After being relieved of my guard duty by Robert Lindsey, I went into
a room where Sgt. Alfred Hess and [William] Swint, our gunner, were.
Being unable to sleep in my jump boots, I was in the process of
taking them off when all hell began happening just outside our room.
I quickly put my boots on, and Lindsey came in to inform us that the
Germans were attacking. Sgt. Hess went to take up his post, in
front, where he could direct the mortar fire. Swint, Lindsey, and I
went to our mortar emplacement. We had earlier established a field
of fire, so when we got to the mortar, we began firing. It didn't
take Swint long to run out of 60 MM shells, and Lindsey and I were
constantly going to our supply hole for more ammunition. On one
occasion, I was returning when I saw a figure coming toward me from
the corner of a building just up from the room we slept in. It was
hard to identify the enemy from your own men because it was so dark.
If you could get a look at the profile, the helmets and long
overcoats gave them away. I dropped my mortar shells and raised my
rifle. The soldier said, "me hendi ho", meaning, I surrender. There
was too much going on for me to take him back to the Company Command
Post. I took his rifle and threw it on the ground and illustrated
for him to put his hands behind his head. Then I pointed to our
Company Command Post. He began moving in the direction I had
pointed. Before he could get out of the yard, another German I had
not seen got up about 20 yards from us and threw his rifle down and
followed the other German toward our command post. I continued on my
way back to our gun emplacement with my mortar shells.
After what seemed like a couple of hours, we ran
out of mortar shells. By them, Swint had the mortar almost in a
verticle position, since the Germans seemed all around us. During
the time Lindsey and I were feeding ammunition to Swint and
protecting him while he was firing, we were straffed by a German
plane. It all seemed like a movie that was happening and we were
part of the cast in the drama. I know we must have been afraid, but
the job we were doing required so much of our time and energy, I do
not recall the fear I now have, just recalling the experience.
During this period of time, there was a German
machine gun and crew on top of the house we had vacated when the
attack occurred. They were firing on a machine gun position to our
right rear. I never was able to get a shot at either the gunner or
his crew, but our men must have done their duty because later, as we
attempted to get back to our 2nd main line of resistance, the
Jerry's were gone. Since we were out of mortar shells, I suggested
to Swint that we try to get back to our main line of resistance. He
told Lindsey and me to go ahead and as soon as Sgt. Hess got back,
the rest of them would come. There were two others in our squad that
spent most of the battle time in their foxhole. Lindsey and I joked
about rolling a live hand grenade in with them.