Skip to main content
Joseph M. Manzella
Rank: Private First Class
Joseph M. Manzella



B Company, 115th Infantry Regiment

Omaha Beach, Normandy, France

June 6th, 1944

Survived the war?
Wounded but survived
29th Infantry Division

29th Infantry Division

Flaming memories

I was on this LST in the channel waiting to hit the beach when I was woke up by the sixteen inch guns and the rockets that were aimed at the Omaha beach from the two Battleship that were next to the LST.  It was a hell of a sight. About eleven am we were on our way to the beach and the captain said he was going to give us a dry landing  so when we got to the beach he pulled back as we would have to wade to the beach as that spot was to deep. As we were going into the beach I had to go to the bow of the ship the put on a flame thrower as the ship was pulling back an 88 shell fell were the bow of the ship was so if the captain had not said he was going to give us a dry landing I would not be here now and a lot of others would have been killed.The only ones that would know about that will be me and the captain of that LST.  Maybe 1 or 2 crew members. When I got up on the road above the cliff at Omaha Beach, we assembled and my Staff Sgt came up to me and told me my friend was captured or was dead as they went on patrol and hadn't came back yet. As we were standing around this Sergeant. He moved everyone around me I told him, after I put a 45 in his belly, that I would count to three and if they were not pull back away from me i was going to shoot him. What happend was that he had everyone come over were I was and as I had a flame thrower on my back and was a big enough target as it was I didn't need anyone around me so that we would be a bigger target. I started to count and did not get one out and he move them.

That night we were behind an hederow and the germans were shooting machine guns fire at us all night long and they hit some Sergeant. My Staff Sergeant came and told me. I don't know why he came and told me what was going on all night as I was only a PFC. We came across some German tank, truck, motorcycle with sidecar, town car and vw beetle all with Germans bodies all burned up in them I will remember that as long as I am alive.

June 7th

After a night of intense machine gun fire over our heads we started to go forward as we were going forward I tried out the flame thrower and it did not fire so I tossed it to the ground and had to go to the road to get a gun from a dead soldier. I had no trouble finding one as a whole squad of soldiers were laying dead on that road. We didn't meet any Germans that day so at night we slept in a fox hole the next day I woke up to see the first lieutenant looking at me if it had been a German we would have been killed. What happened, the third person that was on guard went to sleep and did not wake anyone up and we all were so beat that we just slept all night even if you told me that before we did I would have told you that you were nuts how can anyone sleep with all that noise.

June 8th

After we got out of that fox hole we took off and when we got near some woods I saw a friend of mine on a stretcher he was shot in the rear end, I told him I told you to keep you rear end down. We keep walking and about five o'clock I had to go as we were in this field I just pulled my pants down and went that was the first time I went and only time as long as I was in combat. That night the Lt. told this person that was to wake me up the night before and I to set up a machine gun and watch it so again we took turns and the next thing I heard was my name being called he forgot to wake me up again, Well we never got to do anything together again. The forth day nothing happened we just walked from one field into an other. Things got hot on the fifth day.

June 9th

Nothing worth reporting happened on this day.....

June 10th

On the fifth day three of us were walking into this farm and there were cows up in the trees laying all over the area in chunks.  There was a farmer milking his cows and when he saw us he picked up his milk bucket and came runing to us we tryed to tell him not to come but he would not stop until we drank some of his milk. After we drank some of his milk he left and we went on our way. We came to a road and join the rest of the Company as we were walking down the road we came uder fire from some Germans in a farmhouse acroos the road after we got rid of them we left and as we left I tap the Gi ahead of me but he did not move  as I went by I saw he had taking a bullet in his left ear he didn't even move so that was the 5th day.

June 11th

The Lt. Told me to go to C. company and to tell them that we would be on there right he gave me two other GIs and also told us not to engage any Germans. I told him what if we met any Germans are we to tell them we can't engage you so you go your way and we will go the other way, So he told forget what I said if you meet any do what you have to do. Any way after we met C company and told them we were on there right we were walking back to met up with our company. As we were walking on this road and as we came around the bend in the road we came upon this village in the middle of the road were a group of people when we got close to them there were about 24 ladies standing around a priest. When we got closer they told us that there were nine Germans in a house and as they were telling us these we heard a tank coming down the road we hid,and after we saw that it was one of ours we stop him and told the tank commander that there were Germans in that house and we left as we got to the end of the road we heard a boom so I think they just destroy the house.

June 12th

After we made the left turn we walked about a quarter mile and we heard some firing and I looked over this hedgerow and saw four of our GI. dead, I went to an opening and as I stuck my nose out to see what was going on a bullet hit the ground just in front of my nose and I got some dirt in my face. I left that spot and found my Lt Stone and he told me to take the other two soldiers and go to that farm house and tell everyone there to get out and if they did not to make them leave. So we went in but the only ones there were a older man and his wife so I told them they had to leave but they didn't want to so I had to force them to leave. After we left the house we joined our company which was pin down by the river and looked on as one of our airplane drop a bomb on the Germans on the other side of the river but it didn't do any good and that was the only bomb that was drop on them.

After the plane drop it bomb one of the soldiers that was in the woods said that he was hit so I tried to go to him I got to a tree and told him to leave that place but then he said he was hit again I told him to leave again and that was when I felt like if someone slapped my right hand I look at it and my middle finger was all blooded up a and was just hanging there by a thread. I went back to the hedgerow and told a soldier to bandage it but he was so scared to do it and as I tried to get him to bandage my hand the Germans open up with a burst from there machine gun and hit me in the legs I told that soldier that I was hit in the legs and to bandage my hand but he would not bandage so I got mad at him you don't want to know what I said to him.

Anyway I stood up and took off all my gear and pick up a soldier that was hit on the hip and could not walk and carried him up the hill and drop him in the gully I then went crossed the road and saw a medic and Lt. Stone and told the medic about the solider that I left in the cully the medic said we will getto him after we get you fixed up. After he finish bandage me up, a Jeep with a litter on it and took me to a field hospital I don't know if they picked up that solider.

After they took me to the field hospital they put me in this tent that they put up I don't know how long it was but it looked like it was quarter mile long. I was the first one to be put in there and it wasn't long before it was full up. There was an older French man that moan all night long I didn't get any sleep. The next morning the thirteen of June the nurse came to give out breakfast and said none for you and gave me a shot in the arm and the next thing it was 2am the next day. The fourteen of June.

I woke up and the first thing I said were is my breakfast the nurse came over and said "shhhh" you are wakening up the other soldiers but I kept asked for my breakfast so she said if I give you some orange juice will be still I said ok I took one sip and went back to sleep.

In the afternoon they put me in a plane a DC 3 I believe and said you are going home. Well the right engine would not start so they tried the left engine and it started so they tried the right one again and it stilled didn't start so they took us off the plane and put us in the ducks and put us on the hospital ship that was in the channel and we stayed there for three nights. Every night the Germans Planes would come over and bomb the beach and the ack-ack guns shells would hit the deck of the ship and scare you. After the hospital ship was filled we left for England when we got there they took us off the ship and put us in a hospital for the night.

After we got to England the next day we were transferred to a hospital in England to recuperate after I was heal I was sent back to France were I traveled from one place to another for 14 teen months.

Joe Manzella

Veteran's personal medals
2 x Purple Heart
2 x Purple Heart
Veteran's personal file

"Rally around the flag"

Personal photographs

Click on a picture for enlargement

  • Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Remember each and every sacrifice, made for your freedom!

Share this page on social media

The stories on my website are meant to educate people about WW2. You can help by sharing them with your family and friends on your social platforms. Thank you so much for your assistance.