Sunday, April 21, 2013

'NORMANDY COMBAT' by Don Burgett

Normandy hedgerow fighting
      "Small private wars erupted to the right and left, near and far, most of them lasting from fifteen minutes to half an hour, with anyone's guess being good as to who the victors were.  The heavy hedgerow country muffled the sounds, while the night air magnified them.  It was almost impossible to tell how far 

Normandy hedgerow fighting
away the fights were and sometimes even in what direction.  The only thing I could be sure of was that a lot of men were dying in this nightmarish labyrinth.  During this time I had no success in finding anyone, friend or foe.  To be crawling up and down hedgerows, alone, deep in enemy country with a whole ocean between yourself and the nearest allies sure makes a man feel about as lonely as a man can get."
                                                                                -- before dawn June 6, 1944, Donald R. Burgett, 101st Airborne, 506th Regiment,
CURRAHEE!  A Screaming Eagle at Normandy, pg. 89
See original images at:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

'RANGERS' by Ernie Pyle

     "Of all the American troops who were about to bust their traces to get into battle, I suppose the Rangers were the worst.  That was because they had been trained like race horses, and if they couldn't race every day they got to pawing the ground.
US Army Rangers WWII
     They had one specific and highly dangerous job to do.  And they did it so expertly that they suffered almost no casualties and spared all the Frenchmen's lives.     
     As you know, the Rangers are American commandos.  For months their training had been a violent, double-barreled curriculum of body toughening and scientific elimination of the enemy.  All summer and fall in the cold waters of Scotland, troops of Rangers had practiced until they were as indestructible as Popeye and as deadly as executioners.  Then they had had a shot of the real business.  A few had gone to the Dieppe raid, and all of them had come to Africa.
     Since the specialty of the Rangers is landing on enemy beaches and storming gun positions, I asked one of them, "Do you suppose you'll just have to sit here until we invade another continent?"
     "My God, I hope not!  It might be too long a wait," was the wistful reply."

--Ernie Pyle, North Africa 1942, Here Is Your War, p 34

see original image at: