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On The Ground In Normandy
Bill hit the ground in France on June 6th, 1944 at about 1.30 a.m.

I landed in the hedgerow country, farmland divided not by fences but by hedgerows bordered by deep ditches and topped with thick foliage.  Seldom exceeding 50 yards in length, these fields give the country side a quality of sameness which makes navigation, especially at night, difficult.

Our job was to cut off the Cherbourg peninsula to stop Hitler's Panzer troops from reinforcing the beaches.

We were to take the crossroads and the town of ST MERE EGLISE.

We carried Bazooka's, 37 mm cannons, an M1 rifle, a land mine between our legs.

When you jump, you have a main chute on your back, your knapsack in front with your reserve chute on top of that.

In my case as operations Sergeant, I had a map case on one leg and a knife on the other. My rifle was on my back, broken down into 3 parts, receiver, stock, and barrel. It was a beautiful night, but when I jumped I landed in a field all by myself.

The Germans had what we called a bouncing Betty mine, they would bury them and if you hit one, it would jump up from the ground and explode. 

I was scared to death I'd land on one.

It is unclear why Sgt Knapp hand-wrote the following testimonial but it may have been in support of  a citation for the Silver Star for Lt. Homer Jones' action in La Fière.  Jones did receive that award at some point.

- - - - -

I, SSgt Wm F. Knapp ASN 16148795, jumped in Normandy France on D-Day, June 6th, 1944 at approximately 0230 hr.  I landed near Ste. Mere-Eglise and assembled with part of "B" Company.  We moved out at dawn through Ste Mere Eglise and due to a leg wound that Major Royal R. Taylor, then Capt in command of B Company, had received on the jump, Major Taylor had to stay at the aid station in Ste Mere Eglise and he put 1st Lt Jones in charge of B Company.  Lt Jones, immediately after it grew light enough to see and distinguish each main [road?] plainly, organized the Company, the strength of which was about 55 men.

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We moved due east to La Fiere where we encountered about 18 or 20 enemy in some buildings.  By this time we had joined forces with part of "A" Company, this regt. with "B" Company attaching. While the companies were held up by sniper fire Lt. Jones , his Radio Op and a scout moved up to the Bldg to clear them out.  Pfc McGuire was shot through the head by a sniper but Jones and Pvt Dean the Radio Op moved forward.  Lt. Jones ran into the house that the Jerries were firing out of and threw his grenades and immediately the 19 Jerries (illegible) their hands up.

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