The snapshot shows the 1st Platoon of C Company, 134th Inf Regt on March 11, 1945, the morning after a sharp fight with Nazi paratroopers to take Geldern, Germany, a key terrain feature critical to the Rhine River crossing. Hitler had ordered his troops in the vicinity to hold to the death and thus, prevent the Allies from crossing that vital barrier.
The morning weather was pleasant and springlike compared to the severe winter we had just experienced. That may have prompted all the smiles you see. (That or the Lieutenant's order to "Smile".)
The photo was taken by the 1st Platoon leader,1LT John Hein with a captured camera. He was standing on the back of a 2 1/2 ton truck as evidenced by the shadow. I believe he sent the exposed film home and his family had it processed and sent the prints back over. I can't recall whether I was just lucky to get one or enough were made for all. After the war I had mine enlarged and carefully framed.
Although we all knew each other well, I can ID only a few after all these years:
Front row from left: S/Sgt Ted Blusewitz, the platoon guide; unk.: Pfc's Ed Brown & Dick Holland, scouts.
Second row: Pfc Bob Hoge, Pfc Lefty Brown, Pfc Tuck Brown; riflemen. unk.
On the extreme right: Pfc Carl Giese, medic.
In front of the brick wall smiling: Pfc Fred Froelich, rifleman
Upper left, in front of the jeep, smiling: the late Sgt. Chester Majewski, assistant squad leader.
Thanks to Pfc. Ed Brown for this photograph and information. Anyone who wishes to contact Pfc. Ed Brown can write to him at the following email address firstname.lastname@example.org