Melvin F. Thomason; CW-4 retired. At the time was a PFC in Company G-335th Regiment, 84th Division
I was with the 84th Division in 1945, 10 April. At approximately 3 a.m. I was approached by Capitan Price, the G-3 of the 2nd Battalion, and he asked if I would volunteer to take a German First Lieutenant â€“ I believe company commander of a unit in Hanover, Germany â€“ to his company and ask for its surrender. I then picked a volunteer patrol of about ten men to cover me and proceeded to walk with the German prisoner to his unit at Hanover. I was ordered not to do any shooting unless it was absolutely necessary. However, on the way out of the darkness a German soldier appeared and spoke quickly to my prisoner. I believe the prisoner stated, â€œTell them that the Americans are coming.â€ The German soldier then ran off.
At 5 a.m. we were nearing a bridge on the outskirts of Hanover when I saw several German soldiers in the thick fog. As we neared the German soldiers, my prisoner broke away and yanked the rifle out of my hands. I was approximately 15 ft. from the soldiers at this time and they instantly brought the rifles to their shoulders and fired at me. I hit the ground and scrambled into a ditch on the side of the road near a brick house. At that time my patrol commenced firing on the enemy, which helped me to escape. Having crawled up the ditch near the brick house I met a radio operator who was part of the patrol. I borrowed his weapon and started firing at the enemy. I hit at least 11 of them, and then retreated to a paint shed attached to the brick house, which had been a chicken coop in the past.
Once I was inside the only way out was through the same door I came in. As the Germans were firing at me, the bullets were hitting the tops of paint cans, but just missing me by fractions of an inch. One, however, grazed me on the left wrist but did not require medical attention. I left the shed and emptied my rifle at the nearest Germans. I then ran into the house and reloaded. I met an H-Company man who was ready to call in 88 rounds on the Germans. Some of the German soldiers had been wounded by the 88s, although most of them had been killed previously by me and my patrol. We then went on towards Hanover and from behind a hedge appeared several German soldiers. I instinctively fired and luckily hit a German soldier in the head, and the rest of the Germans were quickly overcome by my patrol. There were only three serious wounds in my company on that occasion, one being the company commander, who was shot though the wrist. A few others just had negligible wounds. Being that I was point man for the 2nd Battalion at the time and had volunteered to take a German officer into Hanover to accept the surrender of his company, I was written up for the Silver Star but never did receive it. Another member of the 84th, who had been a historian, told me that shortly after this â€“ the end of the month in April â€“ the Germans made a large counter-attack and all the 84th Divisionâ€™s records were destroyed, and this is what most likely happened to my Silver Star.