|WVM ID Number||OH 232|
|Object Name||Oral History|
|Title||Oral History Interview with Roman Wehrle|
|Event||World War II|
|Narrator's Name||Roman Wehrle|
|Interviewer's Name||James McIntosh|
In this oral history interview, Roman "Bud" Wehrle, a Madison, Wisconsin native, discusses his World War II service with the 4th Battalion, 301st Ammunition Supply Company in North Africa and Europe.
Wherle details enlisting in the Army, training at Camp Sutton (North Carolina), learning safety measures for handling and transferring ordnance, and learning to set up ammunition depots. He describes how General Motors and Buick employees recruited people into ordnance. Wehrle describes the different types of ammunition his unit was responsible for and establishing ammunition depots at Bone and Oran (North Africa). He briefly discusses the 301st Ammunition Supply Company and the Arab and Italian workers it hired. He describes how the ammunition was shipped in color-coded, water-proof boxes or cans. Wehrle mentions a situation where some poison gas shells were accidentally sent to the front lines, but were not used. He discusses interacting with the local Arab population, and he mentions writing the letter home to the wife of a soldier who "shacked up" with a local woman who was a "little too much for him" and who died of a heart attack. Promoted to sergeant, he describes how his responsibilities and privileges changed.
Transferred to Europe, Wehrle comments on establishing depots in Southern France using the labor of German and Italian prisoners of war. He claims, in Italy, mud was a problem and one tractor "tragically sunk out of sight." He details the food situation in Africa and France, saying the food the soldiers ate was practically the same food the POWs ate. Wehrle talks about local kids getting scars on their faces from licking the last bits of food out of C-ration cans, and describes trading gallons of butter for chickens. He emphasizes that prisoners of war could not be forced to work, but were enticed by promises of better food. Wehrle mentions that there were two types of Germans--the drafted soldiers who were good to work with, and the followers of Hitler who would not work. He touches on correspondence occurring between his wife and wives of English soldiers. He briefly talks about being commissioned into a segregated African-American unit in North Africa. Wehrle describes several Midwest soldiers who were caught in an ocean riptide and drowned, and not being able to do anything to help them. One soldier watched his friend get pulled out to sea and then committed suicide with a grenade.
Wehrle relates his preparations for Japan, but then he was sent home on a liberty ship. He describes returning to the job he had before entering the service, paying VFW dues, and meeting his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter after being discharged
|Extent and Medium of Description||
Analog video recording: 1 VHS tape (approx. 55 minutes)
Transcript: 27 pgs.