Philip Mack
Patton's 3rd Army

By: Samantha Mack

My grandfather Philip Mack died before I was born so I never met him. Even though I have never met him I feel like I know him really well by the stories I hear from my father, who I interviewed. Philip entered World War II at the age of twenty- five. He was born on January 3, 1917. He was married before he went into the war. He ended up not seeing his wife for four and a half years.
Most soldiers only had six weeks of boot camp but my grandfather has eleven months. He fought with General Patton's 3rd army. In the war he was a combat engineer. He was a specialist with the bazooka and took out enemy tanks and enemy positions. He also defused bombs, mines, scouted, and planted bombs.

He told my father that the worst thing to be in the army was a flame thrower and to be in the tanks. Flame throwers and tanks were the first things to be taken out. When the tanks were blown up many soldiers got stuck in them and burned to death. " When the tanks got blown up you could smell the burning bodies for miles. It got stuck on their clothes and made many soldiers feel sick", my father was explaining to me.

This is a picture of American soldiers marching in the cold
weather during the Battle of the Bulge

 The biggest battle he was in was the Battle of the Bulge. His army was already in a battle but had to pull out and march 100 miles in the winter. In the battle they ran out of supplies so it was hand-to-hand combat or knife fighting. This was a big battle for my grandfather because most of the battle was hand to hand combat and he got wounded and still kept on fighting. Since they ran out of supplies and food his army had to kill a deer for food. After they ate it they found out that the deer had been pregnant so many of the soldiers got very sick and still had to fight.

My grandfather was also on the last bridge to Germany, defusing a bomb so his army could cross over. While he was defusing the bombs a buzz bomb came flying over and hit the side of the bridge. He and a few other soldiers got blown off the bridge. He ended up getting really wounded. He had a detached retina, all of his teeth were blown out, and he had shrapnel in his leg  " When I was a kid I use to have to pick the shrapnel out of his leg because his socks got stock on the pieces that were sticking out", my father said. He refused treatment in a hospital because he did not want to be separated from his platoon since they had been together for so long. His best friend was in his platoon. My
grandfather's best friend  in the war was an Apache Indian who taught him how to cover up in the smallest pot hole in the street and in the grass so you could not be seen. He taught my grandfather how to stay alive.

This is a picture of a buzz bomb that hit the bridge that my grandfather was on.

His troop was the first troop was to get into many areas. They were the first into a Jewish concentration camp in Austria. "He flung the doors open in a warehouse and saw dead bodies piled up from the floor to the ceiling". His army was moved right out and the rest of Patton's army came in and took over. His army was also the first troops into Goerings house in Austria's Alps. Goering was Hitler's right hand man. "My dad said that Goering had the largest wine collection he had ever seen."

At the end of the war instead of getting shipped home right away, my grandfather had to start training with the German soldiers  in Austria. They started training  because they believed that they were going to fight the Russians. Since that never happened, he was shipped home. Out of 168 men only 72 made it home. " When my father had his first heart attack at the age of 62, he turned to me and said the war had finally caught up to him." He died on August 6, 1982 at the age of 65.


Mack, Samantha. Interview on February 26, 2004

Slayden, William. " A World War II Experience". 1 Mar. 2004.

"V-1 Buzz Bomb". 5 Mar. 2004

"A World Of Tanks". 5 Mar. 2004