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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 (8 of 10)

We regrouped, and Lt. Quade took some of the aforementioned troopers who were strangers to us, as his point. I said to Sgt. Ganz that I was going to ask Quade for he (Ganz) and I to take the point, I felt somehow if I had the point instead of Koziel, I wouldn't have been killed as was Koziel. It was a gut feeling, and in reality I would probably have been just as dead as Dan Koziel. Lt. Quade told me he wanted to use some of the people who were not up front yet, and said for me and Ganz to take the rear guard with Lt. Stevens.

Well, we couldn't have travelled more than a few hundred yards and our luck ran out. They probably had our movements pretty much for certain after we ran from the trucks, because they were waiting for us behind an innocent looking hedgerow that the point approached. The first salvo of machinegun fire killed everyone up front. It is difficult to tell just how many were killed, but Quade and the entire point went down instantly. There was a small opening in the left rear of the field in which we were being slaughtered. We were funneling ourselves through this tight space, and the kid next to me got hit in the head. When we finally got out of the field of fire and assembled, we had one trooper with a bullet wound through his thigh. We administered first aid giving him a morphine syrette and put some sulphur powder on his leg. Then we had to leave him and move out. He just sat there and understood our predicament. He certainly was a cool piece of work.

We travelled about four or five hundred yards through hedgerows until we came to an area that appeared safe for the moment. We hid there for over an hour. The Colonel then told me to take someone with me and see if I could locate the trooper we left, and bring him back. I took a Staff Sgt. from the 507th Prcht. Regt. and we went to the area where a few hours earlier the Krauts had slaughtered us. It was very eerie, late afternoon, the sun filtering down through the leaves on the giant hedgerows and birds fluttering around and chirping, and any second waiting for a German machinegun to open up. We were crawling around on our hands and knees whispering for our wounded comrade, but he was nowhere to be found, Whether the Germans captured him or he crawled away from the area and hid, we didnít know, so we returned to our group and reported it.

We kept traveling at night and it was very tiring. We were going almost continually since the night of the jump without a square meal or a night's sleep. With three or four days of no real sleep, you start to get bug-eyed. So it was, when we made contact, about 4 oíclock in the morning with our forces holding Hill 30. Before we entered into the perimeter of our own lines we had to lay almost in single file for what seemed over an hour to insure that our own troops didn't open fire on us. There was not a sound to be heard - just the stillness that was compounded by the morning dew and blackness. Then a terrific explosion broke the silence and it was all still again. Soon an agonizing voice started screaming out, "my legs, my legs, help anybody, help me." His voice was almost undistinguishable. At first I thought he was a German, but in retrospect he would have been yelling in German; but the pain must have distorted his diction. Whether he stepped on a land mine or a grenade rolled in his foxhole God only knows, but it was one of the most pathetic sounds Iíve ever heard. [Note: this man could have been Lewis Van Leuven, HQ 2nd, who lost both of his legs on 8 June 44 from a grenade explosion. He was captured, treated and survived.].

When we finally entered our lines there was about a Battalion of paratroopers, and they were surrounded by a German Division. But to us, after being on our own since D Day, it felt as secure as a baby in its mother's arms.
 

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