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War Hero of Two Nations. Amazing Story!

Article about: That's a super interesting story hey.Thanks for taking the time to post it. Deserves a read so say us all. Cheers

  1. #1

    Default War Hero of Two Nations. Amazing Story!

    This might have been posted before, but I had never seen it and I am sure many of you will be interested in this story.

    The following is from Wikipedia:

    Joseph R. Beyrle (August 25, 1923 - December 12, 2004) is thought to be the only American soldier to have served with both the United States Army and the Soviet Army in World War II. Born in Muskegon, Michigan, Beyrle graduated from high school in 1942 with the promise of a scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, but enlisted in the army instead.

    Sgt. Beyrle in Ramsbury, 1943

    Upon his enlistment, Beyrle chose to become a paratrooper, joining the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne's "Screaming Eagles" division, specializing in radio communications and demolition, and was first stationed in Ramsbury, England to prepare for the upcoming Allied invasion from the west. After nine months of training, Beyrle completed two missions in occupied France in April and May 1944, delivering gold to the French Resistance.
    On June 6, D-Day, Beyrle's C-47 came under enemy fire over the Normandy coast, and he was forced to jump from the exceedingly low altitude of 120 meters. After landing in Saint-C˘me-du-Mont, Sergeant Beyrle lost contact with his fellow paratroopers, but succeeded in blowing up a power station. He performed other sabotage missions before being captured by German soldiers a few days later.

    Over the next seven months, Beyrle was held in seven different German prisons. He escaped twice, only to be recaptured each time. Beyrle and his fellow prisoners had been hoping to find the Soviet army, which was a short distance away. After the second escape (in which he and his companions set out for Poland but boarded a train to Berlin by mistake), Beyrle was turned over to the Gestapo by a German civilian. Beaten and tortured, he was released to the German military after officials stepped in and determined that the Gestapo had no jurisdiction over prisoners of war. The Gestapo were about to shoot Beyrle and his comrades, claiming that he was an American spy who had parachuted into Berlin.

    Beyrle as a POW, late 1944

    Beyrle was taken to the Stalag III-C POW camp in Alt Drewitz, from which he escaped in early January 1945. He headed east, hoping to meet up with the Soviet army. Encountering a Soviet tank brigade in the middle of January, he raised his hands, holding a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes, and shouted in Russian, 'Amerikansky tovarishch! ("American comrade!"). Beyrle was eventually able to persuade the battalion's commanders to allow him to fight alongside the unit on its way to Berlin, thus beginning his month-long stint in a Soviet tank battalion, where his demolitions expertise was appreciated.

    Beyrle's new battalion was the one that freed his former camp, Stalag III-C, at the end of January, but in the first week of February, he was wounded during an attack by German Stuka dive bombers. He was evacuated to a Soviet hospital in Landsberg an der Warthe (now Gorzˇw Wielkopolski in Poland), where he received a visit from Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov, who, intrigued by the only non-Russian in the hospital, learned his story through an interpreter, and provided Beyrle with official papers in order to rejoin American forces.
    Joining a Soviet military convoy, Beyrle arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in February 1945, only to learn that he had been reported by the War Department as KIA on June 10, 1944 on French soil. A funeral mass had been held in his honor in Muskegon, and his obituary was published in the local newspaper. Embassy officers in Moscow, unsure of his bona fides, placed him under Marine guard in the Metropol Hotel until his identity was established through his fingerprints.

    Beyrle returned home to Michigan on April 21, 1945, and celebrated V-E Day two weeks later in Chicago. He was married to JoAnne Hollowell in 1946Ścoincidentally, in the same church and by the same priest who held his funeral mass two years earlier. Beyrle worked for Brunswick Corporation for 28 years, retiring as a shipping supervisor.

    Beyrle died in his sleep of heart failure on December 12, 2004 during a visit to Toccoa, Georgia, where he had trained with the paratroops in 1942. He was 81. He was buried with honors in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery in April, 2005.


  2. #2
    ?

    Default Re: War Hero of Two Nations. Amazing Story!

    tks for posting , was unaware of this story....pavel

  3. #3

    Default Re: War Hero of Two Nations. Amazing Story!

    Quote by KradSpam View Post
    After the second escape (in which he and his companions set out for Poland but boarded a train to Berlin by mistake)
    -Getting on the wrong train is always inconvenient, but that's something else!

    Thanks for sharing this, I hadn't heard about him before. He had one Hell of an eventful war! His tenacity and determination is impressive.

    Mat

  4. #4

    Default Re: War Hero of Two Nations. Amazing Story!

    Thanks for posting! I would have loved to have met this man before he died. I wonder if that PPSh and hat were his originals?

  5. #5

    Default Re: War Hero of Two Nations. Amazing Story!

    Fascinating ! He looks a tough son of a gun !

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  6. #6

    Default Re: War Hero of Two Nations. Amazing Story!

    Very interesting story and, as Nick mentioned, he looks like a tough fella especially in that second pic!

  7. #7
    ?

    Default Re: War Hero of Two Nations. Amazing Story!

    Interesting would be an understatement. Thanks for posting.

    He certainly had the 'right stuff.'

    In that POV pic, he quite literally does not look like a happy camper. Looks likes a bulldog about to bite somebody.

    Amazing, that the Russians let him fight alongside them.

    Stalin didnt even trust his compatriots who had been in German POV camps or those who for years had fought as partisans behind enemy lines.

  8. #8

    Default Re: War Hero of Two Nations. Amazing Story!

    Great story!
    Great man!!
    |<
    Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!
    cheers
    |<ris

  9. #9

    Default Re: War Hero of Two Nations. Amazing Story!

    Quote by Scout View Post
    Interesting would be an understatement. Thanks for posting.

    He certainly had the 'right stuff.'

    In that POV pic, he quite literally does not look like a happy camper. Looks likes a bulldog about to bite somebody.

    Amazing, that the Russians let him fight alongside them.

    Stalin didnt even trust his compatriots who had been in German POV camps or those who for years had fought as partisans behind enemy lines.
    ''A face like a bulldog chewing a wasp'' as we say in this part of the world He looks as if he is saying to the prison cameraman with his eyes ''go on turn your back, I'll f****ng murder you.....''

    I'm glad this went down well, when I read it I was blown away. I just happened across the pic of him wearing his combat infantry badge with the unmistakable Russian medals, not to mention the ppsh. This deserves a read says I

  10. #10
    ?

    Default Re: War Hero of Two Nations. Amazing Story!

    Quote by KradSpam View Post
    ''A face like a bulldog chewing a wasp'' as we say in this part of the world He looks as if he is saying to the prison cameraman with his eyes ''go on turn your back, I'll f****ng murder you.....''

    I'm glad this went down well, when I read it I was blown away. I just happened across the pic of him wearing his combat infantry badge with the unmistakable Russian medals, not to mention the ppsh. This deserves a read says I
    Exactly

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