Segment 3


Walter Barnes was sent to pick up some German prisoners. When he got to the enemy troops there were about a dozen of them and they were still armed. Barnes did not have any ammunition so got real tough with them and they cooperated. Barnes shot a few people. He did not like having to do it at first because he was a Christian. Since he was shooting people he thought that God would punish him by having him die in combat and not making it back home. Barnes was never hit by a bullet. Some men he knew shot themselves so they could go home. When Barnes first got to Anzio there were no Germans there. Their positions were not like what are seen on television. They dug slit trenches and two or three men would stay in them. Barnes could not stay in slit trench with them because he could not sleep with someone touching him. The guy Barnes was partnered with was a man named Primo who was as short as Barnes [Annotators Note: Barnes is five feet tall] and built like a rain barrel. While they were in their positions on the front line they could see the Germans and they knew the Germans could see them. They knew that if they shot at the Germans the Germans would shoot back at them. The terrain in Italy was tough. They never passed through any towns and only rarely came across a farmhouse. They just walked and walked. The terrain was very hilly where they were in the western part of Italy. Barnes does not know where he went from Anzio they just kept walking. They did pass through several towns. Occasionally they would take a break. Every three months they would get to take a bath. They would also get three hot meals per day for three days. The men also got furloughs. Barnes took a 15 day train ride. The countryside was beautiful. It was all grass and trees. That was completely different from the area Barnes had come from where it was all rocks and mud. They never slept in tents. They slept on the ground even in the rain and snow and sunshine. When Barnes was at the commissary he made friends with the head cook. The cook knew Barnes could speak Italian so he would get him to go to Italian homes and ask the people living there if they would trade some Italian food for the American GI food they had. Many times they would. Some of the men would throw away their canteens then would later beg for water. Barnes carried two canteens. Sometimes guys would try to steal water from him. When Barnes went on the train trip he found a kerosene lantern. Barnes did not know the difference between kerosene and gasoline. He filled an extra canteen with gasoline and 1 night someone tried to steal a canteen of water from him and grabbed that canteen. When the man took a swallow of the gasoline he choked. Nobody messed with Barnes canteens after that. While they were in Italy they could receive packages from home. The packages could not weigh more than three pounds. His mother knew that he liked the Saturday Evening Post so she would send him three pounds of the Saturday Evening Post. His father asked him what he wanted and Barnes told him that he wanted cheese and crackers. Barnes got three pounds of cheese one month and three pounds of crackers the next month.


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