We landed in
Holland, and I remember the fighting was pretty fierce at times, but the
part that made the greatest impression on me was the action after we had
The soil was quite
sandy, so the digging went well, but the sand was to haunt us later as the
sand was constantly getting into the working parts of our weapons.
During the first
night on a hill, we were on edge with every rustle in the bushes.
We knew we had to
conserve our ammunition, but intermitted gunfire went on all through the
night as no one was about to take the risk of the enemy, using the cover
of darkness to regain possession of the high ground.
When the morning
came, noises of motorized equipment came from the bottom of the hill and
voices shouting as in readiness for an attack. Then came the mortar fire
on our positions, and we were sure this was the cover for the follow-up
One of the shells
hit close by and sprayed our foxhole with sand. On my next attempt to fire
my rifle, I found it to be jammed. This appeared to be the end for me. I
was suddenly useless to help defend our position.I was sure that this was
the end for me.
My one last chance
would be my hand grenade, which I jerked from my harness and stood ready
for the exact moment. If I went, then at least one German was going with
I pulled the pin
and removed the tape from around the grenade handle.
I crouched in my
foxhole waiting for the moment when I could see the whites of their eyes.
Well, the Germans
never got that far, and there I was, stuck holding a hand grenade with
only the pressure of my hand to keep it from exploding.
quieted down, I was able to salvage the tape and use the safety pin from
my ammunition bandoleer to temporarily replace the lost pin.