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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 (6 of 7)

We were deployed in and around the buildings and in the hedgerows around this small chateau which was just west of what we thought to be the Douve River and just to the south of the causeway. Everybody got in their place, where they were going to be.

Sure enough, it wasn't long until a tank came up the road with an officer and his men. They opened up on us with the tank, scattering everybody. All we had was light machine guns and rifles. We held on, thinking that maybe we could make it until dark. If we could, we could all make a break to the river and take a chance on swimming it or try to get away the best we could.

It didn't last that long. We held out till all small arms ammunition was spent and we were then completely at the mercy of the artillery and machine gun fire of the Germans. The Lieutenant got one of the Germans, who we had captured, to call out that we surrender. Nobody knew what was going on really, because it was German talking to German. By then everybody was pretty well out [of] shells although some of them might have had some rounds left. The Germans finally made up their minds. Our prisoners convinced them that we didn't kill prisoners. The Germans had been told that not only were American paratroopers ex-convicts, but that they never took prisoners. They thought that paratroopers would kill their prisoners because they didn't have any use for them, or have no way to get them back to camp. So actually, the three prisoners that we had taken earlier probably saved our lives, or at least some of us anyway.

Lieutenant Lavender called us all in. We all stacked our rifles, guns, everything we had, in a pile. We lined up in front of the barn. We were marched down this road in a northerly direction to a sharp bend, L shaped, where the artillery piece was stationed. Then we turned due West, paralleling the Douve and marched, possibly 30 minutes or an hour, in a west direction till we came to the road that crossed the causeway. There was a causeway and a village to our right that we could see across the river, which at that time must have been two or three hundred feet wide, flooded over the lowland, marsh and surrounding area. We turned to the left, which was opposite the causeway, away from it and proceeded down the road for possibly thirty minutes to several small buildings. There were two or three buildings on the west side of this road. One was the officer and guard quarters, we could plainly see, and a shed and possibly another shed. We were all herded into a solid rock shed, probably 30 by 50 feet, with no windows. It had no doors, but the one, and no way of escaping. That was the first night we had been captured. We stayed there that night and the next day.

The next night they started marching us out. Of course we stayed on the road then. We marched all night long and the biggest part of the next day till we got to another farmhouse. It was a stone barn with a hayloft. Normandy is covered with little cottages that have concrete buildings, rock buildings, and stone all put together. They're solid with no windows, no way of getting out of it. So that's what they used to keep us in overnight to move us. The next day we moved on down to the first camp, which was more or less a gathering spot for prisoners at that time. We stayed there two or three days.

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