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Posted by Skidmark 2021-04-19 08:33||
#2 Fun and previously unknown story of a true warrior. Thanks
Posted by NoMoreBS 2021-04-19 15:18||
#3 This bridge spanning several hundred yards had to be secured to prevent the Germans from sending reinforcements to Utah Beach to crush the Allied beachhead. On June 6, 1944, elements of the 82nd secured the western portion of the bridge, a causeway over fields the Germans deliberately flooded to hamper an invading force. Small bands of lightly armed paratroopers battled against the German tanks as they spearheaded an attack on the fragile American beachhead. Legendary battlefield WWII combat historian S.L.A. Marshall described the operation as “the one attended by the greatest difficulty and hardships of the individual assemblies … these conditions so frequently brought forth the finest characteristics of the American soldier.”
Eventually, the 82nd launched a daring assault into the heart of German defenses to seize the entire bridge. But first the 82nd had to hold the western edge of Le Fière at all costs.
Paratrooper Marcus Heim of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment stared down several German panzers that rolled across the causeway in an attempt to reach the beachhead.
“All that afternoon the Germans kept shelling our position. Around 5:00 in the afternoon the Germans started the attack. Two tanks with infantry on each side, and in the rear following them was a third tank with more infantry following it. As the lead tank started around the curve in the road, the tank commander stood up in the turret to take a look. From the left our machine gun let loose a burst and killed the commander. At the same time the bazookas, 57 millimeter and everything else we had were firing at the Germans. They in turn were shooting at us with cannons, mortars, machine guns, and rifle fire.
“Lenold Peterson and I (the loader), in the forward position got out of our foxhole and stood behind the telephone pole, so we could get a better shot at the tanks. We had to hold our fire until the last minute because some of the tree branches along the causeway were blocking our view. The first tank was hit and started to turn sideways and at the same time was swinging the turret around and firing at us. We had just moved forward around the cement telephone pole when a German shell hit it. We had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit as it was falling.
“I was hoping that Bolderson and Pryne were also firing at the tanks. For with all that was happening in front of us, there was not time to look around to see what others were doing. We kept firing at the first tank until it was put out of action and on fire. The second tank came up and pushed the first tank out of the way. We moved forward toward the second tank and fired at it as fast as I could load the rockets in the bazooka. We kept firing at the second tank, and we hit it in the turret where it is connected to the body, also in the track, and with another hit it also went up in flames.
“Peterson and I were almost out of rockets, and the third tank was still moving. Peterson asked me to go back across the road and see if Bolderson had any extra rockets. I ran across the road, and with all the crossfire I still find it hard to believe I made it to the other side in one piece. When I got to the other side, I found one dead soldier, and Bolderson and Pryne were gone. Their bazooka was lying on the ground, and it was damaged by what I thought were bullet holes. Not finding Bolderson or Pryne, I presumed that either one or both were injured. I found the rockets they left and then had to return across the road to where I left Peterson.
“The Germans were still firing at us, and I was lucky again. I returned without being hit. Peterson and I put the new found rockets to use on the third tank. After that one was put out of action, the Germans pulled back to Cauquigny and continued shelling us for the rest of the night. They also tried two other counter attacks on our position, which also failed.”
Posted by Ebbomoger Speaking for Boskone4589 2021-04-19 18:55||
#4 Great hero, thank you B!
Posted by Woodrow 2021-04-19 22:48||