Private Frank Anthony Kobilis
Unit : Company C, 180th Infantry Regiment, 45th Division.
Camps : Stalags IIB and XIIA.
Frank Kobilis, from Pennsylvania, joined the US Army on the 3rd June 1943 and was discharged on the 19th November 1945. During this time he was awarded the Bronze Star, three battle ribbons including one spear head for an amphibious landing, the POW medal and the Combat Infantry Badge. He died in 1988. The following is the diary that he kept of his experiences in Europe.
I was a prisoner of war for 205 days. That's about 10 years off my life.
March 13, 1944
I got on the boat for Europe.
April 4, 1944
I landed in Palermo Sicily.
April 8, 1944
I went from Palermo Sicily to Messina Sicily.
April 10, 1944
I left Messina and went to Italy.
April 15, 1944
I got off at Caserta Italy at a replacement Depot.
May 1, 1944
I left Caserta Italy and went to Anzio beach head.
May 10, 1944
I had my first experience in combat.
May 23, 1944
The great drive for Rome was on.
May 26, 1944
My Company got in the great drive for Rome.
June 5, 1944
We were pulled off the line after Rome was taken.
June 5, 1944 until August 12, 1944
We took amphibious training for the invasion of France.
August 13, 1944
We got on the boat headed for France.
August 15, 1944
We made the invasion of Southern France.
September 28, 1944
I was captured by Germans in St. Helena France. That was the worst day of my life.
October 5, 1944
I went to Strasburg Germany, to a prison camp. It was a horrible camp. This was the first of my prison career. What a life.
October 15, 1944
I left Strasburg and went to Limburg Stalag 12A, it was almost unbearable on the train and when we went to Limburg, I just about died from the sight of the camp.
November 2, 1944
We left Limburg and went to Stalag II B in Hammerstein. The trip was also unbearable. I just about went nuts on the train. I also got my right foot froze so I couldn't walk on it. We didn't have a thing to eat or drink for 7 days and 6 nights. I also only had a little field jacket to wear. It was way below zero.
November 9, 1944
We arrived at Hammerstein. This place was a little better. We at least got some clean cloths and Red Cross packages.
November 16, 1944
I was put on a work Kommando in Stalag.
November 23, 1944
Thanks Giving. We had a big bowl of soup and worked like hell. It snowed about 15" deep.
December 2, 1944
I knew your birthday was somewhere in December but I didn't know when, but I thought of you all day dad.
December 19, 1944
I knew your birthday was then Johnnie (his brother). I wondered if you were in the Army or Navy. I prayed so you wouldn't have to go. I don't want you to go through what I did.
December 25, 1944
Christmas Day. How homesick I was this day and I just about cried all day but we got a Red Cross package and Christmas package. God bless the Red Cross.
February 19, 1945
We started out on the "Black Hunger March".
March 8, 1944
My birthday. 20 years old, still marching. We got 1 slice of bread and 25 men on a pound of butter, what a birthday. This was one of the better days we had.
April 12, 1945
"The Day of My Liberation" The happiest day of my life!
April 17, 1945
I left Germany and came to France. How glad I was to get out of that "God Forsaken Land"!
April 27, 1945
I am hoping to get on the boat headed for the "U.S.A". I am hoping and praying to see you all soon.
April 29, 1945
I moved from the processing area to the shipping area. I expect to get on the boat tonight some time, headed for the good old U.S.A. I'm hoping anyway.
April 30, 1945
Got up at 2:00. Loaded on a ship and went to South Hampton England.
May 1, 1945
Started out for the good old U.S.A. Hope I arrive safely. Hope to see everyone at home soon.
May 3, 1945
On my way we came in contact with German subs about 4 times.
May 9, 1945
Still going but its pretty rough sailing.
May 15, 1945
Arrived in Sunbury awaiting family to come and take me home.
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