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Up Hodge (2) Hodge (3) Hodge (4)
 
WHY WAS I SPARED?  (2 of 4)

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.
 

 

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