Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Henry Bardach
BARDACH: Exactly. They had some divisions that were poor divisions. That was our good fortune. There were a lot of young people that had been recruited. Terribly young people, it was criminal. There were guys as young as 16 or 17 thrown into these divisions. They were not unhappy to become prisoners, especially prisoners of the Americans. I mean that was a fair place to go. We interrogated; we tried to match this information with what we possibly had already. We made reports, then immediately we had to advise the divisional headquarters, our regimental headquarters G 2. I used to go with them directly. That was also a very tricky business because we had to try to figure out where there was greater resistance and who they were and what they were. That was quite unnerving because we would be talking with a captain of a battalion or even a company, then they would go a few hundred yards down the pike, the hedgerow, all very narrow paths. The next thing we knew we heard the guy had been shot and killed. It was pretty difficult because obviously you can't tell a person you won't get killed. Moving intelligence is not an easy task when the enemy is shifting things around all the time. I feel that it was a useful function. There were many reasons why we succeeded with the invasion, but I think the enormous resources we brought to bear, the good preparation, the enormous resources of manpower and logistic backup that was incredible. The work of the backup, the intelligence, all of these functions, we were a big country and we had the resources. In some ways we were almost luxurious in our ability to do things; I think that helped a great deal. The other side of the coin, we had a tremendous amount of flexibility. Generally speaking, in American society we like to delegate; we don't try to keep control. A good corporation president probably tries to delegate things, and I think that Eisenhower was quite right to give the different corps commanders and division commanders a considerable amount of flexibility. Once the objective was laid down, then to meet that objective, you could even depart from some of the guidelines and do things slightly differently if that was in the interest.
Q: I want to go back to you.
BARDACH: The Germans didn't have that. That was my point. The Germans had to take everything back, and then you remember the famous story; they called Hitler.
Q: They wouldn't even wake him up for awhile. Then he withheld the 21st army or something up around the Pas de Calais. Henry, I want to move rather quickly through the rest of the war. I did want to catch this particular thing. Could you cover rather briefly the rest of the military experience except if you got involved in the Market garden and all of that.