Kenneth Madden
Kenneth Madden

Service Record

1941-1969 • Enlisted • Army • 105th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion • England; Scotland; North Africa; Italy; Pennsylvania; New York; Delaware • Brigadier General

Transcript

Thomas Healy:

Are you ready?

Kenneth Madden:

Ready.

Thomas Healy:

Okay. Now, also, nobody’s going to hear me in the final product.

Kenneth Madden:

I see.

Thomas Healy:

So when I ask you a question sort of try to answer the question with the question. Like, I was born on December of whatever, I lived at, I was born in the city of whatever, my parents were who. Okay. So, first of all, it’s real easy. It’s your full name and spell your last, please.

Kenneth Madden:

I’m Kenneth Cromwell Madden, M-A-D-D-E-N.

Thomas Healy:

And you can tell these in stories, too, not just questions.

Kenneth Madden:

Okay.

Thomas Healy:

There’s actually three questions altogether one: When were you born, where did you grow up, who your parents were, what did they do, and if you had any brothers or sisters. So you can just say I was born —

Kenneth Madden:

Oh, I was born in Pennsylvania, in a little — in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Orbisonia was the nearest town. My father was Charles Alfred Madden. My mother was Elsie Cromwell and then Madden. I had four brothers and three sisters. Four of us were in World War II at the same time. The fifth brother was in the Korean War. I just had a birthday just last week, turned 87. Never thought I’d live this long, but here I am.

Thomas Healy:

So you were born in September —

Kenneth Madden:

September 20 of 1917.

Thomas Healy:

Okay. I’m going to ask you this and repeat it like December 7, 1941, what do you remember about that day?

Kenneth Madden:

Well, that was quite a day. I had friends in Richmond. I was stationed at Fort Eustis, Virgina at that time. And I was a Battery Clerk. I had friends in Richmond, and I had gone up to see them. The interesting thing about Pearl Harbor is that it saved me from being court marshalled. When we heard that the event had taken place, the friends brought me back to Fort Eustis which Richmond’s about 60 miles away. And when I got there, one of the assistant Battery Clerks said to me, he says: Didn’t you know that you were on duty? I said: No, I didn’t have any notion about that. Well, they were so excited about the whole thing that they forgot about here’s a guy who didn’t show up for duty. But that was the first break I really had in the Army that got me out of a lot of trouble.

Thomas Healy:

So tell me a little about you went in, how did you get in the service, why’d you go in the service.

Kenneth Madden:

Well, I had been a school teacher for two years prior to the war. And when we registered for the Draft in October of 1940, I got my call to report for duty before Christmas of that year. But since I was teaching school, the Draft Board decided to defer me until the summer. In the meantime, I decided I wanted to get a commission. So I went to the Air Corps and took the examination. As I’m standing in line, I looked at the eye chart, and covered each eye. And with my left eye, I couldn’t see the chart. But I memorized it backwards and forwards and passed the examination. When I got to the examining my ears, they said, you know, he says: We can’t take you. He says: You have a bursted eardrum. Well, that really upset me, and I thought all kinds of things. But following that, I went to an eye, ear, nose specialist. And he took that water gun and skirted it in my ear, both ears, and took out about peck of dirt, I guess. And he says: There’s nothing wrong with your ears. But I didn’t go back to the Air Corps because I knew they’d catch me sooner or later. In the meantime, I got glasses because I realized that I wasn’t seeing that well. I went to the Navy tried to get a commission through them. And they said: We don’t take officers that wear glasses. So of course I was prime meat for the Draft. And so my call came in the summer. And I went in August 23 of 1941, you know, just four months before Pearl Harbor; and stationed at Fort Eustis, well, that’s Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Thomas Healy:

Now, after December 7, what all occurred? And basically before you went overseas, where did you get to the fight?

Kenneth Madden:

Well, what happened since I was battery clerk I was — that’s an interesting story. I — when I went in the Army, I realized that I wanted to get to some school for whatever advancement I could. And I — in college I’d taken two courses in typing. So I could type, not well, but I could type. And so I thought, well, I want to go to the typist school. They’ll come out of there with a rating. Well, they decided I didn’t type well enough to go to this school. The interesting thing was in late September, there came an order that all those who were over 28 years of age could be separated if they wanted to be. Well, it was interesting, the battery clerk of our battery was over 28. And he was from New York City. And he decided he wanted out. They went to the typing school and said: Hey, we need one of your guys to become Battery Clerk. And they said: Oh, you can’t have these guys; they haven’t finished their course yet. Well, they had to go through the form 20s and find out. Well, they came across this guy Madden; he can type. So the interesting thing is they made me Battery Clerk. And I was promoted to a corporal along with the guys that I had come into the service with long before, that we had finished our basic training. So when the guys were all shipped out to various places around the country, I stayed on as cadre. And in that situation I was privy to all the mail that came in. And I saw: Hey, there’s an OCS class starting over at Fort Monroe. And so I applied for it and was accepted. And so I went to OCS in January and finished in April 17 of ’42. I’ve often thought about that experience. We did — it was, of course, antiaircraft courses. We spent so much time on figuring the mathematical problem of leads that you would put on an antiaircraft gun in order to hit the target. And so we worked that mathematical problem just day in and day out. And as I learned later, never one course did we have on what is expected of an officer and how do you — what does an officer do. And I was — interestingly, I was assigned to — well, I was assigned to Camp Euland, Texas. And when I got there I was put in a battalion, but a unit, the 105th Coast Artillery Battalion, was getting ready to ship out. And the battalion commander had the privilege of interviewing the 17 of us who came from my OCS class. Well, he picked four of us to go with the battalion, which, of course, was to me was a tragic kind of thing because I’d just been married three weeks before that. And here I was already being sent out. But back to my story now about being an officer, I was assigned to a battery and, of course became a platoon leader. My sergeant knew more about the Army than I did. He knew about the gun. He knew — When we went on the first bivouac, I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. I was just as dumb as if I had not been in the Army at all. And so consequently I had to lean on him for almost everything that we did. I had a battery commander who — I’ll tell you another story about him — when he would tell the officers what he wanted done, we would go to our sergeant and say: Sergeant. And the sergeant would tell me: Well, lieutenant, the captain’s already told us what he wants. And that’s the kind of thing that went on. Well, now to my story. We were sent to England first. And we did a lot of walking because we didn’t have guns yet. We did finally get the 40 millimeter gun which was brand new to us. We had never seen the gun before, before we went overseas. We went up to Scotland to do invasion training. And we knew we were going to go on an invasion someplace; had no idea where it was. The Dieppe Raid had just been pulled off in France, and, of course, it was a tragedy. And so we thought, boy, this is the same thing is gonna happen to us. But we finally got guns. And we went to an area to train on the gun and to fire them to its sleeve. When we came home, we — our battery commander just took off, and he lost our whole battery. We were assigned for administration and supply with the 33rd Field Artillery Battalion which is a part of the 1st Infantry Division. And they called our battery commander in and just reamed him out of one side down the other. Well, when we got back to our battery area — and I have to tell you this. We were in Scotland, oh, probably less than 30 days, and it rained 26 or more of those days. And so there was water everywhere. When we get back to — we thought we were moving, but they returned us to the same place where we had been before to Quonset huts. And my battery commander said to me: Lieutenant, march your platoon back to the barracks. And I said: Yes, sir. So when I went to my sergeant he says: Lieutenant, the captain told us just to march by section route step because we could avoid the water. Well, I said: Well, that makes sense. So we did this. My platoon in sections is marching up to these Quonset huts going around these water holes, and my battery commander came to me. And he said: Lieutenant, I told you to march them by platoon. Well, I tried to explain that, you know, that my sergeant, platoon sergeant had different word. He says: You’re gonna see the colonel tonight. You’re gonna be court marshalled. Well, I reported to Colonel Barns who was the battalion commander of the 33rd Field. He later became lieutenant general at Fort Sill Oklahoma in the artillery. But at any rate, when I reported to him and saluted, and he said: Did you or did you not disobey an order as given? I said: Yes, sir, I did. And he said: Well, you are placed under arrest immediately. He said: Any questions? I said: I assume you mean arrested to quarters? He said: That’s right. Well, the next day our battery commander got up and stood revelry, which he didn’t normally do. And he told everybody in the battery that I was arrested. But they had captain, Captain Brown — I just remembered his name — who was the S2 of the battalion, he investigated this situation and found out that there were only two of us in the battery that the men respected. So as a result of this, the colonel called me back the next night, and when I reported and saluted, he said: Stand at ease, lieutenant. Well, I knew that things were better than the night before. And he said: I’ve had an investigation made. And he said: Any restriction that I placed upon you is lifted immediately. And he said: You’ll be interested to know that we’re shipping your battery commander out. And so we never saw him again. And we later heard that he had reported to a unit that he was with that when we were loading to go on the North Africa landing, that a boom had hit him and knocked him in the water, and therefore he couldn’t go with us. But the truth of the matter is that my court marshal did him in. But now where are we?

Thomas Healy:

Well, you’re still it Scotland. You’re still getting the guns.

Kenneth Madden:

Yeah. But so from there — let me finish the story about my sergeant. We of course got ready for the landing, and we loaded on board ship. And for about two weeks before the African landing, again still didn’t know where we were going. Once we get out in the ocean, the officers were briefed on where we were going. And it turned out we were a part of the 26th Regimental Combat Team under Colonel Stark, the Regiment, 26th Infantry Regiment and the 33rd Field Artillery was the supporting artillery for that particular regiment. And we were to land west of Oran. And the 16th and 18th Regiments were to land at Arzew which was east of Oran. And the big Fort Mirzelgabier(ph) up on the top and the lower fort down below in this beautiful Oran harbor overlooked sort of the landing. Our particular, it was really a rather easy landing. Our ship was hit three times. And an English officer — we were on an English ship — one of the English naval officers was killed, but none of our men were hurt. Most of us were already on land by the time. But then we moved into an area close to Oran but not — just a kind of a holding position. The story that I could tell you about this which again goes back to the kind of training that we had at OCS. And I might say as a matter of fact, the kind of training that all Army officers, we — our battalion got the order to relieve the French who were in command of this Fort Mirzelgabier(ph). And battalion commander calls, my battery commander, my battery commander calls me as 1st Platoon, Madden, you go in and relieve this, the French of this battalion. Well, when I got there, there was this French colonel, you know, with his staff standing there, and when he sees a 1st Lieutenant come up to relieve him of command, you can imagine how the French react. And here’s dumb Americans who don’t know the proper protocol that you should have had at least an officer of similar rank to relieve him, not that they were enemy because they were to become allies of ours. And I’ve often thought about that how — just how dumb that we were. Well, we went from there to defense of an airport, Tafaouri Airport which was just outside of Oran. And they had A40s there and they had some Spitfires. And they had the old P40, an old plane that was really not much good. We had a few P38s, and that was a good plane but not many of them. We were there probably three or four weeks and then we were moved up to Djidjelli, which is in Algiers. Algeria I should say not Algiers. Algiers is a city. And then, we in January we were sent to a forward area airstrip. And that’s where I experienced my first Stuka dive bombers. In those days in Africa the Germans patrolled the skies. You could look up and there was a German plane in the air practically at any time. And we — later on we were given the order we could not fire at German planes unless we were fired upon because they were running around trying to locate our positions. Well, it came to the time when we were in mid February when Montgomery was pushing Rommel from Egypt and on that way from the East, he had to move somewhere so he came to this area. We were driven out of the Thelepte airport. I remember as if it were yesterday how the Air Corps had to run around shooting up planes that were not able to fly at that point because of some malfunction, some part missing. And we shot up barrels of gas so that they wouldn’t fall into enemy hands. And we started retreating and didn’t know where we were going. But we were just told to leave. And when we were down the road a ways I ran into my battery commander. And he says: Pull in here. So we pulled off to an area. And the next day we get orders to go to Kasserine Pass. Well, my being the 1st Platoon again and for some reason D Battery was given the order to provide antiaircraft support right in the pass. The other three batteries of the Battalion A, B and C were somewhere else. And the rest of my battery were to the rear. But I had two guns right — one right in the middle of the pass, one right on the only road out of the pass. Well, it came on Saturday, the 20th of February. And I can remember because I’ll tell you an incident on the 22nd. Colonel Moore, who was the regimental commander of the 19th Engineers, was really in charge of the defense of the pass at that point. And I had one gun right near his headquarters. Well, it became so hot as the Germans were coming, my guys as soon as they get on the gun, the Germans were down in the valley firing on them, and they couldn’t stay on the gun. I tried to get Colonel Moore to let me move the gun to a better location. He says: I want that gun stay right there. Well, later in the day, the engineers were coming down off of the mountainside. And they would go past my gun, and they would say: Oh, I’m the last guy. We’ve all been captured or killed and I’m the last guy. And, of course, that wasn’t the case. But it was our first time that we’d come up against the enemy. I should say now during the day, I had — I went over to visit my second gun. And when I got there here they were leaving. They march ordered the gun. I said: What are you doing? Well, there’s Germans out there. I said: Yeah, that’s why we’re here because they’re Germans out there. So I took them back and put them in position. And without trying to say anything nasty about my platoon sergeant, I realized then that he had gone to pieces. He was with that gun section, and I was with the other gun over in the other, at the mouth of the pass. He just practically went to pieces. Two days later whenever — well, let me stop right there and say, you could look down in the valley. Here were our tank destroyers burning. The Germans had picked off every one of them. I saw this one halftrack come by. It was a command vehicle. And the colonel or lieutenant colonel stopped. And I said to him: Colonel, this is my gun here. I says: Colonel Moore won’t let me move it. I said: What do you think? He says: Lieutenant, this is my last tank destroyer. And he says: We’re going that way. Well, that was enough for me to say, hey, if he’s the last one, the Germans are gonna be here. So I said to our gun march order. Well, we went back then maybe a mile or two, not, you know, just helter-skelter with everybody going to the rear. I met my battery commander a short ways back. And he said: Ken, pull in here, and take up position here. Well, it wasn’t very long until — this is documented — down over the side of the mountain came these what we thought were GIs. And they came and set up machine guns. Only instead of pointing towards the enemy, they pointed towards us and started firing. Well, of course we get out of there as fast as we can. And we didn’t — our particular battery didn’t have any casualties. We went back another area, another three or four miles towards a place called Bou Chebka, which is a kind of a ridge back of Kasserine Pass. And we set up in position there on the 21st of February. And then we were told that we’ve got things pretty well under control, get a good night’s sleep and all this. Well, I went to bed that night. And I had an old GI overcoat. I didn’t take any clothes off. The only thing I took off were my shoes. Well, at daylight the next morning, which is 22nd of February, in through the woods came the Germans with their Burp-guns going. Well, that’s a distinctive sound. If you’ve never heard a German Burp-gun, once you hear it, you know what it is. And they were saying: Americans coming. Well, of course you know it was no — pronunciation of course gave them away. I had gotten awake uneasy for some reason, didn’t have any notion why I got awake. I was pulling on my shoes when this happened. So I ran over, oh, about 10 yards or so and there was this deep wadi. Well, a wadi in North Africa is a deep ditch. So I started down. The Germans came on. I had my platoon sergeant, a section, I had one gun right with me, a section sergeant. And since I had in that general area three guns under my supervision, I had the 2nd Platoon, platoon sergeant, and a corporal, they all four were taken prisoner. Now, my platoon sergeant is one of the guys taken prisoner. Well, it probably was good for him because he just was showing to the men that he just couldn’t quite cope with the situation. But I went down this wadi for a ways and joined up with three or four other guys that were not in my battery; they were infantry. And we just decided we’re gonna sit still. Well, two Germans came and set up the machine gun right at the — up overhead of this wadi. It must have been, oh, as deep, 10 feet or so deep. And they fired intermittently all morning long and into the middle of the afternoon. Now, here we are about six of us sitting there. Any minute I’m expecting they’re gonna drop a hand grenade on us. But never once did they ever look over down into that wadi to see us all there. Well, unbeknownst to us in the middle of the afternoon, the Americans pulled a counterattack, and these guys had moved. And so that night we made our way back to our battery. But as I say, these four guys were taken prisoner. They stayed prisoner all the rest of the war from February 22nd of ’43, and they got out in ’45 in May. And my battalion has a reunion every year. And I saw my platoon sergeant for the first time was 35 years after the incident that I saw him. The other platoon sergeant and the corporal had come, but then they — one section sergeant never came to any of the reunions, and so I never saw him. But all of them are dead; all four of those guys are dead now. But so that was, that was a pretty harrowing experience. We — of course, General Patton came up to take over from General Fredendall. Fredendall had proved that he was not much of a commander. He was 2nd Corps Commander. And Patton was moved from, you know, he made the landing at Casablanca at the same time that we made the landing at Oran and Algeria, Algiers. And so he took command. And from then on — well, let me tell you one other thing. We started taking prisoners then at the end of the African Campaign. And one of the most — well, what should I say — the most — I’m struggling for a word here — things that relieved us of that attitude of the Germans’ superiority, we had all — of course, Germans had been in the war since ’39, you know, here we were brand new at this, we kind of thought that the Germans were supermen. Well, when we watched hundreds of prisoners marching back to the rear, and you see that some of them were no bigger than I am, and some of them wore glasses just like I did, that was a thing that says, hey, these guys are no better than we are. And, of course, the British, you know, thought we were poor, poor soldiers and had no respect for us. But from then on, we never had any cause to say that, you know, that we’re inferior to anybody. Well, the African Campaign of course as you know ended in May, and we were brought back to Algiers to get ready for the next invasion which was Sicily. And we landed — we were part of Patton’s Seventh Army, as you know, he was the commander of the Seventh Army. We — our battery just seemed to be the hard-luck battery all the time. We had taken the worst of it in Africa. On the D-Day of July 10 of 1943 when we landed at Gela, Sicily, I was in an LST, you know, the LST was the one with the doors that open up, and we could drive our vehicles right off. We had the pontoons on the side of our LST so we were the first ashore after the infantry. The Germans were shelling the beach constantly. That was one time when it was worst to be artillery than it was to be infantry. Because the infantry had moved in, and we were on the beach being shelled all the time. We had an air raid about every 15 minutes. There was an FW190 come flying up and down the beach strafing as well as dropping. We had two LSTs. I just read a book about the landing from the Navy’s point of view about the Sicily Landing. And I for the first time rediscovered the name of, the number of my LST, which was number 338. And 338 and 344 — we had unloaded. 344 was now getting ready to unload. There was an air raid came down. They were skip bombing. They dropped the bomb, went over top of the two LSTs, went off on the other side. And the next plane dropped his bomb and hit right in the mouth of the LST. Well, unfortunately the guys had moved the ammunition to the front of the ship getting ready to be unloaded. And the ship caught on fire, you know, exploded, with all the ammunition exploding. That LST was combat loaded with tank destroyers, with our one platoon of antiaircraft, a battery of field artillery, antitank, and several others that I just now can’t come up with. But we had 30 guys, 31 guys on that. 20 of those guys burned to death. Because what happened the few guys who were on the top deck were able to jump off into the water. But the others who were down getting ready in their vehicles to move off, at the ladder that went up to the next deck — I didn’t go out on board ship, but one of the other officers did. And he said there were just body on top of body burned to death. And I can just imagine what happened was that everybody started grabbing and pulling, and I want out, I want out and so. But I don’t know how many men totally — there were over 300 men on board that LST, and I never did hear the real total of how many. But we lost 20 of our 31 guys. That afternoon I was, just shortly after this had happened, I was standing by one of my guns — well, another thing. An antiaircraft battalion came in with the 45th Division which was to our left. We were part again of the 1st Division. And they had a gun near me. This young lieutenant, I say young, he was not much younger than I am, was at the time, he came up to me and he said — we were being shelled pretty heavily then. He says: Does it get worse than this? I said: Well, a few times in Africa we were shelled pretty badly. You know, that guy went back over to his own gun section, took out his .45 and killed himself. You just, you know, you never know who is gonna take it and who isn’t. You know. Many times the littlest guy can show real courage, and the biggest guy can just go to pieces. But at any rate, back to my story. Up the beach came this two star general. And he walks up to me. And of course I saluted. Turns out it was General Ridgway, who was the Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division. Who later, you know, made big time in the Army ranks. And he asked me, he says: Are you aware that there’s gonna be a parachute landing here tonight? I said: No, sir, I’m not. Well, he said: Well, I’d like you to get word to all your units about this landing. Well, unfortunately, as I said, we were getting air raids pretty constantly. At about 11:30 that night, we had another air raid. Well, we — our battalion had learned that we didn’t fire at night because with tracer bullets you didn’t know where you were aiming. And all you were doing was giving your own position away. But the Navy and, of course, you know this was one of the biggest landings, this was the biggest landing in terms of number of ships bigger than the Normandy landing. And so every Navy boat has got a machine gun on it. Well, the Navy was firing so low that bullets were hitting the water and ricocheting. Now, that’s pretty hard to imagine bullets can ricochet off of water but they do. And so wasn’t 15 minutes later that the parachute, paratroopers come in right after this air raid. Well, of course, immediately the Navy and others start shooting. We shot down 22 C47s of our own troops. We never knew that right at the time, but the story later came out. And the Army, not the “Army Times” but — what was the newspaper — “Stars and Stripes.” And we knew about it. But that was a terrible, terrible situation. I later when reading a book on Sicily, and there was an account of General Ridgway coming ashore and asking a young officer if he knew. And I thought, hey, that’s me. And but that was one of the interesting things that happened there. Well, Sicily was not — was a very difficult campaign but it lasted only six weeks. And we of course you know Patton and Montgomery were both trying to get up to the juncture with Italy the fastest. And Patton eventually beat him, but at a pretty good cost. And then we were to — we came back to the Palermo area in Sicily and knew we were getting ready for another invasion. And so we were part of the landing at Salerno on September 9. So Italy we were there from September of ’43 until the war ended in May of ’45. All the time — well, as I said in Africa, all during that campaign, the Germans patrolled the skies, had command. But in Sicily, our Air Force took over. And in Italy, the German Air Force was very badly beaten or depleted. So that, as a matter of fact, we had so many antiaircraft units, that our worst time was just sitting around, just bored to death with nothing to do but just sit on the guns and wait for something to happen. They began in that spring of, and winter, late winter of ’45 to convert antiaircraft units into — well, they turned — they made three battalions into an infantry regiment. And they made engineer battalions out of some. They made quartermaster battalions out of others. We were one of two antiaircraft battalions that stayed antiaircraft, even though we — all of our officers had to take infantry training. And we sweated out becoming infantry up until the very last. Towards the end of the war when we started the Spring Offensive of ’45, we equipped the 37 mm, we had halftracks by then, with a sighting device or a leveling device that we could measure elevation. And we would fire at a point to determine azimuth and then we could also adjust. So we were putting an infantry company with one antiaircraft battalion. And we were just moving 35 to 40 miles a day in those last days of the war. I was on orders to come home, but I didn’t come home until the very — the war ended. And I was to come home on leave, but since there was no need to go back, my orders were changed to stay in the States. But I don’t know whether there’s anything else that I can add. That’s pretty much —

Thomas Healy:

You came back, where did you go?

Kenneth Madden:

Well, when I came back to the States, I came to Fort Dix. And as a matter of fact, they asked me since we had lots of points, we had three landings, which you got points for, you got points for each month you were overseas. I had a Bronze Star, so that gave me points. We had seven campaigns which was the total of all the campaigns in Africa, Sicily and Italy, and so we were high point people. When I got at the processing center in Fort Dix, they said to me: Do you want to be separated? Well, it hit me. But it was such a surprise, I didn’t know quite what to say. And I said: Well, I guess I do. I don’t plan to stay in the Army all my life. And so they said okay. You can take a five-day leave and come back, and we’ll have your orders ready for you when you come back. Well, I met my wife in New York City. And we — well, I was married in April of ’42 right after I got my commission. We lived together three weeks, and we were separated three years and a week exactly. But so we had a great time in New York City for those five days. I came back to Fort Dix. And when I got there, they said: Well, the Army has changed its mind. The enlisted men are all going to be separated, but we might need the officers in Japan. So I was given a 30-day leave. Went to Fort Sam Houston. That was a great place to be on leave. And then I was sent to Fort Bliss to take over a training battery, of all things here having gone through a war, now we’re back training again; we might have to go to Japan. But in the meantime, I had — there was a platoon commander. In April of ’44 I was made captain. And at the end I was Battalion Executive Officer of the Battalion. And but it was a great, great time, great experience. No regrets that I served. Just oftentimes wonder now that I have read so much about World War II, I don’t know how we really did win that war. When I think of all the mistakes that we made, and with the few troops that we had when we went into Africa. And of course at Kasserine Pass we were just about all wiped out. It was a miracle that we survived that. It was only because of mistakes of Rommel that we really did survive. And see, Rommel was coming from the East. Montgomery was pushing. Von Arnim the other general up in Tunisia, Rommel asked for some of his troops and supplies and ammunition. Well, typical, you know, you can’t have any of mine, you know, I need them all. And so Rommel rather than taking, pressing his advantage when he went through Kasserine Pass stopped and withdrew because he thought that he was overextending his lines of supply. And that allowed us time to regroup. And that’s when Patton, some reinforcements, 9th Division came up. And but we only had the 1st Division and the 34th Division for all of Africa there. And we were just spread so thin that it’s any wonder that — And we really learned how to be soldiers in Africa. And I said earlier that the British after that had to begrudgingly acknowledge that we did have a pretty good fighting soldier by that time, that we didn’t need to take a back seat to anybody.

Thomas Healy:

What would your message be to the future generations about World War II?

Kenneth Madden:

Well, I don’t know, just it’s interesting to read about it, and to learn from the mistakes. And I think to a great extent that we have. As there’s no doubt that the American Army is the greatest Army that the world has ever seen. And I mean we’ve learned how to win the battle, but we haven’t learned how to win the peace. And so again maybe that is — that’s one of the faults of our Army, that we concentrate so much on winning battles that we don’t know what to do once we’ve won it. And of course with hindsight you look at Iraq now. And you wonder, why don’t we have troops along that pipeline to keep saboteurs from setting it on fire? Why don’t we have troops at these different places to protect them? And why did we let the looting and all that went on after we took Baghdad? And again it’s part of our, I think it’s part of our training that we just don’t have that kind of thing.

Thomas Healy:

But interesting I’ve always wondered what, I followed Patton a lot that he was sort of the Babe Ruth.

Kenneth Madden:

Well, you know, I told you about I have my Army reunion. Unfortunately, this year was our last. There were just 15 or so of us there this year and just about as many widows. Many of the widows have been very faithful about coming. And so over the years we’ve talked about Patton. Well, we were under Patton out in Desert Training Center. And he made us run a mile every morning with full packs on. Well, we hated the guy. And then when we got after Kasserine Pass here who do we get as commander again? Patton. And, now, I have pictures of myself. He made officers, we had to wear our necktie all the time. Here I am with my steel helmet on, my pistol on my side and my necktie. Well, we were wearing winter uniforms in Africa. You had to have your sleeves rolled down and buttoned all the time. You couldn’t roll your sleeves up. Guys would ride in the Jeep with their foot up in the, you know, in the cut-out place in the Jeep. His MPs would have you arrested for your foot sticking out, or if you didn’t have the belt buckled there. Now they don’t even have that belt on there, on the Jeeps. But as I say, we hated the guy. You know, it was his — our blood and his guts, you know, was the common expression then. But when you go to the reunion shuck sakes, why, Patton’s the greatest guy that ever lived.

Thomas Healy:

Did you see “Patton”? I mean, did you see the movie “Patton”?

Kenneth Madden:

Yes.

Thomas Healy:

And how close do you think George C. Scott was?

Kenneth Madden:

Very good. Now, let me tell you, I neglected to tell you about an incident after Kasserine Pass. We moved back to — you saw the movie, the big tank battle in El Guettar? Well, there was — before that took place, a group was picked to make a flanking attack on that. There was a battalion of infantry, a battery of field artillery, a platoon of tank destroyers, a platoon of antiaircraft. Now, whose platoon do you suppose it was? Well, mine. I’m the 1st Platoon so the 1st Platoon always gets it. So General Patton and General Eisenhower assembled the group of officers the night before this was to take place and gave us a pep talk. And I can remember that just as plain as if it was today. General Patton had just been promoted to a third star. And Patton says: General Eisenhower has just promoted me. And he says: I need some stars. Well, Italian soldiers all wore stars all over their uniform. And he said: I want you to kill a bunch of those Italian sons of bitches, he says, and get me some stars. And, of course, you knew his language was just that, that way. But I saw Patton. Of course my guns were spread out all over the place, and I visited them every day. And I would see Patton come. And you’d hear the siren blowing on his Jeep. And that meant get out of the way; he’s coming, you know. And so you just pulled off to the side of the road so he could get by. And he was — well, he was the right kind of guy at the right time. And it’s just a terrible thing the way he died. But maybe it was — maybe it was the right thing. I don’t know.

Thomas Healy:

In the car wreck?

Kenneth Madden:

Yes. He probably couldn’t have stood a peacetime occupation any longer.

Thomas Healy:

How do you think he — that’s what I was going to ask you this. With Iraq right now, what do you think his view would have been? What do you think his tactic would have been?

Kenneth Madden:

Well, of course, I don’t think he would allow any of these things to have built up. See, how did we let these, all of these — now here’s this — I can’t think of his name, Sadr, whatever it is, the Shiite Muslim cleric, you know. Now here he’s got, two or 3,000 troops, you know, one place, he would have just smashed them to smithereens. There wouldn’t have been any of them left. And of course that’s just surmising.

Thomas Healy:

How did that happen, Vascal?

Unidentified Videographer:

What?

Thomas Healy:

Any talk of that over there?

Unidentified Videographer:

(inaudible) I have no idea. It’s just a failure.

Thomas Healy:

Was there talk when you were over there about it?

Unidentified Videographer:

No. They just let him go. I was in Iraq last year.

Kenneth Madden:

Oh, is that right?

Unidentified Videographer:

Yeah. Muqtada al-Sadr is the name of the cleric.

Kenneth Madden:

Yeah.

Unidentified Videographer:

I was attending, I was filming a big Friday prayer session where he was just going on just like the Germans like this. We have to kill all the infidels. And guys with weapons are running around and no Americans to be seen anywhere. And they just control at this time I guess they still do control this huge slum, maybe 2 million people in Baghdad. And I think they do live in appeasement politics. They think, well, let’s see maybe they’ll calm down. We cannot anger the Shiites as a group because they were against Saddam. And it’s a lot of thought that goes into it, I guess.

Kenneth Madden:

It’s hard to understand the guy. Here we have really salvaged the Shiites, you know. And the Sunnis were the ones that were the bad guys. And now we’ve made them the major population of the country to be in control. But and then he wants to —

Unidentified Videographer:

There is — I don’t recall his name right now. But there’s the one cleric who’s the most influential Shiite cleric, I forgot his name.

Kenneth Madden:

Yeah.

Unidentified Videographer:

He looks a little bit like this guy in Iran years ago with his big beard. He’s a little older. But he’s very well respected. And he said we are very thankful that is Saddam Hussein’s gone. And he told the Iraqis whenever you see an American soldier tell them thank you for removing Saddam. And when are you leaving our country now? So I think that’s the conflict they have there. It’s a different country. They’re not us.

Kenneth Madden:

Well, yeah, I don’t know how. And I listened to the debate last night, and nobody knows the answer I think to how we’re going to get out of there. But the sooner we get out the better it seems to me.

Unidentified Videographer:

I think they just don’t share our value system.

Kenneth Madden:

No. No.

Unidentified Videographer:

I think it’s kind of a very simple world vision that President Bush has saying that they want freedom. I was in Iraq. And I have been there three times actually. I was in Iran/Iraq War. I was there in the Gulf War and recently. And I met many nice and civilized people. Yet I think they just don’t want to be democratic as we understand democracy. They don’t want this kind of freedom.

Kenneth Madden:

Yeah. Well, it is hard to go from absolute dictatorship to democracy. You got to go in little increments at a time. You can’t go from absolute this to absolute that overnight.

Unidentified Videographer:

It’s so complex. It’s also they want a strong man. And they’re three very distinct groups that hate each other. The Kurdish they had a pretty good time under the No Fly Rule after the Gulf War. They want to remain as independent as they were then. If they would be integrated in a big part of the nation they would also be as minority pretty much worse off than they were currently. Then the Sunni they don’t want to give up all the privileges and all this. And the Shiites have the majority. But they like Iran basically. They like the clerics rule the country. When we them get democracy we want to set the rules. They would vote democratically to not be democratic.

Kenneth Madden:

Yeah, yeah.

Unidentified Videographer:

They don’t want that.

Kenneth Madden:

That’s right. Yeah, I agree.

Unidentified Videographer:

The longer I was there I tell you the less I understood really.

Kenneth Madden:

Well, I tell you, I declare my bias now. See, I thought that Bush last night was just — “It’s hard work. It’s hard work.” That’s what he kept saying: “It’s hard work.” Well, of course it’s hard. But that’s not the point here. We’re talking about what are we doing that — well —

Unidentified Videographer:

I’m German myself. And for I obviously I learned a lot about World War II from the German perspective, and how the Germans were eager that the war was over. Basically they share the same culture as anybody else.

Kenneth Madden:

That’s right.

Unidentified Videographer:

Other than the 12 years where they had this terrible hypnotic —

Kenneth Madden:

Uh-huh, yeah.

Unidentified Videographer:

— kind of Nazi Germany.

Kenneth Madden:

Yeah, but then as the kids in the —

Unidentified Videographer:

Yeah, and then they can fall back in the common culture they share with the whole rest of the world. But all the Arabs, they have the Arab culture which is different.

Thomas Healy:

That’s the same with Vietnam, too. It’s the same way with that. That group had no — I don’t want to say had no respect for life, but it’s that whole life hereafter and could care less, kids, whatever.

Kenneth Madden:

You know, one of the things that I just thought about, when we were in North Africa, of course we called the Arabs A-rabs, you know, A-rab, that was our common expression. And I ran into a young Arab one time, who was obviously better educated than most. And he said to me, you know, some day, some day there will be a reckoning. And I think that they have just such a basic hatred towards Christian world and that so we’re infidels, and they’re going to come out on top, at least that’s their aim. And I just think that we’re hated so much throughout the world that somehow or another, we have got to adopt policies that get us back to being respected for our differences and not that we — that there can be less hate in all of this. How you do that, I don’t know. But I’m sure that — it’s a terrible, terrible world that we live in right now.

Thomas Healy:

Tell me, I am going to divert back to Patton again. He was I guess D-Day, right, for the whole D-Day invasion, he was sort of left out or not left out, he was really ticked —

Kenneth Madden:

Yeah.

Thomas Healy:

Now, what was that about?

Kenneth Madden:

Well, see, see, that all was stemmed from the slapping the soldier in Sicily. And now —

Thomas Healy:

Did that — so that really happened?

Kenneth Madden:

Oh, yes, yes. We didn’t know. We went to a — after the Sicilian Campaign was ended and we were part of the 1st Division attached troops, Bob Hope, Frances Langford and Jerry Colonna had their show over there, and so we were treated to one of the times when they were performing. Well, Patton got up first, and introduced Bob Hope later, but he made a little speech. And he said: You know in times of war, we all make mistakes. He says: I’ve made some mistakes that I regret. And that’s all he said. Now, you know, in the movie when Patton apologizes to the troops here he’s in that castle front and has GIs there all dressed up in their dress uniform and makes his speech, that’s not the way it happened at all. Eisenhower made Patton apologize three times. There was the 1st Division, the 9th Division and the 3rd Division in Sicily. And I think there was The Bob Hope Show at each one of those. And as I say, he never did mention that he had slapped the kid. That only came out in “Stars and Stripes” much later when the thing really blew open in the newspapers. But as I say, at the time we had no idea what he was talking about.

Thomas Healy:

Oh, so you guys didn’t know about the slapping?

Kenneth Madden:

No, we didn’t know about the kid.

Unidentified Videographer:

What he did do? He slapped somebody?

Kenneth Madden:

He was in the hospital, and he was, you know, going around the wounded.

Thomas Healy:

And giving medals out and stuff.

Kenneth Madden:

Yeah. And here he came across this kid lying in the bed. He said: What’s your trouble? Oh, I just can’t take it anymore. And Patton says: You goddamn coward. And he slapped the kid.

Thomas Healy:

Because he had just gone through with all the guys that had lost their legs.

Kenneth Madden:

And you can understand how he —

Thomas Healy:

He gave a whole speech about you don’t deserve to be here with these heroes.

Kenneth Madden:

Yeah, that’s right. And so Eisenhower, of course the press, our own press persecuted Patton, you see, and they tried to find everything they could to —

Thomas Healy:

Can you imagine today?

Kenneth Madden:

— do him in.

Thomas Healy:

Can you imagine today they would have Barbara Walters interviewing him, the kid?

Kenneth Madden:

Yeah, right. But at any rate, Eisenhower had to remove him from any consideration for leading troops. And see, Patton sat out the war for a whole year. See, the war ended in Sicily July 10 so it must have been about the end of August when the campaign ended there.

Thomas Healy:

’45?

Kenneth Madden:

’43.

Thomas Healy:

’43, okay.

Kenneth Madden:

’43. So you see from ’43 to June 6.

Thomas Healy:

’44?

Kenneth Madden:

Of ’44 when D-Day, he had no command, except a paper command to give the Germans — to throw them off thinking that he was gonna make the main landing when he had no command at all.

Thomas Healy:

And literally he had blowup tanks, blowup trucks, rubber. They had they had barracks and everything set up. And they had sound effects with the tanks running and troops training and all this stuff. They had big tents like he was setting up this whole thing, right?

Kenneth Madden:

So after the main landing took place, then Patton was given the Third Army and went into what’s that section of France there —

Thomas Healy:

Bordeaux — not Bordeaux —

Kenneth Madden:

Yeah, I can’t thing of it right now. But at any rate, then he moved of course. And the big thing with Eisenhower and Montgomery, you know, Eisenhower just about fired Montgomery that one time, you know, because of his — he really wanted to control the whole show. And he thought he ought to have been the Supreme Commander.

Thomas Healy:

Patton hated him.

Kenneth Madden:

Oh, yes.

Thomas Healy:

Montgomery.

Kenneth Madden:

Oh, yes. He despised him.

Thomas Healy:

What do you want to do? We’re good. Okay. End

 

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