|29TH DIVISION - WWII STORIES|
Joseph M. MANZELLA
29th Infantry Division
115th Infantry Regiment
A 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. May be 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 happened 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 hedgerow 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 vw all with Germans bodies all burned up in them I will remember that as long as I am alive.
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 happen 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.
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 Lieutenant 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.
Nothing worth reporting happened on this day.....
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 under fire from some Germans in a farmhouse across 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.