I led my men from
the C.47 plane over Normandy on the night of 5/6th June, 1944.
We landed in
fields. Each of the fields in this area of Normandy was not more than 50
yards square and was outlined on all 4 sides by hedgerows.
consisted of a berm of earth about 3-feet thick and 3-feet high. On top of
the berm were thick bushes growing to a height of between 6-10 feet. In
addition to this, each berm had drainage ditches on both sides about 2
What we found were
thousands of little fields, each an island unto itself. Men could be
fighting and being killed in one field and men could be resting in the
We heard the sound
of German voices coming towards us. We ducked down into a drainage ditch
along the hedgerow and waited for them to pass. Unfortunately for us they
did not pass.
Just on the other
side of the hedgerow I heard the unmistakable sound of a machine gun being
set up, the snap of the tripods being extended and the sound of the bolt
going back and forth as the ammunition belt was fed through.
It appeared that we
were in the middle of a German platoon.
We could hear them
talking quite clearly just on the other side of the hedgerow.
What do we do?
There was no way to
throw a hand grenade through the hedgerow.
We had to whisper
I thought that we
could sneak out of our position, but when we tried to move the dried
brambles and weeds would crackle loudly and we could the Germans saying
"VAS IS LOS?" German for "What was that?" and we would freeze.
I recalled from our
briefing back in England that the troops landing on the Normandy coastline
would relieve us by D+1, so I figured we would just stay put until the
Germans were forced to move. But the seaborne invasion didn't make it to
us as planned.
friend almost got his hand stepped on by a German who was apparently going
to a platoon outpost on our side of the hedgerow. My fiends hand was on
the edge of the ditch in which we were hiding and suddenly 2 legs went by
Our days and nights
were spent huddled together. I was sure the Germans would be driven out by
our forces momentarily, so we waited.
We lived on a
little water and D-Ration chocolate bars. It was 3 nights before we
finally heard the Germans packing up to leave.
Making sure they
were gone, we left our hiding place and proceeded down the hedgerow until
we came to a road.
After checking my
compass for an easterly direction, we started out and shortly ran into our
own forces. It was a tense confrontation as every one was a bit jumpy.
I parted company
with my pathfinder friend and never saw him again.
I found only 5 men
from my platoon, Albertson, Benthin, Hicks, Hunt and White. From then on
the 3rd platoon of 5 men and one officer was the point for A
I am so proud of
these men who were exposed to the first fire of every engagement.
They were always
there, brave, courageous and bold.