Woodbury County

Sgt. Lloyd S. Pocock




German Pillboxes Elaborate Setups, Yet Captured with Surprising Ease

Sgt. Pocock, Sioux City, Describes Hidden Fortresses

A detailed description of a German pillbox which Sgt. Lloyd S. Pocock gives in a letter to his parents Mr. and Mrs. L.G. Pocock, 2526 Center Street, contains surprising information as to the elaborateness and completeness of these forms of fortification about which Americans read so much and about which they know so little.

“This underground fortress is like hundreds all over Germany", writes Sgt. Pocock, describing a captured pillbox. “It is made of thick concrete and 98.9 per cent of it is underground. There are a couple of round enclosures protruding from the ground and slips therein through which is scan a 360-degree area. Machine guns may be fired in any direction. Mortars also have command of a large space.

“But here are the more surprising discoveries. This pillbox has three floors, and each story is eight feet high. It will house 32 men. There is a kitchen, a mess hall, sleeping quarters, showers, storage space for food and ammunition to last for months. It is electrically lighted and heated. The equipment includes an intricate telephone system, two large diesel engines to manufacture the pillbox’s own power and electricity, a ventilating system, a refrigerating system, and a multiplicity of scientific gadgets too technical to describe.

“This pillbox contains 35 or 40 rooms, connected by hallways, which can be sealed off at various intervals by thick steel doors. Entrance from the outside also can be prevented by a watertight steel door, and there is a contrivance for neutralizing the effects of poison gas.”

Sgt. Pocock preceeds to comment on the “astounding fact” that, despite such elaborate preparedness, many pillboxes were taken by the Allies with ease after light opposition.

The sergeant is with the office of the inspector general of the 14th armored division.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, April 19, 1945