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Up DeLury (2) DeLury (3) DeLury (4) DeLury (5) DeLury (6) DeLury (7) DeLury (8) DeLury (9q) DeLury (10)

Normandy Thoughts (7 of 10)

We barrelled [barreled] back through the irrigation ditch, and the thorns ripped our faces and hands. We got back to where the trucks were stopped and started to run with the whole group to our right as we faced the trucks. Just about that time a German tank cane around the house I had been behind. The first 88 it fired hit the first truck and lifted it off the ground. The second and third went into the second truck. I was running next to Lt. Daley, who was looking back over his shoulder, and he said, "he's zeroing in on us." The tank let an 88 go right at us. It whistled over our heads and hit 100 yds. or so in front of us, and then another and another. Then a whole Company of German soldiers came down from the road we just left with their mauser rifles at port arms in their field green uniform, and it became a foot race. Well, all we did in training in the paratroops was run, run, run, and it certainly paid off for us that day. We outran them and reassembled in a secluded area.

We started to move out again and someone saw a German machine[gun] nest covering the road we had to cross. Lt. Quade signaled for myself and Posados to follow him down the hedgerow on our side of the road. The helmet I wore on the drop that was ripped off my head was defective to the extent that the liner and steel helmet didn't mesh, and it made a rattling noise. I took it off and laid it on the ground so that the rattling wouldn't give our position away. Posados was coming up ten yards behind me, so when he passed my helmet he picked it up and started to pssst me to get my attention. Then he held it out towards me as though I lost it and he found it. It was like a Max Senate Comedy - but because of the gravity of the moment, the humor was lost.

Posados was a very nice, friendly kid who was of Mexican extraction, he didn't have a complete command of the English language and sometimes it was humorous, On one occasion back in North Carolina our very serious platoon leader, a Lt. Victor Grabbe, asked who in the Platoon didn't have leggings and Posados raised his hand and said, "I have none” with the unintentional omission of addressing the Lt. as "I have none, Sir" or "Lieutenant". Well, Lt. Grabbe put on his most severe scowl and almost yelled "you have none what!!??" Posados responded with "I have none leggings," which really fractured the platoon.

We were just about across the road from where the machinegun was when a German soldier walked over toward where I was kneeling and looked directly over my head toward where the trucks had been blown up. The road was about two feet higher than the field we were in, so he was looking out directly over me through a hedgerow, and I had my rifle aimed at his stomach. I could see his face as plain as day. He was about two feet from me, and why he never lowered his eyes toward me I'll never know. I could swear I was in his peripheral vision. Maybe the lack of the helmet left me undetected. He turned and walked across the road.

Quade motioned for me to throw a grenade. All our fragmentation grenades were secured with adhesive tape to prevent the actuating arm from snapping up if the pin was somehow dislodged with the Impact of the jump. Well, it seemed like an eternity trying to find an end to unwrap the tape. Finally, I got the tape off and signaled to Lt. Quade that I wasn't sure just where the emplacement was. He had seen it, so I let him toss the grenade. It wasn't thrown that far, so it made some noise. The main body jumped across the road, and Quade and I started running back to the corner where they crossed. Someone got on our side of the road in a wooded area and was firing right at us with a rifle, and the bullets were passing between us as we ran. Quade got across the road, and I was the last to get on the road, and got my feet entangled in some communication wire laying on top of the road. Thank God I had an M-1, because I emptied a clip in the direction of the woods while I untangled myself and pinned down or hit whoever was firing at me.

Finally we stopped running and reassembled. Lt. Quade asked if someone else wanted to take a turn at the 1st Scout position. There were a lot of troopers who weren't with their own officers, and were just content to stay in the middle of the group and follow the crowd. His looking for a 1st Scout was directed towards them, but one of our own stood up and said he'd take the point. He was Dan [Daniel F.] Koziel from “I" Company. He was older than most of us and we called him "Pappy." A few minutes before somehow he salvaged a bottle of German wine from one of the camouflaged trucks. It had a very long neck and no shoulders. He pulled the cork and gave me a swig. It really tasted good, more for sustenance than pleasure.

We started out with Pappy as 1st Scout, and could not have walked more than two or three hedge rows when three Germans came out of the woods surrendering. One had a rife in his up stretched hands, arid brought it down and killed Pappy Instantly.

We immediately dispatched the three to Valhalla. We laid Trooper Koziel with his arms crossed on a sort of berm -a mound between two fields. I took his trench knife to replace the one I lost on the jump, and we said a prayer; then we moved on. My friend, Jack Downee [probably Jack M. Downey], brought a picture of Koziel's grave marker in Normandy. It simply stated

Wisconsin June 14, 1944

The June 14 is erroneous. Dan was killed about June 8th, but it seems they take the time of death at the date the Grave Registration Officer records the finding of the remains.

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