We stayed in the ditch perhaps for 20 minutes while our own machine guns got set up and our mortars poured round after round onto the hill in front of us. Then came the order "Fix bayonets!'' and a minute later, "Let's go!" and we moved out of the ditch and started up the hill. I thought Oh, my God, is this the way it happens? I had no bayonet on my BAR and didn't know whether to be glad or sorry. We kept running though and after an eternity reached the crest of the hill -- no enemy. They had pulled out, where, we did not know nor care, as long as they were gone.
Our CO decided we would spend the night on the hill and wait until morning at dawn to attack the town, which we later learned was Rott. Allen's squad was put out in front on the top of the rise as outposts and Craft and I dug in on the right flank, the nearest to the enemy. We started digging an L-shaped hole and had not gone down more than 8 inches when water began to seep in. Within a few minutes we had a crude hole dug (it was already dark) and about three inches of water. About 8 inches of dirt was piled up around the edge of our hole as added protection; that gave us then about 20 inches of flimsy protection. Then it came! Whoosh! Bram!! and then just z-z-ziz as shrapnel whizzed over our hole. The Germans were shelling our position. We were fortunate that night to be so far forward because until early in the morning they shelled the main body of the company behind us at regular intervals.
Craft and I were already soaked to the skin and each time we heard a shell coming we dived in again. The earth shook, fragments smacked into our circle of dirt, but when morning came we were still alive -- almost to our surprise. When we crawled out of our burrow we were mud from top to bottom, wringing wet and nearly frozen, almost too cramped to stand up. We swallowed a K ration and, still munching crackers, began moving down on the town.
Title Page Previous Page Next Page
This page maintained by Bruce Clayton.
Copyright © 2008 by Bruce D. Clayton, All rights reserved.