed the Rhine River, we knew they were coming. So did the Germans. They put us in railroad box cars to ship us further into Germany. Our Air Force, of course, saw the train and blew up the tracks and train. The bullets were coming right through the top of the box car.
The Germans unlocked the box cars and started marching us. We were able to escape from the march and hide out in a farm before the Germans saw us. We spent several days there and made friends -- or so we thought -- with one of the farmers. We had picked up another fellow and needed to get him to a doctor. He was in worse shape than we were. We did see a country doctor, but someone -- either the doctor or the farmer -- turned us in and the Home Guard started to look for us. We were able to hide out long enough for the Americans to reach the town. They didn't know we were POWs but we must have looked it. We were loaded into jeeps and taken to the American Army hospital area. I had been a prisoner of war in Germany from Dec. 17, 1944 to March 30, 1945.
Eventually I was discharged from the Army and returned home to work with my dad at the car dealership. Just up the road, George Kingsley, the owner of the Northern Lumber Company, looked through this big book of people who were looking to come to the U.S. He sponsored Herb Linke. Linke was from a lumber mill family in Germany. Linke relocated to just north of Poland. Years later, he stopped in to look at a car. I noticed his accent. I asked if he was in the German Army. Yes, the Panzer Tank Outfit, he replied. I asked, where he was on Dec. 17, 1944. He said St. Vith and so were you. The hair on the back of my neck stood up on end -- like a dog! We got talking, he was the tank commander that captured me. Since then, I have sold Herb several cars and also sponsored him in the Battle of the Bulge Club. As far as I know he is the only German in the club. We've become friends and still see each other often.
What an incredible story! The following items belonged to McVoy during World War Two:
- Class A four pocket jacket with laundry number M-7418. Jacket features 106th ID insignia patch on shoulder and medal ribbons, ruptured duck patch, collar insignia and overseas bars, and technician chevrons. Overall condition is excellent.
- Two cotton khaki Army issue shirts with 106th ID insignia patch on shoulder.
- 4 x Overseas infantry khaki Garrison caps (2 are named with laundry number to McVoy).
- 1 x Green overseas infantry garrison cap.
- 106th Infantry Division history booklet, which mentions St. With on December 17-18!
- Unattached 106th insignia patch
- Binder of research with loads of copies of documentation.
This is truly one of the most moving and well researched groupings we have ever offered. His find-a-grave obituary can be found at this link.
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