waited until he was in certain range of my Forty-five (I couldnít manage my rifle) and, being sure in the morning
light that he was a Jerry, I let him have it.
Well, that pistol-shot
of mine really touched off the fireworks. While the firing came mostly
from in front of our position, it seemed to me to be coming from every
direction at once. Luckily, the opposition came at us from the very
best angle as far as I was concerned. That is, from the direction in
which I could most easily return fire.
There was a Terrace close up
in front of us (just about good hand-grenade throwing distance) toward
which the Jerries moved, firing upon us constantly. When this battle
started at 6:00 in the morning of June 6th, we had five rifles, five
pistols, a supply of hand-grenades. I could not use my rifle. We had
a good supply of ammunition for the normal expectancy of such an operation
as we had embarked upon; but it was not of siege proportions.
our busy day. Before noon the Jerries had reached the Terrace in some
numbers, just how many I have no idea. For about three solid hours we
played a game. They were trying to mount machine guns on top of the
Terrace so they could blast our position. Every time they put one up,
we knocked it off. And, we were knocking off plenty of Jerries all the
Well, about 1:00 P. M. our ammunition was running low and we
were trying to stretch it out as far as possible. The boys were lobbing
hand-grenades just over the Terrace with telling effect. Iíve often
wondered just how many of those Huns we did pick off that day, but Iíll
Anyway, at 1:30, just when the folks back home would be
starting out to the shows, the Jerries succeeded in placing a machine
gun upon the Terrace. Then they gave us the works. They got two of our
boys before we ran flat out of ammunition. I had one hand-grenade left.
Just one. That was all.
I told the boys to wiggle out through the trees
and work their way back to our lines. They refused at first to leave
me. I pointed out that there was no point in being heroic. I couldnít
move or I'd lead them. They were certain to be taken prisoners if not
killed. Still they insisted until I threatened to heave my last hand-grenade
into their foxhole. I guess they believed me. You see, the morphine
had long-since worn off and I was pretty desperate with pain and I imagine
I sounded sort of convincing- like. Anyway, they took off. (Since Iíve
been back, Iíve heard from both of them. They got through safely!)
Jerries kept pounding away for a while. Then, when we did not return
their fire, they eased up, and a couple of them started over the Terrace.
I heaved my last hand-grenade at them. It did not reach them, but it
must of made them mad all over again for they certainly peppered me,
their bullets kicking dirt in my face (which was already very, very
dirty) and over my body. That, too, was lucky, because it made me harder
Right then, I thought about Home. Plenty. I remember thinking,
ďIf I just had a long-distance phone here Iíd call up the Home and tell
them to brush up a Gold Star for me. It looks like Iím going to need
it. And quick.Ē You see, Iíd been reading The Sunshine and I knew they
had a blue star on the flag for me, and I remember thinking what the
expression on their faces would be like if old Bob was to phone in and
tell íem to change it to a Gold Star.
And I prayed, too. I prayed a
lot as I lay there without defense. Just waiting for those Jerries to
come over and pop me. Lots of people have asked me what I thought about
during those last few minutes there alone. Honestly, I donít know more
than Iíve just said. Oh, I thought about my wife and the folks at Home
and kids and what was going to happen to them. Really, I was more than
a little goofy, I guess. With pain and shock.