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Up Brody Hand (2) Brody Hand (3) Brody Hand (4) Brody Hand (5) Brody Hand (6) Brody Hand (7)
BRODY HAND (3 of 7)

They put us in the back, and so we were late getting out and we fell out of town. Lieutenant Bell, Dego, the other man, and part of the machine gun squad got killed that night in town. I had landed in a tree. I was standing on one leg. My chute was hanging me in the treetop, so I reached to get my knife to cut the straps loose. I was jumping around, and jerking, trying to get around to my knife, which was strapped to my leg. I shook loose enough that I could get both feet on the ground. By then I could unbuckle my chute, which was real hard to do because I was real tight hanging that way. But I got out of it. We had the little crickets, clickers, to notify each other with. As soon as I got loose I could see which way the planes were headed. We knew which way we had to go without thinking. We just had to follow the way the planes went till we got to where we could find something that we'd recognize. Of course at that time we had no idea whether we were going out of town, or where we were headed. We were just getting out of there, fast as we could. Of course we'd gone through a lot of sand tables, planning, and work on where we were supposed to go, who we were supposed to be with, and what to do.

My job was to blow up a bridge on the Merderet River. Along the way, I picked up three or four other men: Bob Harper, Neal Connigan [Cornelius Connaghan], and Bob Nobles. We headed out in the direction that the planes were headed, northeast, until we came to a road. About the time we reached the road, we heard a motorcycle coming. We went on across the road and went for up to three or four hours, walking, running, hiding.

Just at the break of day, we came around a fence to where a pair of gates opened up into another small five or six acres between hedgerows. At this time we noticed that it was getting light. We saw some movement and we just froze right where we were. There was an open gate on this side of the hedgerow and an open gate on that side of the hedgerow. At the far end of the opening was a white one story building approximately 30 feet by 100 feet. We decided that must be where the German officers were staying. We stood there a few minutes in the shadows. We didn't want to shoot anybody, didn't want to cause any racket or any noise because the Germans had us outnumbered. There was quite a group of them bivouacked and bedded down.

Then the Germans started coming up out of the foxholes everywhere. Back to our right, as we eased around, a German sentry was standing. We tried not to make any noise or attract him as we crossed the road. I was standing there with my back to the gate watching the sentry. He was walking guard there. So I motioned to the guys come on back and go the other way. Well, the sentry saw us. About that time he took a shot at us. He grazed my thumb and hit me in the side. I cut loose with the 45, picked him up and laid him down. We had no more problems there.

We went on back the way we came, doubled back. I didn't know I'd even been hit till we were running. We ran some distance, probably two or three miles. As it was beginning to get light, we hid in a little group of woods and a small drain ditch and spent the day in this area. Bob Harper said, "There's blood on you. Let me see." I pulled my shirt up. He took off his first aid kit and put a bandage around me. I wasn't bleeding bad. I just barely got hit. It didn't go inside. It just skidded off my Thompson and that's when it hit my thumb, going across the top of that Thompson sub I was holding. So I was real lucky, it didn't ruin the gun and it didn't ruin me as far as that goes. So he tied me up and we went on.
 

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