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SHELLED - 1 OCTOBER 1944
(excerpt from a letter)
I remember the circumstances of the deaths of [Clyde] Fisher, [George] Hartman, [Martin] Jones and [Richard] Thomas clearly and have written about it in Devil's Tale. I did not tell my own experiences in The Devil's Tale so I will relate my own experiences during the night of Oct. 1, 1944.

These men were all in the communications platoon of Regimental Headquarters Company of the 508th Parachute Infantry regiment. The Company was made up of specialized units. I was in demolitions, 2nd Section, assigned to work with the 2nd Battalion. We had just been moved from the 2nd Battalion area of the front to a bivouac area for Reg. He Co. We prepared foxholes for sleeping in the area. We make foxholes for 2 men to lie full length, and deep enough for our bodies to be lower than the ground around us.

This is just a speculation: During the day of Oct. 1. I saw a man dressed like a monk in a brown robe, with hood over his head, walking near our area. I often wondered if that man were a German in disguise, spying out our area.

The communication section had the telephone switchboard for the whole regiment, with connections to company and battalion headquarters in the company area.

On the night of Oct. 1, 1944, our demo section laid a minefield in front of the 2nd Battalion line. A truck loaded with the antitank mines was parked on the backside of a hill. The open field between our troops and the Germans was on the front side of the hill facing the German lines. My job that night was carrying mines from the truck over the hill to the minefield. We carried 2 mines in each hand, a total of 80 pounds for each trip. We worked very fast. I estimated it took us four to five hours transporting the mines.

Our Lt. Hardwick led us back in the dark to our company area and my partner, [Robert] "Little Car" Austin and I took off our boots and helmets and put them on the side of our foxholes and went to sleep. Sleep came easy after the hard night's work.

Before daylight a terrific artillery bombardment hit our area. A piece of shrapnel took the rubber heel off one of my boots; Austin's helmet had a hole in it, but neither of us was hurt. The telephone switchboard was damaged and four communication men were killed. I did not know the men killed personally. In getting info for my book, I was told that Thomas was called "Red".

Two demo men, Harry Hudec and John Danko, were assigned to remove the bodies from the area.

Sincerely, Zig Boroughs

 

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