My experiences during those first weeks was unique, because our divsion had been annihilated twice! I was on the run with a few of my buddies. I had several close calls, and some I'm not aware of. Not as you might imagine.
Leaning against a tree fore protection, and the tree being full of shrapnel except where I was kneeling, driving a Jeep out of an area ubder barrage, and the vehicles around the Jeep being hit, Carrying a 50 calbre machine gun across an open field with a buddy, and I swear to this day, the enemies fire brushed the seat of my pants all the way across that open field, and back again! Under dire circumstances, to say the least!
They were fireing at us with one of our own 50 calibre machine guns; I sat in a fox hole (shallow) with a blanket hanging from the sides to block the wind, I bent over, or knapped, and saw holes in the blanket the next day! In that same location was one of our 155 mm. shells; a "dud", about 20 yards from us; we lived with that thing as long as we were there. Of course, the artillery guys said "no way!" I carried a BAR, and was replaced on two patrols.
My replacements were killed both times. I think they were both new additions to the company. They were resting me the first time, and the 2nd, I was taking a "refresher" with the flame thrower. I did not need a "refresher". I walked along a path several times (the whole company did), and one day one of Jeeps drove over the same area again, and it blew up from a land mine; killing the occupants. We were forming a special squad, toward the latter stages of the war.
A young battle field commisioned Lt., and a rugged Sgt. were going to lead us. The Sgt. was holding a class on using an anti-tank grenade attached to a rifle, and the damned thing exploded, and killed him. There are probably other instances, but I think you can get of that I'm saying. "Fighting" is probably a misnomer.
The people who suffer most are the civilians. They call that "collataral damage". Also remember, those of us soldiers were also civilians. I consider the men with whom I served "noble". The deprivation, and lasting effects are hardships " civilians" should not have to endure.
"Out of the 106th Division's combat Infantrymen I think I'm one of a handful, if not the only one, who did not miss a single day on the front line while thew division was over there!"
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A big THANK YOU to the United States Army Center of Military History for their help in providing the input for these pages. All pages on this website are constantly being refitted with acurate data and texts and it is an ongoing process.