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-01-0031

<Begin Segment 31>

TI: When you think of both Italy and France, was there a particular battle or mission that you participated in that sort of sticks out in your memory as being memorable, anything about either...?

MW: Gee, there was quite a few. But like when you say memorable, you mean the most effect that it might have had?

TI: Well, let's start with you personally. I mean, that affected you most personally. And then we can talk about some of the other battles that were perhaps strategic in the sense of history.

MW: Okay. I'll give you a little example of both. Up in the Vosges, here we were armed with these little sub-machine guns and machine pistols. And, oh, first you have to understand there is different types of patrols -- combat patrols, recon patrols -- and we were on a reconnaissance patrol. But our squad was down to like seven or eight. And I think we had an idea of where the Germans were. So we kind of circled it and we were trying to find out where, which way to go. And lo and behold we came on a company, a whole company, of German soldiers eating lunch, of all things.

TI: And how large would a company be approximately?

MW: Well, like our company was roughly 200 soldiers. I think they were down to about 150 or 140, something like that. But I think both Germans and Americans were down quite a bit in the Vosges. We were down to maybe six or seven to a squad. But we saw them and they were talking and having lunch, and we got our positions just in case something happened. But in that particular case, I know our lieutenant, or the squad leader, felt, "Gee, we can't be attacking them." They had so many more. But we had taken the positions.

TI: Well, I was just doing the rough math. I mean, about 140 of them and about seven or eight of you, it's about a twenty-to-one difference.

MW: Gee, you're pretty sharp. [Laughs]

TI: And so...

MW: Yeah. We thought, gee, the odds weren't too good. Even if they were sitting on their helmets eating lunch. You can only do so much. We were on a recon patrol, reconnaissance patrol, not a combat patrol, so the function of the patrol itself precluded us really from attack.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.