Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Masao Watanabe Interview
Narrator: Masao Watanabe
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 19, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-wmasao-01-0030

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TI: Just some background information. In your platoon, what was your role? What role did you play in the platoon?

MW: Well, I transferred from one platoon to another, and I started off as an ammo carrier for motor squad, and then I transferred to a rifle squad as a BAR man. And I think after the first several months, we weren't as closely defined as this first scout or BAR or whatever, we... like up in the Vosges, we did a lot to pick up machine pistols or something, and our little squad might have three machine pistols and one BAR. I had a BAR, but as powerful as they were, oh, just a little dirt or water, they would jam up. I mean, they were too heavy and cumbersome, whereas the machine pistols were very light.

TI: And these were the German machine pistols that you would pick up?

MW: That we picked up. And we had our submachine guns, you know, our .45s, and I don't know. We became ordinance men. [Laughs] We would pick up things and if it suited us, we'd use 'em.

TI: So pretty soon in the course of the war, you would have...

MW: Different weapons.

TI: ...a lot more fire power and different weapons than you were first issued when you first got there.

MW: Like I remember we'd leave things with the headquarters, which was back with jeeps and everything, and go pick 'em up if we needed 'em. So it was kind of a flexible thing. It wasn't cut and dried, like training. Like in Italy, when we first started, I guess this is a good explanation. The fighting was from hill to hill, and in the Vosges it was from tree to tree. You know, it's a world of difference, the type of fighting. And so you can't use the training from one to suit the other. So I think we were observant enough to do what had to be done or the best way of doing it. Does that explain it?

TI: Yeah, it does.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.