Assumption Paratrooper Among First To Land In France
Says There Are No Holidays Or Strikes in Their Work
To: Editor, Pioneer.
Dear Edward:- It has been sometime since you've heard from me and I thought a few comments might interest your readers.
I came into France with the first wave of Paratroopers about 2:21 of D Day.
Our flight from our base over the English Channel was calm, but upon hitting the French Coast, anti-aircraft fire and small arms fire followed us all the way to the drop zone.
Our assigned mission was a tough one but we had trained for this for a long time. The Germans were expecting us and had each field and apple orchard hard covered with machine gun fire. I landed in an orchard approximately sixty yards from a German machine gun nest, but to our
advantage, Germans will not come after you at night so I immediately started reorganization however, I soon found that I had landed one mile off so I followed our secondary mission.
By six o'clock about sixty paratroopers were together and this similar thing was happening all over the drop area. Several of my men knocked out a German forward observation post --- drawing first blood. This was the beginning of five days of fighting behind the German lines. We started moving to our objective but lost two men when we were hit by the Germans. This was when we started learning fast. We occupied high ground, set up our defense and told the Jerries to come on. They did --- about twenty times but each time they failed in their attempt to dislodge us.
Paratroop work is similar to guerilla warfare. Each night patrols went out trying to establish contact with our better organized forces, but we were unable to break through. In the meantime we ran out of rations but managed with the help of the loyal Frenchmen.
On the fifth morning the beachhead reached us. We went out to count scores and found 25 dead Germans and several vehicles knocked out. We had lost four troopers and two were badly wounded and were evacuated. Since that time we have joined with all isolated parachute units and can assure you that the Jerries are finding out that the claim of Herr Gobbles, "all paratroops wiped" is one hell of a lie, and
recently captured Germans know that its the little tough boys with high boots and the pants ot many
pockets that chased them across bridges and orchards --- a little faster than they
really wanted to run.
So much has happened that I cannot reiterate enough. Our air has done a wonderful job of destroying the German Luftwaffe.
All day long our planes hover overhead. Jerries' planes are few and far
outnumbers the Germans 20 to 1. Hitler has made fanatics out of his soldiers and more each day, we can see
that we must fight to final victory. Hitler has drawn occupational armies from the satellite countries --- Czechs, Poles, etc., and they are forced to fight as their superior officers are Germans. Yet, many have
The German soldier proper, though, will fight and are plenty tough. But our superiority in force is making him give ground and pay dearly.
The road is still tough --- we have no holidays and strikes here --- we must keep pushing, and will. The morale of the men
--- particularly these paratroopers is good, even though we have not been off, or (behind) the front lines for nearly 20 days.
Once again France is the battlefield, this country reminds me very much of Louisiana
--- rich and fertile. The cattle are good, and the people of France, though victims of the spoils and ruins of war are
happy and content during these days of liberation. They come to us with apple cider (hick,
hick!), butter, milk, cognac and wine.
And now our home front. We are appreciative of what the home front has given us. We feel we are the best fed and best equipped soldiers in the world, and our superiority as a soldier is made only through what has been produced and supplied by our people.
One of the most important items given to us by the people of America is blood plasma. If the donation of one's blood is all that one has been able to contribute to the war effort, I as well as many other troopers respect that man as much as I do the men that leaped into enemy occupied territory on D Day.
We must move toward again tonight, and "forward" could easily be the Allied cry to victory. Keep pulling for us Don't get impatient as we have faith in our higher commanders. They have done a good job.
Do hope news from all the Assumption Parish boys that were in on the invasion is coming in and all are doing their jobs splendidly.
Sincerely, 1st. Lt. Gerald Guillot,
know that our readers will thoroughly enjoy this most interesting letter
from one of our own Assumption boys, 1st. Lt. Gerald Guillot, son of Mr.
and Mrs. Paul Guillot of Paincourtyille. We can't help but admire the
superb spirit of this brave, young paratrooper. And we are sure, all of
us here appreciate his efforts, in spite of holding down one of the most
dangerous positions in any branch of service, to pause and give us
firsthand information of conditions in Normandy.
[The Assumption Pioneer, Napoleonville, LA, 15 Jul 1944, Sat, Pages 1 & 2]