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Subject: Normandy Mission 1, part 2: the rockin' chair rss

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Lawrence Davis
United States
Indiana
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This is from the journal I'm keeping describing the missions and exploits of my company as we progress through the Normandy countryside. CPT Davis, Able Company "the Book Readers"

June 9, 1944

I called for a ceasefire after the mortar fire had landed. 2nd squad from Third platoon then moved into the open field to capture any German stragglers. They found only a few dead German soldiers however, their comrades having made a hasty retreat.

In the end, the day’s engagement left us with one KIA and one severely wounded soldier whom I am sure would need to be evacuated to one of the Mercy Ships offshore.
I received orders that the company would hold in place for the night and be relieved tomorrow evening. We were to repulse any and all enemy counterattacks that may come into our sector.

As darkness fell, a gentle breeze from the north blew in. At least the weather here was dry and cool. Yet, I couldn’t help but think about the rest of the men out in the foxholes and makeshift sleeping pits. If the enemy was going to probe our lines during the night, these guys would be my first line of defense.

Even though it was an uneasy night for the company as a whole, the Germans left us alone. As the morning light came, we could hear gunfire and explosions in the distance to the southwest. The sound of the gunfire became more and more intense as the morning wore on. It was obvious that the company on our right flank was catching hell. I ordered Second platoon to pull back to the church. If the Germans decided to hit us with artillery or mortars, the church would offer a little more protection to them than the shallow dirt depressions they were able to dig last night.

Mid-afternoon we received a re-supply of ammo, c-rations, and a call from Battalion. Again I was ordered to hold the company in place as things continued to go sour on our right flank. I walked to the church on the hill and conferred with 1st SGT McCrutheon. The first sergeant was perhaps the youngest 1st SGT in the entire US Army. He was offered OCS a year ago, but turned it down . He was afraid he would wind up behind some desk in Washington. I couldn’t have agreed with him more. The guy was one of the smartest men I had ever met. I guess that’s why I enjoyed seeking his consul and advice so much.

Turned out he was just as surprised as I was that the Germans hadn’t launched a counter attack or lobbed some mortars our direction by now. Obviously, the company on the right had given them enough to worry about.
We spoke for hours,...about the mission,...the men,...the terrain,...the weather....home....just passing time.

By late evening, all had gone quiet on our flank. I watched from the church tower as a column of deuce and a halves rolled up to the church. Major Campos, who had visited the previous day, had come along also and instructed me to load up my company. We would be pulling back to the staging area as Easy Company relieved us.

We loaded up and the column of trucks pulled out. I was happy that we had pulled off a successful mission, but my gut assured me that our next mission wouldn’t be the rockin’ chair we had enjoyed this day.
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