Bill hit the
ground in France on June 6th, 1944 at about 1.30 a.m.
I landed in the
hedgerow country, farmland divided not by fences but by
hedgerows bordered by deep ditches and topped with thick
foliage. Seldom exceeding 50 yards in length, these fields give
the country side a quality of sameness which makes navigation,
especially at night, difficult.
Our job was to cut
off the Cherbourg peninsula to stop Hitler's Panzer troops from
reinforcing the beaches. We were to take the crossroads and the
town of STE. MERE EGLISE.
Bazooka's, 37 mm cannons, an Ml-1 rifle, a land mine between our
When you jump, you
have a main chute on your back, your knapsack in front with your
reserve chute on top of that. In my case as operations Sergeant,
I had a map case on one leg and a knife on the other. My rifle
was on my back, broken down into 3 parts, receiver, stock, and
It was a beautiful
night, but when I jumped I landed in a field all by myself.
The Germans had
what we called a bouncing Betty mine, they would bury them and
if you hit one, it would jump up from the ground and explode.
I was scared to
death I'd land on one.